After a magnificent unbeaten season last year, Italy’s biggest club are back to where they belong.
It’s a new dawn for Juventus, with the new stadium and a young, talented manager, they are the first Italian club to move into the 21st century and having spent wisely so far in the mercato, La Vecchia Signora look ready to begin another lengthy dynasty. With depth in every area of the field Marotta is searching for a prima punta and has narrowed the list down to two players; Robin Van Persie and Stevan Jovetic. Both players have the qualities and capabilities to make Juventus once again, a force in Europe. Last season there were no expectations, this season there are.
Manager: Antonio Conte
“Guru del Andare” was undoubtedly the protagonist in Juventus’ historic unbeaten season in 2011/2012.
His grinta and tactical versatility were the key to success, the key to turning Vidal, Bonucci and Marchisio into world class talents and the key to him further instating his position as a true Bianconneri legend. A great manager is not stubborn and can make his players believe in his philosophy; Conte did just that. His ability to instil the 4-3-3 and the 3-5-2 formations into his players was majestic, especially when you consider the seamless rotation between a back four and a back three. When the Italian press hailed Juventus as Scudetto winners in April, he provided his most famous managerial moment. The team talk grounded his players, and stopped the Juventini from getting too carried away; “the reality is what happens on the field, the sweat, the sacrifice”. Provided Conte brings the same measure of intensity next season, the “Guru del Andare” will likely have another season to remember.
Key Player: Andrea Pirlo
One year ago Juventus snapped up an unwanted and unfancied Andrea Pirlo on a bosman deal; fast forward one year and he is a serious contender for the Ballon D’or.
Alongside Marchisio and Vidal in the midfield trident, Pirlo has proved once again that he is the best midfielder in the world and became the most indispensable player in the Juventus line up. Pirlo was outstanding in his first campaign in Turin, boasting a Serie A title and the most assists in Italy. His ability to dictate attacking moves 60 yards from goal, his set piece expertise and most incredibly, his ability to make passing seem like a virtue, have made the Juve midfield one of the most feared in Europe. With the Champions League football next season, many Juventini are afraid that Pirlo may struggle to play two games a week consistently but judging by his influence in Euro 2012, Andrea Pirlo can still play many games in quick succession. To make this Juventus side a truly great one, their regista needs to perform.
Best Signing: Sebastion Giovinco
Giovinco will rekindle his love affair with Juventus next season after two years in the Ennio Tardini.
The 25 year old’s whole contract was purchased for €8 million after the co-ownership deal with Parma ended. This deal has flown slightly under the radar due to Juve’s search for a “top player”, but bringing back the “Atomic Ant” could be the key to a long run in the Champions League next season. Blessed with impeccable vision, an eye for goal, an effortless technique; he has been described by Pietro Leonardi as the “best player in Italy” and can be a real live wire in attack for Juventus. Tactically, Seba can work in both of Conte’s preferred 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 formations and he also opens the door to the use of a 4-3-1-2 formation. Pirlo may not play all of La Vecchia Signora’s games next season and without him, Juventus could lack creativity when using a 4-3-3. If Conte was to use a 4-3-1-2 with Giovinco as a trequartista, Juve would not lack creativity; this would also give the team even more tactical unpredictability. With an incredible 15 goals and 13 assists for Parma last season, Sebastion Giovinco has proved he is capable of playing at the highest level with Juventus.
Football Matters’ Season Prediction: 1st
Juventus are strong favourites to win the Scudetto next season according to the bookies, and it is easy to see why.
Whilst the natural rivals such as AC Milan and Inter Milan have began a long overdue rebuilding process, Juventus have added a wide range of talented players to their ranks. The signings of Isla, Asamoah and Lucio add depth to areas were Juve were already strong in preparation for the challenge of European football. Provided Marotta signs a “top player”, a run to the latter stages of the Champions League will be a very feasible dream for the club along with a 31st Scudetto. It may be a bad time to be a Serie A fan, but it certainly isn’t a bad time to be a Juventini.
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