Juventus have dominated Italian football for the past three-years, winning consecutive Serie A titles since 2012. The 2011/12 saw the Old Lady go the entire league season unbeaten, the first Italian side to do so in a 38-game season. The following season saw Juve retain their title and last term, they won it for a third time in a row amassing 102 points. This was the 30th Serie A title in Juventus’ history, the most by an Italian team.
Much of this success was due to the turnaround in fortunes brought about by manager Antonio Conte. He was at the helm between 2011 and 2014 before leaving to take up the vacant managerial role at the Italian national team. Conte was already regarded as a Juve legend due to the fact he played over 400 league matches from 1991 until 2004. He definitely reinforced that legendary status with all his successes over his three year period as manager.
Former AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri took over from where Conte left off and the club are still dominating Serie A, three points clear after a couple of draws in recent weeks. Three points might not be a massive gap but the way the team are playing and with the quality of players at Allegri’s disposal, they are certainly on track for a fourth consecutive Serie A crown.
The only possible way Allegri could improve on Juventus’ last few seasons would be a better run in Europe. Although they got to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2013, last season they could only manage third place in their group, resulting in a Europa League campaign that finished in the semi-finals. A club of the size and quality is capable of going further in Europe but at least Allegri’s men are on the right track, advancing to the last 16 where they have a tie with struggling German side Borussia Dortmund.
Quality throughout their squad means that perhaps this could be the year for an overdue extended Champions League run. Starting from the back, veteran goalkeeper and Captain Gianluigi Buffon is still a top class ‘keeper capable of consistent performances; he might now be 36 but is still one of the best shot stoppers in Europe.
Their back-line is full of experience and knowhow with the likes of Giorgio Chiellini who has made over 300 appearances for the club. Patrice Evra was signed from Man Utd in the summer and although he might not be able to start every game nowadays, he is still capable of putting in high-level performances needed to succeed.
The midfield is extremely solid with Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba just infront of the defence. 35-year-old Pirlo plays more of a midfield general role these days sitting in front of the back four, whilst Pogba is a box-to-box midfielder capable of scoring goals. Chilean Arturo Vidal adds even more quality to the midfield, with fantastic attacking attributes.
Upfront, former Man Utd and Man City man Carlos Tevez continues to score goals. Since joining in 2013, he has scored 29 in 49 Serie A appearances also chipping in with vital goals in Europe. Tevez and Spanish striker Fernando Llorente have formed a tremendous partnership upfront, a strike force that can be lethal in the latter stages of the Champions League.
With a fourth consecutive Serie A title looking likely, a Champions League challenge is certainly not beyond this extremely efficient Juventus looking side.