Can Juventus challenge AC and Inter for this season’s Serie A title?
While Juventus might have managed to drag themselves to a much-needed Champions League finish last season, it doesn’t cover what was a downbeat campaign for the Italian giants.
Eventually finishing the 2021/22 campaign sat 16 points adrift of winners AC Milan, the Old Lady will have plenty of pressure on their shoulders when they open their season against Sassuolo on August 15th.
Welcoming Paul Pogba back to Italy on a free transfer after the World Cup-winner saw his deal at Manchester United expire earlier in the month, Massimiliano Allegri will be desperate for his side to get off to a flying start.
Watching both Milano giants burst back into life over the past 24 months and facing another real challenge this season, can Juventus mount a serious title charge this time around?
Make Turin a fortress
Signing off their final three Serie A appearances last season by collecting just a single point, Allegri will know just how important it is for his side to find some stability on home soil this time around.
Crashing out of the Champions League back in March following that infamous 3-0 drumming against Villarreal at the Allianz Stadium, the Old Lady had gained a reputation for their public struggles in Turin.
Clawing their way over the finish line by winning just a trio of their final seven Serie A showdowns in front of their own supporters, Juve also struggled when any of their main title rivals visited town.
Last season Allegri’s men failed to win any of their home fixtures against Inter Milan, Napoli, Lazio, Atalanta, or eventual winners AC Milan.
Likewise, opening last season’s Serie A campaign with a stunning 1-0 loss at the hands of Empoli 11 months ago, improved performances at the Allianz should be topping Allegri’s wishlist during the 2022/23 campaign.
Finding a cure for their leaky defence
Watching Dutch international Matthijs de Ligt make the move to Bayern Munich earlier in the week, there is a reason why many fans around Turin were disappointed to see the 22-year-old leave.
Although Juve might have been quick to welcome Torino’s Gleison Bremer as an immediate replacement for de Ligt, the Old Lady are desperately seeking for someone to fill the void left by Giorgio Chiellini.
With their defensive icon making the move to MLS outfit Los Angeles this summer, the Italian giants only continued to show a string of defensive issues last season.
On a run that is highlighted by their 4-2 Coppa Italia defeat against Inter Milan on May 11th, Juventus remarkably managed to record just a single clean sheet from any of their final 10 matchups across all formats.
Likewise, on a defensive run that saw them come under real scrutiny, Allegri’s star-studded squad also mustered just a pair of clean sheets from any of their last 14 Serie A showdowns, a run that stemmed all the way back to the start of February.
Get the best out of Vlahović
Although Juventus might have announced the arrival of former PSG superstar Angel Di Maria on a free transfer this summer, there is no doubt that most of Allegri’s goalscoring burden will fall on Dusan Vlahović’s shoulders.
Making the move to Turin back in January for a deal worth in the region of £58million, the ex-Fiorentina marksman will be tipped by many to claim this season’s Golden Boot.
However, while the Serbian international might have gained plenty of plaudits after bagging 20 goals during the first-half of the 2021/22 campaign with the Viola, he did struggle to fully find his feet in Turin.
Signing off last season’s run by bagging just a single strike from any of his final six Serie A appearances, Vlahović has already made it clear that he has set himself higher standards this time around.
However, taking over Juve’s number seven shirt from a certain Cristiano Ronaldo after the five-time Ballon D’or winner left Italy for an Old Trafford return last summer, Vlahović could be pivotal in Allegri’s charge to claim their first Serie A title since 2020.
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