It’s getting pretty boring seeing Juventus win Serie A. I Bianconeri have won eight titles in a row, so the idea of seeing Lazio emerge out of nowhere and dethrone Juventus was seriously exciting for everyone who isn’t a fan of the latter.
Now, that might still happen, but Lazio’s shock 3-0 loss at home to AC Milan means it almost certainly won’t. Juventus are seven points clear with eight games to go. It’s not looking good.
Credit where credit’s due, Juventus are on the cusp of winning an unprecedented ninth consecutive top title. That’s incredible. Utterly incredible. However, what makes it even all the wilder is the fact that pretty much nobody involved with Juventus has been happy this year.
On paper, you might think it’s all rosy at the Allianz Stadium. They’re top of the league, having lost just three games (none at home). They’re in the last 16 of the Champions League. They reached the Coppa Italia final.
The thing is, Juventus fans expect all that. Being dominant is part of being Juventus. It’s all about how you dominate.
Let’s go back to the first four games of the season. Sarri had just finished encouraging Paulo Dybala to leave the club because he did not feature in his favoured 4-3-3 formation. Truthfully, nobody did.
Juventus won three and drew one, but they didn’t look convincing in any of those games. The build-up play was slow and uncomfortable. Defending was awkward. There was an acceptance that Juve probably wouldn’t have done so well if the squad wasn’t full of elite talents like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Imagine you’re trying to score a goal, but instead of a goalkeeper, it’s just a huge brick wall stretching from post to post. That brick wall isn’t doing anything at all. It’s not clever. It’s not impressive. It doesn’t actually deserve to beat you, but it’s just impossible to overcome. That’s Juventus.
Sarri soon switched to a 4-3-1-2, which brought Dybala back in from the cold, but created a whole load of fresh issues. That ‘1’, the attacking midfielder, was always disappointing. It was a role given to Federico Bernardeschi for the most part, and he only recorded his first assist in 22 June’s 2-0 win over Bologna. He’s still yet to score.
In the ‘Jorginho role’ at the base of the midfield, Miralem Pjanić has looked as bad as he ever has, and he has been punished with…*checks notes*…a €60m move to Barcelona. Why does nothing make sense?
There was just no spark. It all looked far too similar to Massimiliano Allegri’s side. They would just pass the ball around and wait for a chance to show that they were stronger than their opponents, rather than go out and dominate from the get-go. Fans weren’t happy, and they voiced their displeasure through whistling.
As teams began to figure the 4-3-1-2 out, Sarri went back to the unimpressive 4-3-3. Performances continued to underwhelm, but nobody really noticed because they kept winning.
Verona, Brescia, Sampdoria, Genoa, SPAL and Bologna all came close to snatching points from Juventus, only to eventually come undone by the fact that I Bianconeri are simply too strong. A 7′ tall basketball player will always have the tools to dominate someone who is 5′.
You’ve then got the 1-0 loss to Lyon in the first leg of the Champions League last 16. Like with Paris Saint-Germain, that competition is the only one fans really care about these days, but all Juventus did was pass the ball around and gamble on a chance popping up from somewhere. Spoiler alert – it didn’t.
Fans have always known that ‘Sarriball’ would take a while to get used to. However, we’re now in July, and it doesn’t seem like the team is ever going to take to it.
Sure, Sarri’s going to lead Juventus to the title, but this may have been one of the most disappointing seasons in the club’s recent history. The boss looks frustrated, The players look confused. Fans are outraged. Is the title going to be worth it?
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