2015-16 SERIE A REVIEW

Rating the 2015-16 Champions

 
Juventus’ shaky start gave others hope they could steal the Old Lady’s crown, but the Bianconeri are champions once again. Gaby McKay rates Max Allegri’s side.
 
It seems incredible now, but there was a time when it appeared Juventus would do well to even qualify for the Champions League this season.
 
The Bianconeri won just three of their first 10 Serie A games, including humiliating results in front of their own fans like a defeat to Udinese and a draw with newly-promoted Frosinone. With Inter, Roma and Napoli all looking dangerous, it appeared a summer of changes had upset the balance of power.
 
However, following defeat to Sassuolo in October, the Old Lady put together a run of 25 wins in 26 League games to comfortably retain the Scudetto for a fifth-consecutive year, with three rounds still to play.

Gianluigi Buffon: 10

 
Apps/Goals: 35/0
 
Quite simply an incredible season from the Bianconeri captain. Those early results could have been far worse without his saves, while his harsh words after the Sassuolo defeat were acknowledged as helping turn the ship around. Not to mention that, at the age of 38, he went 926 minutes without conceding, breaking the Serie A record. He plans to retire after the 2018 World Cup, enjoy him while you can.

Neto: 5

Apps/Goals: 3/0
 
Reliable when called-upon, but may question his decision to move from Fiorentina after just a handful of League appearances.

Rubinho: No rating

Apps/Goals: 0/0
 
He came, he saw, he didn’t do much else. The 33-year-old now has twice as many Scudetti [4] as appearances for Juve [2].

Giorgio Chiellini: 7

Apps/Goals: 24/1
 
A frustrating season for the defender, who missed much of the second half of the campaign with a recurring calf injury. Still a crucial part of the Bianconeri defence when fit, and one of the natural leaders of the team.

Andrea Barzagli: 8

 
Apps/Goals: 31/1
 
Barzagli just seems to get better with age. The 35-year-old was rock-solid at the heart of the defence, and shepherded Daniele Rugani through his induction phase. Even managed to score a goal, just his second for the club, with both coming against Atalanta.

Leonardo Bonucci: 8

Apps/Goals: 36/3
 
Is there a better defender in the world right now? His crucial intervention on Gonzalo Higuain prevented Napoli opening the scoring in what proved to be the Scudetto decider, and his long passing gives Juventus the option of going direct.

Daniele Rugani: 6

Apps/Goals: 17/0
 
Used sparingly in the first half of the season, Giorgio Chiellini’s injury woes opened the door for the youngster. Began to look assured after a shaky start, and is clearly a star of the future.

Martin Caceres: 3

Apps/Goals: 6/0
 
Quite literally a car crash of a season for the Uruguayan. Suspended by the club in September for crashing his Ferrari while reportedly under the influence, he tore his achilles against Genoa in February and missed the rest of the season.

Alex Sandro: 7

Apps/Goals: 22/2
 
A hugely encouraging first term in Turin for the Brazilian. While it could be argued that Patrice Evra is more solid defensively, Sandro’s surging runs down the left were a feature of the second half of the season.

Patrice Evra: 8

Apps/Goals: 31/2
 
That he remained first choice ahead of Alex Sandro is tribute to his enduring quality. Has quickly become a leader in this Juventus side, and will be missed if he moves on at the end of his contract this summer.

Stephan Lichtsteiner: 7.5

Apps/Goals: 26/0
 
The fact Juventus’ poor run largely coincided with his absence for minor heart surgery is no coincidence. Solid as ever at the back, his attacking contribution was perhaps blunted by Andrea Pirlo’s departure.

Sami Khedira: 7

Apps/Goals: 20/5
 
When fit he is arguably the key player in the Bianconeri midfield. Sadly that is not always the case, as his contribution has been curtailed by a series of muscular injuries. A solid first season, the German will be hoping for more consistency next year.

Claudio Marchisio: 7

Apps/Goals: 23/0
 
Another whose season was impacted by injury. After missing much of the start of the campaign, he tore his cruciate ligament against Palermo in April, meaning he’ll miss Euro 2016 and the start of next season.

Paul Pogba: 9

 
Apps/Goals: 35/8
 
Took over the number 10 shirt in the summer, and honoured its illustrious history with eight goals and 12 assists. A real star, and he’ll only get better.

Hernanes: 5

Apps/Goals: 14/1
 
Redeemed himself in the second half of the season after an insipid start, but it’s difficult to argue his move to Turin has been an unqualified success.

Juan Cuadrado: 8

Apps/Goals: 28/4
 
His pace and trickery gave the Old Lady a different option going forward, and his late winner against Torino was arguably the catalyst for the remarkable winning run which secured the Scudetto.

Mario Lemina: 5

Apps/Goals: 10/2
 
A very promising talent, but injuries limited his impact. Has been bought outright for next season, so expect to see more of the 22-year-old next term.

Simone Padoin: 6

Apps/Goals: 12/1
 
If Paul Pogba is caviar and champagne, Simone Padoin is a ham sandwich and cup of tea. Never let the cause down, never decided a game either.

Kwadwo Asamoah: 4

Apps/Goals: 11/0
 
Plagued by a series of muscular injuries after recovering from knee surgery. One of the first names on the team sheet a few seasons ago, he made just six Serie A starts this term.

Stefano Sturaro: 6.5

Apps/Goals: 19/1
 
Perhaps not the most skilful player in Max Allegri’s side, he nonetheless deputised ably for Khedira and Marchisio at various stages of the season, and is a valuable option to have.

Roberto Pereyra: 5.5

Apps/Goals: 13/0
 
Another whose season was impacted by injury, he made just eight League starts. Provided an assist at Roma in Week 2, but was otherwise largely a spectator.

Simone Zaza: 7.5

Apps/Goals: 19/5
 
An impact substitute, he scored perhaps the most crucial goal of the season when he got the winner against Napoli in February, a strike which allowed the Bianconeri to go top for the first time this season.

Alvaro Morata: 7

Apps/Goals: 34/7
 
After a stellar first year in Turin, Morata lost his place to Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic for most of this season. Still weighed-in with seven Serie A goals, and he’d be a loss if Real Madrid bring him back this summer.

Mario Mandzukic: 8

Apps/Goals: 27/10
 
A real warrior, the Croatian brings more than goals to the side and was frequently seen tracking back to his own penalty area. Provided four assists, as well as hitting double figures in terms of goals.

Paulo Dybala: 9.5

 
Apps/Goals: 34/19
 
Some questioned his €40m price tag when Dybala joined from Palermo this summer, but it looks a bargain now. His 19 goals and eight assists are impressive, but don’t fully tell the story of an extraordinary season. Evoked memories of Alessandro Del Piero, and compliments don’t come much higher than that.

Andrea Favilli: No rating

Apps/Goals: 1/0
 
Given the last few seconds against Frosinone in February, the 18-year-old will probably have to go out on loan to find playing time.

Massimiliano Allegri: 8.5

 
Loses points for the poor start his side made to the season - though it wasn’t all of his own making - but would score a perfect 10 had the campaign started in November. Deservedly handed a new contract in May, Juventini will want to see him on the bench for many years to come.