Juventus notched up a third consecutive victory at Parma and, much like against Chievo and Lazio, it was hard-fought and far from convincing. Same old Juve under Max Allegri, you might say, but fans and pundits alike had expected something a little more exciting this season.
The 51-year-old Coach looks like he is yet again reverting to his pragmatic ways: grinding out narrow wins and placing less emphasis on attack. Since signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Bianconeri fans had envisaged their team would play a more entertaining brand of football, especially now boasting one of the world’s deadliest finishers.
However, the Juventus faithful must be patient and realise that Allegri is still trying to find the right balance in the attack. Some of Juve’s moments, particularly in the Parma match, may not have been pleasant on the eye, but the reigning Serie A champions are still accumulating important league victories. In fact, the Turin club is even winning games by starting Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala on the bench.
But most importantly, Juve show they are more than just Ronaldo: they are a resilient unit, with every footballer playing their vital part.
Before many Juventini and Serie A viewers judge CR7 on his last three performances, one must understand that this is Serie A. Italian teams don’t play as open and often restrict space for forwards – making it difficult for even the best foreign strikers to find the net at times. And even though Ronaldo is scoreless after three games, Mandzukic is still providing the service upfront, ensuring that the Old Lady won’t see a shortage of goals.
While there is still room for improvement, particularly in establishing an attacking identity, Juventus still sit at the top of the Serie A standings. Cristiano Ronaldo can take all the time he needs to adapt, because this is no one-man team and they’ve got it covered with Mandzukic, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi and the rest.
Those waiting for CR7 to make his mark are forgetting that this Juve cake was already fully formed. The Ballon d’Or winner was always meant to be the golden icing and once that’s set, we’ll be able to stand back and enjoy the view.