Juventus had a busier schedule in pre-season than the number of matches would suggest. The club invested time in transfer activities as a clutch of new players were signed while a number of Juventus personnel were involved in ongoing Scommessopoli investigation in Italy.

A number of players including Captain Gianluigi Buffon joined Juveai??i??s pre-season camp late as they were given a break after Italyai??i??s long Euro 2012 campaign. This was also the first pre-season in over one and half decades which didnai??i??t feature the iconic Alessandro Del Piero. For the first time since 2006, Juventus were involved in an official match during pre-season with the Super Coppa Italiana pitting the Old Lady against Napoli in China.

Round Up Of Juventus Pre-Season Matches

A new look Juventus opened their pre-season campaign in Stadio Perucca, Saint-Vincent against Aygreville, a local side largely containing players from Val dai??i??Aosta. As expected, Juventus lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Alberto Masi, Lucio and Kwadwo Asamoah making their first starts in a Juventus jersey. The 3000 capacity crowd came to watch Juventus anticipating goals but little did they expect Aygreville to take the lead just after the kick off as Turato took advantage of a defensive error from Lucio to draw first blood.

Juventus soon equalized as Quagliarella hit the back of the net with an assist from Asamoah. The Ghanaian earned a penalty on 21stAi??minute as Vucinic put Juventus ahead. Two minutes later, Quagliarella doubled his tally to score Juveai??i??s third goal. Despite creating a number of chance Juventus failed to find the net in first half as the score remained 3-1 at half time.

A completely different XI took to the field in second half as two more new signings Nicola Leali and Boakye made their Juventus debuts. Arturo Vidal earned a penalty ten minutes into second half as Alessandro Matri put his name on the score-sheet. On 65thAi??minute Boakye scored possibly the best goal of the match by nutmegging the opponent ai???keeper. A third penalty deep into injury time saw Vidal put Juventus 6-1 ahead and Stefano Padovan made it 7-1 soon afterwards.

Trofeo TIM followed next and Juventus were left fuming at the poor condition of the pitch at the San Nicola, Bari. Results matter little in this traditional pre-season tournament where the three biggest clubs in Italy play each other for 45 minute matches.

Juventus opened their tournament against Internazionale and completely dominated possession for large parts of the 45 minute period. However, a series of misses from Fabio Quagliarella ensured that Nerazzuri net remain undisturbed. Inter took the lead somewhat against the run of play as Coutinho scored, taking advantage of Lucioai??i??s mistimed jump. That remained the final score as Juventus was left to rue their missed chances.

Juventus didnai??i??t play as well as the first match when they faced AC Milan but managed to eke out a 1-0 win thanks to a penalty from Vucinic. However, this victory tasted very bitter as Simone Pepe (thigh strain) and Martin Caceres (twisted knee ligament) were forced off due to injuries, thanks to the pitch. The Uruguayan, it was later learnt, would miss out for two months due to his injury.

With the clouds of ScommessopoliAi??darkening around Conte, Bonucci and Pepe, Juventus made a trip to Germany to play their next pre-season match against Hertha Berlin.

Antonio Conte started this match with Stefan Lichtsteiner playing as part of the three man defence, a somewhat unique move. Hertha Berlin was the more dominant side in the match when Juventus took the lead on 20thAi??minute thanks to Alessandro Matri. Hertha continued to attack strongly after going down and Juventus held on thanks to some sharp saves from Marco Storari and a surprisingly calm performance from youngster Masi.

Israeli striker Ben Sahar caused Juventus defence a lot of problems in second half. The back three was often found wanting as he exposed gaps on multiple occasions. Fortunately for Juve, luck was on their side as Ben Sahar struck the frame of the goal in the 80thAi??minute. Minutes before the final whistle, Juventus fans saw something they hadnai??i??t seen in a long time ai??i?? a goal from Serbian bomber Milos Krasic. The ex-CSKA Moscow winger picked up a pass from Untersee and found the net with a beautiful 25 yarder shot.

Juventus might have won 2-0 but the score line was flattering considering the way they played in this match.

The next match was expected to be the toughest Juventus played in pre-season. Former European champions Benfica (who also share the ignominious record of losing highest number of ECC/UCL finals with Juventus) was in blistering form in pre-season, having destroyed Real Madrid 5-2 just a week before playing Juve. With the Portuguese league starting early they were in better shape and Juventus fans expected a showing like the meek loss Juventus suffered at the hands of another Portuguese side, Sporting Lisbon, in the same stage last season.

The Azzuri contingent had joined Juventus by this time and it boosted the squad before facing a team of Benficaai??i??s caliber. The Portuguese started brighter as Buffon was forced to make couple of saves in opening few minutes. With a number of players playing together for the first time and Kwadwo Asamoah playing in unfamiliar left wing-back position, Juventus took a bit of time to string an attacking move and steadily improved as the first half wore off. When the half time whistle came both teams were well matched though there were no goals.

Paul Pogba was handed a Juventus debut after joining the squad late thanks to his Euro U19 campaign with France. Benfica brought on their chief goal scorer Oscar Cardozo in a bid to breakdown the Juve defence in second half. Sure enough it was the Paraguayan who headed Benfica in the lead few minutes before the regulated. Just when it looked like Juventus would be losing the plot Untersee and Krasic combined, like in the Hertha match, to draw level. The youngster delivered an inch perfect cross for Krasic who made no mistakes from close range. This also proved to be Krasicai??i??s last goal for Juventus as he sealed a move to Turkey soon after.

Even though the match ended in a draw, Juventusai??i?? performance was much better than that against Hertha.

Things had changed by the time Juventus lined up against Malaga. With news of Conteai??i??s possible touchline ban doing the rounds, Ai??Juventus boss sat on the stands and let Carrera handle the coaching duties. A dry run for the future, perhaps. Facing Juventus was a club in crisis. Even though they have qualified for Champions League, Malagaai??i??s season looks to implode even before it started. Financial irregularities, non-payment of salaries and exodus of star players have dealt a body blow to the AndalucAi??ans.

The Alessandro Matri ai??i?? Giovinco combination was working well for Juventus as they looked more dangerous when attacking. It was the diminutive Italian who did spadework for Juventusai??i?? opening goal as his cross to Padoin created a golden chance. Padoin passed to Matri who turned his marker and slammed in the goal from close range. In the second half, Matri doubled his and Juveai??i??s tally by turning in a low cross from Padoin.

Despite the 2-0 final score, Juventus defence did endure some scary moments though Luca Marrone impressed in an unfamiliar position.

Juventus A and Juventus B playing in Villar Perosa is an annual event and it is more of a fun event rather than a pre-season match. And this year there was plenty to celebrate for the 5000 fans who had gathered. Juventus had sealed up their first Super Coppa Italiana in years after dispatching Napoli 4-2 in an ill-tempered match in China.

Juventus A team lined up in a 3-5-2 formation while the juniors started in a 4-2-3-1 formation. This was also a good chance for Juventus fans to get a glimpse of youngsters like Leo Bonatini, who was signed during summer.

Like last season Romanian youngster Branescu had a decent game under the posts for Juventus B but the player who really grabbed attention was Paul Pogba. The French starlet, who was signed from Manchester United after a prolonged transfer saga, is believed to be one of the brightest prospects in football right now. Pogba put in a solid performance in this match as Juventus A strolled to a 5-1 score line before the match was called off due to a pitch invasion and celebrations. Matri, Quagliarella, Giachherini, Giovinco and Rugiero scored for Juventus A while Bonatini found the net for the B side.

Juventus rounded off the pre-season campaign with another traditional tournament, the Trofeo Berlusconi or the ai???unlucky tournamentai???. Facing AC Milan, the Bianconeri fell behind thanks to an error from Storari which led to a goal from Robinho. However, they clawed their way back quickly as Marchisio turned in a low De Ceglie cross to restore parity. Arturo Vidal latched on to an excellent overhead pass from Marrone and finished with style to make it 2-1 while Matri scored Juveai??i??s third goal. Robinho would score another goal but Juventus finally claimed the pre-season title by winning 3-2.

Key Observations

The Kids are alrightAi??Juventus has invested in youth in past couple of seasons and going by the performance in pre-season, some of these players might have bright future ahead. JuventusAlberto Masi was consistently solid at the back and often looked in better touch than Lucio or any other Juventus defenders. Luca Marrone had some wonderful spells in pre-season and excelled even when he played as a central defender, his passing being an eye catching aspect. Marrone made his senior team debut two seasons back under Ciro Ferrara and he has steadily improved ever since. Richmond Boakye scored on his debut and he usually looked menacing with his off the ball movement. It is more or less certain that he will be loaned out and Juve fans will be keenly following his progress. Paul Pogba was made an instant impact despite not being part of the team for most of pre-season. Unlike others, Pogba might already be good enough to play for Juventus senior team this season itself.

Lucio needs to find form, fast – Chiellini and Caceresai??i?? (unexpected) injuries have suddenly brought the prospect of Lucio starting the season in first XI. The Brazilian never looked fully confortable during pre-season and his mistakes often created goal scoring chances for opponents. Lucioai??i??s recent form, regardless of his past exploits, has been suspect and he hasnai??i??t shown signs of improvement. Lucio has not played in a three man defence in a while (despite winning the World Cup ten years back as part of a three man defence) and his performances are bound to keep Juventus fans concerned.

Juventus will struggle without a world class striker –Ai??Despite scoring a few goals, both Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri have proved multiple times during pre-season why they cannot be trusted in the Champions League. Neither looks confident and their habit of missing easy chances can often get unnerving. Juventus might have won Serie A last season with the same attack but they were helped by a chunk of goals coming from midfield and a lighter schedule list. This season Juventus needs more quality in the attacking department with UCL football coming up. Drawn matches because of poor finishing like last seasonai??i??s Serie A is a luxury Juventus can ill afford in Europe.

—–

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  • Kobby Twumasi

    A very busy pre-season as compared to previous seasons. Juve is surely going to get a new striker and with a little help for Lucio,Matri,Quagol and the arrival of Chillini and Caceres, juve would be atleast semi finalist in the UCL and win Serie A with ease.

  • Alfonsino

    Great stuff Somnath —-I can’t wait to get this serie A season underway this week-end!!