Juventus Women have been in Serie A Femminile for 5 1⁄2 seasons, starting off with head coach Rita Guarino in the 2017-18 season and then transitioning to Joe Montemurro before the start of the 2021-22 campaign. Guarino had a pretty impressive record, winning the Serie A Femminile title in all four seasons she was at Juve as well as the Supercoppa Femminile twice and the Coppa Italia in 2018-19. Montemurro had a great start at Juve last season, winning the Scudetto and getting the team the farthest it has been in the Women’s Champions League.
Here, I will compare Montemurro’s and Guarino’s records and their team’s key performance indicators, as well as Montemurro’s first and second season so far.
In the last month, we have seen Montemurro’s Juventus go head-to-head with Guarino’s Inter three times — twice in the Coppa Italia semifinals, and once in the Serie A Poule Scudetto. Juventus Women won the last two games, but Inter managed a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Coppa italia semifinals. I think this recent record between the teams mirrors a bit of the comparison of Montemurro’s versus Guarino’s time managing Juve — Montemurro has done better in some ways, but in others, Guarino was just as good.
(If you’re like me and are wondering what is meant exactly by a “Poule Scudetto” when referring to the new way to end the season, it roughly translates to a championship round-robin playoff. The word “poule” is a bit of an enigma to me as it is not an Italian word, and it means chicken in French. The only other place I found it used in Italian soccer was in the 2021-22 men’s Serie D, although the format was different. I momentarily thought that perhaps there is some bird-related expression [chicken instead of robin], but no; round robin would translate into fase a gironi.)
Serie A Femminile
Win-Draw-Loss Records and Points
To compare the 2022-23 season to past seasons, I first looked at the win-draw-loss records and total points of the first 18 games from 2017-18 to 2022-23 (data from fbref.com and sofascore.com; Figure 1). I used first 18 games because that is the number of games the Serie A Femminile played this season in the girone di andata (i.e., the first half of this season); but note that in other seasons due to varying numbers of teams, the 18th game did not always represent just the first half of the season.
Overall, what stands out is that this season has been Juventus Women’s worse one points-wise since their start in 2017, and Guarino’s tenure looks better than Montemurro’s so far. However, given that they had a perfect record in Guarino’s last season, it wasn’t hard to drop lower in points after that, and the Serie A Femminile has become more competitive.
Perhaps more telling is the comparison of last season to the current one. This season Juve tied mid-table Sassuolo twice and Como once — a game they had no business doing so.
Hopefully Montemurro can turn things around in the second phase of this season, and it seems like they are off to a good start with their wins against Inter and AC Milan, who they lost to twice earlier in the season. Juve will need to beat Roma twice, and then hope Roma drops points as well, in order for Juve to win the scudetto this season.
Key Performance Indicators
Total shots and shots on target are good indicators for a team making it into the top 3 in the men’s Serie A, so I assume the same holds for the women and I compared these numbers from 2020-21 to 2022-23. I was unfortunately only able to do 3 seasons because fbref did not have these stats prior to the 2020-21 season. I present the data in average per game (Figure 2) to account for across game variation.
Montemurro’s 2022-23 Juventus Women had more shots and shots on target than his 2021-22 team did, but the 2022-23 results are not significantly greater than Guarino’s in 2020-21. However, the shots on target out of all shots has pretty much remained the same — 37.9% to 36.9% to 38.2% — which might suggest a slight dip in their shooting accuracy this season.
I then compared the shots/shots on target to average goals for and goals against (see Figure 3) to get a picture of conversion rate as well as a sense of defense. Interestingly, the greater numbers of shots this season aren’t necessarily translating into more goals.
In the 2020-21 season under Guarino, Juve had significantly more goals than either 2021-22 or 2022-23 seasons. It is hard to know without doing a more in-depth analysis what factors contributed to this; it is likely due to multiple interacting factors: style of play, the players, and the strength of schedule with the increase in competition this season.
The average goals against Juventus Women are not significantly different across the three seasons, however there is a slight trend of there being more goals being scored on them in 2022-23. Is that a sign of defensive issues? I don’t think it has to do with Pauline Peyraud-Magnin’s goalkeeping as her form appears to have been consistent. Perhaps it is a combination of Juve’s defense and other teams improving. It would be neat to look at key performance indicators for the top teams in the Serie A Femminile since 2017 — I am pretty sure they will show that more teams are improving their performance.
Women’s Champions League and Coppa Italia
It isn’t really possible to compare Champions League performance between Guarino and Montemurro (for various reasons), but here is the rundown. In the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 competitions the format was different than it is now, and Juventus Women only made it to the round of 32, first narrowly losing out to Bønd in a two-leg tie in 2018-19 (3-2 on aggregate), then they had the very unlucky draws of Barcelona in 2019-20 and Lyon in 2020-21, and lost both ties (aggregate scores of 4-1 and 6-2, respectively).
Juventus brought Montemurro on in the summer of 2021 for a bigger picture management and to improve the team’s chances in Europe, and in his first year at Juventus he did just that in Champions League. Starting with a 12-0 win in the first qualifying round in the 2021-22 competition, Juve went on to cruise through the second qualifying round and then were almost finished on top of their group in the group stage — tied with Wolfsburg with 11 points, just getting edged out by Wolfburg’s plus-2 goal differential — and they did not lose a game with four wins and draws. They then entered the quarterfinals for the first time and (unlucky again) drew Lyon. Nevertheless, they gave the Lyonnais a go, winning the first leg 2-1 in Turin, but then losing out with a 4-3 aggregate.
Comparing the 2022-23 competition to the 2021-22, just looking at the numbers one might say Juve Women did worse since they didn’t make the knockout rounds. They ended up with nine points in the group stage; however, they again had a difficult group (Lyon and Arsenal) and they only lost one game (to Arsenal). So, I will say that it isn’t so much their performance went down, but they did not improve.
As for Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa, Montemurro won both in 2021-22 while Guarino won the Coppa Italia in 2018-19 and the Suppercoppa in back-to-back years, 2019-20 and 2020-21, but never both in the same season. (It should be noted that the Coppa Italia was not completed in 2019-20 and Juve were still in the running when the it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) Juventus have already lost the Suppercoppa this season to Roma, whom they will be facing in the Coppa Italia final on June 4.
We will see if Montemurro and the team can bring that trophy home and secure some silverware this season.