On the back of a disappointing campaign under the tutelage of Andrea Pirlo, few expected to witness an even more underwhelming season at Juventus.
Yet, Max Allegri’s homecoming season was anything but successful. The Bianconeri have been trailing in the standings from the very start, but took advantage of the lack of competition to secure an unsatisfying fourth spot.
Moreover, the returning manager failed to overturn the club’s European fortunes. In fact, the elimination at the hands of Villarreal proved to be one of the most embarrassing Champions League nights in the club’s recent memory.
At the end of the season, the Old Lady came out empty-folded after succumbing at the hands of Inter in the Italian Super as well as the Coppa Italia final.
So let’s take a look at the five main factors that doomed Juve’s chances this season.
Ronaldo’s Untimely Departure
We begin with the event that occurred at the very start of the season. Cristiano Ronaldo’s untimely departure at the end of the summer transfer market acted as a looming shadow that beset the club’s start of the campaign.
The management was unable to properly replace the Portuguese star on the market and his former teammates struggled to make up for his goal-tally and failed to win a single match in the first four rounds.
While the results improved in the middle of the season, Juventus paid the price for their slow start.
Throughout the second half of the season, Allegri had difficulties naming a compact first eleven with injuries piling up from one week to another.While some players managed to make speedy recoveries, the likes of Federico Chiesa and Weston McKennie missed several months of action.
While the issue isn’t new at all, the midfield conundrum continues to haunt the Old Lady. Even though Manuel Locatelli and Denis Zakaria proved to be decent additions, Allegri still doesn’t possess a natural Regista or a creative midfielder who can raise the level of quality in the middle of the park.
While blaming Lady Luck is usually reserved for sore losers, one has to admit that good fortune abandoned the Bianconeri on crucial occasions throughout the season.
Juventus lost to Inter on three massive occasions with major implications, and all three clashes included incidents that favored the opposition. Moreover, a bit more luck could have allowed the Italian giants to overcome Villarreal, but instead, the ball refused to enter the Spaniards’ net.
Finally, even Allegri’s most avid supporters must admit that the manager was anything but sharp this season. Perhaps two years on the shelf took its toll, but whatever the case may be, the manager was supposed to be a great addition to the cause, but his rigid and uninspiring gameplay proved to a liability for the club this term.
Let’s hope he takes his game up a notch next season.