2014-15 SERIE A REVIEW

Rating the 2014-15 Champions

Juventus secured a fourth consecutive Scudetto with far greater ease than anticipated at the outset. Luca Persico rates the unrivalled Bianconeri squad.

It could have been so different. After a summer that started with the departure of Antonio Conte two days into pre-season training, speculation over Arturo Vidal’s future and the questionable appointment of Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus seemed vulnerable.

That notion was, however, quickly diminished with a strong opening day win at Chievo Verona. The Old Lady would go on to win 11 of their first 13 matches, with almost six months between their maiden loss against Genoa and the second at Parma.

Allegri’s tweaks made Juventus arguably even more dominant, yet also entertaining, while their ability to compete successfully on three fronts set them far ahead of the chasing pack. In truth, they were never truly challenged as they quickly wrapped up another title.

Gianluigi Buffon: 9

Apps/Goals: 33/0

Even at 37, he still has to be considered among the best goalkeepers in the world. Buffon has had a largely flawless campaign, littered with some really important saves. His only obvious blunder came when representing Italy against Croatia.

Marco Storari: 6

Apps/Goals: 5/0

About as reliable a reserve as you could want. Storari lives in the shadow of Buffon but rarely, if ever, let Juventus down when called upon.

Rubinho: No rating

Apps/Goals: 0/0

With Buffon and Storari largely impeccable, Rubinho has had to sit out this season. He now has more Scudetti than Serie A appearances for Juventus.

Giorgio Chiellini: 8

Apps/Goals: 28/0

Bar the odd clumsy moment and rash tackle, Chiellini remains Juventus’ defensive leader. His under-rated ability on the ball has helped implement a more possession-based approach. Scored a vital goal in the Coppa Italia Final.

Andrea Barzagli: 7

Apps/Goals: 10/0

Injuries and the switch to a back four limited Barzagli’s involvement. The veteran still remains a consistently excellent defender and is the key to their tactical versatility.

Leonardo Bonucci: 8

Apps/Goals: 34/3

Scored one of the goals of the season in the vital win over Roma. Arguably looks more comfortable in a back four and drives Juventus forward from the back.

Angelo Ogbonna: 6.5

Apps/Goals: 25/0

Rarely had a consistent look-in, even with Barzagli out injured. When called upon however, he was dependable.

Martin Caceres: 6

Apps/Goals: 10/1

A tough season for Caceres that was blighted by injury. His experience and versatility could have been useful to Juventus at times. Has arguably slipped behind Padoin as first reserve full-back.

Luca Marrone: No rating

Apps/Goals: 0/0

Another wasted campaign for Marrone. He needs to find a club where he can showcase his skill set consistently.

Marco Motta: No rating

Apps/Goals: 0/0

Didn't feature and was eventually released before signing with Watford.

Patrice Evra: 7.5

Apps/Goals: 21/1

Struggled initially, but grew in stature as the campaign progressed. An injury to Asamoah helped him play with continuity, while he looks more comfortable at full-back rather than wing-back. His experience as a consistent winner has been beneficial in the closing months of the season.

Paolo De Ceglie: 6

Apps/Goals: 2/0

Brought back from the turmoil at Parma in January, but was rarely required.

Stephan Lichtsteiner: 8

Apps/Goals: 32/3

Another excellent season. He is arguably one of the Europe’s most consistent full-backs. Few can match his reliance and determination. A really key player for Juventus.

Federico Mattiello: No rating

Apps/Goals: 2/0

Was given a few chances to impress before being loaned to Chievo Verona in January. Unfortunately, he picked up a serious injury and is set for a significant spell on the sidelines.

Claudio Marchisio: 8.5

Apps/Goals: 35/3

It was not so long ago that Juventus fans were contemplating whether Marchisio should be sold. Now that wouldn’t even be considered. Nobody in the side has played more minutes in Serie A this season. As a deputy to Pirlo, or further forward, he has been outstanding.

Andrea Pirlo: 7.5

Apps/Goals: 20/4

Maybe not the maestro’s best season, but he has still been decisive. His winner against Torino in the first Derby della Mole was a real highlight, as was his free-kick in the return. Remains a key cog in the Juventus machine.

Arturo Vidal: 7.5

Apps/Goals: 28/7

Like Pirlo, Vidal has maybe not been at his absolute best. In the first half of the season he looked laboured, perhaps due to his hurried return from surgery to make Chile’s World Cup squad. In recent months he is seemingly getting back to his commanding self.

Romulo: No rating

Apps/Goals: 4/0

Could perhaps have been useful to Allegri, particularly in Europe, but has been frustrated by injury.

Stefano Sturaro: 7

Apps/Goals: 12/1

Brought back from Genoa in January, Sturaro slowly grew in stature. His goal against Napoli was wonderful, while he has shown he can already be trusted in big games. Surely, has a major part to play in the future.

Simone Padoin: 7

Apps/Goals: 26/0

A growing favourite of Allegri’s, Padoin has proven a useful squad player. When fielded at full-back or in midfield, he has been solid and dependable.

Kwadwo Asamoah: 6

Apps/Goals: 7/0

Another affected by injury. Now seems behind Evra in the pecking order.

Roberto Pereyra: 7

Apps/Goals: 35/4

His arrival as an alternative to Juan Manuel Iturbe was questioned in the summer, but he has proven to be a worthwhile addition. With a more clinical edge, he could be a really good player. Has shown enough this season to suggest he can find that bit extra.

Paul Pogba: 8.5

Apps/Goals: 26/8

Pogba has further enhanced his reputation with another outstanding campaign. Under Max Allegri, he has thrived with more freedom and it is hard to pick a weakness in his game. The next €100m player?

Mattia Vitale: No rating

Apps/Goals: 2/0

Youngster who has benefitted from Juventus’ strong season to get some minutes.

Simone Pepe: 6

Apps/Goals: 12/1

A fan favourite, Pepe may not be the player of old, but he remains as popular as ever. Scored a penalty in a win over Napoli.

Kingsley Coman: 6.5

Apps/Goals: 14/0

A surprise starter for Juventus’ league opener at Chievo, Coman gave a hint of his talents. As the campaign progressed his playing time became limited, but he has fleetingly impressed. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits in next season.

Alvaro Morata: 8

Apps/Goals: 29/8

Managed to displace Fernando Llorente and was particularly key in Europe. His pace and directness become the perfect foil to the roaming Tevez. His goals against Real Madrid will live long in the memory.

Fernando Llorente: 6.5

Apps/Goals: 31/7

A tough campaign for Llorente. He struggled for goals at the start and was then displaced by Morata. Easy to forget how good he can be, but not guaranteed to remain next term.

Carlos Tevez: 9.5

Apps/Goals: 32/20

The symbol of this Juventus team. One of many who have benefitted from increased freedom under Allegri, he has been simply unplayable at times. He looks as fit and motivated as ever.

Alessandro Matri: 6.5

Apps/Goals: 5/0

Brought back on loan from Milan in January as a replacement for Sebastian Giovinco, Matri was key to Juventus’ Coppa Italia triumph with goals in the semi-final win over Fiorentina and final victory against Lazio.

Sebastian Giovinco: 4

Apps/Goals: 7/0

Struggled to make a notable impression, before moving on to Toronto FC in January.

Massimiliano Allegri: 9.5

Few could have envisaged a season like this when he arrived for his presentation amid a flurry of abuse. He has taken Conte’s blueprint and made Juventus arguably more flexible, but also fluid. His achievements are a real testament to his initially questioned managerial credentials.