The feelings surrounding Sunday’s draw in Bergamo came from every side of the spectrum and the story you would get after the match would depend on who you asked about it. Was it about the dramatic late equalizer to earn a point on the road and keep Juventus’ unbeaten streak alive? Or was it more about the missed chances which led to a missed opportunity to grab a stronghold on a spot in the top four?
Either way, it was hard not to be excited about Danilo’s goal because there’s not much of a debate when it comes to one point being better than no points. Especially when that one point comes from the closest competition in the current race for the last of the Champions League spots.
The result still means Atalanta controls its own destiny with a game in hand on Juventus and just being two points back, but with three months still to go in league play, one of the clubs is trending in the much better direction.
If you were watching Sunday’s match on Paramount Plus, you may have stuck around for the post-match show which included talks about the league race. For many, it seems like a two-horse race and that could be the case if there are no slip ups by either Milan club, but the other three teams in the top five are still lingering with a slimmer of hope.
However, for those on the CBS panel, only one of those three teams has a real shot — and that’s Juventus.
As fans, it can be difficult to stay positive during this season. An atrocious start, frustrating performances, odd lineup management, random dropped points ... the list goes on. But at the end of the day, Juventus has slowly but surely erased much of that slow start and is one of the hottest teams in Italy.
That may be hard to believe, but the results don’t lie.
As I’m sure you are aware because it was mentioned 150 times during Sunday’s match, Juventus is on its longest unbeaten streak of the season, reaching 11 matches with Danilo’s late goal. Ironically, the last defeat came at home to Atalanta, which may make just getting one point sting a little more because Juventus couldn’t steal back all three but that’s not the point.
Juventus got 15 points from its first 11 matches of the 2021-22 Serie A season — which is just terrifyingly bad — but things started to slightly turn around at the start of November and it has only gotten better since then.
Since Nov. 1, Juventus has 31 points from 14 league matches, which has included three draws against three of the other top five teams. (Which again, may go into the frustrations category, but at least that means they are beating the teams they are supposed to beat.) During that span of time, the Bianconeri’s 31 points rank first among all Serie A clubs. Inter Milan does have 30 points in one less match, but Juventus has held the edge still and has consistently climbed up the table.
That’s the kind of stretch people are looking at when they argue Juventus still has a shot at the league table. Of all the bad things that happened at the beginning of the season, Juventus has been the club to actually see a major improvement in its results. And if that improvement continues with just a dash of consistency, it’s not crazy for someone to believe Juventus can make up a nine-point difference with 13 matchdays remaining.
AC Milan is currently on top of the table, sitting on 55 points. Over the last 13 weeks, Juventus has earned six more points than Milan. Yes, I know that’s less than nine points and a nine-point differential is more difficult plus Inter may have that as an 11-point lead anyway, but the point is a dramatic title race featuring Juventus is not out of the realm of possibility.
Looking ahead at the remainder of the schedule, Juventus has to feel pretty good about getting the job done on its end. Of the 13 remaining league matches, Juventus would currently be favored to win 12 of them and would only be a slight underdog in the home match against Inter on April 3. Over the next 11 weeks, Juventus will play just one team sitting in the top nine of the current table. That’s a very favorable stretch, especially when you factor in having more possible cup matches.
Of course, as we’ve seen already this season, being the favorite doesn’t necessarily mean anything but since November began, Juventus has dropped points against a club not currently in the top five just once. That should give fans hope that the days of bad performances and dropped points against bottom dwellers are gone and the team is focusing in now that the chase is on.
Despite the missed opportunities on Sunday, Danilo’s goal was crucial to the season and those are the kind of moments Juventus will need if they want to make a run at reclaiming the Scudetto. It won’t be easy and it’s certainly not even likely to happen — Juventus sits at +1200 in most betting books while Inter is around -250 — but what would be the point in being a fan without having a little bit of hope?