It’s quite remarkable that this Juventus side hasn’t tasted defeat in Serie A since the end of November.
The Bianconeri have won six out of their last nine in the league, yet the mood among Juventus supporters before the club embarked on a memorable end to the January mercato was pretty sombre.
The Milan stalemate was deflating from a performance perspective but the result for Massimiliano Allegri’s men was a good one and it meant Juve had safely navigated through a month that some regarded as a ‘gauntlet’ before it got underway. Draws against Napoli and Milan were hard-fought, while a comfortable triumph at home to Udinese was overshadowed by a calcio classic in the capital the week before.
Juventus’ seven minutes of heaven in the second half against AS Roma may well prove to be the watershed moment in their 2021/22 campaign.
Nevertheless, the club’s triumph in the transfer window means that securing a top-four spot this season is well within their grasp. Dusan Vlahovic’s impact will likely be immediate as he goes in search of his first Capocannoniere, while Denis Zakaria may well be the guy to unlock Manuel Locatelli in the middle of the park. How the former adapts to Allegri and vice-versa will be an intriguing watch, and the speed at which the prolific Serb can settle could define the Old Lady’s performance down the stretch.
The two new arrivals are in contention to make their Juventus debuts from the outset against Hellas Verona on Sunday night. It’s a banana-skin fixture for the Bianconeri, who were beaten 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in October, and the contest kick-starts a month of fixtures that could make or break their season.
Allegri’s side will be fighting on three fronts in February. Their Coppa Italia campaign continues at home to Sassuolo in the last eight, while the Champions League knockouts begin at the end of the month. A tricky test in the form of Unai Emery’s improving Villarreal awaits Juventus as they attempt to progress into the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since 2019.
But, arguably most significantly, a difficult run of Serie A encounters are in store. In Hellas Verona and Derby della Mole rivals Torino, Juve face two excellently-coached sides capable of causing the Bianconeri all sorts of their problems as a result of their work without the ball.
In between those fixtures, Juventus have a HUGE game in the context of the top-four race as they visit Atalanta. From a stylistic perspective, they resemble the ultimate iteration of what Tudor and Juric are attempting to inculcate in Verona and Turin respectively. It’s a high-octane, in-your-face style that has troubled Juve over the past 18 months.
Juric’s Verona took four points off Juve last season, while the Old Lady hasn’t beaten La Dea in their last four Serie A attempts. Oh, and let’s not overlook the trip to Empoli to round off the month. Aurelio Andreazzoli’s diamond midfield spooked Allegri on Matchday 2 of the Serie A season as Juve fell to a 1-0 defeat.
On the contrary, Allegri’s men face a pair of technically proficient, possession-oriented sides in the cup competitions. Alessio Dionisi’s Neroverdi are wonderfully gifted but remarkably unpredictable. They tend to save their best for superior opposition, as Juve discovered earlier this season.
Overall, February is a ‘bogey’ month for the Bianconeri; one that boasts just one high-profile fixture but the various tactical challenges posed by the upcoming opponents means it’s a period that could define Juventus’ season.