Juventus will face yet another test of character after Inter went top of the Serie A after their 2-1 win away to Brescia on Tuesday night. Going into a fixture in league football after your biggest title rival has just pulled one over you can be daunting for any team. This is what Juventus will have to brave to reclaim the top spot in the Serie A later today.
Although it won’t be the first time this season that Maurizio Sarri’s men are going into a fixture in second place behind Inter, they’ve delivered when it’s been needed the most – especially in the win over the Nerazzurri in their own backyard. However, Juventus have not been at their clinical best of late, and have literally had to scrape through results and hang on tightly to wins.
The Bianconeri have failed to win their past four games by more than one margin (Skysports) and the highlight of those struggles was evident in the recent 1-1 draw with Leece.
Sarri did concede that his side had mental problems up front, but it’ll appear they might have more than that on their plate as Inter’s win over Brescia now puts Ronaldo and company under immense pressure. However, Juventus must focus on their own game and phase out all other thoughts or factors from their minds.
Later today, Juventus go up against struggling Serie A stalwarts Genoa who are trying to find their footing under new technical management, with the recently retired footballer and new coach Thiago Motta. On paper, the game against Genoa looks to be an easy one at first glance, but the current circumstances surrounding Juventus mean that the fixture has become a 50-50 game, but a must-win for Sarri and his men.
Not only are Genoa adjusting to Thiago Motta’s new style which looks promising, but he will also be looking to cut his teeth in the top tier of management against a “struggling” Juventus, and will definitely be pulling all the stops to earn his first big win as a top tier manager.
The win becomes more important for Juventus because the Old Lady have AC Milan next, and while the Rossoneri have had their own struggles as well lately, one can’t be too sure on what to expect from an experimenting side under Pioli’s tutelage.
The pressure will be felt by all in the club, most especially by Sarri who, as the coach, will be facing the media and the board if things don’t turn out well. Sarri, however, is no slouch in the coaching department. His management skill is what will be most looked at later today, though. He needs to be able to get his best team forward, having prepared the whole team for whatever comes next, while showing the world and Juventus fans that his team can take on any opponent.
A factor that may be at play here is league fatigue – Juventus have many players who are serial Serie A winners as well as some new players from last season and this season who were serial winners before coming to the club. This is a real thing, and may need some serious pre-match pep-talk from Maurizio Sarri.
The game against Genoa today may turn out to be one of Juventus’ biggest games of the season because of the mental burden attached to the game as well as the consequences if they slip up. If they come out victorious, they will have set the ball rolling for another title defence – once again. Inter will not make it easy for them though. However, Juventus have more than what it takes, as well as the resources to plug any holes in the team.
This fatigue the team feels not only needs to be addressed and managed as soon as possible, but needs to be put aside for the Genoa game later today or all hell may break loose within the club.