The bonfire of Juventus vanities

The first fires caught light after the second goal and by the time AC Milan’s third had gone in the bonfires of the Juventus vanities were in full blaze.

It's not as if many saw Ronaldinho round off the humiliation, what with the home penalty area shrouded in a smokescreen as if to hide the embarrassment taking place.

Besides, apart from those keeping the home fires burning, most of the home support had long disappeared into the night.

NEWS, Sun Jan 10: Milan maul toothless Juventus

The burning issue is where does the Old Lady go from here?

Will she drop the dead donkey before meeting the Flying Donkeys next Sunday, or even before taking on Napoli in the Italian Cup on Wednesday?

The problem is that Ciro Ferrara is such a nice guy.

While Leonardo is also a pleasant fellow, he at least has a game-plan and the fortitude to stick by it even through the bad times.

Ferrara has neither a game-plan nor the courage of his convictions to shake things up when he needs to get the best out of his underachieving side.

Which is most of the time.

NEWS, Sun Jan 10: Ferrara refuses to quit Juventus 

A case in point was when Alessandro del Piero was thrown into the fray early in the second half.

That made obvious sense, but rather than push Diego up front alongside the isolated Amauri and play the nimble-footed veteran in support, the team only became even further stretched than before.

Diego was exiled to the right wing and ended up more of a bystander than David Beckham had been up until then.

Where previously Juve’s best route back into the game had been Diego’s curling free-kicks into the area, now it was Del Piero hogging the dead ball – and sending his efforts in all directions apart from the goal.

Juventus knocked down by Milan

However, well before Del Piero’s entry the Bianconeri’s play had been littered with flying tackles, long aimless punts and misplaced passes.

Felipe Melo and Christian Poulsen may have won their fair share of possession, but once on the ball there was little in the way of creativity going forward.

You only have to study Amauri’s lack of movement - if compared to Marco Borriello’s willingness to create space - to understand that the whole team is in the grip of a crippling malaise.

Players who should have been darting forward to put the opposition on the back foot were stuck rigid in the middle third of the pitch – not to mention statues when it came to marking at each of the three goals; two of which were from corners where no one had been placed on either front or back posts.

There would have been more movement and quickness of thought from lifeless mannequins, and that's what Juventus currently resemble.

And they desperately need a dresser to give them some semblance of life.

The club initially claimed it wouldn't allow this result to influence its thinking over the short term, but they need to salvage something before it's too late.

That might just mean Roberto Bettega hitting speed-dial to entice a man who just happens to have got back from his holidays in Kenya: Guus Hiddink. More to read...

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