After a run of nine consecutive Serie A titles, it has been a barren two years for Juventus as they have had to watch on as first Inter and then last season, AC Milan won the title.
In the past two years, Juve has really struggled in the league, finishing fourth in both seasons to claim the final Champions League place, but falling some way behind the eventual winners.
In 2020-21, they finished 13 points behind runaway champions Inter, but only one point behind second-placed AC Milan and level on points with third-placed Atalanta.
Last season, they finished 21 points behind AC Milan and only scraped into the top four off the back of a good run of form towards the end of the season, pipping Lazio and Roma to fourth place by one and two points respectively.
Pre-season, however, has given Juventus fans a lot of hope that this is the season they will add to their record-breaking 36 league titles – 17 ahead of nearest rival Inter and AC Milan.
That optimism, however, has not been driven by results. A 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid was followed up by a 4-0 hammering by Athletico Madrid and fans could be forgiven for being underwhelmed by the team’s performances. Their one pre-season victory came against Club Deportivo Guadalajara and they also managed a 2-2 draw with Barcelona, before opening the Serie A season with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Sassuolo.
The reason for the fans’ optimism is the team’s recruitment. Over the past few years, Juventus have become the free transfer specialist and this season is no different. The two big recruits in this summer transfer window have been Paul Pogba, returning to Juventus following a five-year absence, and joining on a free transfer after his contract with Manchester United expired.
Pogba will be joined at Juve by another former Manchester United player, Angel Di Maria. Di Maria struggled for form at Old Trafford, but has since gone on to success at both Real Madrid and PSG and joins Juve on a free transfer after his contract expired at PSG.
In addition, Juve have also brought in centre-back Bremer from Torino, Filip Kostic, a left-sided midfielder from Eintracht Frankfurt and Andrea Cambiaso, a left-back from Genoa.
There have been some outgoings as well, with Juve needing to trim their squad before the start of the season. Matthijs de Ligt departed for Bayern Munich and Paulo Dybala left on a free transfer for Roma. Aaron Ramsey was also released on a free and has since signed for OGC Nice in France.
Of course, these new additions will also be joined by January recruit Dusan Vlahovic who will be starting his first full campaign for Juve after joining in the January transfer window. He hit the ground running last season, helping himself to seven goals in 15 league appearances, firing Juve to fourth place and Champions League qualification.
He has certainly started the season well, grabbing two goals in the opening day victory against Sassuolo and Juve will hope he can stay fit as they bid to wrestle the title back from AC Milan.
Can Juventus overhaul the two Milan sides?
If Juventus are to claim their 37th title this season, it seems likely that it will be the two Milan sides that they have to topple after two stellar seasons for the San Siro sides. Both have recruited well over the summer, adding to their already talented squads that saw them battle it out for the Serie A title over the past two seasons.
Dark horses could be Jose Mourinho’s Roma. They picked up Paulo Dybala on a free transfer when he left Juve and he is likely to form a strong partnership with Englishman Tammy Abraham up front this season. They also completed the signings of Nemanja Matic and Gini Wijnaldum.
Napoli made a strong start to the season, winning 5-2 away at Verona to set the early pace and we can also expect Lazio to feature again this season.
What do the bookies say?
The bookies are predicting a close race this season, with Inter priced as the favourites with Betway Sports at 2.62 closely followed by Juventus at 2.87 with AC Milan at 5.50.
Outside of the favourite three, Roma is priced at 8.50, with Napoli at 21 and Atalanta at 26.00.
The same four favourites are the same that are predicted to claim the Champions League places by finishing in the top four this season, and it is Juventus who will be hoping to overturn those odds and bring the trophy back to Turin after a two-year absence.
Transfer Deadline Deals
There is still the chance that players might come and go before the close of the transfer window and Adrien Rabiot has been strongly linked with a move away to Manchester United over the past few days, although it now appears that the deal might have stalled over Rabiot’s salary requirements.
If Juve does manage to shift Rabiot before the close of the window, a move for Leandro Paredes is expected to add depth to the midfield.
Another player heavily linked with Juventus is Memphis Depay. With Barcelona needing to get players off their wage bill before the close of the window, Depay has been one of the players who may be surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp and Juve are closely monitoring the situation.
What happens in the transfer window may determine how the season plays out, however, Juventus fans have the right to be optimistic about the forthcoming season.
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