An overreliance on a few individuals with no real patterns of play
And this gets at the heart of my qualms with Max Allegri’s brand of football and the overarching attacking struggles.
Here are Juve’s results against other top teams in Italy and Europe more broadly:
Napoli 2-1 Juventus
Juventus 1-0 Chelsea
Inter 1-1 Juventus
Chelsea 4-0 Juventus
Juventus 1-1 Napoli
Inter 2-1 Juventus
Milan 0-0 Juventus
Villarreal 1-1 Juventus
Juventus 0-3 Villarreal
Juventus 0-1 Inter
It does not matter if they were at home or on the road. Juve have NEVER scored more than one goal against a notable Champions League side or a top-four team in Serie A. This is a sample size of ten games. In those ten matches, the Bianconeri have scored just six goals and surrendered 15. That is outright embarrassing, especially for a club that prides itself on historically being elite in Europe and the best domestically. They are supposed to win these big games and rise to the occasion, yet they play like cowards and offer no attacking threat in most of these matches.
When you look at the overall attacking statistics, it is blatantly obvious that Paulo Dybala, who, by the way, is leaving at the end of the season, has been carrying the team. He is the clear leader in goals and assists per 90, as well as the main threat in these big matches. Morata has decent numbers, Cuadrado helps, and Vlahovic carries a threat, no doubt.
But when you watch Juve, it does not feel like there is a collective effort. If Dybala is not playing due to an injury, then good luck. Because this team is unwatchable and embarrassingly ineffective without his playmaking and penchant for scoring goals from nothing. Just the threat he provides opens things up for the others.
Allegri has struggled to craft a fluid attack that maximizes the strengths of his players with a foundation in midfield and an idea of how to use the width of the pitch. Everything is condensed, haphazard, and entirely reliant on the same few players to conjure magic. And that magic is all the more difficult to showcase when the pitch is so crowded and when it feels like there are seven or eight players who are mere passengers at any given moment.
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Juventus are defined by how they perform in the biggest games and the kind of football they play; built on steady defending, composed midfield play, active wide playmaking, and clinical and creative forwards. Without the midfield and wide playmaking elements, the stars up top are left struggling to turn scraps into the one goal that can obtain a result that avoids outright embarrassment.