Champion’s problems: Why Juventus became weaker than in was last season

10 November 2017

Juventus began its season badly – Turineses take the second line at the championship of Italy and at their Champions League’s group. Massimiliano Allegri's team doesn’t look so confidently, as it was last season. Gambling&Sports is pondering this question.

Champion’s problems: Why Juventus became weaker than in was last season

A year ago after twelve rounds Juventus took the first place, being ahead of Roma with four points. Now Bianconeri take the second line and lag behind Napoli with one point. At the same time, Turineses scored ten goals more than it did last year. The leading players got used to each other, and collaboration between Dybala, Mandžukić, Cuadrado, Higuaín can't but impress but if to look more attentively, it is easy to notice that Juventus concedes to itself as it was last season. Yes, during this championship Turineses gained more points but a year ago they really had hard calendar whereas during this Series A in the first seven rounds against Juventus were playing opponents that strongly conceded to the defending champion in a class. Allegri's team didn't undergo the first serious testing, at first having drawn with Atalanta, and then having lost to Lazio. In addition there was also a defeat in Catalonia and the last match in the Champions League against Sporting the Black-and-Whites had played not ideal.

Last Champions League final took away from Juventus not only a chance on treble but also as it became clear later, two excellent football players. The leader of defense Leonardo Bonucci and the head coach Massimiliano Allegri had not an ideal mutual understanding and after a match in Cardiff a point of non-return appeared in their relations. However, when from Turin to Paris creative but not comfortable for calcio Dani Alves had left there was a hope that allenatore and Bonucci will manage to bury the war axe. Alas, some time has passed and in Italy the real information bomb jerked. Leonardo Bonucci is going into a camp of the chief trigger of the Milan’s market for €40 million. The history, of course, doesn't respect a subjunctive mood, but it is very interesting, what could be the fate of the full back if not huge investments of the management of the red and blacks. He would go to the Foggy Albion where Antonio Conte was dreaming of him? Would he move to Inter where his football career started? Or, maybe, it was possible to solve all the disagreements with Allegri at supper? Anyway, Bonucci is wearing the red-black uniform and Juventus was forced to look for two new full backs at once. It is interesting that despite all purchases, Bianconeri are working with their inner reserves so far. On the right wing the beginner De Sciglio is not let into the starting line-up by the experienced Lichtsteiner and Höwedes because of injuries have never put on a black-and-white shirt.

Bonucci is wearing the red-black uniform

Allegri in general was forced to rebuild the central axis seriously. Sooner or later the era of the great three of central defenders of Bonucci- Chiellini - Barzagli had to come to the end. But, of course, not like this. At first thirty-six-year-old Barzagli who was playing less than usual last season would leave the field, then Chiellini's turn would come and under an unceasing applause at Juventus Stadium Leonardo Bonucci had to leave. The simplest thing that Allegri could make was to rely on Rugani instead of the football player who went to Milan in the scheme with three central defenders, when Daniele gained some experience and for a long time is ready to receive more game practice. However during last season it became obvious that Barzagli isn't capable to play the largest part of a season any more and due to this fact Rugani started to get more time and Juventus didn't get a new strong center back. In this situation the shift to a game with two central backs was the only right decision. Chiellini and Rugani are frequently forming a link in the center of defense, and Barzagli, if necessary, comes for strengthening the back. Fortunately, for Allegri, Ruganiis quite confident as the main central back there are no complaints on his game. Daniele is now the qualitative football player who is ready to be one of the team leaders, and he is only 23 years old. By the way, Barzagli when he was 23 began to participate at Series A.

And nevertheless the problems while changing the basic scheme couldn't but arise, but misery loves company. The center of field unexpectedly began to sink. It was noticeable also in the first matches of a season but more obviously the problems of Juventus were bared by Barcelona having literally broken off Italians with the cutting attacks. Allegri was constantly saying the whole last season that the team was lacking in the typical holding midfielder capable of burning out the center, and at a game with two central defenders he is simply necessary. As a result, two defensive midfielders came to the team during the shoulder-period: creatuve Uruguayan Bettencourt and the best football player of France of the last year Blaise Matuidi. Allegri was especially happy because of the representative of Ligue 1, hoping that now the center will be finally concreted and Khedira or Pjanić will receive more freedom and some space for creativity. However everything turned to be not as the coach had expected. The backbone player of bianconeri Khedira was injured and not immediately but the center of half-backs began to glitch. Frequently, free zones started to appear between full-backs and midfielders, and gradually opponents of Juventus learned to use them. To tell the truth, Matuidi had to become an anchor across which opponents would come but the Frenchman who got used that in PSG near him was sluggish, but talented in Mott was constantly rushing forward leaving his zone and here there was nobody to insure him. Surprisingly, but Juventus plays better in defense when Pyanich and Hedira are playing in the center whom it is impossible to call in any way destroyers than when there is someone from holding midfielders in the center of the filed. As a result, Matuidi turned into the person who appears in the field during the second half when "the old signora" needs to defend more as, for example, in a match against Milan and, of course, it doesn't suit to one of the leaders of French national team.

problems of Juventus

After all, even despite all problems of Juventus, the main obstacle to another scudetto are not these factors but the high competition level in Series A. For a long time Bianconeri didn't fight for the champion's title against anybody except themselves and forgot about serious battle. Two years ago Juventus lost the start and all the same the team had managed to win a tournament and last season Roma and Napoli only whispered about their participation in a race for a title. Now, situation is absolutely different. All Italy admires airy Napoli and charismatic Maurizzio Sarri, Luciano Spalletti is building new Inter, Eusebio Di Francesco had made of Roma the most unbeaten team in Series A and Simone Inzaghi together with Lazio has already managed to beat the defending champion. In these conditions Juventus for the first time is forced not just to score the goals but to participate in the real race where Allegri's players aren't favorites.

However, those who have already put on gold medals on the players of Napoli are hurrying. Juventus is scoring more goals, Higuain, Dybala, Cuadrado and Mandžukić are capable to upset any defense, and Allegri has technical Douglas Costa and one of the main Italian stars Federico Bernardeschi. In the first matches of this season Juventus often had problems because someone from football players of the attack was leaving game, first of all, we speak about Higuain. Now Gonzalo is gradually returning to his best fit. The old signora is facing rather easy calendar but December will become the real check for Juventus. In one month Juventus will play against Napoli, Inter and Roma. Allegri has time to prepare the team for this most difficult period in which it can dramatically change the position at champion’s race for scudetto but only in case it will manage to solve the problems and to find the right way.

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