Club Features, Features

Quantity over Quality – Juve heading towards more trophies, but at what price?

March 14, 2018 - 9:29 am

Last Wednesday’s win away to Tottenham Hotspur saw Juventus progress to another Champions League Quarter Final, their third in four seasons. Their form in Serie A since November has been imperious and they’re matching Napoli stride for stride in the Scudetto race. They have also made their fourth Coppa Italia Final in a row where they’ll face Milan. Given they’re still fighting for trophies on three fronts the actual performances have been less than convincing and some wins have been downright fortunate at times. Any regular viewer of Juve’s games will be very aware of their inability to control games, move out of second gear and kill teams off at the earliest opportunity. Welcome to Juventus 2018, ladies and gentlemen.

 

Less than inspiring performances and dull 1-0 wins have been the rule rather than the exception since the start of the season, the opening Champions League game group game was away to Barcelona, a team they comprehensively knocked out in last year’s Quarter Final. After a regulation start to the season Juve suffered a 3-0 defeat in Spain. The defeat can be attributed to a lack of confidence when the first goal was conceded, but it was plain to see they didn’t play anywhere near their potential. Defeat to Barca meant the other games then turned into a must not lose scenarios and not losing five games in a difficult group certainly wasn’t an easy task as Juve continued to grind out undeserved wins with average performances. The return fixture against Barcelona came a game after a nightmare inducing defeat, away to Sampdoria, in which Juve were outplayed. The Barca game followed the same pattern as the first where the team seemed almost too scared to attack. Max Allegri had set up his team not to lose, given the defeat earlier in the season this was understandable, however this was the penultimate group game and a win would have secured qualification. This made the lack of ambition by not pressing for the winning goal unbelievably frustrating and the outcry from fans was justified as the team had the perfect chance to progress. Qualification was secured with a win away against Olympiakos in the final game and it felt as if this was Allegri’s plan from the start; to use the maximum number of games to spread out the effort in the group stage. Juve were through but far from convincing.

 

The aggregate victory over Spurs is still fresh in the memory and for long periods of the tie Juve were outplayed, no one can argue with that. Whether this was by design or not Allegri must take the blame for lining up with a two man midfield for the home leg, especially when one of those midfielders was the woefully poor, Sami Khedira. He must also take some blame for the defensive style which was incorporated after Juve raced into a 2-0 lead, it can be said the players may have played this tactic too well and Spurs’ domination snowballed from there. Indeed such was the shock on both sides when Juve went two up that had they gone for more goals (and they were unlucky not to add to their total in fairness) the tie would’ve been over before the second leg in London. As it was, Spurs came away feeling as though they had the advantage after their dominance turned into goals and Juve had been made to look very ordinary in front of a worldwide audience.

 

The second leg had a very similar feel to it although Juve were able to deploy Blaise Matuidi and Paulo Dybala after they didn’t feature in the first leg due to injury. Spurs though were the better team again and had they won the tie not many would’ve complained as Juve allowed themselves to be dominated for the majority of the game. This poses its own questions; Was the first leg in the players’ minds? Were they just desperate not to concede? Or were they suffering from an inferiority complex? Whatever the reasons, the first hour of the second leg saw Juve look a shadow of the side who had reached two of the last three Champions League Finals. Allegri though must be credited for his substitutions and Juve didn’t look back after the side appeared more balanced in the second half. Given the general atmosphere surrounding the win it can be argued Allegri has dodged a bullet with this result, he will ultimately be judged on the team’s Champions League performances and they’ll will need to play much better in the Quarter Final or they could be on the end of an embarrassing exit.

The Spurs tie has really highlighted the fact Juve have been playing beneath their ability for a long while. Looking back, one can barely remember the last time they dominated a team and played to the best of their ability. Even those Juve fans with memories akin to an elephant would only be able to remember two or three games this season, the exceptions being Milan, away, and home games against Torino and Sassuolo. Those games apart it is be nearly a whole season since Juve dismantled both Barca and Monaco in successive rounds of the Champions League,  On those occasions Juve showed what they’re capable of when the confidence is sky high. Unfortunately it hasn’t happened often enough for a team of their calibre.

 

More recently in Serie A Juve have won 13 of 14 games and have yet to concede a goal in 2018. While these fantastic statistics show the spirit and determination of the current squad the majority of the performances have been similar to those in the Champions League. To go into each game in detail would induce sleep in most people, suffice to say the away win against Lazio a fortnight ago captured Juve’s season perfectly; Borderline dreadful performance where one or two players are hardly worthy of being paid for turning up and ultimately rescued by a moment brilliance from one of their stars to secure victory. This has become normal viewing for Juventini this season as these creativity deficiencies more apparent when they’re continuously grinding out scrappy 1-0 wins.

 

Allegri’s preferred choice to partner Miralem Pjanic is Sami Khedira, again I am in no position to question his decisions but his insistence of choosing a player well past his best over Claudio Marchisio cannot be conducive to good team performances. It is plain to see Marchisio isn’t, and probably never will be, at his pre-injury form, however it is fairly obvious he is still a more competent player than Khedira. His introduction to the starting line up against Udinese highlighted his abilities as Juve’s general shape and midfield coherence was much improved from that of the last month or two. Other than the Marchisio/Khedira question the squad is quite balanced and deep though it is unfortunate that injuries have decimated the attacking players recently. Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi are both out indefinitely, Mario Mandzukic has also missed significant time too. This has meant a narrow formation has been deployed recently and again Allegri’s options have been limited in terms of formation and style.

We can dispute player selection and tactics all day but one valid question remains, one which isn’t mentioned too often while Juve are winning; given the repeated dour performances and narrow wins we have to ask is this the limit with Allegri? Should we expect his Juve teams to perform like this season after season? He is well known to be a fan of squad rotation and building his team for a big trophy push after Christmas. Given recent viewing it can be said this still hasn’t happened as we haven’t seen Juve start to dominate teams in a way which is expected of them. But on the other hand, it most definitely has started as they’re still fighting for three trophies in mid-March. Let’s remember Juve won the domestic double and made a Champions League Final last season by playing this way; In second gear most of the season and producing the odd emphatic win to appease supporters for a few weeks?

 

If this is the hallmark of Allegri’s playing style and season management then Juve fans should accept it and support his methods. He will always use two legs of a cup tie to win rather than one. He will use the whole 90 minutes to win a game rather than 60. He will look ahead and rotate his squad to give the team a better chance of success. His methods may be disagreeable to some but remember he has delivered the title every year, two Coppa Italia wins and two Champions League Finals since his arrival in 2014.

Those fans hoping Allegri will be sacked should be careful what they wish for. Juve have a very competent, trusted manager and those wanting his resignation should ask themselves who would replace him? If he changed his style overnight and risked more by turning Juve into a gung-ho, attacking unit it might result in a few more comprehensive victories but would surely compromise their rock solid defence and would also reduce the opportunity to rotate the squad and prevent fatigue and injury. Juve would do well to stick with Allegri rather than venture into the land of console gaming in search of entertainment and goals.

The uproar over a lack of entertainment could all be ridiculed as hyperbole, a simple trophy-spoiled fan reaction to below-par performances. However as Juve are looking to rub shoulders with Real Madrid and company on regular basis their lack of consistent, high quality performances is a cause for concern and right now it appears the team hasn’t built on last year’s success of reaching the Champions League Final. Obviously success in its definite form would mean only returning from Kiev with the trophy would be considered to be success. In more realistic terms success can be defined as improved performances and gliding past teams with minimum effort, this at least would’ve been an improvement on last year. So have Juve been a success this year? That is the big question. Are they sacrificing quality over quantity? The recent Netflix series has shown, if any proof were needed, that Juve is obsessed with winning the Champions League. However given current performances it’s going to be a while before the trophy is in the Bianconeri cabinet again. Although it just may be the moribund style is part of Allegri’s plan to make Juve into a squad of grizzled, seasoned veterans who will eventually be capable of making the trophy their own.

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  • Avatar
    bob March 14, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Bravo!
    one of best, if not the best summary of Juventus season 17/18….till now.
    tx-great reading

    • Avatar
      Dave Long March 14, 2018 at 11:44 pm

      You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    Dar Black March 14, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    I agree with pretty much all you say Dave. Good read, well done. Be careful though, you will be upsetting someone with much of what you have said 😉

    • Avatar
      Dave Long March 14, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Cheers. Looks like I have! Not only on here but Twitter and Facebook too. It’s funny as I never thought this article would create so much controversy!

      • Avatar
        Dar Black March 15, 2018 at 12:33 am

        🙂 yes it appears so. Quelle surprise!

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    Cody McWilliams March 14, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I agree in the sense that this is not been the prettiest of seasons, but this squad has really struggled for fitness with numerous key players preventing a great sense of continuity within the team. Under those circumstances I think allegri has managed the squad quite well. You only have to look back to last season’s Champions League where we cruise through the knockout rounds with 10 goals to one, butchering Barcelona and an extremely talented Monaco side in the process. I think the only thing that is missing to allow allegri to challenge the real elite toe-to-toe is quality Midfield reinforcements. We were after some of these last summer but failed to deliver and now we are paying the price by having to grind out results in an unattractive way in order to mask our Midfield deficiencies. If the sign of our negativity and lack of confidence is too much time spent with 9 behind the ball absorbing too much pressure like we did against Tottenham then the obvious cause of this is an inability to control the Midfield and maintain possession.

    I think that given this season’s injuries and lack of reinforcements, allegri’s management has been brilliant. I put more blame on the unattractive play style on the management for not filling some fairly obvious gaps in the squad. Any talk of sacking allegri is horribly misguided, and as you said, a move we would seriously regret.

    • Avatar
      JuveAllDay March 14, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      Very much agree

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    EH March 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Look at Tottenham, they dominated both games and now they’re out of the competition. Attacking football does not always mean better football and it surely does not guarantee that the team will win, otherwise every team would be playing with 10 strikers. What is more important, to win or to put up a great performance?

    As fans, we have to accept the fact that football is a business…it is about making money and every time that Juventus wins, that means more money for the club and everyone involved with the club. If Allegri delivered a team that plays beautiful football but ends up losing games then he would be out of a job. This way he keeps his job, the investors are happy, the club makes money and the fans have the option to cheer or to criticize if they wish to do so.

    I do not see Juventus as being obsessed with winning the Champions League…it feels more like ‘the younger brother seeking recognition from the parents who only praise the older brother’ scenario. They are tired of hearing how many times they’ve reached a Champions League Final which translates into how many times they’ve lost. They’ve moved on from Calciopoli yet everyone brings it up again by commenting how Juventus can only win in Italy because they cannot afford to buy referees in Europe. That is why Juventus wants to win the Champions League. It is not an obsession but the only way to make haters shut up. Also, from a marketing point of view, they see that Serie A has lost its dominance while the Premier League and La Liga have been enjoying a larger exposure around the world (especially in the American continent) after the collapse of Italian soccer. Juventus understands what are the perks of winning the Champions League and that is why they want to win it. They are not a club with an obsession but with a vision.

    • Avatar
      4ZA-JUVE March 14, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      Juve can win the next 10 Champions leagues and they’ll still be accused of cheating and calciopoli will always be talked about. That’s the way Italians are, they talk conspiracies on post game shows, they print Juve’s emblem on toilet paper to sell on the streets, nothing that Juve achieve will ever change that

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        ascherith March 14, 2018 at 5:33 pm

        it can and it will. if juventus can prove it again that they really are european powerhouse, we already did it in the past, like having the EUFA plaque and dominating european for decades from the 80s and juventus players needs also become the main pillars of azzuri, when azzuri dominating by juventus players, the result always good in WC or euro.
        people will asking their self, why the clubs accused with cheating keep getting stronger and keep winning and why the clubs who claimed to be the saint, the holy club, the only club who clean and never cheat become mid table club and it got to be sold to foreigners just to stay alive. someday people will see.

        • Avatar
          EH March 14, 2018 at 5:49 pm

          That’s the only criticism I have for this Juve side…right now against Atalanta there are only two Italian players on the pitch, Buffon and Chiellini. That needs to change.

      • Avatar
        EH March 14, 2018 at 6:04 pm

        I know the Italian way well enough. Most Italians still feel nostalgic about Il Duce even today because they don’t know what’s good for them and they can never let go of the past…if Juventus wins the Champions though, it will change many things. Juventus will gain more respect on the international level so who cares if many Italians have backwards mentality? Winning the Champions League is not about Juve being recognized in Italy because everyone knows them there. It is about continuing to belong at the top. They need to appeal to the new generations today in order to gain new followers. If they keep losing European finals, no one will care what is that they did in the past. Look at Milan and Inter…they’ve been forgotten from the European stage.

    • Avatar
      ascherith March 14, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      yeah, look at napoli, the best beautiful style attacking football in italy and look at where they ended now? LOL
      they have to sacrifice UCL and EL and coppa just to have enough energy to compete with us! not because they dont have enough resources but they out of gas because playing attacking styles, always running 90minutes, high pressing just more tiring if they have to do that week in and week out no wonder they got no good result in the end.
      roma’s win yesterday also making another proves that attacking football not always gave best result.

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    JuveAllDay March 14, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I understand why some would feel disappointed in the season, but to my mind every season is different and we did look pretty darned good by the end of last season minus Cardiff. We continue to replace key players season after season and have had fitness challenges to boot. There is no question Juve have not looked as good match in and match out as many of us would hope, but I’ll take where we’re at all things considered. I personally have faith in Allegri, and agree with the article’s idea that those fans hoping for a change would likely be disappointed in the result! It’s been a long time since the club have had the level of success we’ve had in Allegri’s time here. I will always take winning over looking good, as to me that is the goal. Not to say, we wouldn’t like to have both. I don’t see available managers that I would prefer. It gets frustrating to see us back off at times with a 1 goal lead, but I would say Allegri has proven flexible and that the choices available to him in midfield have limited his ability to feature more robust attack minded tactics while still ensuring solidarity and victories. I think a hallmark of great clubs and managers is being able to produce results match in and match out even in seasons or matches where there is adversity and the highest and best form has not been reached. If you look at our overall talent the past few years, this squad should never have made 2 Champions League Finals, much less win them. I am unable to understand some peoples’ expectations. There are precious few clubs in the world who are regularly able to win at Juve’s level and look amazing doing it. I do also understand that at some point every manager club pairing runs it’s course and change needs to be made. However, I am not convinced Juve and Allegri are at that point.

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    ascherith March 14, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    people who still saying that juventus play poor needs to learn history. juventus style = determination, not attractive kick running with big ball posession. nowadays juventini wanna be want to watch juventus play like napoli, barca, madrid, spurs, liverpool, psg, but if all teams are playing similar styles then what the use of a coach? they can set it auto with 3 attackers 3 mids and 2 CB and 2 wingback then every club can replicated those triangle passes dan high pressing and make entertaining trading punches.
    but in the end, like in this seasons juventus show it again and again, that juventus style with lo spirito and fino alla fine, with their traditional playing styles always bring good results, it is easy to judge juve playing styles is bad if not playing attacking football, but just look at those attacking oriented teams got so far? spurs? napoli? psg? liverpool? madrid? most of them already kickout from knockout competitions and their positions in the leagues also questionable, most of them only compete in 1 or 2 competitions, while juventus still alive in all competitions. even roma playing almost similar traditional italian teams style already go to the next round.
    hoping juve playing like barca or liverpool is like hoping a tank running like a ferrari.
    only the people who can appreciates brilliant defending moves, perfect timing tackles, chiellini head bandages, perfect blocks, intelligent defending and brilliant tactics can enjoy juventus games.

  • Avatar
    Igor Subotic March 14, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    To admin, why don’t you rename this site to “let’s everybody shit on how lame Allegri is and how we are here only by pure luck”

    Admin, I urge you, stop giving space to these premier league fanboys.

    • Avatar
      EH March 14, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Pure luck? How? If Lionel Messi scores 2 seconds before the end of the game and Barcelona wins, people comment that it came down to a moment of brilliance from Messi. If Cristiano Ronaldo scores in overtime, they say he did it again. If Dybala scores on the 93rd min, they say Juventus lucked out.

      Lazio complained that Juventus got lucky with the goal that Dybala scored but a week later Immobile’s Goal against Cagliari to tie the game on the 95th minute was amazing apparently. Or the goal from Andre Silva on the 94th minute for Milan against Genoa last week as well…when other teams do it, they call them moments of brilliance. When juventus scores that way then it is pure luck.

      Juventus is where it is now because of Allegri and some bad luck. Just because you do not agree with the way Allegri runs the team it does not make him a lame coach. If Dybala had not missed two consecutive penalties against Berisha and Strakosha, Juventus would have been more than 4 points ahead of Napoli today. If Higuain had not missed the second penalty against Tottenham then the game in Torino would have ended 3-2…so it is not pure luck but bad luck. Give Allegri the credit that he deserves. Apart from Marcello Lippi, no other coach has given Juventus more than Allegri (at least since the 90’s).

    • Avatar
      Dar Black March 14, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      This has NOTHING to do with the premier league.

      In 1995 I travelled a 1500 mile round trip from London to Turin on a Eurolines bus to see Juve play Foggia. We were great, even if the score was 2-1. My arse is still sore from the journey….. Good job I don’t do that now eh! Imagine how pissed off I would be seeing that performance against Spurs in our own stadium.

      You Igor need to pull your head out from your rear end and stop being in bloody denial of the problems we have. Problems which won’t go away by your silly pretending that all is fine and well, and problems Igor which may well as Dave is trying to explain be very ruthlessly exposed by at least 3 teams remaining in the UCL.

    • Avatar
      Dave Long March 14, 2018 at 11:38 pm

      Igor, while I respect any opinion in reply to one of my articles and will reply, whether the comment by the reader is positive or negative, and either back up or defend my point of view.

      My article is not scathing of Allegri and certainly doesn’t mention anything about Juve’s success being based on luck. I have merely pointed out what a lot of people have mentioned, I give some stats and observations to back it up then I will give my own opinions. That is the aim and structure of all my work.
      I have said time and again that I am firmly behind Allegri and no matter our style of play, the man has earned my respect and admiration for delivering success to the club.
      Your comments, while welcome, have no substance and are very childish. I’m not sure what you base the ‘premier league fanboy’ comment on. Nothing about my work has ever suggested this, in fact if you go to my blog and read the article on the England national team you will see I’m about as far away from a ‘fanboy’ (whatever that is) as it’s possible to be. That said, thanks for reading it.

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet March 15, 2018 at 8:17 am

        Same..curiously out of kilter ‘criticism’… I was receiving a week back from the same sources, Dave. From the same sources.

        I consider your well written, very steady and logical analysis above not quite a perfect fit for my own stance, yet not far removed either.

        There is an issue with mentality of the side as a whole. I do not believe it is a lack of talent. It could be a lack of natural leaders…or it could be remnants from whatever poisoned the dressing room last season leading to the departures of the Alves Goblin and Big Leo. Whilst I doubt the Goblin forged any deep and meaningful bonds, Leo had plenty, and aside from the need for professionalism, and for king and country winning is all that ever counts blah blah blah many of the players have been close to him for a very long time. He was part of la famiglia. Not just his departure but the manner in which he left, I suspect has left its mark on the hearts and minds of a few powerful characters in the squad. Which is not to suggest that sabotage is at play. Just that…it hurt more than merely Leo and Max.

        It is tricky to see any obvious step up or even across from Max, in terms of the solidity of domestic dominance and superb CL results. I still like Ancelotti…Zidane appears able to galvanise an exceptionally talented squad for the rigours of a CL campaign, yet has been outwitted in the long haul of the domestic campaign. Deschamps has done very little to persuade. WHo else is out there who really sticks out, at home or abroad?

        I see none better than Max. No greater assurance, whilst I do believe we have easily the strongest squad in Italy, yet Naples are a brilliant team for the first XI and a little more, and also very well managed indeed, great cohesion, great style, often a beautiful footballing identity, but winning football?? Nope…neither at home or abroad.Finding that balance is very hard indeed.

        • Avatar
          Dave Long March 15, 2018 at 8:48 am

          Thanks for your comments. You are indeed correct, other than Zidane (who is surely finished in Madrid) I can’t see anyone else who would be able to deliver the same success as Allegri.
          The leadership issue is one I haven’t given much thought to. While I don’t doubt Gigi is a great leader and positive role model for the rest and Chiellini and Barzagli do their bit, we do need more outfield leaders.

    • Avatar
      Igor Subotic March 15, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      @DaveLong07:disqus @thegutterpoet:disqus @dar_black:disqus

      Undefeated in 23 games ✔️
      42 goals scored ⚽
      Just 4 goals conceded since Nov 2017

      DWWWDWWWWWWWWWWWDWWWWWW

      What fucking problems are you all talking about!? WHAT!? Because we don’t play like Barca, is that a problem? NO, lads, it is not. At least not to a true fan, and not just a bunch of fanboys who get off on watching Messi.

      Stop comparing us to Barcelona or Real, we never played that way. We win our games because we are world-class when defending. I see you simply do not understand football, Italian football especially. You all grown up watching the Premier league football with loads of running and no tactical awareness among the players, just running and running. Dynamic and interesting. But that’s not how Juve play, or have ever played.

      Catenaccio was created in Italy and has since been the style true Italian teams play, Juventus being the perfect example of it.

      Juve had problems with injuries, we had 8 players injured at one moment and still we are here, battling on all three fronts. Other than that, Juve has no real issues or problems.

      You lads need to be more thankful of the whole team in general. If you want dynamic, eye-catching football, you are knocking at the wrong door my friends, it just is not in Juve’s DNA.

      FINO ALLA FINE!

      • Avatar
        Dave Long March 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm

        Fuck me! I need to be more thankful? Have you even read the paragraph which starts ‘those wishing for Allegri’s sacking’? Read it then accuse me of not being thankful.

        Curious use of the word ‘fanboy’ again, you like that don’t you? Please explain what one is.

        Not sure anyone compared us to Real or Barca. Read the comments again.
        As for not understanding football and growing up with the premier league, you are completely wrong. I was watching football years before the PL was established. I have had the pleasure of watching football in many different countries, taking time to understand the culture, style and passion. I have coached in the US and Portugal. I have played semi professionally for 4 seasons and could have taken a full time coaching job. Before you throw around such sweeping statements I suggest you do some homework.

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet March 15, 2018 at 11:56 pm

        We haven’t played catenaccio regularly for many years. Save for a few games against technically superior opposition.
        I have not seen us naturally a counter-attacking team for the majority of close to thirty years following the side. You can look at the players we have had…Yes, it is true, italian defenders have a reputation, and catenaccio was born in Italy, but the game changed dramatically in the 80s and 90s, and again after the turn of the Millennium.

        I repeat, as your understanding of the game appears so remarkably different to my own that it is as if we are different species with different senses, or we follow different games…yes I repeat that the defensive nous of italian defenders achieved legendary status, which loosely remains now, though is fragmented. Times have changed. We no longer see the majority playing defensive counter-attacking football, denying space first and foremost. AC did not play this way in the 90s. Neither did we, not thereafter. Roma do not play this way. Napoli do not play this way. Even Atalanta do not play this way…Lazo…Fiorentina…Have you been watching Serie A for the last few decades?

        This idea of catenaccio, as a word is truly italian, but as a tactic it is not in any way exclusive to italian teams or coaches…The english call it parking the bus. I am sure others have a term also. It is like the gegenpressing silliness, as if Klopp is some form of tactical genius, trying something never tried before. Which just isnt true, though it does lead to exciting football, for all but the defenders of the side tasked with such a constant press with all ready to spring forward. I am digressing…

        You haven’t mentioned the natural progression of catenaccio which was zona mista…or have you yet to find that on google? You could possibly say there were hints of this in Conte’s 3-5-2. And yet there was little holding back with his Juve, it was a machine, well oiled, trying to attack down the flanks, through the middle, switching between flanks, then down the middle or crossing. Very predictable, but very well drilled, very strong, with a world class defense and some world class players through the spine of the team.

        I have sympathy for anyone stuck in a society or culture where football is neither widely discussed nor understood. To be a passionate supporter of the game in such circumstances is horrid. I find that sensation here in Australia when a ‘die-hard’ Chelsea fan at work asks me how the Gill got on against ‘Pompeii’ at the weekend with a smug nod as he displays his ‘insider knowledge’ of the nickname of Portsmouth. I cringe, but then realise that its all I have to work with, so try to engage and hope that we find common ground…

        Its far worse coming from a culture, where you have grown, in which football is in the social fabric and has been for many moons, where football is understood, it has a huge and deep history, then finding that which is usually nourished day to day surrounded by people saying either ‘game for softies and fakers’ or ‘pomeii’….hohoho! Its horrid, and I always enjoy my trips home to Europe for the added pleasure of proper football debate with my english chums and famiglia italiana (naples maniacs who seriously hate juve – after a few drinks)…They understand the game.

        Highlighting issues with a club, with a squad, is not a lack of support. It is a very natural part of supporting a club. Its a relationship, and nobody who wishes for a successful relationship between organic sentient beings treats that relationship as the most perfect harmonious bond ever found in the universe ever basked in starlight, beyond any criticism, never needing any work…that is at best naive.

        The criticisms which have been raised of late are not solely of an aesthetic value. They are also of an organisational, selection, mentality value. Also of the direction the club is heading and how they are looking to get there – as per Dave’s conclusion in the piece above.

        I would never want to support a team where everything was perfect and we won every game, and everyone regarded us as the most perfect team of all time and for all time…How boring that would be. Same wretchedness as if Satan never appeared in Eden, to thwart our horrid destiny of cultivating a weedless garden that grew right because it couldnt grow wrong. As H G Wells scribbled many moons ago…

    • Avatar
      Moderator March 17, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      As long as people are respectfully trading ideas and thoughts, i am ok with this.

      The site has been around for over 20 years and has weathered the storm of Farsopoli, the good times and the bad times – throughout all that, the sentiment has been the same – to support that club and provide Juventus news and articles that you may or may not agree with.

      The people who are writing here are not PL fanboys – For the record, I think we are having a great season and i don’t agree that Allegri should be questioned – If you were to see my reactions on Twitter and FB you would understand that i am 100% behind Allegri and believe him to be the most intelligent and important tactician that we’ve had at the club in some time. Just because i believe that, doesn;t mean that i shouldn’t give others the opportunity to voice their opinions, even if they are not in keeping with mine.

      If you disagree, no problem – debate and argue all you like, just be respectful.

  • Avatar
    RAC March 15, 2018 at 3:23 am

    I see from the comments that a lot of people disagree with the general tone of the article. I am glad, because so do I. I respect your opinion, Dave, but I disagree when you say it is based on fact.

    It is true that we were overwhelmed by Barcelona on the first CL game of the season, but we started without mandzukic and khedira, fielded a brand new midfield three of pjanic matuidi and betancur (2 of which were barely learning their place in the team), and also fielded an overenthusiastic costa. Add the fact that benatia was nowhere near his now amazing form and our “new alves” de sciglio was injured before halftime… we were bound to get thrashed from the get go.

    Moving on from that game we had the expected transition phase post-bonucci/alves/4231 which was awkward, but guess what? Barring that barcelona game, we have scored more goals, conceded less goals, and accumulated more points than at this point last season (all competitions). We have not lost a single game since mid-november and have only conceded 4 (!!) goals since then (caceres, kane, eriksen, son). So where are the facts? Why are we worse? Because some of us don’t like the style we see on the field? Come on, you can call one game luck, granted. But you have to call 4 months of play a trend.

    I think you may be right in your definition of allegri’s style, but I don’t think it is a limitation in any way, nor can I say that we are objectively weaker than last season. Subjectively, sure. But the numbers disagree.

    Allegri said it best today after the Atalanta game: “Going one meter further to help your teammates, giving up beautiful play to do that which is useful, and having fun together: I see a growing squad. We must continue to do this to achieve our objectives.”

    • Avatar
      Dave Long March 15, 2018 at 7:48 am

      I never said it was based on fact the only facts I mention are the results. I also mention what is very obvious, that some of our performances haven’t been great. I didn’t mention luck either.

      • Avatar
        RAC March 16, 2018 at 3:40 am

        Sorry if I seemed harsh, Dave. I guess I just sensed pessimism in the article, as if we are on the downhill from last season rather than uphill. I probably unloaded my frustration at what I read a lot of fans post on the internet on you.

        Sometimes I don’t understand why so many people demand “beautiful” football from a team that has never had that as part of its identity. If that is what people want, why choose to follow a team that publicly says that “winning isn’t important, it is the only thing that matters”? Juventus and Allegri have very publicly stated time and time again that they could not care less for beautiful football, and now we are racking up our best numbers in years. This is a time to rejoice, and a great opportunity for that trophy which I shall not name.

        Again, I am sorry for any inaccuracies or jabs in my first comment. You wrote a good article; I guess I’m just more optimistic about the possibilities of our unattractive performances.

        • Avatar
          Dave Long March 16, 2018 at 7:03 am

          Absolutely no need to apologise, you’re entitled to your opinion, I write articles about contentious issues and I expect some criticism in return. At least your reply was well mannered and well structured, I don’t mind entering into a conversation when people reply in such a way. I just felt the need to explain a few things about my article.
          We are most certainly not on a downhill from last season, the very fact we’re at least on course to emulate last year should be considered a success. As I have said before I don’t mind how we win, just so long as we do. No one remembers how we play once the trophies are handed out at the season’s end.

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef March 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

    I respect your view a quite clearly think the the upcoming draw in the champions league will be tough. I remember quite clearly when we brushed teams aside under lippi in our unfortunate best run we had in Europe. Until the final that said.

    Now its quite clear that we have better teams to face in Europe. We are not the best. I don’t remember any players being so influential on the results like the current footballing gods Messi and Ronaldo. Our clear swipe of intercontinental activity of 2006 has left us marked. Prior we went to London and came with Viera afterwards to Amsterdam and Ibrahimovic. Now we must create stars and go on from there losing some like Vidal and Pogba.

    But all this makes what we achieved all the sweeter and better. We played two champions final in the last three years. And we won six and currently on top in the domestic competition.

    And while today I’m a little more conserved not over enthusiastic as I seen yesterday the match over Atalanta I believe Massimiliano is right in saying that’s its not easy to round up competitions even the coppa all the seasons and that’s what he achieved. He wil Be remembered as one of the greats. This year we faced a domestic mule team which did not give the title race away. We are ahead 4 points in what’s been a very tight race.

    Then again yesterday I saw Messi play. My dear lord he has not lost 100 cal in all the game. He walks all the match and expecting the moment. A true genius of football.

    So while we discuss we are the best that Italian football can field. For this year Italy will not be in the world Cup as it was the minimal representation in national squad from the JUVE team. And while we critic we win. And while thay celebrate un wined competition we win. And after they swiped us we win.

    That’s what the club is there for. We achieve the most with what we have. We have our own stadium our own family.

    For what we ve been through we are the Best.

  • Avatar
    Igor Subotic March 15, 2018 at 11:34 am

    All you people writing here that there are better teams than Juve, please elaborate which these teams are, and why are they better than us.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black March 15, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Here you go Igor.. cheer yourself up. This is a Juve performance to remember with PRIDE… https://youtu.be/LQqkz_wR6sk?t=1s

      • Avatar
        Igor Subotic March 15, 2018 at 1:54 pm

        Biggest pride I felt to be a supporter of this club is when Alex said: “a gentleman never leaves his lady.” . This is what Juve is all about. No matter what difficulties may come you never go against your team.

        And I hope you’re not using this video as an example of how Juve played attacking football in the past.

        Because on average it’s 2 goals max per game for the past 20+ years. Ohhh, and do you remember that night in Manchester, such a beautiful display of world-class defending from both teams. And a tactical chess game between Lippi and Ancelloti.

        JUVENTUS vs AC MILAN
        28.10.17 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 2
        10.03.17 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 1
        25.01.17 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 1
        23.12.16 SC Juventus AC Milan 1 : 2 (1 : 1)
        22.10.16 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 0
        21.05.16 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 1 (0 : 0)
        09.04.16 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 2
        21.11.15 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 0
        07.02.15 Juventus AC Milan 3 : 1
        20.09.14 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 1
        23.08.14 Juventus AC Milan 0 : 1
        02.03.14 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 2
        06.10.13 Juventus AC Milan 3 : 2
        23.07.13 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 0 (0 : 0)
        21.04.13 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 0
        09.01.13 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 1 (1 : 1)
        25.11.12 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 0
        19.08.12 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 3
        21.07.12 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 0
        20.03.12 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 2 (1 : 2)
        25.02.12 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 1
        08.02.12 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 2
        02.10.11 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 0
        21.08.11 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 1
        18.08.11 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 1
        05.03.11 Juventus AC Milan 0 : 1
        30.10.10 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 2
        22.08.10 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 1 (0 : 0)
        22.08.10 BTRO AC Milan Juventus 0 : 1 (0 : 0)
        13.08.10 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 2 (1 : 1)
        15.05.10 AC Milan Juventus 3 : 0
        10.01.10 Juventus AC Milan 0 : 3
        17.08.09 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 1 (1 : 1)
        14.08.09 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 0
        10.05.09 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 1
        14.12.08 Juventus AC Milan 4 : 2
        17.08.08 AC Milan Juventus 4 : 1
        29.07.08 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 2
        12.04.08 Juventus AC Milan 3 : 2
        01.12.07 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 0
        17.08.07 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 0
        14.08.07 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 0
        06.01.07 AC Milan Juventus 3 : 2
        31.08.06 AC Milan Juventus 3 : 1
        12.03.06 Juventus AC Milan 0 : 0
        29.10.05 AC Milan Juventus 3 : 1
        14.08.05 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 1
        20.07.05 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 1
        08.05.05 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 1
        18.12.04 Juventus AC Milan 0 : 0
        28.08.04 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 1
        27.07.04 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 0
        14.03.04 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 3
        01.11.03 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 1
        17.08.03 AC Milan Juventus 0 : 2
        12.08.03 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 0
        28.05.03 CL Juventus AC Milan 0 : 1(0 : 0)
        22.03.03 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 1
        10.11.02 Juventus AC Milan 2 : 1
        18.08.02 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 0
        31.07.02 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 0
        14.04.02 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 0
        06.02.02 Juventus AC Milan 1 : 1
        23.01.02 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 2
        09.12.01 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 1
        18.08.01 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 2
        09.08.01 Juventus AC Milan 0 : 1
        25.02.01 Juventus AC Milan 3 : 0
        21.10.00 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 2
        27.08.00 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 3
        24.03.00 AC Milan Juventus 2 : 0
        21.11.99 Juventus AC Milan 3 : 1
        09.05.99 Juventus AC Milan 0 : 2
        06.01.99 AC Milan Juventus 1 : 1

        • Avatar
          Dar Black March 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm

          What percentage chance of Juve winning UCL this season Igor?. Come on, let’s cut to the chase, and I am going to make you commit to this….. As we are the greatest team in Europe (by your own words) you must think they are pretty high? 50 / 50? Higher, surely as we have seemingly no flaws or weaknesses at all by your reckoning. So the odds on us winning must be very high indeed – infact you must think we are odds on favourites to win it surely?

          • Avatar
            Igor Subotic March 16, 2018 at 2:46 am

            We’ll win it.

            We should have last year against Real, but Leo ‘bigger than club’ Bonucci and, his friend in the sabotage, Alves thought otherwise.

            And your sarcastic writing of Juve not being the greatest team in Europe just goes to prove that you are only a fanboy of this club, glory-hunter. You probably support some other clubs on the side, don’t you? Barca, Real, Bayern, United??? Which one is your true favourite?

          • Avatar
            Dar Black March 16, 2018 at 12:11 pm

            “And your sarcastic writing of Juve not being the greatest team in Europe just goes to prove that you are only a fanboy of this club, glory-hunter. You probably support some other clubs on the side, don’t you? Barca, Real, Bayern, United??? Which one is your true favourite?”

            >> ** Rav, please this is nothing other than childish slurs, brainless ranting to the extreme – enough already. Some people don’t add any value whatsoever to JuveFC. Igor is clearly one of them.

          • Avatar
            Igor Subotic March 16, 2018 at 12:47 pm

            I knew it, just a glory-hunter like the other two.

          • Avatar
            Dar Black March 16, 2018 at 1:26 pm

            Hopefully you will be banned soon enough Igor, so get those pathetic childish remarks out of your system while you can! Go on, make yourself happy.

          • Avatar
            Igor Subotic March 16, 2018 at 1:58 pm

            Why should I get banned. I’m not the one who’s insulting anyone, like you three glory-hunters. I’m just stating the obvious facts. And I see you’ve been but hurt just like the other two. It really is sad when you have to prove your loyalty to the club you three “love”. Wouldn’t be the case if you really were a true loyal fans.

            Juve is the best team in the world! Is it, Dar Black?

          • Avatar
            Dar Black March 16, 2018 at 2:28 pm

            You are a petulant childish individual who can’t have a civil, mature, adult conversation. You insult people, making baseless claims about them. Who the hell are you to say that me, TGP and Dave are not true fans? Who are you Igor? What gives you the right to say that? I will tell you – NOTHING DOES. So stop it.

            Plus, even when you are not insulting people you talk crazy blantantly untrue things like a demented idiot fanboi, with no data or substance to back them up. You add no value to JuveFC forum at all. NONE.

            Btw, TGP and Dave who you insulted as ‘glory fans’ along with me a few posts up have contributed more in one post to this place than you have in all of yours combined! Not that that is too difficult.

            ** For insulting major contributors to this place as simply ‘glory fans’ you deserve a ban alone. ** Forget about calling me it, I don’t give a rats what you say buddy. But biting the hands that make this place so interesting in frankly UNFORGIVABLE you ungrateful person.

            They put doubtless hours into writing articles for this place, only for you to not even understand the tone of what they are saying never mind the main substance behind it. You seem incapable of anything other than the lowest level of unabashed blinkered fanboi thoughts. This site is truly WASTED ON YOU.

            I am not the moderator, but you DESERVE to be banned Igor. I for one sincerely hope you are, for the good of JuveFC. I very much doubt I am alone in that thought and wish.

          • Avatar
            Igor Subotic March 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm

            I am no one, but just a simple fool who loves this club as it was my own mother, and won’t anyone let go by easy if he trashes against my Vecchia Signora. It’s something you, and the other two will never understand, and will never feel or have in your life. True, unconditional love to one club.

            Smell you later, glory-hunters.

            I ban myself from your presence on this site.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/55da44d3d7c7c4eb2d63e007b8b745517dff3775d74becd5a617a97840455753.jpg

          • Avatar
            Phantasm del Futbolista March 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

            “What percentage chance of Juve winning UCL this season Igor?. Come on,
            let’s cut to the chase, and I am going to make you commit to this…. Even higher as we have seemingly no flaws or weaknesses at all by your
            reckoning. So the odds on us winning must be very high indeed – infact
            you must think we are odds on favourites to win it surely?”

            sorry DB but this is a grotesque Strawman attack.

            A) likewise who is your pick?
            B) The strongest/greatest don’t always win the comp.
            C) All teams (English, Spanish, Italian and German) have big gaping weaknesses that counteract each other

  • Avatar
    BartWos March 15, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Those fans hoping Allegri will be sacked should be careful what they wish for. Juve have a very competent, trusted manager and those wanting his resignation should ask themselves who would replace him? If he changed his style overnight and risked more by turning Juve into a gung-ho, attacking unit it might result in a few more comprehensive victories but would surely compromise their rock solid defence and would also reduce the opportunity to rotate the squad and prevent fatigue and injury. Juve would do well to stick with Allegri rather than venture into the land of console gaming in search of entertainment and goals.

    WAT? o0 Console gaming? Geez, maybe you should stop choosing only between ugly wins after 1:0, often total lucky, and playing like Barcelona in FIFA on Playstation? In addition, Max doesn’t play any rotation, unless we consider such Sandro’s exchange on the wing for Mandzukic. Having on the bench Costa and Berna.

    Let’s be honest and loud:
    no one is interested in getting another sad Serie A championship. Nobody is
    interested in how many goals we will score/lose. Only the Champions League counts. And this Max lost twice in three years. The second time he did it embarrassingly. The last victory over Tottenham is just as lucky as the goal of Ramos in the 94th minute.

    Juventus must win the Champions League, must be regular in the semifinals, but not with this coach and not with those players. As I can see how fiercely we fight for Cana, a guy who I wouldn’t put on a bench, it makes me feel weak.

    So maybe some should fall out of the flip-flops and should think that maybe the life after Allegri is possible and quite good.

    • Avatar
      Dave Long March 15, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      I thought the console gaming reference was pretty clear to be honest.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black March 15, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      I think the frustration is that Max could win it Bart. If only he was a little braver in his selections and gameplan. I mean, Khedira over Marchisio? Even when CM is fit. Really? Why would you. It makes no sense.

  • Avatar
    Moderator March 17, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Haven’t had time to follow all the comments on what seems to be the two most controversial articles to appear on the site in the last month. A shame that rather generate debate, some have resorted to trading insults and questioning one another’s loyalty.

    I’m not one for censoring or editing things, nor for banning anyone, unless thy are being particularly, horrid, abusive etc – I haven;t agreed with much of what either Dan or Dave have written, but on the flip side, i’m glad it’s given people to share opinions, for the most part, respectfully.