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Juventus currently sit a mere point behind league leaders Napoli 11 rounds into the season. Impressive, considering the lighting pace being set by Gli Azzurri.
Yet it is only when you start to analyse the intricacies of each side’s performance every week when it becomes obvious exactly why Juventus are currently chasing their seventh consecutive Scudetto.
Given the phenomenal brand of football being played in Naples by Maurizio Sarri’s charges just now, it is clear why many observers feel this will be the Partenopei’s best ever chance of repeating their successes of 1987 and 1990.
Meanwhile in Turin, it suffices to say that Massimiliano Allegri’s men have struggled to find their best form thus far in 2017/18. It sounds like an utterly ridiculous thing to say about the third highest-scoring team in Europe this term, but that is the truth of it. It still doesn’t feel like the Tuscan’s star-studded squad has clicked properly as a unit.
That should worry the likes of Napoli, Inter, Lazio and Roma, who are all fighting for the top places in Italy. It should worry them a lot!
After all, it begs the question of how irresistible Juventus will be when things finally do click. Scary thought. For now, flashes of individual brilliance from the likes of Miralem Pjanić, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín are providing a terrorising enough threat for opposition players and coaches to contend with.
I Bianconeri have appeared to be in trouble against much lesser opposition several times already this campaign, yet their solitary defeat came against a very solid Simone Inzaghi-led Lazio side.
As for those other occasions – think Genoa, Udinese, Benevento et al – all Allegri could do afterwards was thank his star players for getting him out of jail. Tactically, some of his decision-making in the opening three months of the season has been questionable to say the least.
With that being said, there is no denying that Leonardo Bonucci’s departure is somewhat responsible for the team’s lack of fluidity both with and without the ball.
His ability to distribute the ball through midfield and out wide was paramount to so much of the success enjoyed by the Old Lady in recent times. He would never admit it of course, but a blind man can see Allegri’s shape and style of play are suffering as a consequence of the Italian international’s move to Milan.
Despite the numerous evident flaws in their play this season, the fact is that Juventus remain well on course to secure yet another league title. It is testament to the in-built winning mentality around the club that, with fans enduring a stream of underwhelming performances, they continue to churn out victory after victory.
In many ways, the club motto Fino Alla Fine has never been so appropriate. If and when Allegri does perfect the right blend of defensive solidity, midfield creativity and lethal finishing, Serie A’s other 19 teams do not stand a chance. It really is that simple.
Written by Jordan Russell
Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96
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