It must have been hard for Juventus to part ways with the Serie A title last season. For the best part of a decade, they have been the dominant force in Italian football, but over the last couple of seasons The Old Lady seem to have lost their way, scraping top four on the final day whilst seeing Inter Milan lift the scudetto they have won so regularly in recent times.
The appointment of Andrea Pirlo was ambitious, and realistically destined to fail. Considering the Italian, who is so highly regarded with fans in Turin for his time as a player, had minimal coaching experience he made a valiant effort of his time at the Allianz, crucially securing that lucrative Champions League spot.
Despite Pirlo’s departure, as well as losing Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus kept hold of a lot of the old guard which regularly tasted success in the 2010s. With Max Allegri back in the dugout the feeling of familiarity was back in Turin, but this hasn’t transcended into instant domestic success — in fact, you sense The Old Lady are still some way away from the giants they used to be. Crucially they have been unable to see games out, with their goal difference at zero personifying Allegri’s issues.
Whether it be down to fatigue, considering a lot of the side were stalwarts in Italy’s success in the Euros over the summer, or a lack of transfer activity — with just Weston Mckennie making a permanent move whilst Moise Kean and Manuel Locatelli arrived on loan, whatever it is, there needs to be a shakeup in Juve’s approach to the Serie A or they will be in danger of missing out on the top four for a second year running.
The one saving grace this season has been their form in the Champions League. While many associated Juventus’s performances with big European nights, and they are regular favourites in Paddy Power online betting, the Old Lady have gone up a gear this season, currently unbeaten in a tough group. With four matchdays down they have seen off Chelsea, Malmö and Zenit to sit top of Group H, essentially having one foot in the round of 16 already.
Shipping just the two goals so far, the defence seems rejuvenated on the big occasions, with the 1-0 win over Chelsea a real statement of intent. To be able to go toe-to-toe with the defending European Champions and be brave enough to keep the ball is admirable, but it does seem strange the lexical choices used to describe Juventus in these big games — as if they are a plucky side from a far corner of the continent who have turned up and shocked the Champions.
Over the last few years, the Turin outfit featured in two finals and although they were beaten by Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, the core of that side is still alive and kicking at the Allianz so a pursuit for another final may not be entirely off the cards.
While it would take some serious doing considering how strong the competition is in the Champions League this season, Liverpool and Bayern Munich particularly, Juventus may have no other option but to try and win the big-eared trophy in order to ensure they participate in the tournament next season. If their inconsistency continues to plague their league form then there will be serious questions asked come the business end of the campaign.