Juventus head coach, Massimiliano Allegri, says his side must improve to maintain their dominance in Serie A. The Old Lady’s two-year-unbeaten run ended with a rare home defeat to Lazio, with the visitors winning the match 2-1. As it stands, Juve sit in third place (19 points) behind Inter Milan in second place (23 points) and leaders Napoli (25 points).
Can Juventus turn it around to win Serie A? Let’s assess their chances…
Before the season started
After being crowned champions of Serie A for the sixth time in a row at the end of last season, Juventus were clear favourites to repeat the feat. It’s also worth mentioning that Juve also won the Coppa Italia and were runners up to Real Madrid in the Champions League last season. This shows how Juventus stood head and shoulders above all others in a league which many consider to be a mere shadow of what it once was.
Before the start of this season, Juventus were clear favourites at 9/10, with Napoli second favourites with odds of 7/2 (all according to Fox Sports). Juve’s prospects of a seventh-consecutive title don’t look so clear cut now though…
As it stands
After a long winning streak, Napoli now lead the pack in the race for the Scudetto. As well as being two points clear of Inter, most bookies have Napoli as favourites. Surprisingly, you won’t find any Juve-related free football tips from Bethut, but it’s worth noting that Betway offers odds of 11/8 for Juventus to win the title, behind Napoli on 10/11.
How the Lazio defeat highlights weaknesses
Ciro Immobile scored a brace for Lazio on the 14th of October. Juve centre backs Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini struggled badly in their attempts to contain Immobile and now the Old Lady’s dominance is under serious threat.
Juve had a great chance to keep their unbeaten run going as they received a penalty in the 97th minute. Despite this, Argentine Paulo Dybala missed from the spot for the second time in as many games.
And Napoli’s stunning start, coupled with Inter’s resurgence under Luciano Spalletti, means that Allegri’s men have a fight on their hands. As the coach himself said in a post-match interview, “to win the Scudetto you must fight every day”. To be fair, Juventus have their fair share of injured players, but the warning signs were there in shaky performances against Torino, Atalanta and Sassuolo.
Douglas Costa has also had a slow start at Juve. As we say in another recent blog post, he does show flashes of brilliance – and he scored Juve’s only goal against Lazio. Yet Costa struggles to take the decisive action needed to make an impact at vital moments in games.
If Costa improves and injured players return quickly, Juventus could pull it back. But if they continue to make the kind of mistakes that cost them against Lazio, the gulf between the Old Lady and Napoli will just carry on getting bigger.