This week celebrates Thanksgiving in the United States, an absolutely wonderful holiday in which we stuff ourselves full of food and libation and watch our version of football and squabble with family incessantly until things grow into a full feud. It’s truly magical. We are also, I think, supposed to give thanks for stuff in our lives, and I realized that I actually have some Juventus-related things for which to be thankful.
To be frank, I’m not certain I would’ve been able to write this piece a year ago. A season ago the Old Lady was mostly a source of great consternation; this time around, I’ve got some warm fuzzy feelings. So let’s go to it: five things about Juventus for which, right now, I am very thankful.
1. The points
The Bianconeri haven’t even played a full third of the Serie A campaign, so there’s a lot that could happen in a bad way, but right now the table looks swell as I can remember: two points off the lead and already nine points clear of fifth place. I don’t think there’s a single one of us who wouldn’t have taken that before this season began. It hasn’t always been pretty, it hasn’t always appeased everyone, but here we are. Winning solves a hell of a lot of problems.
2. The young talent
The young talent has been exciting over the last few seasons, one of the few bright spots at times, but there’s something different about it this year. Kenan Yıldız, Samuel Iling-Junior, and Dean Huijsen are all exciting players to have on the roster. The Englishman will probably be a piece that gets moved in January over the summer, and as much as I don’t want that to happen it might make the most sense for all parties. The real show-stopper here, though, is what Matías Soulé is doing at Frosinone. That kind of electric stuff hasn’t been seen at Juventus since another Argentine I remember quite well.
The Brazilian was good last year; he’s been incredible this year. If Juventus finish in the top four I hope he garners serious consideration for defensive player of the year, if not the actual MVP award — he’s been that crucial to Juventus clawing her way to the top four. Bremer looks more relaxed in Allegri’s system, more confident in practically ever decision he makes. He makes you love watching the defensive phase of the game.
4. The grinta
I wrote this a piece or two ago, but the fight is different this year among the squad. It’s not just the fight — it’s the ability to focus longer defensively, to not complain so much when things aren’t going their way. I don’t know what it is, but it’s palpable.
5. The fans
Does Allianz Stadium have the best atmosphere on the planet? No. Do the vibes seem a lot better than last year? Yes. As I said, winning solves a lot of problems. But one of those things it has solved so far is more fans showing up louder with more fervent singing. The players have started to believe and now the fans are believing. That could go a long way to making sure this solid start through 12 matches isn’t a fluke.
There you have it. There’s probably more that I could add to the list, but that’s what comes to mind. I’m excited to see how things go from here — it’s a weird feeling to be so excited about Juventus, actually.
Fino alla fine, and Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends who celebrate such things.