Juventus head into game-week 10 of the Serie A against struggling Genoa and while it’s easy to simply term the game a “walkover”, the Bianconeri’s last league outing against Leece suggests it’s not exactly straight-forward all the time. Juventus maintain their lead at the top of the pile despite dropping points away to Leece but can be thankful the likes of Inter and Napoli failed to capitalize on their slip-up and could only manage draws as well. Leading bookmaker stoixima 24 have shortened Inter’s odds following their win last night but still make Juventus slight favourites for the title this season.
Juventus have won seven and drawn two of their first nine games of the season (Skysports) but a potential area of concern remains that the Bianconeri are not scoring enough goals (than expected). For Juventus’ kind of firepower, boasting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, you’ll surely be expecting the champions to have scored more than 16 goals so far after nine outings (Skysports). An average of 1.7 goals per game might not be much to worry about for a mid-table side but for Juventus it is surely a far cry from what we know the squad is capable of.
Sarri wants to see more from his attacking players as they prepare to take on a struggling Genoa team on Wednesday night.
The Italian born manager said on Tuesday:
‘We are adapting to a new style of football, so it’s only natural that it will take a little while to perfect. We can improve a great deal and are on the right track.
‘We have a very low average of shots finding not just the net, but the frame of the goal. In my view, it’s more of a mental issue than anything else.
‘I expressed my fear with the players about that and we’ll try to prepare some training exercises to help, but we also need to be more determined in front of goal.
‘We are still the best defence in Serie A. This league has changed, the average goals of all the teams has gone up and in general it is a more prolific tournament. Besides which, lately we conceded pretty much exclusively from penalties, so we need to keep an eye on those situations.’
Juventus lacking clinical touch in front of goal
Of all teams in the Serie A top four spots at the moments, Juventus have conceded the least goals (eight) and that to a large extent has been their superior advantage to what the other teams can boast of currently. While eight goals in nine games is pretty impressive even for Sarri’s men from a defensive perspective, two other teams in Cagliari and Verona have conceded only eight as well (Skysports) but of course no one barely notices due to their positions on the table.
To put things into perspective on how Juventus are lacking that clinical edge, their number of shots per game isn’t reflecting equally in the tally of their total goals so far (16). As per Whoscored, Ronaldo and company have averaged 18 shots per game this season and have a lesser 16 goals – the only side in the top three teams to set that standard. Inter in second place have managed 17.1 shots per game and have a greater 20 goals scored to show for (Whoscored). Dark horses Atalanta in third place have managed 21.2 shots per game and have scored a far greater 28 goals so far (the most of any side in the league) via Whoscored.
Perhaps the game that reflected Sarri’s concerns was that of Juventus last outing against Leece. As per Whoscored, Juventus took a total of 25 shots compared to Leece who managed only 10 shots. However, it’s worrying that based on those same numbers, Leece had five shots on target – one more than Juventus who could only manage four shots on target from a possible 25. It’s room for further concern when you realize Sarri’s men could only score via a penalty in the disappointing draw.
Many might argue that the absence of Ronaldo was to blame for all of that but it appears to go deeper than that. Prior to the game against Leece, Ronaldo had only missed the game against Brescia due to a precaution and all of these struggles remained evident regardless. Sarri might be right and the cause of the concerns upfront might actually be more mental than tactical or physical. Perhaps the consistent pressure from Inter has put unnecessary anxiety on the Juve players to perform but the Bianconeri must find a way to score goals freely soon enough or they could rue the consequences later on in the season.