How Juventus Could Win the Europa League in 2023

December 5, 2022 - 3:31 pm

As Italy’s most successful club, Juventus normally have bigger fish to fry than the Europa League when it comes to continental football. 

But after a disappointing Champions League campaign, where they won just once in six games, they find themselves in Europe’s second competition where they’re one of the favourites to lift the trophy next spring. 

Can they do it? Here are some of the obstacles the team might face along the way.

Play-off vs Nantes

When it comes to dream locations, then Juventus fans may have preferred an alternative French team instead of the one they got in the last 16 draw. 

Monaco is one of the classic European destinations, sitting on the French Riviera with pleasant weather year-round. Its capital Monte Carlo stands for a bygone era, with its grand old casinos a stark, expensive contrast to the free online slots and other internet casino games readily available today. It’s also a great place to check out beautiful, cobbled streets and ancient buildings.

Nantes, on the other hand, is a rainy port city on the north-western coast of France that won’t be as appealing to visiting fans. Yet, many won’t care as FC Nantes are having a much more difficult season than their compatriots on the south coast. While Monaco are pushing for European football again next season, Les Canaris are facing a relegation battle after winning just two of their opening 14 games. 

Juve will fancy their chances of pushing past these into the quarterfinals much more than against Monaco, whose strike partnership of Wissam Ben-Yedder and Breel Embolo are in sparkling form. 

They’ll also be pleased to have avoided big guns Manchester United and in-form Union Berlin who have been keeping pace with Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga.

The last 16 and beyond

Juve will be heavy favourites to knock Nantes out over two legs and if they do, they’ll be thrown into the hat alongside the seven other play-off winners and the eight Europa League group winners. 

This is where it could get sticky for the Turin side. As well as Man United, they could draw Ajax, Barcelona, Arsenal or Bayer Leverkusen. A two-legged tie against any of these will require Juve to dig deep and produce some of their best performances of the season. 

These top sides are also Juve’s biggest rivals for the trophy: Arsenal’s red-hot start to the season makes them 4/1 favourites, with Juventus fourth on the list at around 12/1.

Key players

If Juventus are going to get past these top teams, they’ll need to rely on the rock-solid defence that coach Massimiliano Allegri has built this season, which has conceded just a handful of goals in the opening 15 games of the season. 

Key to this is the centre-half partnership of club legend Leo Bonucci and the Brazilian Bremer, who joined from cross-city rivals Torino in the summer. The two look as if they’ve played together for years, and the silver lining to Italy not qualifying for the World Cup is the veteran Bonucci getting a well-earned winter break. 

Going forward, wingers Filip Kostic and Juan Cuadrado have been supplying the service, with their assists hitting double figures already, while Dušan Vlahović picked up where he left off from a prolific 21/22 campaign with six goals in his first 10 Serie A games this season.

On the face of it, Juve have a side built for cup football, with their mean defence and an ability to hurt teams on the break. Allegri has also proved his worth in big cup competitions before, lest we forget: his Juve side reached the Champions League final twice in 2015 and 2017.

After falling at the final hurdle twice there, he’ll be hoping that a Europa League win alleviates some of the pain. 

The Final

The Puskás Aréna in Budapest may not mean much to Juve fans, but that will change on May 31st if they make it to the Europa League final there.

The stadium holds close to 70,000 people, so tens of thousands of fans from either competing side will get the chance to see their team go for glory live, although no doubt thousands more will make a trip anyway.

If Juve do win it, it will be their first major European trophy in 27 years, since they won the Champions League and the Super Cup back in 1996. They had won the Europe League, or the UEFA Cup, three years earlier. 

How fitting it would be for Juve fans if they could mark the 30th anniversary of that win with a triumph in Budapest? As for history repeating itself and them winning another Champions League three years after that… well, they can always dream. 

 Photo by Robert Anderson on Unsplash

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  • Avatar
    martinn December 5, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    `and they`ll need an attack to score plenty of goals.. right?…right?` Vlahovic is being ignored in this team, he`s not a defender. nowhere near the best team in the competition, thanks to the coach. `on the face of it Juve have a team built for cup competition`. The Champion`s league says hi and goodbye