Juventus have had a decent start to their season as we approach the first half of the campaign. In pursuit of their 36th Serie A crown, the Bianconeri have shown no signs of giving up their stronghold at the top and bar the pursuit from Inter, all is set for a 9th consecutive title.
Despite Sarri and company maintaining first position in the domestic league as well as their Champions League group, there is a still a sense of frustration in the manner in which Juventus have scrapped out wins lately.
The Bianconeri have had to battle out wins even against “lesser” sides widely expected to be dispatched with ease. At a point in time, Juventus were 2-1 specialists and a large percentage of their wins were coming with their margin.
Regardless of it all, there are still positives to reflect on so far and here are some bright spots the Allianz Stadium faithful can hold on to as we go into the penultimate international break of the current season.
Winning mentality: Top of the Serie A and their UCL group
A strong trait of champions is the ability to grind out wins even in the face of “lacklustre” performances. Juventus clearly fit that bill and have managed to take all three points even when their output was particularly below par on that outing.
With lots of title-winners in the Juve squad, the mentality of players can be described currently as “top-notch” and it’s no surprise Juventus have scored a goal in the last 20 minutes in their last four outings – with those goals proving to be the winner on three occasions as per Whoscored.
Inter have done all in their power to keep up with Juve at the top and it’s fair to say the Bianconeri will have to watch over their tails and avoid any form of slip-ups. While Inter are not far off from Juventus in terms of quality on the pitch, the one thing that could yet see Juventus retain their champion status remains their “winning mentality”.
No dependence on one player
Last season, Cristiano Ronaldo shouldered a large responsibility of the scoring duties with his 28 goal contribution to the side. This season, the Portuguese still leads the side as the highest goal-scorer with five goals to his name so far (Whoscored) but there has been a better spread of the goals this time around.
As per data from Whoscored, 13 different Juventus players have scored at least a goal so far and five of them have scored at least two goals and above.
Ronaldo has only scored one goal in the Champions League (his well-known habitat) yet Juventus remain top of their group. The probability of goals coming from any member of the squad is one that has helped Juve so far and would definitely be a bright spot moving further into latter parts of the season.
Defensive solidarity to some extent
It’s ironic that when Juventus play, they appear to be shaky at the back with Matthijs de Ligt being a culprit on a number of occasions. Despite all of that, the Bianconeri defence have let in only 13 goals after 16 games in all competitions (Skysports).
However it is quantified, an average of less than a goal per game is pretty impressive on the defensive end and one big trait a title-chasing side must have in good command is their solidarity at the back. At least, If a side fails to score goals up front but don’t concede as well at the back, a point is gained and ultimately the spoils are shared.
Squad depth and number of options
Not everyone can make the cut for a starting berth, but Sarri still has a number of options to pick from should the need arise. In goal, there’s the option of Szczesny or the more experienced Gianlugi Buffon, both of which are still fantastic options to choose from.
In the heart of defence, Chiellini still remains on the sidelines but Sarri still has Matthijs De Ligt, Leonardo Bonucci, Danielle Rugani and Merih Demiral.
On the fullback options, Alex Sandro, Mattia De Sciglio, Danilo and Juan Cuadrado are available with the latter impressing despite playing as a makeshift fullback.
Over to the midfield, Juventus still have lots of options in Aaron Ramsey, Miralem Pjanic, Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Bernadeschi. That’s not all with the likes of Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi and Adrien Rabiot still in contention for spots – without forgetting to mention Emre Can who recently voiced out he wants more playing time.
With lots of games to come especially towards the end of the year, Sarri would be thankful for having a decent number of options that can suit a demanding run of fixtures without having to stretch anyone past the limit.