If one thing is certain, Higuain is world class. The striker teams dream about. There’s no doubting his abilities. The question is, do the goals in which he scores, bare fruits of what Juve is seeking?
Let’s begin by clarifying what each term means.
If anyone is familiar with a certain singer / songwriter named Peter Gabriel, The song “Big time” may come to mind. With a little vagueness and some spot on vision, the first part of this curiosity shows similarities with these lyrics.
Listen to such verses as: “Big time”, “To the city, the big big city”, and “I’ll be a big noise with all the big boys”. What is implied by the title of this discussion? Is Higuain the player that will make the big “noise” on the big “stage” when everything is on the line? With the big “boys” who may very well be the most important matches of a big “city” teams season. Noise = Goals, Boys = Champions League, and City = Juventus.
Better yet, is he just a prolific striker?
The actual definition of “prolific” is: producing much or present in large numbers or quantities; plentiful. While the goals, they are a many. Is he a quantity or quality goalscorer? The quantity is a definite. However, quality could be debatable.
Looking back on the previous two years, in 2014/15, the quantity was by far, enough. 18 Serie A goals. But where do the concerns lie? In the most crucial match to distinguish whether Napoli finish in a spot that would allow them to participate in the Champions League preliminary round playoff, for the 2015/16 season. A win was needed against Lazio. After crawling back from 2 goals down, thanks in larger part of the displays and goals of Higuain. The opportunity to be the savior was all his. A pk was rewarded, but for not, he missed horrifically, with a punt over the cross bar.
A few weeks prior to that punt, the opportunity had fell to the feet of Higuain once again. This time rather, was in the second leg semifinal versus Dnipro. A 1v1 with the opposing goalkeeper that could have been the catalyst for a chance to be, at least a Europa League finalist, but again, it was not to be. A missed opportunity that had all the percentages in Higuain’s favour, was once again disappointment.
If 2014/15 wasn’t obvious, 2015/16 showed stress was not something in which Higuain enjoyed very much. Another second leg semifinal in the Europa League that wasn’t a performance to write home about. Not very influential, almost borderline invisible and the obvious zero goal in a highly important match. Serie A saw goals a plenty, 36 to be exact, but to be fair, the scudetto was not Napoli’s to claim. In no means was Higuain at fault for the missed chance. His red card however, didn’t allow him to participate in the derby of the south that could have possibly kept that dream alive.
Internationally, matters are even worse. 3 finals with Argentina on the trot and just as many losses to count. Not just any finals, but the actual World Cup and 2 Copa America’s cups that any South American dreams about. Without forgetting zero total goals for the 3 matches, all in the last 3 years.
Could the issue be that bad? Internationally it seems more of a system/tactic problem. When playing in a 2 striker system with arguably the world’s best player none-other than Leonel Messi, trophies have slipped through their hands. A system of the kind demands balance and responsibilities to be at the forefront.
It would be unfair to criticize a person based on moments. The problem at large is when the moments that could define the person are numerous and seem to happen on a yearly basis.
Juve, his current squad, should be at high alert considering the most recent displays with Paulo Dybala, who can be considered a future version of Messi, with the idea of the 2 striker system in place. In laymen’s terms, it’s a situation of Batman & Robin in which one needs to be the focal point and the other the sidekick. Unless both possess equal part qualities and sacrifice for what’s best regarding team tasks. Looking outside the box, will this be a problem going forward for the development of Dybala? Only time will tell.
A little side note that may have gone unseen is : Dybala’s current goal drought exceeds 500 minutes. Quite possibly a direct result of the subject in discussion.
Getting back to Higuain on the other hand, within a 3 striker system while being the central figure, goals are in abundance. But not when glory is on the line. Juventus have never allowed primadonna’s in their club, with the importance being on the soldier concept.
To say one idea is better than the other is hogwash. The real problem is the execution of the idea itself. Ideas of how the game should be played are endless. Now and for the greater good of Juventus, strengths and weaknesses need to be evaluated if recent years failures do not want to be repeated.
If repetition is here to stay, then the past has shown unpleasant things to come for the traditional forwards. Pure, complete number 9’s have always had a place in football and will for as long as the game is played. If memory serves this article right, the past has seen Christian Vieri, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gabriel Batistuta and Eric Cantona. All players with similarities to Higuain regarding physicality, technique and even more so, the lack of winning club competitions biggest trophy, the Champions Cup.
Is coaching a problem? Most probably not. Since both domestically and internationally, every concept has been attempted, but with little success when the most important victory is needed.
Italy has many beauties. From history, culture, art, cuisine, fashion and a few proverbs. It’s said, “we test gold in flames and friends in adversity”. So that being said, will Higuain melt in the flames or be the friend that the Juventus fan base have been waiting for since 1996. What’s wanted is obvious. Past results haven’t complied. Only time will tell if the fans will one day, finally get what they’ve stress fully been waiting for.