Friday, October 22, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo Departure Still Impacting Juventus

It has been an awful start to the new Serie A season for Juventus. The defeat against Napoli last Saturday meant the Bianconeri have picked up just one point out of nine. The 36 time Serie A champions appear to be having a Cristiano Ronaldo hangover after the Portuguese striker left in the summer for Manchester United.

They did manage a morale-boosting win against Malmo in the Champions League but is that a sign that they have turned the corner or are there deeper underlying problems than simply Ronaldo leaving the club.

What is Going Wrong at Juventus?

Losing a player like Cristiano Ronaldo was always going to have a big impact on Juventus. It is not only the goals that they will miss but also his influence in the dressing room.

There have been some people saying that Ronaldo hindered Juventus and the way they wanted to play. However, the stats don’t back that theory up. Last season, Ronaldo was Juventus’s top goalscorer with 29 goals in Serie A.

Last season’s struggles weren’t down to Ronaldo but more the players around him. Also, the manager, Andrea Pirlo, didn’t seem to be able to get his style and way of playing across.

The squad also appears to be lacking an identity. Juventus want to become a younger squad and have brought in young talents such as Matthijs de Ligt, Weston McKennie, and Manuel Locatelli. but at the same time, the old guard remains with the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

Juventus need to decide on a way of playing and stick to it after the failed experiments of Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo and refind their identity.

They also need more players to step up to the plate. The likes of Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata need to contribute more. Dybala scored just five goals in 26 games last season, which isn’t good enough for a player of his quality.

Such is his talent, this could Dybala’s team; he could become the star man for Juventus. It is time he showed that he capable. So far this season, he hasn’t. In the Old Lady’s defeat against Empoli, neither Dybala nor Morata had a shot on goal.

Morata has scored just once in three Serie A games so far this season. It is not only them who have had slow starts to the season, however, but the likes of Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi have failed to hit the ground running as well.

Of course, both players were involved in the Euros with Italy and will take time to get fully up to speed. Both were missing in the win against Malmo and will face a race to be fit enough for the clash against AC Milan at the weekend.

One of the biggest problems for Juventus so far this season has been the form of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny. The Polish keeper has been reliable for the Bianconeri since joining the club in 2017. Massimiliano Allegri kept faith in him, despite having the chance to sign Gianluigi Donnarumma in the summer. That looks like a bad decision now as Szeczesny has had two costly howlers against Udinese and Napoli which have cost Juventus dearly.

Against Napoli, he didn’t manage to block Lorenzo Insigne’s curling shot and instead pushed the ball out to Matteo Politano to score the rebound.

With Gianluigi Buffon leaving in the summer to join Parma, Allegri doesn’t have many backup options. The only other option is Mattia Perin who has played only nine times for Juventus since joining in 2018. Allegri will be relying on Szczesny to find his form soon and help turn the Bianconeri’s season around.

After Juventus’ poor start to the season, the pressure is starting to grow on Massimiliano Allegri. He won’t be panicking just yet and he will know it will take time to get his tactics in place and style of play. Also, the likes of Manuel Locatelli, Federico Chiesa, and Federico Bernardeschi will take time to get up to speed after the physical and emotional toll of winning the Euros with Italy.

Also, he has been in this situation before with Juventus. In the 2015/16 season, Juventus suffered their worst start in their history under Allegri’s management. After ten games, they had won just three and were a massive 15 points behind Roma.

However, they came storming back, winning 15 league games in a row and winning 26 out of their next 28 Serie A games to win the Scudetto with three games to spare.

The Old Lady are already eight points behind AC Milan, Roma, and Napoli at the top of the table. They face a massive clash against AC Milan at the Allianz Arena on Sunday night knowing defeat would see them 11 points behind the Rossoneri after just four games.

Juventus may have completed the impossible once before under Allegri but it would be a tall order to come back from that deficit this season. However, if they were to win on Sunday, it could be the springboard they need to kickstart their season.

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