Juventus: 5 Reasons the Bianconeri Deserved Their 28th Scudetto
The Old Lady of Italian football was re-born on Sunday night. The club who was head and shoulders above everyone else over the course of the season, thus far, clinched their first Scudetto since 2002-03.
With one match day to go this season, the club has already celebrated their 28th title—though supporters will claim it is the 30th—following the defeat of Cagliari and Milan's loss at the hands of Inter.
Many had written off Juventus at the beginning of the season, believing the club was in yet another re-building phase. Others gave manager Antonio Conte little credit as a man manager and believed the former Juventus player was tactically naive. However, the Bianconeri and their supporters are currently having the last laugh.
Next week the club can complete a remarkable undefeated league season and be the first Serie A club since the 1991-92 Milan side to do so. However, Serie A was made up of only 18 clubs, and Juventus' achievement could be seen as a greater feat. The club will also have the chance to complete a domestic double when they take on Napoli in the Coppa Italia Final.
Now with the Scudetto secured, here are five reasons Juventus are the deserving champions of Italian football.
Juventus' current manager was still playing for the club the last time they won the title. Now in his first season of top-flight management, Conte has restored Juventus to the top of calcio.
Many believed his appointment was a poor decision by the Juventus board, despite getting Siena promoted to Serie A last season. Those same non-believers felt Conte's attacking mentality would allow oppositions to score at will against a perceived weak defense.
All of those thoughts and beliefs seemed to go out the window as the season went on. Though the club hit a patch of draws in the late-winter and early-spring, the club continued to pick up points and kept their momentum.
Conte's achievements can not be understated, but unfortunately he will not be held in the same breath as managers like Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho or Roberto Mancini despite doing just as much with less talent at his disposal.
Like Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, Conte is one of the new generations of managers that has gotten results, but has not had the high profile players as some of his peers.
The Bianconeri has some big names in their team like Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero and Andrea Pirlo. Yet, the team has numerous players that are not household names such as Simone Pepe, Fabio Quagliarella and Emanuele Giaccherini.
While Milan and Inter were counting on the big names of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wesley Sneijder to carry them this season, Juventus had a whole team of players pushing and pulling them through the difficult times.
Conte's men were truly a team in every since of the word. The manager used nearly all of his senior team roster at one time or another during the course of the year, whether it was in starting or substitution roles. Regardless of which it was, nearly each player made an impact in that time for the team.
Though Eljero Elia and Milos Krasic never seemed to figure in the manager's plans, they were given a chance. However, their styles were focused more on the individual than the team. Therefore, they just didn't fit and their playing time was restricted.
Striker by Committee
The club's leading scorer, Alessandro Matri, led the way for Juventus with 10 goals during the season. Unlike Milan, who has gotten a career-best 28 goals from Ibrahimovic, Juventus has had several goal scorers contribute at key times. The club has had goal scoring by committee, rather than one player carrying the load.
Matri was getting the goals for the club early in the season, but he cooled off after the new year. Since then the club has gotten goals from Mirko Vucinic who has been red-hot of late. Meanwhile, January loan signing Marco Borriello and Quagliarella have chipped in when it has mattered. The legendary Del Piero pitched in two this spring as well to help Juventus over the line.
Throughout much of the season Juventus' defense was much derided. Their backline of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Stephan Lichtsteiner were constantly ridiculed for being terrible defenders and so on.
However, what many of the critics failed to realize was the four defenders and company where handling the attacks of Serie A's finest.
Conte changed his defenders and formation several times during the season and deployed a three-man defense for several games down the stretch—including Sunday's win. The club played to their strengths as a defense and only allowed 19 goals this season. That's 13 fewer than second-best Milan.
Juventus opened the 41,000 seat Juventus Stadium last summer and became the only Italian club to fully own their stadium.
All other clubs in Serie A rent their stadiums from the local city councils, something many supporters and clubs want to do away with. However, many of the councils are against clubs owning their own stadiums as it will keep the cities from collecting stadium rental fees.
In its first season in the league, Juventus stadium has shown the rest of Serie A what a truly intimidating factor a home stadium can be. Without a running track surrounding the pitch and supporters on top of the players, the stadium creates a cauldron-like atmosphere—something that was missing from the club's old home, the Stadio della Alpi.
Unfortunately, it seems it will still be a long while before the rest of the league catches on.