Saturday April 27 2019
Juventus refusing to progress

Juventus must decide if they’re content to coast at their current level or scrap the low-risk approach to aim higher, warns Elio Salerno.

Juventus finally secured a historic and record breaking eighth consecutive Scudetto last weekend with a victory over Fiorentina. For most clubs, winning one of Europe’s major leagues would be considered as a success, but Juve are not in that majority. When you have exerted absolute dominance domestically for years and are now spearheaded by one of the greatest players to grace the beautiful game, you are rightly viewed and judged in a different light.

Prior to this season commencing, the message was clear. There was a requirement to win Serie A, reach another Coppa Italia Final and attempt to claim the trophy that has continually evaded Juventus, that elusive Champions League crown.

The reigning champions of Italy have strolled to another title, as they continue to show unerring levels of consistency in the Peninsula. However, a damaging Coppa Italia exit at the hands of Gian Piero Gasperini’s fantastically intense Atalanta was followed by a schooling in Europe’s elite football competition by a delightfully fluid young Ajax team. Never more than this season were Juve favourites in Champions League free bets, but they faltered at the quarter-final stage yet again.

That Champions League quarter-final exit has led to a flurry of questions and accusations being thrown at the club and Coach Max Allegri, making things anything but #W8NDERFUL. 

So, have the Bianconeri regressed despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence? The simple answer is no, but the Turin giants have plateaued. The blame for this cannot be laid at the feet of their record signing, who on a personal level has had a fine first term in black and white. However, once you begin to look beyond the smokescreen that Ronaldo provides, the problems were arguably there all along.

Mixed recruitment left the squad top heavy and without balance, while Allegri has remained cautious, failing to embrace the talent Juve undoubtedly possess and instead choosing to cripple his team due to its midfield deficiencies.

Constant rotation has seen the team suffer stylistically. There is an undeniable need to keep players fresh over a long season, but the fact Allegri has named 180 different starting line-ups in 185 Serie A games screams of a Coach that is suffering from a lack of direction.  

While rotation may help physical conditioning, needlessly chopping and changing has an adverse effect. It is a consistency killer and would almost certainly break a player’s rhythm and affect individual displays, resulting in numerous disjointed Juventus performances. Selecting individuals to navigate successfully through the next 90 minutes has become something of a trademark for Allegri over the last couple of years. Out of this, a default strategy emerged.

Despite the introduction of superior technical players such as Ronaldo, Joao Cancelo and the return of the much-maligned Leo Bonucci, there has been no progression in the way Juventus play. They remain methodical, risk free and rely on quality individuals or set plays to produce the necessary goods. Their pattern of play is simplistic. Develop attacks using numerous switches of play, advance through the wide areas where they can create crossing opportunities to deliver for the likes of Ronaldo, Mario Mandzukic or more recently, Moise Kean.  

This is backed up by the numbers. Juventus have averaged 23 crosses per game in Serie A, second only to Inter, whilst also racking up 15 set piece goals, a league high. Of course it can be said that the use of crosses is an effective and common way to win games of football. The likes of Liverpool, Spurs, Man City and Ajax all record a similar number of crosses per game to that of Juve, but watch any of those sides and you will notice a distinct difference in the way it is done.

It is now imperative that Andrea Agnelli and co address the issues in the squad that have been glaringly obvious for some time. An injection of youth is required, the team is ageing and the next generation of footballer is required.

One dimensional players are becoming dispensable, there are a wave of energetic and athletic players taking over football’s landscape. But beyond physical attributes, they are technically exceptional with great range and variety to their game. Their awareness and football intelligence are allowing for the creation of an increasingly fluid game, pushing football to new levels of intensity.

It is that kind of player that this Juventus sorely lack, especially in midfield, and of the team brutally exposed by Ajax. None of the current crop of midfielders complement each other, hampering them as individuals and damaging the collective.

La Vecchia Signora have not been scared to change. From the badge, to the stadium name and now breaking away from their symbolic black and white striped home shirt. This bravery in embracing a new way must now be transferred to the pitch. Step away from the low risk, low tempo approach and become a dominant, incisive unit. Defensive stability can be maintained when adopting a more expansive, intensive game.

Ultimately, many fans will call this impossible while Max Allegri remains in charge, but the market for available top coaches is sparse. Should Juventus push the agenda and provide the Tuscan tactician with the appropriate support cast for Ronaldo, then Mister Allegri simply must conform and perform or lose his job.

Change can be painful, losing can be part of that process, but nothing will be worse for the Bianconeri than to do all this work only to stay in a position where they feel they don’t belong.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
After reading all the comments one can see that there are big problems at Juventus
Ronald’s has had a good first season but to the detriment of all the other strikers
Ronaldinho was bought for two reasons marketability and win the champions league football is not just a sport it’s a business and is there to make money which is sad as the football almost becomes secondary! As a Juventus supporter of 40 years there have been many ups and downs
on the 2nd May, 2019 at 7:26pm
Jeremy - I tend to agree with you, the rest of the team is so deferential to Ronaldo that they actually have regressed. Then if he doesn't score, we underachieve. Just take free kicks, Pjanic and Dybala are as good as anyone in the world, but for the first 3/4 of the season, Ronaldo took every one (and rarely if ever scored). As soon as Pjanic was finally allowed to take one, he scored.
on the 30th April, 2019 at 5:14pm
John Smith - love that line-up and only requires 2 additional buys (DeLigt and Savic/Ndombele). Make it happen Patrici.
on the 30th April, 2019 at 5:05pm
Great article.

180 different lineups in 185 matches... I knew Allegri tinkers too much but this is a massive number. Yes let's say half of those are due to injuries but still a big number.

Allegri lacks identity and bravery. Way too timid way too cautious. He has been praised, and rightfully so, for being flexible at certain times but he overdid it.

Conte was the exact opposite. Very rigid. But very well drilled team that could play the matches blind. But he could not adjust for Europe.

People taking about the crest and the jerseys. Come on now.
If I had to point out why Juve can't progress further in Europe, it's Allegri's cowardice and Juve's weak midfield. But everyone knows that except the management it seems.

If Allegri leaves, I can't think of a reasonable replacement. I was hoping for Zidane but that ship has sailed. Every decent coach is tied with a club right now.
I hate to say it but Allegri staying might be the most reasonable option for now unless the management can snatch one of the top coaches this summer.

At this point though, I'll be happy with anyone new. I've grown tired of watching Allegri.
on the 29th April, 2019 at 4:04pm

You should be careful, with that much edge you could cut yourself.

And if you do plan to cut, remember: it's side-to-side and across, not straight or end-to-end...

Cheers and have fun being the troglodyte that you are...
on the 29th April, 2019 at 3:46pm
@ Pinturicchio

"Guess I won't watch football next year onwards..."

First and foremost, WHO CARES?

Equally importantly, you the wimpy whiner and maldini's nose hair + ade the pathetic clown, you guys need to find a new hobby. LMAO.....................
on the 29th April, 2019 at 8:34am
You can pen a million words discussing other facets of the problem, but if Juventus do not even think of the main problem - the 2 main douchebags ruining the club - then nothing good will happen in Turin.

First and foremost, Agnelli - he cares little of actually winning the biggest prize, he only cares about the marketability. That has to change.

Equally importantly, Allegri must be fired, to make room for new ideas and a better future.

Guess I won't watch football next year onwards...
on the 29th April, 2019 at 4:14am
Anyone who says Ronaldo is a problem doesn’t understand sports let alone football. He wins wherever he goes. It comes down to a less cohesive back line , a weak midfield, and an outdated coach. The game has passed Allegri by. Put him anywhere outside of Italy and he fails. Pochettino..... next coach please.
on the 28th April, 2019 at 2:46pm
They didn't need Ronaldo full stop. He has been the worst enemy. Trying to build a squad around a 33 year old on its own is ludicrous.
Look at their performances with Ronaldo. The whole team is geared around Ronaldo scoring and that seems to be their fundamental goal.
Dybala vanished, manzu vanished, everything that was good about Juve has gone, it's why they are out of CL.
Scudetto after scusetto means nothing in a time when Juve are playing Serie A alone.
on the 28th April, 2019 at 8:11am
I don't think the problem is lack of bravery, it's that he can't give them identity or chemistry. Teams with even the most defensive managers can attack better on the break, Juve look like they're playing together for the 1st time every time they're in possession. It's not that Allegri doesn't want nice football, he just can't achieve it. @JK winning 8 on the bounce is remarkable & no 1 praised Napoli, Milan or Inter, but many praised poor Ajax I heard, maybe you should direct your wrath at them
on the 28th April, 2019 at 4:52am
As most Italians are I think the Juve failure in CL is down to the crest. Putting that stupid J as the club crest was blasphemy. If they wanted to use as a brand for Juve related merch that’s fine...nut not as the crest. This is why they fail in CL.
..and as someone mentioned the new home jersey is again another ill tinkered decision.
How good you not have the Black + White stripes as home shirt...the more the better too. New Jersey should be 3rd / special jersey worn only 8 times.
on the 28th April, 2019 at 2:36am
Juve win Serie A because the competition in Serie A is garbage. It really makes u question the management. Did they really need to purchase Ronaldo just to win Scudetto? Beyond the coach, questions of management should be raised. They got Ronaldo for marketability. But if you do this and also keep loosing in the CL guess what happens? You become a bigger failure. Marketability of the team and league is raised by actually "winning" elite competitions not by purchasing 1 elite player and loosing.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 11:37pm
I think you pundit or football writers talk too much. Fans forget so easily. we all know how Allegri came to Juventus who was even expecting him to have 2 finals under his belt? We all know Conte personality is hard to manage. Do you think he can cope with the current Juventus dressing room? To me, one season of underperforming does not deletes thing Allegri has done. What other options do you currently have in the market? in terms of players or coaches. Even real Madrid struggled with Zidane ou
on the 27th April, 2019 at 10:53pm
i just don't think allegri is brave enough. there are times when juve need a goal and allegri has on 4 attackers mandzukic, Ronaldo, Dybala, cuadrado and would dominate. I remember when juve needed the 3rd goal he had on bernadeshi, kean, Ronaldo, Dybala and juve completely dominated. then he goes back to plating a mediocre 433 with a weak midfield and compounds the problem by playing Dybala as a CF. Allegri main problem is that he isn't brave enough. 4231 was juve best formation this season.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 10:05pm
Juve must keep their fast players and sell average and slow players. Selling Dybala, Sandro, Costa and Cancelo instead of the likes of Mandzukic, Khedira, Cuadrado makes no sense. How about hiring the Ajax coach and bringing De Ligt (Manolas) and one of Savic or Ndombele.
Cancelo, De Ligt, Chiellini, Sandro
Pjanic and Savic or Ndombele
Dybala, Ramsey, Costa
This team would scare anyone.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 9:48pm
All they need to do now is buy a few foreign refs and the CL is theirs!
on the 27th April, 2019 at 8:09pm
it is a great article, but for Allegri 180 different line up for 185 serie A matches is enough to express how non reliable and coward he is.You must have a consistent starting eleven before you can conquer europe we saw it in the fast from lippis Juve to Man U, Bayern, Ac Milan and now Barcelona , real Madrid. In all these teams is same starting 11 players through out the campaing.JUVE IS TIME SHOW ALLEGRI THE EXIT.its time for us to enjoy beautiful & entertaining matches not Alegri boring game.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 6:47pm
In essence, once Ronaldo joined Juve, failing to get to the CL championship is an abject failure in coaching and managing.

All is different when CR7 is on your roster. Championships are the only goal.

Juve failed twice in this season. Winning Serie A is a consolation prize.

It is not enough to be the big fish in Italy's pond.

CR7 was reduced, Mandzukic was reduced, and Dybala was lost.

All Allegri's design.

He should be paid and shipped out.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 5:07pm
I have two questions for any one that understands football.
Are games played on a playstation or other consoles?
Are footballers robots?
So why do people think that Juventus have players, that have to win every game.
Sorry but other teams are there to try and win.

Forza Juve.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 4:56pm
Why does every writer and reader think they are experts, this isnt playstation FiFa
on the 27th April, 2019 at 4:47pm
With ALLEGRI in charge no champions league next season.defensive minded idiot he should be axed and pave way 4 attacking minded coach i.e pep klopp pochettino enrique the management should take action talents are being wasted.dybala,cancello spinazolla kean.get rid of old rag matuidi,de sciglio bonucci and bring in chiesa felix zaniolo manolas caldara and win champions league.forza juve
on the 27th April, 2019 at 3:28pm
on the 27th April, 2019 at 12:52pm
Yet another article against Juventus - winning 8 league titles in a row is an extraordinary achievement.

What have Inter and Ac milan won in this period?

Napoli had another fantastic season - bombed out of every competition and gave up league title before easter Sunday.

Good to see Atalanta the 2nd best run team in the league behind Juventus in the cup final and hopefully top 4 too.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 12:44pm
I am so done with this club. I've been a fan since '92, even 2006 is better then these days being Juventini. Our management keep their tabs on coward, clueless coach with his disgusting approach to games, wasting & ruining talents and keep embarrass their fans in Europe with his timid mentalilty of football. And it don't stop there: new crest are stupid and they erase our identity altogether with that horrible new jersey.
on the 27th April, 2019 at 12:10pm

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