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Monday July 27 2020
A Scudetto without splendour

Juventus finally won their ninth successive Scudetto on Sunday night but, as Livio Caferoglu explains, there wasn’t much cause for celebration.

Juventus should be on cloud nine after clinching their ninth consecutive Serie A crown. Their fans won’t be present to join in on the title celebrations but, even with them there, this won’t have felt like a Scudetto worth cheering about. That’s not to say the Bianconeri don’t deserve credit for making more history, exposing the laughable lack of competition, but that is precisely what allowed them to get away with doing the bare minimum. For a club that prides itself on setting the bar high, its standards seem to be dropping.

Of course, there have been some positives. Paulo Dybala, in particular, has been a shining light, finding his feet in Juve’s front three with 17 goals and 14 assists. Such has been his impact this season that the Old Lady have not lost in Serie A when he has played and made a goalscoring contribution. And through all of Maurizio Sarri’s trials and tribulations in trying to transform the team’s style of play, they haven’t lost their ability to ground out results when the chips are down, even after a three-month break and global health emergency.

Sadly, they are far outweighed by the negatives. Some haven’t been of Juve’s own making, namely their lack of continuity at centre-back, characterised by the loss of captain Giorgio Chiellini to a serious knee injury. Most of them, on the other hand, are. As I’ve already highlighted in a previous blog, Andrea Agnelli and Fabio Paratici dealt Sarri a poor hand last summer, expecting him to work wonders with a squad so drilled into the Max Allegri ethos – the polar opposite of ‘Sarrismo’. The results of that work, so far, have been painful to watch.

That said, it is a damning indictment on Serie A as a whole that the worst Juve side for some time are able to win the title with two games to spare. Atalanta’s sudden surge in form, while admirable, was too little too late. Lazio looked like pushing the Bianconeri all the way, but a thin squad coupled with buying into their own hype a little too much proved costly. Then there’s Inter, who appointed Antonio Conte and backed him to the hilt in the transfer market but still came up short, failing to capitalise on every one of their arch-rivals’ slip-ups.

In Juve’s defence, however, this was always supposed to be a transition season and Sarri has still managed to deliver a Scudetto, not discounting the Champions League if he masterminds a turnaround against Olympique Lyonnais. The recent 2-1 defeat to Udinese was a microcosm of where the Old Lady are at the moment. The result and how they threw a winning position away would normally be dismissed out of hand as a misstep. Yet the coach is doing away with the pragmatism and introducing a more holistic approach.

“We lost our shape and organisation in Udine, but the positive aspect is we did that because we were trying so hard to win,” Sarri said before the visit of Samp. “I prefer that as a reason to lose rather than being passive, which is what we experienced a few other times. I like that desire to win, but we weren’t perfect in the execution. I do like always going forward, but you have to read the situation too. I am not going to deny I prefer the all-attack mentality, though ... Faced with evident difficulties, I think the team has done well.”

What seems certain is that Juve won’t be able scrap out another Scudetto without being punished. The signings of Arthur Melo and Dejan Kulusevski, coupled with Miralem Pjanic’s sale, suggest they are moving in the right direction, but they are still two full-backs, another midfielder and another forward away from reasserting their dominance on Serie A. For this freak season, Juve should refrain from celebrating, keep the champagne on ice and move straight on to the Champions League. That is where the real success lies.

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Have your say...
@Juventino. Sadly, Juve must sell after they bought De Ligt for 80m. Spinazzola's case, Juve got 10m and younger-healthier: Italian LB Pellegrini but unproven and raw. Cancelo's case, Juve got 65m and Danilo. I'm full of confidence Juve's squad will be amazing next year. for example De Ligt-Demiral duo (Romero as backup) will be fantastic.
on the 30th July, 2020 at 9:51am
@anonymous
That was my point he was given no signings that suit his style and still won the league. But alot a juve fans slating him, he has resurrected dybala who allegri had nearly driven out the door. He deserves more time. For conte though clock is ticking
on the 29th July, 2020 at 11:07pm
So funny all these people tearing Juventus apart when they would kill for their team to be in the same position, sounds like jealousy to me. Just face it even in a transitional season where we have no be as awesome as past seasons we still win, I imagine that must be so hard to take for all the other clubs. See you all next year when its ten in a row.
on the 29th July, 2020 at 6:24pm
To suggest a Scudetto without splendour or Juve not having much cause to celebrate is bollocks. Regardless of the season disruption, Juve's overall form or comparisons to the previous 8 seasons, a win is a win. Juve never hit top gear and still grinded out enough to become champions. Dare I suggest a Scudetto won off the field is what one would describe as being without splendour.
on the 29th July, 2020 at 10:32am
@Anonymous - Precisely!! and he still managed to win the scudetto. I really hope I am wrong about Paratici and he does get into work to support his coach with the right type of players - instead of scanning the market for freebies he just wants to move on for paltry profits. He needs to think big and I am not sure he is there yet!!
on the 29th July, 2020 at 9:55am
>who did sarri get?
this. everyone's having a go at Sarri but he got nothing. Actually his hiring is what pursuaded Dybala to stay, and be jj's most important player.
It would be nice if he got a couple players for his style and to see what he can do with the team. Do people think it's easy to transform a 50 year 1-0 team into champagne football lol?
on the 29th July, 2020 at 8:51am
Real anticlimax of a season, thought we might actually get a real title race but Lazio and inter blew it. Lazio to be fair are incredible given their budget and Atalanta, Verona, Sassuolo are massive bright spots. Dare I say it Milan seem to have sobered up and may improve nextyear. Its not all bad but really if we want to talk about failure Conte looks tobe in a far worse position than Sarri. He got every player he asked for, who did sarri get? Inters failure to challenge is a disgrace.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 11:53pm
IF INTER AC MILAN JUVENTAS ROMA AND FIORENTINA BUY PLAYERS STRATOSPHORACALLY AFTER THIS SEASON IN NEXT SEASON THEN WE CAN HOPE. THOSE ARE THE CLUBS ABOVE MENTIONED ALWAYS BEEN ALLEY TOGETHER IN THE STATUS. THAT ENERGY IN FIORENTINA AND ROMA AS A STARBUCK TEAM WITH MILAN PERFORMING IN FINE TUNED WAY WITH THE STANDARDS Sergej Milinković-Savić, THOMAS LEMAR, BENZEMA HOLDS THINGS WILL BE ALRITE IN BELOVED SERI/A
on the 28th July, 2020 at 9:56pm
I'm not sure why Juve would go for Zaniolo, where does he fit into the team? He's undoubtedly a great player but he would cost a lot and occupies similar areas of the pitch as Dybala likes to drop into. Plus there's Kulusevski already coming in who is a similar mould to Zaniolo. Although I think Zaniolo is a better player than Chiesa, Chiesa (or a better RW) would be a better fit than Zaniolo. Sancho aside there aren't too many world class RW's who would currently be available. Gnabry?
on the 28th July, 2020 at 9:30pm
The main point of the article is even though juve just won their 9th scudetto in a row, their overall performance is declining compare to previous years. That’s a fact. There can be various reasons of course and whether it’s just transitional year remain to be seen. Sarri is a good coach, but he doesn’t seem able to handle big expectation for a club like juve.
As for now, juve’s sarri is much weaker compare to Juve’s conte and Juve’s allegri. Next year serie-A will be even more interesting.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 8:01pm
@Jay: I don't think Juve will buy Players NEXT YEAR ..... they will buy players THIS YEAR ! Zaniolo is coming, Higuain De Sciglio and Khedira will also be replaced......the only that is delusional is you if you believe that the only powerhouse in Italy will not invest THIS YEAR. We have the man to make this happen - PARATICI - unlike our former sporting director who makes teams older - Paratici will be investing to make Juve younger - Sarri needs a younger midfield and he is going to get it 4now
on the 28th July, 2020 at 6:20pm
2) Alex Sandro is gd but not getting any younger. We have no good RB. The best we midfield we have is Bentancur. Only other with some potential seems to be Rabiot. The rest have to make way for more dynamic mid.injury prone: Costa, Ramsey, too old: Matuidi old and injured: Khedira. Not so concern about the attackers the focus must be in midfield and RB. Sarri can have his time in juve till Zidane is avail.. till then i will wait
on the 28th July, 2020 at 4:37pm
1) Since 2006 we will celebrate every single title! We have actually made 2 very important signing this yr n maybe juve history De light and Demiral. These 2 should be playing first team with chiellni backing up. With these young center backs we can afford similar wingbacks like cancelo or spinazzola. while both were good on the ball the end product is less to be desired ans decision making was poor, so selling cancelo or spinazzola was the right choice.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 4:26pm
@Omar Makko

I agree with pretty much everything you said, especially regarding Emerson and Jorginho neither of whom are an improvement on what's already there. In fairness to Jorginho he did do better at Chelsea post Sarri than I was expecting but he's still far too slow and flimsy and he's so one dimensional. I still think Aouar would be good for the LCM role and if Juve could bin off Matuidi as part of the deal it's a double whamy.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 12:25pm
2/2 - Let's suppose, Juve get knocked out of UCL and the fans ask for Sarri to be crucified. Does Paratici really think he can persuade Guardiola to take over this mess of a team? He may be able to get Pocehttino, but I doubt he will do any better than Sarri. Juve is a very strong team domestically, but unlike Barca, RM and BM they have not been crafted with precision and thought. They have just been thrown together by an amature in the name of Paratici.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 11:12am
@NICK FROM TORONTO - 1/2. You are delusional if you think Juve will buy more players next year. The reality is, the squad will remain pretty much as is. To get Sarri the players he needs, Paratici needs to overhaul 60% of the team, and there is no way I can see that happening. His argument would be: "Well Maurizio, you managed to win the title last year. You have spent one year with these players, so you know them better now. You just have to make it work again this year - or you are out".
on the 28th July, 2020 at 10:58am
@Luca, I only missed very few games in last decade. Bentancur’s best performance period was in the middle of last season and then faded to what he was. He is excellent at relentless tackle and is OK to assistant the core player like Pjanic. His ball control is terrible and can’t hold the ball. The middle field is a disaster when he is the anchorman. He repeated losing the ball cheaply in juventus’s goal area, He doesnot have any gift as a top player and is inept to dispatch the ball and organize
on the 28th July, 2020 at 8:51am
Unfortunately, this season we're not in the best possible position. Too many weaknesses, a stubborn inflexible coach, and our fair share of injuries. Should we overcome Lyon, and we really should (otherwise Sarri should be fired with immediate effect), we will struggle to compete against either City or Real.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 6:07am
Milik for Berna is an ok deal I suppose. Moving forward, Dybala is our most important player, and we should get that contract renewal under lock and key. Build the team around him. Costa should be sold because he can't stay fit, and we should bring in both Zaniolo and Boga.

Arthur, Kulu, Zaniolo Boga, Milik, and perhaps Tonali and a RB and we should be ready for a stellar season next year.

We should always be looking to put ourselves in the best possible position to compete in Europe.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 6:06am
We can't keep papering over the cracks with freebies, offering them huge wages they don't deserve, and struggling to dispose of them later. This midfield is a far cry from the days of MVPP. Kulu and Arthur are both good acquisitions, another step in the right direction, but we shouldn't be providing Sarri, who doesn't even deserve to be a Juventus coach, with modicums of mediocrity embodied by Jorginho and Emerson Failieri.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 6:01am
The fullbacks, Alex Sandro aside, are befitting of a Europa League level outfit. De Sciglio and Danilo have no business being Juventus players. Thank goodness Cuads has been able to adapt, somewhat effortlessly, to the RB position. He's a true warrior and a great eclectic player.

Our defense has been more fragile than in recent years, and I don't want to see Bonucci, the fraud, as a guaranteed starter next season.

Our midfield, as I have already stated, is a clear weakness.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 5:58am
As a Juventus fan, this title was more about relief than elation. I'm relieved we won. We've been unimpressive, and had it not been for both Ronaldo's and Dybala's individual brilliance, we'd probably be languishing in 4th or 5th place.

Tootsie has done a magnificent job of downgrading the midfield. Khedira and Matuidi still here, Ramsey looking like he is still on holiday, and Bernardeschi looking like he doesn't belong. Rabiot has been improving, but the only bright spark is Bentancur.
on the 28th July, 2020 at 5:55am
R.G. absolutely agree with you. The only beefs I had with Paratici were around the full back positions with de Sciglio and Danilo in and Spinazzola and Cancelo out. I felt it was a huge setback...
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:24pm
the arrogance of this blog writer is pathetic to dismiss the serie a tittle as no real success is short sighted and plain wrong.

to be honest the opposition should really be ripped for their inability to compete. Roma and napoli have have the best part of a decade to win a tittle yet their owners have been the factor which ruined their tittle dreams.
atalanta are the only club who deserve any praise this season for offering genuine opposition, what inzaghi has achieved at lazio is impressive.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:13pm
@Serie A, yeah right! Sack Paratici now and Man Utd will laugh at us and then welcome him with arms wide open. (SMH) this is the guy who has made some amazing transfers in the past. Pirlo-Pogba for nothing, Tevez for 9m, what about Vidal? Barzagli?

Do you prefer Marrotta over him? The guy who slip Verratti to PSG and let go easily Juve's core players because his weird transfer policy?

Show some respect.. pls.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 9:19pm
Expectations for Juventus are always equal to the great teams of Europe.
Few teams in Italy can compete with the Agnelli family in the modern era though the Milan clubs are vying on and off the pitch. The future points to a competetive league
that should bring new players from Europe and afar to play even with the lesser clubs.

No Juve did not overwhelm Serie A this season but did enough to succeed.
The question remains, How much does the great Ronaldo have left to carry them forward again.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 8:05pm
Paratici made good signings but they were planned for Allegri, so the midfield never really worked well. A couple good buys and things should improve quite a bit.
But a bad result in the CL might end Sarri and open up for Poch to come in.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 7:47pm
Paratici did an excellent job to make profit on sales even if that meant downgrading the team and giving it to Sarri to see what he can do with the team, then working to find upgrades. It's not like inter who splashed 212 mill on a 12 million coach and has to take out a 75 million euro bond just to meet FFP. SO while other teams will be selling this season, Juve will be buying ! Next season will be the real test but for now, bring on Lyon !!
on the 27th July, 2020 at 6:27pm
Juve fans on this blog brag in your splendor because thats as far as you will go, 1996 last and only CL and only one euro cup before that in 85. You lost coppa italia and will lose everything else. An overrated team with nothing but mediocre players including Ronaldo. Juve payroll double of top teams and triple or quadruple of others an lesser teams have better shot at CL go figure.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 4:06pm
I like how this Inter fan of an article writer is telling us Juve fans there's nothing to be happy about and nothing to celebrate. That's laughable. After what happened in 2006 Juve fans will never take a title for granted again, be it the 9th in a row or the 40th in a row. I understand as an Inter fan looking in from the outside this must be tough to endure, but don't tell us that we can't enjoy our title wins.
Don't worry Livio- I'm sure Inter will be a bit less of a joke next season.
...Maybe
on the 27th July, 2020 at 3:56pm

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