Blog Written by Joshua O'Byrne (@JobJobBinks):
On Wednesday night Juventus thumped Lazio 3-0 in a dominant display. This result sees The Old Lady nine points clear of Napoli with only 4 games left to play. Bar a major catastrophe, Juventus will win their fifth Scudetto in a row and remain Italy's top dogs. Allegri's men suffered a slow start to the season but have come back like true champions to retain their place at the top of Serie A. Juventus have once again shown that they are far superior than the rest of the competition on the peninsula. Napoli looked as if they could have brought the title race right down to the wire but capitulated in Udine and they were always going to struggle when they lost their star man Gonzalo Higuain to a 3-match suspension. Another year and almost certainly another Scudetto for the Bianconeri. So, let's take a look at what's been another great year for Juventus.
After securing the clubs fourth Scudetto in a row last season, Allegri brought in a number of players over the summer to try and maintain Juventus' position at the top. Sami Khedira, Simone Zaza, Hernanes, Alex Sandro, Neto, mario Mandzukic, Juan Cuadrado, Daniele Rugani and Paulo Dybala were all signed in the off-season by the Bianconeri. Perhaps all these new faces were the main factor in Juventus's slow start to the season. They all just needed time to gel into the team and it was not long before the results started to show. After the first ten rounds of league play, Juve sat in 12th place performing way below expectations. Many thought that Juve’s reign of dominance in Serie A was finally at an end. It looked like the title might finally go elsewhere with Roma, Napoli and Inter all looking strong. Fast-forward a few months ahead and it is Juventus on top and Allegri who is having the last laugh silencing all his doubters. After the 1-0 away defeat to Sassuolo, Juventus went on an incredible 15 match-winning streak and are still yet to beaten in their last 24 league matches. A magnificent turnaround by the Bianconeri.
Perhaps Juventus' most influential player this season, Paolo Dybala's form has been to key to Juve returning to the top of Serie A. This season the young Argentine has scored 16 goals (only Higuain has scored more) and provided 8 assists in league play. Without a doubt he has been sensational this season and is a real contender for player of the year. Another young talent who has had another great season is Paul Pogba. The mercurial Frenchman had a slow start but has showed his true class, most recently notching the winner against Milan to cap off a wonderful performance. He has provided 9 assists for his teammates this year and scored a few spectacular goals.
One thing that has been key to Juve's success over the last 5 years has been their defensive solidity. Once again Juventus have the best defensive record in Serie A conceding just 17 goals in 34 games. Buffon who broke Sebastiano Rossi's record of going the longest time without conceding a goal in the league, has been superb this year. Now 38 years old, Buffon shows little sign of retiring, as he is without doubt still the best keeper in Serie A and maybe even the best keeper in the world right now. Another key figure of Juve's excellent defensive record is none other than Leonardo Bonucci. The Italian has been outstanding this season nearly always putting in a great performance. Occasionally popping up with important goals as well, Bonucci is a real fan favorite and most of all he has a real winners mentality. The youngster Rugani has also done a fine job while filling in for Giorgio Chellini, who has picked up multiple injuries this season.
Allegri, who many thought would fail to live up to the man he succeeded, Antonio Conte, has done fantastic at Juventus. Last season he guided Juve to a league and cup double and finished as runners-up in the Champions League to a brilliant Barcelona side. This year he looks set to retain the league title and possibly the cup as well since Juventus face Milan in the Coppa Italia Final in May, looking to win another double. Juventus' Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, a match Allegri was not expected to win, has turned out to be the only real disappointment so far this season. Allegri has been fantastic at Juventus especially with his management of players like Paulo Dybala and Daniele Rugani. After initially protesting his appointment, the fans have really taken a liking to the Italian tactician. Recent reports suggest Allegri turned down Real Madrid repaying his faith in the Bianconeri for giving him the job and a contract renewal for Allegri seems imminent. Allegri has high hopes for his young squad next season, "We want to do well in the Champions League." Allegri is looking to bring European glory back to Turin as a Champions League title with Juve would be the pinnacle of Allegri's career but even still right now, Max has to be considered among the worlds top managers in football.
Next season Juve fans will be hoping the club can keep stars such as Dybala and Pogba and make a real push for the Champions League. With the right signings in the summer there is no reason to see why Bianconeri fans can't dream. However a sixth Serie A title in a row will be expected and it's hard to see anyone else winning the title. For the foreseeable future, Juventus are and will remain dominant in Serie A.