This Friday, Naples receives Juventus for the shock of the 18th day of Serie A. A meeting between the leader and his dolphin, who wishes to return to the front of the stage.
What if the first turning point of the season was played this Friday evening in Serie A? On the menu: an enticing Naples – Juventus. The locals, first in the championship, receive their dolphin, visibly reinvigorated. Reinvigorated because after their unchallenged domination between 2012 and 2020, crowned with nine consecutive coronations, the Old Lady had two very complicated seasons. Narrowly fourth in 2021, then in 2022, Juventus were also eliminated two consecutive years at the Champions League round of 16 stage, against Porto and Villareal. But this season, the Bianconeri seem to have found their colors.
Results despite injuries
Juventus have faced a very difficult start to the season. Only four victories in twelve games in all competitions. The coach, Massimiliano Allegri, was very often singled out for these results. “That’s enoughheadlined the Tuttosport newspaper, believing that the Champions League defeat against Benfica represented “a desaster“. It must be said that the Bianconeri have been advancing with a thorn in their side for almost two years following the multiple injuries of the players. Paul Pogba, who returned to Italy this summer, has still not played a single minute with his club this season. Angel Di Maria has already missed 7 games for various physical glitches, while Dusan Vlahovic, who had the role of star striker, has not played with his club since October 25.
However, the Italian technician managed to remobilize his troops and put his team back on track. For that, it was necessary to go back to the fundamentals, that is to say, to defend well. Despite the departure of the emblematic Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus is currently the best defense in the championship with only 7 goals conceded in 17 games. There is even talk of a real fortress. The last goal scored in the league against the “Juve” dates back to October 8 (2-0 victory for AC Milan). Massimilano Allegri managed to establish a style of play that suited his players. The team now agrees to leave the ball to the opponent, even if it means being dominated in certain areas of the game.
Massimiliano Allegri has, for the moment, managed to make the critics of the start of the season forget. MASSIMO PINCA / PANORAMIC
The athlete to forget the financial
But in Turin, life is far from perfect. If Juventus is currently in second place in the championship, the course in the Champions League remains chaotic. The Italians – in the group with PSG – obtained only three small points, not being able to do better than a third place, synonymous with “relegation” in Europa League. A qualification in the biggest of European competitions would have been good for the morale of the players, but also for the wallet. Indeed, Juventus is in a frightening financial situation, posting 239 million euros in losses for the 2021/2022 season, after the 226 million euros of last season. In the sights of justice, the Italian club has also experienced a huge change with the resignation of its president Andrea Agnelli last November. His family acquired the club in 1923. Although the Agnelli family will never be far away, no doubt most Juventus fans are also hoping for a revival in the near future, inspired by former club legends like Buffon, Marchisio, Chiellini, Del Piero…