Quagliarella worth waiting for

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Quagliarella worth waiting for  Empty Quagliarella worth waiting for

Post by DeviAngel Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:12 pm

Fabio Quagliarella has gone a year without scoring for Juventus, but, as Antonio Labbate argues, the Italian is still a key player for the Old Lady.

Quagliarella worth waiting for  Quaglia-injury490

It was a cold afternoon in Verona. Simone Pepe considered his options from the flag as his teammates jockeyed for position. The corner was poor, but big Vincenzo Iaquinta juggled with the ball before looping it on to the edge of the six-yard box. With his back to goal and an opponent breathing down his neck, Fabio Quagliarella semi scissor-kicked the sphere over his left shoulder to find the top corner. You couldn’t have placed a postage stamp more accurately.

That was back on December 19, 2010, and another clear demonstration of just how important the summer signing from Napoli had become for Juventus. Used more centrally by then boss Gigi Del Neri than he was fielded at Udinese and the Stadio San Paolo, Quagliarella was on course for his most prolific season ever in Serie A.

Over the previous four campaigns at Sampdoria, two at Udinese and Napoli, he finished terms with 13, 12, 13 and 11 strikes respectively. His work of art at the Stadio Bentegodi was his ninth in only 17 League games for La Vecchia Signora. It was also significantly the last time he scored in that famous black and white jersey.

Just six minutes into the first game of 2011, on January 6 at home to Parma, Quagliarella collapsed under his own weight. Holding his right knee in agony, every Juventino watching shared his pain as it became instantly clear that the season was over for Quaglia – and, unbeknown at the time, for his club given their subsequent slump.

Today the 28-year-old is fit and at the squad’s total disposal, but the seconda punta or prima punta role which he thrived in under Del Neri is not openly available to him. New boss Antonio Conte has favoured Alessandro Matri – the man Juve netted in January as cover for Fabio – as his main striker in a 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 after realising that he needed to simultaneously employ Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal in midfield.

The forward’s lack of use so far this term – six substitute appearances in Serie A for a total of 125 minutes and one Coppa Italia start – have understandably seen him associated with a January move, but Quagliarella is not a player to be sacrificed and Conte knows it.

His restricted use so far this term can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, you need time – as Alex Del Piero can testify – to recover physically and mentally from knee ligament damage. Secondly, Conte has rightly been cautious in changing a winning team after hitting the top of Serie A. Thirdly, no European football means that numerous players, and not just Quagliarella, are struggling for space without a Coach’s need to rotate. Juve have also been quite fortunate with injuries so far.

The reality, despite what the stats suggest this season, is that Quagliarella is a player who fits into the Bianconeri puzzle. He has the kind of attacking characteristics that Conte needs and the work ethic that will eventually see him fight for a first team place, whether that be in a wide attacking position or in the middle. He’s also been used more regularly over the last few weeks.

The likelihood, though, is that we may not see the real Quagliarella, a player who cost Juve €15m, until next season. Nevertheless, that is arguably when the Old Lady will need him most if they achieve their ambition of returning to the Champions League. With a proposed double assault on the Scudetto and European Cup, a fitter and more confident Quagliarella will be given a stage to stun with his scintillating strikes. Until then, Juve and he will be more than happy with the odd tap-in.


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Post by Luca Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:41 pm

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