Tuesday December 5 2017
Juventus too negative in Europe

If Juventus want to be considered among Europe's elite, they should be more pro-active in their Champions League games, argues Jamie Thorn.

Consecutive draws against Sporting Lisbon and Barcelona have left Juventus in danger of their Champions League campaign being cut short should they fail to win in Athens.

Though Sporting face the more difficult task of defeating Barcelona at Camp Nou, Olympiacos will want to end their brief spell in the competition with victory in front of their own fans. A hostile atmosphere at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium won’t make it any easier for Max Allegri’s men.

Juventus will likely go through, but for a team that has achieved two finals in the last three years, their performances haven’t looked wholly convincing this time round. They left it late against Olympiacos and in both legs against Sporting, and although they deserve credit for their mental fortitude in coming away from these games with positive results, it was indicative of their start to the season as a whole and the general uncertainty in their performances.

In a season where the Bianconeri fans hoped that they could put last year’s final defeat behind them and make this year their own, they must have been underwhelmed with the start they made.

The loss of Leonardo Bonucci hasn’t helped them. Although his troubles at Milan this season have been well documented, he gave the team a different dimension with his range of passing and excellent reading of the game. In the Euros, with Antonio Conte lacking a playmaker in his Italy squad, Leo pulled it off with aplomb. When Juventus play a back three without him, they lack so much dynamism, as neither Mehdi Benatia nor Daniele Rugani have similar ball-playing abilities.

It seems that Allegri was keen to use the blueprint of Bianconeri success from last season’s European adventure. Prior to their humiliation at the hands of Real Madrid in the Final, their famous triumvirate of Andrea Barzagli (playing at right-back), Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, and the ever-present Alex Sandro shipped an astounding four goals throughout the whole of the competition.

He stuck with the 4-2-3-1, and with the acquisitions of a few options in wide areas such as Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi, the case had never been stronger to continue with it. However, although their tactical flexibility should be applauded, reverting back to a back three in the 0-0 draw against Barcelona in Turin highlights a certain reluctance from Allegri to commit to playing their own football in this competition, even more so without Bonucci sitting at the heart of it.

There’s a fine balance between being pragmatic and asserting your own style of play in Europe’s elite competition. Jose Mourinho had success with Inter by grinding out results against in their Treble season, as did Roberto Di Matteo in Chelsea’s almost comically defensive performances en route to the Final in 2012.

Although the 0-0 against Barcelona wasn’t by any means a bad result, it presented a missed opportunity for the Old Lady. In winning, they could have leapfrogged the Blaugrana and taken top spot, but as Allegri would rightfully argue, had they lost, Sporting would have pinched second place. But for a club as ambitious as Juventus, and with the squad they possess, they shouldn’t be intimidated by Europe’s big guns. Perhaps they were rattled by their comprehensive 3-0 defeat in Camp Nou in the opening game, but in front of their home fans, you would have hoped for a bit more positivity.

Fittingly, with this being the last Champions League game before the new year, Juve are expected to field a Christmas tree formation against Olympiacos, with Allegri acknowledging that this is a game that they can’t afford to lose. For them to be mentioned in the same breath as the other giants of the European game, they should comfortably sweep aside an already eliminated Olympiacos and progress to the next round. After all, that’s what the big teams do.

Have your say...
I dont see why ppl are so obsessed with juve not winning the cl when the other teams they support dont win anything at all.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 5:04pm
@Annonymous . I honestly don't know what you expect. We lost to barca and Real in the finals! the two best teams over the history of football bar NONE. funnily enough juve have been to nearly the same amount of finals as real. If you had to look at the teams on paper we were not even close to those teams. We were not and ARE not yet ready to head into ONE make or break match and destroy the 2 richest and most historic clubs in the world yet !
on the 5th December, 2017 at 5:04pm
so what your saying is bec juve didnt win the cl for a 3rd time they are not a good team. They are the 5th best team in the world. If the team you support has less trophies than juve which i am sure they do then pls just shut up becuase your jealous cry baby arguments mean nothing.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 4:52pm
1. Even if they had beaten Barca, they would still be in second place.

2. Every season with Allegri has gone like this. Mediocre performances in autumn and then Juve steamrolls everyone. There is nothing to worry about.

3. Messi's Barca and Ronaldo's Real are like Ajax of 70s. It seems like a failure now, but trust me in 10 or 20 years what Juve managed in the recent years will be viewed as an achievement. Besides who else has done better? Only Juve won against both of them in recent years.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 4:41pm
@Anonymous 11:23. OK. Let's walk through this wonderful record you are referring to:

1996 - won on penalties against an Ajax team already on their way down. Its the only way Lippi knows how to win a cup competition.

1997 - lost
1998 - lost
2003 - lost
2015 - lost
2017 - lost
Place holder final - lost(most likely outcome)

wow!!! Some record. The letters 'l', 'o', 's', and 't' on my keyboard are worn out.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 3:19pm
@Juveman - Every season, it's your club that bangs on about CL being their number one objective. The funny thing is, as soon as they realize they have no chance in hell of winning it(almost always), they quickly change their tune with the default club statement :"Ah, but Serie A was always our No 1 objective." Yeah, right!! They were handed two golden opportunities in quick successions and they did not just lose with a respectable score line - they were annihilated. Wake up!!!
on the 5th December, 2017 at 3:12pm
Juve's transfer market is clearly geared towards winning the league. Can people not see that??? This team lacks the creativity and intelligence to outsmart the 'real top teams'(Juve is not in that category despite what they'd like to think of themselves). Instead they are a team filled with workhorses like Higuain, Matuidi, Khedira, Sturaro and Asamoah. Coverciano's philosophy seems to be:"Better not to lose than to win". An ideology that Allegi seems to be practicing to the full in Europe.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 3:00pm
Although there's plenty to say, I'll sum up with this:

"If Juventus want to be considered among Europe's elite"
By definition, we are. That's not up for debate.

Just filter by country and see for yourself the reality of Italian football's level.

With that said, I can see the club's ambition for myself, while acknowledging their limits. We'll worry about the trophy when it's time, for now there's Olympiakos.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 2:54pm
"If Juventus want to win, we'll win!" - Giorgio Chiellini

The team is so strong they should be pulverizing any team within their path. So stop acting like a bunch of cowards and stop deceiving themselves as an inferior side and they will win the big ears. It's all in the mind.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 2:52pm
I think Allegri has certain limitations in Europe just like Conte did. He may have gotten them farther then Conte but there is a cealing here also. Allegri's benchmark needs to be CL and Juve should demand this from him. The performances have not been convincing at all. And most elite teams would quickly be running out of patience at this point. There are talented coaches in Italy and Europe, Allegri is not the only one.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 2:33pm
@Anon 10:06am: Juve fans aren't delusional about winning the CL; we know we won't win it as long as Juve management is focusing on the league and a Scudetto that doesn't mean anything anymore. The celebration for it last year was so forced it was painful to watch. We want the team to forget about the league and put their effort instead into the CL. Without even trying in Serie A, Juve can come in second or third, and that's good enough to keep pushing for the CL.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 2:12pm
on the 5th December, 2017 at 2:11pm
If you are so down about the italian league and Italian football, why read blogs on a website devoted to it??? as was stated before, spain has 2 teams, Germany and france one team, even England, who can compete with the money at city, so its predictable too,thats how football is, best find a new sport Anon,you sound like a cicket fan, boring.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 2:10pm
@Annonymous Sour grapes much. dude last year till the final we were superb. You can't judge an entire UCL campaign solely on the final game. We conceded just 3 goals up till that game and destroyed a barca team that everyone thought was the best attacking team ever assembled. we then took down a Monaco team flying super high. If by your logic not winning the UCL FINAL makes you a shit team then every team in the world besides real last year was shit.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 1:36pm
Haha, you have clearly no idea about football, and even less about Serie A. You just called rubbish in europe a team which is playing for the cup consistently over years, played 2 finals in the last 3.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 12:29pm
TIL reaching 9 champions league finals including 2 in the last 3 seasons makes you rubbish in Europe, or maybe today i learned that some people are just blind, self-deluded haters
on the 5th December, 2017 at 12:23pm
Forgot to mention when Juve was knocked out in the Europa League semifinal 2014 vs Benfica when the final was played in Turin. Another great example of Juve choking. Last time Juve won in Europe Buffon was 17 years old, and Bill Clinton was US President!
on the 5th December, 2017 at 12:23pm
@Anonymus, CL must be a really rubbish competition if such a rubbish team gets to the final regularly.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 12:13pm
Its the chokermentality of the club. Having gone 22 years without winning an european title and losing every final they play. They get so nervous when they get close to european glory because of the history.
One year they knock Real out but lose to Barca 3-1 in the final. Then they knock Barca out but lose 4-1 to Real in the final. CHOKERS!
on the 5th December, 2017 at 12:11pm
@ Anonymous, are you trying to invoke some sort of heated debate? If so, fine.But if you really think that Serie A is weak then, better have a mental health check up. Of the five top leagues, it is Serie A that is being closely contested. In Europe, look at the results including against EPL teams (I'm supposing that you are an EPL fan boy, and apologies in advance if you are not one of them). So, I don't know how Serie A is weak, but I respect your opinion. Forza Serie A!
on the 5th December, 2017 at 12:06pm
"For them to be mentioned in the same breath as the other giants of the European game, they should comfortably sweep aside an already eliminated Olympiacos". Beautifully put and very true too
on the 5th December, 2017 at 11:33am
I could have summed up this article in one phrase: "Juventus = RUBBISH in Europe." I hope they get knocked out tonight. I'd classify a 3-1 defeat followed by a 4-1 defeat in the two finals as a sign of regression - not improvement. The only thing Juve can hope to win is the easy Serie A league which is full of equally rubbish teams (if Inter don't beat them to it first). Juve fans better stop being delusional about wining this competition. There are much better teams than Juve in CL.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 11:06am

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