Juventus - What has gone wrong?
Juventus currently sit in eighth place in Serie A, a massive ten points behind current leaders Napoli. This has all but ruled them out of the title race but for a huge turnaround in the second half of the season. However, this is very unlikely with Massimiliano Allegri in charge.
Allegri's first spell in Turin was very impressive. winning the title in all four of his campaigns at the club. As well as four Italian cups and two Italian supercups. Since returning in May 2021, he is yet to win a trophy and finished sixteen points behind Serie A winners AC Milan last season.
Nine teams are currently averaging more possession than Juventus this season, this is something the Old Lady are usually in at least the top three of. This shows Allegri has failed to develop his tactics that were so effective in his last spell at the club between 2015-2019.
Juventus are also 9th on expected goals per 90 (1.53), behind sides like Udinese and Cremonese. The Old Lady also have the ninth most expected goals against per 90 this season (1.6). This is in complete contrast to Allegri's final season in charge in his first spell in 18/19 where they averaged 1.8 xG per90 which was fifth best in the league. They also had the best defence in the league that season, conceding just 0.92 xGA over the 38 game campaign.
After Juve's defeat to AC Milan two weeks ago, La Gazzetta dello Sport said Juventus’ management still believe that Allegri can turn it around and they don't put all the blame on him following their poor start. The management are said to be more frustrated with the players.
Just three days later, Juventus suffered one of their biggest embarrassments of recent history, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at Israeli side Maccabi Haifa. Allegri somehow escaped the sack after this defeat where they were outshot and outperformed on xG at the Sammy Ofer Stadium.
Allegri is no longer the same manager he was in his first spell. His tactics look to have become outdated and he is refusing to change. Juventus fans have long been worried about the age of the squad. This summer's signings didn't help this very much. While the club made a progressive signing like Bremer from Turin rivals Torino. They also signed 34 year-old Angel Di Maria as well as Filip Kostic, Leandro Parades and Paul Pogba who are all closing in on their thirties.
Juventus have one of the oldest starting XI's in Serie A. In their 2-0 defeat to AC Milan this month, they fielded a team with an average age of 29.5 and had just two players under the age of 25. AC Milan, who won the title last season had an average age of just 25.9, with just two players over 30.
The Old Lady have a history of using older players, as does the whole league. However, those sides were full of world class players like Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Pirlo and Gonzalo Higuain. Players that current starters like an ageing Leonardo Bonucci, Adrien Rabiot and Arkadiusz Milik will never be able to match.
Despite this group of players not being the stars Allegri had previously. There is no debate that Juventus shouldn't be as far behind as they are currently. Players have been playing out of position all season. McKennie and Rabiot, both central midfielders, have played a lot of minutes out wide this season. Kostic and Cuadrado who are now both wing-backs of full-backs have also been forced to play as attacking wingers, positions they haven't played for years.
Juventus edged Torino on Saturday, but yet again it was an unconvincing victory. They face Empoli at the Allianz Stadium tomorrow and will be looking for a comfortable win to ease the pressure on Allegri.