Juventus didn’t just drop points this weekend against bitter rivals Inter Milan for a second time this season. They lost 1-0 to the Nerazzurri, meaning the Bianconeri have never actually beaten any of the other top four teams in Serie A this season.
Yes, you read that correctly. Juve have either drawn or lost to Inter, Napoli, and Milan in all of their meetings this season. When looking at the Champions League results, Juve tied and then lost to Villarreal as they were knocked out of the round of 16, and they lost 4-0 to Chelsea in their second meeting of the group stages.
As a matter of fact, their narrow 1-0 win over the Blues on 29 September is the only time Juventus have won a ‘big’ game this season against either a top Champions League side or a top-four team in Italy.
Here are three reasons why the Bianconeri struggle so much against top competition.
Juventus struggle out wide
Federico Chiesa’s injury has exacerbated this issue, but we saw Juventus struggle with exploiting the wide areas of the attack in 2020/21 under Andrea Pirlo, too. They just did not have the personnel to attack from out to in, and the result was that Cristiano Ronaldo did not have much space to score. Juve’s best chances were often from Juan Cuadrado’s crosses to Ronaldo, because the pitch was so compact and the team lacked the ability to make penetrative runs into the box or to attack the channels.
In some ways, Juve are even worse this season in this regard, at least against the best teams. Looking at the numbers, Cuadrado is averaging 1.7 key passes per game to lead the team in this category, but he only has two assists.
Juve have nothing going for them down the wings. Cuadrado and Luca Pellegrini are the only players who can provide a reliable source of width in the attacking third. Between them, Cuadrado is the only dribbler or wide creator on the team, and it shows when you watch how easy it is to defend Juve. There’s a reason why Dusan Vlahovic isn’t flying as high from a scoring perspective; he does not have the space or service from out wide.
As much as using Alvaro Morata in a Mario Mandzukic role seemed to be intriguing, the reality is that this just won’t work for 2021/22 Juventus.