Juventus being the dominant team that they were in Italy these past years, entered the season with the same ambitions they always do. Their first priority is and always was the Serie A title. Team president and leader Andrea Agnelli always maintained that the Serie A would always be the first priority. Their offseason was marked by relative stability as there was no manager change because Max Allegri is leading his team to greatness with every day he stays at the helm. They had a brilliant transfer period addressing areas of need by getting Emre Can to reinforce the depleted midfield for virtually no fee as well as adding Leonardo Bonucci for a „win-now“ scenario and addressing a huge need at right back in Joao Cancelo. They also added Cristiano Ronaldo for whom they sacrificed Gonzalo Higuain, which is a good tradeoff any day of the week. After such a brilliant offseason it was time to put the team to test on the pitch, and they started furiously.
Taking the lead
Since taking the first place after the second round of matches Juventus never looked back and found themselves in first place after 19 matches with 17 wins, 2 draws and zero defeats. It’s been quite a remarkable season for Juventus so far since they have been quite dominant. In these 19 rounds, they had two winning stretches: the first one being 8 wins in a row and the second 7 wins. They managed to score 38 goals in 19 matches which equates to 2 goals per match. They only conceded 11 goals so about a goal every second match. They’ve been relentless at home with only one draw and 9 wins but away they weren’t much worse away with also one draw but only 8 wins. After this brief statistical overview, it’s clear just how dominant they were.
Style of play
Despite those impressive numbers, the eyes test was a bit different. The quality of football played was remarkable but only in some stretches. It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t very attacking but again that isn’t really Allegri’s style. He was always the manager that preached winning above all. This team is a great example of that since they play a very efficient brand of football. It was clear that in most matches they were the better team and they won many of the matches without really „trying.“ In some cases where the result required they would simply shift into a higher gear and take care of their opponent in a brutal fashion. Such was the example was they beat Napoli in a match which arguably they didn’t play much better than their opponent.
Cristiano Ronaldo reign
Juventus, as expected, is being led by Cristiano Ronaldo who is playing surprisingly good this season. Many questioned whether he would be able to adapt to tight marking in the Serie A but he did. In 19 appearances he tallied 14 goals with many more assists. He became a driving force for the Bianconeri as his sole presence on the field lifts them up which was showcased in a game where he came on as a substitute and completely turned the game around. Not only did he had a great impact with his goal scoring he also had many important assists mostly to Mario Mandzukic who saw his play improve since the Portuguese joined the Bianconeri. Besides him, Juventus had stellar play by the aforementioned Mario Mandzukic for the most of the season in which he scored 8 goals already which is almost as much as he did last season. Such a development was expected as Ronaldo fits better with Mandzukic on paper especially since he isn’t considered a one-dimensional player like Higuain.
On the other hand, Paulo Dybala saw his play dip significantly as he only managed 2 goals in 16 appearances. More and more rumours continue to surface about the possible departure of the Argentinian in the summer but for now, he is a player whom Allegri trust greatly despite him lacking goals so far.
A strong middle line
Besides the clinical finishing Juventus saw stellar play from their midfield as well. Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi played up to their usual World Class level but they also got help from an emerging Rodrigo Bentancur. The Uruguayan saw his minutes skyrocket this season helped by the poor play of Sami Khedira as well as his own improved play. Juventus defence has as well been stellar this season only conceding 11 goals. Giorgio Chiellini has been World Class as he usually is with Joao Cancelo providing to be a fantastic edition. Juventus finally managed to pair their left-back Alex Sandor who is stellar going forward as well as defending with a right-back who is exactly like him. Cancelo was brilliant going forward and he defended very well despite many claiming him to be a below average defender. The only player who played below his usual level was Leonardo Bonucci who had many critical mistakes. He is directly responsible for 7 of 11 conceded Juventus goals but at his point, this is really nitpicking.
The “Juventus Era” seems to keep going
With the way, this season has been going Juventus seem on pace to win yet another title mainly because they have no real competition. It is evident just by looking at the standings and it was even more evident by watching what was happening on the field. When they played against their main rivals, Juventus were the far better team winning without a problem. So far they didn’t have any injuries so if that trend continues they are on pace to break several records this season.
It’s not true that Serie A lacks great teams but Juventus is so far ahead of them that it really isn’t a fair contest. They have better leadership, more money and almost a decade of brilliant choice making behind them coupled with many years of success. Such a well-tuned machine is hard to stop and to add insult to injury they have already secured a huge addition in the like of Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal who is set join in June on free transfer replacing to ageing and outgoing Sami Khedira.