Sunday July 12 2020
Worst Juve to win the Scudetto

After Juventus needed two penalties just to draw last night, Livio Caferoglu explains how Atalanta mercilessly exposed the cracks in Maurizio Sarri’s side...

Thank goodness we have Atalanta. After another season where Juventus have been allowed to sleepwalk to the Scudetto, the Dea put their traditional rivals to shame last night, holding them to a 2-2 draw in Turin. Two penalties stopped Atalanta from taking all three points and, staying true to form for the Calcio community, the debate quickly escalated into whether they should’ve been given at all, but there were far more pressing matters for the Bianconeri to consider. If there were any doubts before, their visitors made sure there aren’t any now.

In no way should this blog be construed as a case of Juve’s failings being the primary motivation for the result. Atalanta proved their status as the best team in Italy on current form, doing their bit to stop us from falling out of love with football during the coronavirus pandemic by serving up some swashbuckling football. Milan must be similarly commended for their 4-2 win, but the difference is Gian Piero Gasperini’s side dominated the Old Lady away from home, facing a full-strength team that included Paulo Dybala and Matthijs de Ligt.

Sarri has a huge job on his hands. Tasked with transforming Juve’s style of play, that couldn’t happen without some sort of transition period – or, in other words, a season possibly without silverware. Chelsea even showed them what not to do with him last term. Although he won them a Europa League and qualified them for the Champions League, fans were generally unhappy with what they perceived to be a pedestrian brand of football. He was also insufficiently backed in the transfer market as only Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain came in.

Judging by how the Sarri effect is already fizzling out, it seems Andrea Agnelli and his fellow board members didn’t take much notice. Last summer should’ve marked the start of a revolution, when the older guard began to make way for a younger, more proactive type of player. Instead, they looked dazed and confused against Atalanta, stuck between their past and present. After years of being drilled by Max Allegri, the club was wrong to expect much of his squad to suddenly discard the formula that had just won an eighth straight Scudetto.

Even worse, Agnelli and co. were wrong assume Juve’s players could suddenly adapt to ‘Sarri-ball’. It’s said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and that’s the Bianconeri right now - bored dogs with no desire to change. Rather tellingly, after Cristiano Ronaldo equalised from the spot last night, he didn’t pick the ball out of the net or run straight back to the centre-circle. Instead, he was happy to perform his trademark celebration with his teammates not far behind. For a team who pride themselves on winning at all costs, that was hardly the case.

Maybe the celebrations were a sense of relief at how they had a route back in after a first half where Atalanta played them off park, particularly in central midfield. Juve once had the luxury of Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio, who could do it all, scoring more than 20 league goals in each season between 2012 and 2015. In contrast, their midfield men this term have so far managed a meagre seven. Compared to the Orobici’s 15, It confirms just how safe they’ve become and what little impact Aaron Ramsey has had since arriving from Arsenal.

Rodrigo Bentancur may grow into the ‘regista’ role, but his development will be bottlenecked for as long as he is partnered with the likes of Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot and Sami Khedira. Miralem Pjanic being swapped for Arthur Melo is a step in the right direction, but Sarri will need much more than the Barcelona man. The lame nature of Juve’s midfield reached a new low when Atalanta prevented them from venturing into their half for eight minutes. Not only can’t they score but, as yesterday’s visitors showed, they can’t press properly either.

Atalanta’s all-out attacking approach is rightly winning all the plaudits, but their ability to unearth hidden gems is what truly sets them apart. Whereas Ramsey, Alex Sandro, Douglas Costa and Gonzalo Higuain all struggled to make an impact for Juve off the bench, Ruslan Malinovskyi was silky and spritely, blasting in his side’s second goal. A special mention also goes to Adrien Tameze. The 26-year-old barely played for Nice before January yet didn’t put a foot wrong during his cameo, slotting straight in for Remo Freuler and recycling possession like a seasoned pro.

Scoring two penalties in one game like Ronaldo did is no mean feat, but it also shows how far Juve have fallen that they are relying on spot-kicks just to draw a game, regardless of the opposition. Atalanta’s strong form since the restart is probably too little too late for the Scudetto and the Bianconeri sit eight points clear at the top, going into the final six fixtures. They have set the bar in Serie A for the past eight years, with no-one able to come close to them, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact this Juve will be the worst of the lot to win the title.

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Have your say...
Juve remind me of Liverpool before they bought Mane and then Salah. The front line are good players but all of them want to come towards the ball and receive it into feet, nobody is willing to run in behind and stretch the game. Dybala has been great but he'd be even better if he was dropping in to receive the ball and then had players bursting in behind he could find.
on the 17th July, 2020 at 4:57pm
Juventas need to freshen thing up a bit. I don't see great mistakes in last couple of years apart selling cancello. So need some hectics buy after clearing pjanic up. Buy carvajal or some dortmund's rightback. Need two in the middle of attacking calibre. Is that can be pogba or more creative one. Imre khedira ought to go alongside bernardeshci. So there another could be brought in. Is that can be firmino or reus?
on the 17th July, 2020 at 5:08am
you're right this is the worst Juve. It's a new manager so that's understandable. We're lucky this is Conte's first year. Next year Inter will be more competitive and Juve need to raise their game
on the 15th July, 2020 at 4:43pm
Seems like the angry idiot Pinturicchio has been banned from FI. LMAO
on the 15th July, 2020 at 12:17pm
"Old" people and 2019/20 ligue goals:

R. Lewandowski (31y.) 34g.
C. Immobile (30y.) 29g.
C. Ronaldo (35y.) 28g.
J. Vardy (33y.) 23g.
L. Messi (33y.) 22g.
P.-E. Aubameyang (31y.) 20g.
K. Benzema (32y.) 19g.
P.D. Cissé (35y.) 22g.
S. Agüero (32y.) 16g.
on the 15th July, 2020 at 11:04am
The Old Lady being The Old Lady even after Calciopoli. Ring a bell?
on the 15th July, 2020 at 9:07am
Fans of loser clubs like azzkikr love to dish out baseless cheapshots then cry when they take anything in return. Typical delusional Milan club fans (doesn't matter which one)
on the 14th July, 2020 at 9:00pm
@Pinturicchio, thanks for the kind words.

However, i fail to see how calling your beloved cheater club "rubentus" warrants the childish personal attack you made. Its also hilarious how you complain about other posters while at the same time making silly personal attacks at other posters and the site here.

Also, to educate you a little, there is nothing "PC" about freedom of speech/opinion. PC is actually in contrast to freedom of speech and often suppresses it.

Atleast you learned something.
on the 14th July, 2020 at 4:27pm
Juve management usually buys whatever they need to continue their dominance of SerieA , however the players seem passive in there pursuit of the Scudetto. They are not embracing Sarri ball because they lack the midfield and back end to move the ball quickly and decisively up the pitch. The team will be transformed in coming years if they believe in this manager and bring in the players to adapt his philosophy. Meanwhile teams will force them to compete on all levels, for players and on the pitch
on the 14th July, 2020 at 2:11pm
We have been hearing about Inter and Milan needing to challenge Juve for about 7 years now. When will this happen? Hopefully next season is the season they rise up
on the 13th July, 2020 at 8:55pm
Neanderthals like Azzkikr (I hope Evolution reaches your vicinity in the next 1000 years, I really do) and morons like SackSarri (clearly your day is well-spent yelling at the TV whilst playing FIFA) make blogs like this unbearable.

I understand the PC-BS about freedom of opinion, but unnecessary name-calling and lack of any educated response besides whining makes me think a bunch of prepubertal chimps moderate these blogs.

Kudos, FI, on the copious articles without quality on this site...
on the 13th July, 2020 at 6:30pm
Worst Rubentus indeed, but still winning the league with relative ease.

Speaks volumes about how poor the league is right now. This Rube would not have won the league against the Napoli and Roma teams of 16/17 and 17/18 thats for sure.

Sadly the likes of Roma and Napoli arent big clubs who can really challenge Rube for more than a season or two. It takes Milan or Inter to de-throne Rube, but both these clubs have been a joke for a decade now and it doesnt seem to be changing any time soon.
on the 13th July, 2020 at 5:29pm
Sure, you can point fingers and accuse this as being the worst Juventus to win the Scudetto (which isn't guaranteed) but you really oughta point fingers to everyone else like Inter and Lazio, because if this is the worst version of Juventus and they still can't capitalize, they need to call it a day.
on the 13th July, 2020 at 2:45pm
@Sack Sarri. Why on earth would Juve sell Bentancur, he looks like a top top player and is only 22.

@FERBAN. I completely agree with what you say. Conte is good but needs to stop moaning and get on with it. Arthur and Kulusevski should be important additions. I would be tempted to try Kulu to the left of the midfield 3 with Arthur in the middle and Bentancur to the right. Both Kulu and Bentancur have good pace, energy and strength to play the box to box role.

Rabiot has been better recently
on the 13th July, 2020 at 2:30pm
Also in the Atalanta match, I counted about 6 runs CR7 made and the midfield or Cuadra ignored it (then Ronlado would yell at them). Only at the end Bonucci hopelessly tried to send long balls for CR7.
on the 13th July, 2020 at 1:26pm
While I understand Juve has been poor but I don't get everyone's love affair with Bayern? Yes they are in form and demolished Chelsea but they will go a month with no competitive games. PLus the weather will be as hot as now. Look at PSG's game (9-0)... who will Bayern play to keep match fit? Everyone is severly underestimating not playing regularly and also the heat. I fully expect Bayern to dominate Chelsea and then get smashed by the first big team they play.... just watch
on the 13th July, 2020 at 1:19pm
The most alarming thing about Juve is the number of goals they are conceding. 6 in two games is just too many. I am sure if Lyon were watching this game, they'd fancy their chances of getting an away goal.
on the 13th July, 2020 at 10:04am
i see alot of sack sarri comments. but the fact of the matter is this is a transition year. but i still feel on any given day juve can beat anyone. i think he needs to continue using bentancur as regista. sarri has managed to get dybala and ronaldo to play together. lets not forget that alegri deemed that dybala and ronaldo couldnt play together and went with mandzukic as the CF and wingers like bernardeshi and costa. there was no place for dybala. sarri has gotten dybala to play as a false 9,
on the 13th July, 2020 at 9:36am
This is a difficult one because on paper the team is very, very competitive, I think it is the wrong coach. Sari cant do a job with these guys, he needs eager to please players who will do anything to win (mainly because they havent won before) but these guys have and they know how to win and manage games to 90 mins. Sarriball is not that ot is intense, roll the dice and try to force your luck home football... only real Madrid have won with that formula,so that should tell you something about it
on the 13th July, 2020 at 8:55am
How you finish the season is what counts. If Atalanta had to qualify for the champions league then their form in the first few games they would have been knocked out like most of the Italian clubs before them but now they are going to win the champions league. Good luck to them. This season has been a mess so everthing you win is a bonus. Hopefully Juve get it right next season
on the 13th July, 2020 at 6:04am
juve had the right approach at the start of the game for the 1st 5mins. and then strangely back off and let atalanta possess the ball. i guess this is where the lack of crowd comes in. but atalanta posess the ball similar to like how barca did under guadiola. in the 2nd half the workrate of matuidi-bentancur-rabiot was excellent in order to win back the ball. if pjanic was playing i feel juve would gotten thrashed. but having costa on change the game. this juve side is getting better.
on the 13th July, 2020 at 5:52am
It cannot be denied how well Atalanta played and how lucky Juventus were to get the two penalties, but this article is absolute drivel! If Juventus have “fallen” as you claim, they clearly haven’t fallen far as they still top Serie A - a much more competitive Serie A than in recent memory. As for the midfield not scoring, have you considered that it may be because they have Ronaldo and so there is less need for goals from midfield. Clearly this article was written by a hurt fan of another club!
on the 13th July, 2020 at 3:08am
i'm with Sarri, even Allegri in his first season, Juve labelled as autopilot. its big different in Juve and Napoli, in Juve you will be crucified if u dont land Scudetto with the player like CR7 and co in your hand....relax dude, in second season i'm sure that sarri will dare to change
on the 13th July, 2020 at 2:32am
Juve need a new midfield and some youngsters too. The squad is old and bereft of ideas.

Atalanta exposed them the other night, so what would Bayern do to them in the CL?

Even the overrated Man City or R Madrid will probably have to much for them if they get past Lyon. And that's still a big if.

Artur and Kulusevski are coming. Zaniolo might suit, and they need a RB too.
on the 13th July, 2020 at 1:26am
It really is embarrassing that this Juve side is clear at the top and on for 9-in-a-row

Atalanta are the only ones who really have a go, but they're poor at the back and don't have money

Lazio's average squad has been punching above their weight

Inter badly need two wing-backs and for Conte to stop moaning and get on with it

Roma, Napoli and Milan aren't even in the title talk

We need less excuses from some of these loser clubs and more action

If Juve lose to Lyon, it'll add to the shame
on the 13th July, 2020 at 1:21am
Amazing DEA, I was impressed with them and they r my second club 2 Juventus.TBH, their first goal was a foul on Dybala and Juventus had these kind of goals disallowed a few times and one was against the DEA(Lichtsteiner assisted and Mandzukic scored). The referee might recognize this error and awarded penalties without any hesitation.Anyway they r penalties in Serie A.
Sarri has to go. So is Bentancur if a good offer. The 2rd goal was a mistake from Him and happened many times.
on the 12th July, 2020 at 11:29pm
Juve are, to be honest, embarrassingly bad. They have a manager who has a track record of failure and generally gives the impression he doesn't know what he is doing. The midfield is utterly terrible so the forwards have to feed off scraps. They better hope they lose to Lyon because if they have to play City they will be humiliuated. Actually, that would not be a bad thing if it got rid of Sarri. Mr Win Nothing.
on the 12th July, 2020 at 11:08pm
Juve are on top, 8 points clear whilst at the same time undergoing open heart surgery.

Bravo, fino alla fine
on the 12th July, 2020 at 8:29pm
A points total in the low to mid 90’s has been what’s won us most of the past 8 titles, in fact in 14/15 it was 87. We’re currently on 76 with 6 games left so 4 wins takes us beyond that thus we’re accumulating points at the same rate as ever bar the 13/14 season of 102 points. This is a transitional year and we’re still winning - as a supporter I’m delighted with that. The article is hysterical nonsense, there’s no such thing as poor champions, just champions-some perspective is required.
on the 12th July, 2020 at 7:52pm
i am not even going to comment on juve

there is no competition over the last 9 years roma/fiorentina always sell they best players for modest sums and but flops or players with no resale value

napoli came the closest but their owner is a nutter who failed to buy the right player at the right time

inter and milan basically imploded for the best part of the decade

lazio have spent 5 million net in 5 years on transfers

as for atalanta they are punching well above their financial weight
on the 12th July, 2020 at 7:45pm

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