The void that has been left by captain Alessandro Del Piero’s injury struggles is becoming more and more evident as the weeks go by.
Many people feel that Juventus’ struggles offensively will change for the better when Del Piero gets back to full health and returns to the lineup. With the healthy group of strikers that Juve have playing now, they are players that rely on service from teammates, rather than creating chances on their own.
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So many times last season, and throughout his career, Del Piero has been the secondary striker setting up his partner in crime up top.
But why can’t the tiny talent known as Sebastian Giovinco be that guy while Del Piero is out?
There is one thing consistent about Juve’s last five games in all competitions — they haven’t recorded a victory. The group of attackers, who were supposed to be the team’s biggest strength coming into the season, have scored just 12 goals in eight Serie A games — a clear sign that the strikers can’t finish with any kind of consistency at all.
Even though he scored this weekend, his first since the middle of February, Amauri has been terrible in front of goal. Vincenzo Iaquinta hasn’t been on fire as of late despite being the joint leader in goals with David Trezeguet, who slowly is rounding into shape.
This where Giovinco comes into play.
We all expected that his playing time would be effected when Diego was signed this past summer. Giovinco naturally became Diego’s understudy and the opportunity to play, despite what manager Ciro Ferrara has said, wouldn’t be as much as many of us had hoped for coming into the season.
For as much talent as he has, Giovinco hasn’t really had the chance to get going this season, or last season for that matter. It was a problem last year under Claudio Ranieri, and now it’s becoming more and more noticeable under Ferrara. Giovinco has appeared in just five of Juve’s 10 games in Serie A and the Champions League this year, with his only two starts coming when Diego was out injured.
So why not put Giovinco in the supporting striker role like Del Piero plays?
For one, it would allow Ferrara to field both Diego and Giovinco on the field at once. With the offense struggling to get things into gear on any kind of consistent basis, it’s what people have been clamoring for, and it makes quite a bit of sense. The offense, with Del Piero out, has been centered around Diego. When he has an off game, or is marked by more than one opposing player, the strikers have struggled to get consistent service.
With Giovinco on the field, that would likely change. Seeing as Giovinco is more of a passer than a scorer, he fits the billing of a secondary striker quite well. Instead of having two strikers relying on him to get the ball, there would be another playmaker to support Diego.
So Ferrera would be replacing a struggling striker with a youngster who is chomping at the bit to prove his worth. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
The move up top would also work to Giovinco’s strengths. When he played in the trequarista role behind the strikers while filling in for Diego, Giovinco was limited to more of the center of the pitch. That’s not how he works. Giovinco thrives on getting into space, and he lets his pace and fantastic footwork do the rest.
Instead of having two strikers relying on him to get the ball, when you put him up top, he will have more room to roam around. Giovinco’s best games last year were when he was on the left wing and he was able to do exactly that.
Now, he won’t be on the wings like last season under Ranieri, but he won’t be anchored down to staying in the middle of the attacking third like he would be if he were playing behind the strikers. You have to take advantage of his strengths and that is not happening with him sitting on the bench.
Fielding Giovinco would also allow Ferrara to get creative with the formation he uses as the game goes on. He wouldn’t have to stick with his base 4-3-1-2 formation, and could easily put Giovinco on the wing if need be. That’s the kind of versatility the Atomic Ant brings to the table, and something that Ferrara could use to change things up on the opponent.
But for now, it looks like Ferrara will keep going with the big strikers he has. Much like last season, the tiny Giovinco will have to wait for his chance. The problem is, nobody but Ferrara knows when that will be.
Ranieri didn’t field Giovinco regularly until the Scudetto was almost out of reach in the second half of the season.
Here’s to hoping Ferrara doesn’t make the same mistake.
Danny Penza is a senior writer forBleacher Report, the open source sports network.