We aren’t even a month into the 2018-19 Serie A season, but it’s never too early to discuss how many trophies Juventus will have potentially added to the cabinet by June. The team, including Max Allegri and Andrea Agnelli, have made it clear that the goal is to win on all three fronts.
When it comes to Serie A, the core players of Juventus are no strangers to maintaining large leads at the top of the table, and after last season they know they’re capable of overcoming an exhaustingly close title race as well. This season will be different however, with several new arrivals and the departure of certain club legends, who will remain nameless to avoid any more waterworks.
The key to Juve winning an unprecedented eighth straight Scudetto lies in the defense of the team. This backline is maybe similar to what we would have imagined two years ago but definitely not what anybody would’ve guessed a year ago from now. Most Juventini, myself included, were upset with the transfer that sent Mattia Caldara and Gonzalo Higuain to Milan for the return of Leonardo Bonucci. Regardless of our emotions we have to continue to look forward and remain positive. With Bonucci back and Benatia moving to the bench along with Daniele Rugani and Andrea Barzagli, the depth of our central defense is phenomenal.
Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini are a dream center back pairing, definitely one of the best, if not the best in Europe. There were moments of confusion and a few mistakes in the season opener between the two, but by the next week against Lazio they seemed to be back to their old selves again. If this is a sign for the rest of the season, we can expect a superb campaign from what is expected to be Juve’s two starting central defenders.
The largest area for improvement is at fullback. Alex Sandro and Joao Cancelo haven’t necessarily been underperforming, but they haven’t been perfect. The Lazio game was much better defensively, but they both looked shaky when passing out of the back. Normally these sorts of issues work themselves out by the end of November but there’s always room for improvement against the many talented teams in Serie A.
The first two games really showed the two ways Juve play in Serie A. In Verona, a strong start, lackadaisical and sloppy play until the lead is lost, in this case a nail-biting finish resulting in three points. At Allianz Stadium a week later, we saw the ideal Juventus performance in Serie A, a sound defensive showing, effective attack, and a strong midfield presence with the majority of possession. If Juventus can play like we did against Lazio consistently, then there shouldn’t be any problems.
If we’ve learned anything from seasons prior, it’s that Juve can’t take the mid- or bottom-of-the-table teams for granted. It’s always been this way in Serie A, and we have made the mistake of letting our guards down in April or May and made things harder than it has to be. This season especially we need to be taking advantage of our depth and skill to get results against teams far down the table, regardless of injuries or the heavy focus on Champions League.
Despite the words of Agnelli and the clear ambition of Juventus’ players, the Serie A is where the heart of the club is. The only way can continue to grow and thrive as a club is with an eighth straight Scudetto added to the trophy cabinet.