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...
Admittedly I'm a Lazio fan but the covid break took the wind out of Lazio's sails. They were the hottest team in Europe and might have put up a better fight if the season continued normally. Still would have been tough to challenge such a deep team till the end.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 2:01pm
So it's been a long road but finally some light is starting to show in Juve's midfield. Rabiot is finally starting to impress now and Bentancur continues to be solid. This is a big plus and if they are able to get this Arthur and he is as good as ppl say then Juve fans should start feeling optimistic again. Congrats to winning the Scudetto but the real win imo will be if Sarri and Juve can get this part of the team ticking again.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 2:00pm
Juve struggled big time this year with the new tactics but mainly due to some poor summer transfer signings by Paratici he needs to be FIRED. Having said that, Juve will be stronger next year and at least Seria A is getting more competitive. The pandemic impacted everyone but the Seria A comeback has seen lots of goals and more excitement which is positive for the league. Immobile and Ronaldo fighting for top scorer also shines light on the league. More positives in my opinion.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 1:19pm
Given the unprecedented disruption mid-season due to the pandemic it's been a hollow season for my liking..and not just Serie A, but sport in general. Not taking anything away from Juve who just keep on winning even in a season when their play did not impress. Their win against Inter just before lockdown was probably the most important result of the season.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 1:12pm
Serie A needs to overhaul how they pay out TV rights $$'s. They need to add a clause that's dependent on how far they ended in Europe (instead of the Overseas BS). If Lazio ends up getting more $$ than Atalanta then that would be sad. The reason teams drop out of Europe is that they know they can get good serie A TV $$'s if they dropout and just aim for top 4. Then every year you end up with a Lazio type team that just ignores Europe and still doesn't win the league
on the 27th July, 2020 at 1:07pm
A Scudetto without splendour & a Scudetto not worth celebrating - seriously? One point ahead at lockdown and won with 2 games to spare? After the pandemic the uplift it gives us supporters is incredible, I was ecstatic watching last night, it was irrelevant that it was the 9th in a row. Try viewing the title under the prism of mediocrity that was 2007-2011 and tell us fans that its not worth celebrating. Write what you will about the style but don't tell us fans its not worth cheering about.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 12:56pm
Oh boy, this article is literally regurgitated crybaby hogwash from the start of Sarri's reign, and it's still a pathetic excuse for an editorial.

As for the comments section, the who's-who of the nonsense and the calcio illiterates are commenting.. One of them has asked for Sarri's head in every comment since the lockdown; another few with their grouses about Juventus being favoured/fixture list/money bla bla.

Boy, you miserable excuses of life sure do crib a lot instead of showing grace.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 11:38am
Winning is winning, looking back the name on the title is what counts.

Look at it this way Juve have been poor yet they still won the league ahead of Lazio who had their best season in decades, Atalanta who had one of their best season's historically, and Inter their best since 2010, AND they did that all after winning 8 previously with a new manager and fresh players. Not bad considering. Serie A seems to be the most competitive of all the big leagues also - can't get more exciting than that.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 11:30am
This scudetto is now confined to the history books. As for the future...Ramsey OUT. Khedira OUT. Matuidi OUT. Danilo OUT. Higuain OUT. DeSiglio OUT. Sandro, Rabiot and Bentancur need a good kick up the back side to wake up. Stop playing Cuad as a right back. He sucks at it. Give Berna one more year and give him more games. Keep doing what you are doing with Dybi. And, stop giving Ronaldo 1/4 of the total wage bill.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 11:04am
@ Brian and the rest..cry me a rive, come on, you must do better than that, than say, everything goes your way, and not my way, not for 9 years, don't be so easily caught up in the Juve conspiracy theory, just watch games regularly, and see the other decisions that go the way of AC, inter, Napoli, each week, or for Barca, Madrid, Bayren Liverpool, Man U etc,its too easy an excuse thi,s they want Juve to win, who does??? Whats the gain of that?? Change the narrative
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:43am
This break in the season due to Coivd, showed the depth and quality of the squad compared to the rest. The other teams just cannot compete at all. 2 -3 games in a week for the likes of Lazio, Atalanta is asking too much. Inter, possibly is the only team that could manage this. That's where the season was won IMO
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:37am
This break in the season due to Coivd, showed the depth and quality of the squad compared to the rest. The other teams just cannot compete at all. 2 -3 games in a week for the likes of Lazio, Atalanta is asking too much. Inter, possibly is the only team that could manage this. That's where the season was won IMO
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:37am
Atalanta first Goal could easily have been given as a foul on Dybala, nobody mentioned that, when Martinez was tackled in a similar fashion that led to a goal there was uproar of conspiracy. This goes on all year, all the hand balls against Deligt, even the one after lookdown, nobody cares, then Juve get some against Atalanta and its conspiracy time again, it is sad, and counter productive to the development of the league. This is the interpretation of the rule in Italy, for all teams
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:35am
This break in the season due to Coivd, showed the depth and quality of the squad compared to the rest. The other teams just cannot compete at all. 2 -3 games in a week for the likes of Lazio, Atalanta is asking too much. Inter, possibly is the only team that could manage this. That's where the season was won IMO
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:35am
This was not an easy watch this year, Juventus were poor, maybe it seemed worse as we expected free flowing football, instead we got a win at all costs approach, which under Allegri we would have maybe expected a bit more. However, they got the most points, that cant be denied and thus win the league. I expect this is the end of the run, unless there is a terrific overhaul in the summer, but for 9 years you cant deny that, it is not chance, Leicester was chance, Blackburn were chance, 9 years in
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:31am
Italian teams are dropping out of Europe to focus on the league, and again this make the league look bad. Juve have flown the flag for Italy in Europe over that last 4/5 years, and done ok, but cant compete with Spain and England as the money is not there, and the ability to attract players to sadly, a bit of a broken league. Hopefully this year a few other Italian teams will do well
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:29am
What sickens these poor idiots, is that Juve fought back, got their own stadium, had a business model, rather than owners who are only in it for profit. Sadly inters agenda of breaking the calcopoli scandal (for which they were later quoted to be ‘worse than Juve’) set Italian football back years, and it will never recover, as the league is tainted now. And Inter did have succes sin the aftermath, but could not sustain it
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:26am
BTW, many teams were punished in calcopoli, Fiorentina, AC, Lazio, Juventus and inter as we know hid their involvement, but were guilty. Yet Juve were the most harshly punished, why?? Either you were influencing refs or you were not, why is one team more guilty than another, either you did it or you did not, so in fact Juve have been targeted, not favoured,
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:23am
As for the pathetic conspiracy theories, come on, give it up, the same tired old boring excuses. These things happen week in week out in the premiership, but as it is not Italy, people just accept, 1 mistakes happen and 2 big teams often get favoured. Inter, Napoli, Milan etc all get favourable decisions, but when it happens to Juve people make a big deal, which is indirectly a compliment, as you can’t accept that overall they have been the best for 9 years, you dont get that much fortune for 9
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:20am
2. In Spain, Scotland, France, England and Germany same few teams win most years, all leagues are the same. Spanish league and French league are boring. In England no small team ever looked like beating Liverpool, in Italy, those ‘lesser’ teams often get big scalps
Look at the prem, top 4, very predictable in the end, Spain top 2 same as always.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:17am
1. People on here are so anti-Italian league, then why are you on here, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, and certainly don’t read about it.
All this banging the premiership drum, it was over in Oct, 18 points Liverpool were clear, in recent years city were 19 clear.
City are way ahead of 3rd place, so it is not competitive, with the most money and supposedly best managers etc. In Italy until yesterday 4 teams could still have won the league, 3 can still finish
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:16am
Bitter much?

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:10am
@Sack Sarri

How can you say Bentancur is poor? He's already Juve's best midfielder at 22. He's got great energy, deceptive pace, is strong defensively and assured in possession. Sure he's no De Bruyne or Pogba but he is a very good midfield player who has room to improve and who also would enable a more creative midfielder to thrive alongside him if one arrives. Also why on earth would Juve buy an ancient Modric, that's literally the last thing Juve need right now, more old players
on the 27th July, 2020 at 9:49am
Well done Sarri. What a superb coach this man is. He managed to win Europa League with a very average Chelsea side and now the scudetto with this patchwork of a team who have been in no man's land for most of the season. Livio is right in saying, that they won't be able to get away with this next year. They MUST MUST MUST overhaul the squad and make it more of Sarri's team. You can't hire a Sushi chef and then plonk him in front of a Pizza oven and ask him to make margheritas.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 9:35am

Rabiot has done enough post lockdown to show he deserves a place in the squad, he seems to have more energy and dynamism and should be in the squad as 4th choice of the 3 central midfielders with Arthur, Bentancur and a big new signing ahead of him. Kulusevski continues to impress, the only question being what is his best position. De Ligt and Demiral have both come on well, and obviously Dybala has been brilliant after being rotated too much at the start of the season.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 9:29am
1. This Juve certainly has it's flaws but they are on the right path, they have to get the recruitment right this summer and give Sarri the players he wants whilst moving on the old guard. It may well be that next season is sort of another transition year but with younger players who suit his style more Sarri may finally get them to play as he wants which would be spectacular if it's similar to how Napoli played.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 9:26am
There is only one team that everything just always fall into place for. Next year, more of the same!
on the 27th July, 2020 at 8:59am
A Scudetto with the only team allowed to win it! Everything down to the most minute detail always breaks the same way in this league. Next ear, more of the same!
on the 27th July, 2020 at 8:57am
Higuain is sooooo slow. When Dybala is not on the field this team is so weak. How we lack players with pace. Bernadeschi tries but seldom succeed. Rugani is a liability. Sandro needs to to get to his best with his runs. Danilo offers nothing going forward. CR7 is really good, but nowehere near his best with no pace. Rabiot needs more concentration, but is improving.
Coclusion: We need more alternatives to Cuadradro and Sandro. A fast really good midfilder and another striker – Higuain is making a fool of hilmself and Juventus with his old man attitude.
on the 27th July, 2020 at 8:33am
Juve fan here, it was an awful season in terms of performance, but a great one in terms of character, juve is juve at the end of the day, we were meant to be beautiful but instead won ugly. But the important part is we won!the squad needs a bit of a freshen up Nd I think that is where we will see the danger bringing in players who value aesthetic over winning. I dont think sari will last and I would like to see S.Inzaghi come in, think he will actually bring the beautiful football we want!?!?!?!
on the 27th July, 2020 at 8:12am

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