Why Juventus Will Win the Serie A Title This Season
Juventus will win Serie A this season, which will make it two scudetti in two years.
The Bianconeri possess both the strongest lineup and squad in Italy, despite a deficiency in attack, more of that though later.
A pretty good place to start when you have ambitions to win a title is a top goalkeeper, and the Old Lady have the greatest in Europe, Gianluigi Buffon.
Samir Handanovic runs Gigi close, but the Azzurri number one's longevity is quite remarkable, consistently excellent throughout his 12 year career in Turin.
Buffon makes up a quarter of the best defence in the league, having only conceded 18 goals in 27 games this season. Napoli are the next best with 22 goals conceded in the same amount of matches.
A trio of some of the best centre-backs in Europe protects Buffon's goal and each one offers something different.
Leonardo Bonucci offers a wonderful range of passing from the back and ability on the ball to drive forward when Juve's midfielders are closely marked.
Andrea Barzagli reads the game immaculately, often sweeping up and covering his teammates, while Giorgio Chiellini offers a well-rounded defensive game to go with his great intangibles—leadership and desire.
Antonio Conte has set these three up in a 3-5-2, a formation that has swept Europe over the past year or so. Nobody has managed to replicate the Bianconeri as well, so while Juve's strikers may not be excelling, their defence relieves much pressure simply because one goal is usually good enough to win a game.
That strike force is not short of numbers. Conte has tried numerous combinations from the six strikers at his disposal: Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinvo, Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, Nicklas Bendtner and January signing Nicolas Anelka.
Conte is loyal to Vucinic, who is clearly the number-one striker, but his style is not compatible with many strikers.
Giovinco returned to Turin from Parma last summer for a significant fee, but Formica Atomica wants to operate in the same spaces as the Montenegrin, so it has proved problematic to accommodate the 26-year-old.
The others are not quite good enough to hold down a starting berth for the Bianconeri and Fernando Llorente's imminent arrival cannot come soon enough, with The Guardian revealing that the Spanish international will arrive in Turin on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao this summer.
Juve may have scored 54 goals, second only to Roma's 57, but the goals have been shared around the side and only PSG have scored at a lesser rate amongst the leaders of Europe's five biggest leagues—England, Spain, Germany and France.
The main strength of Juve's side is the midfield though, which sets them apart from the competition in Serie A.
Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio are not only the best trio of midfielders in Italy, but no other team in Europe can offer such a versatile combination.
There is not a centre-midfielder in Italy who would get close to displacing one of these three and a real indication of their strength in depth is the world-class talent Paul Pogba, operating as a backup when he would start for every other side in Serie A.
Juve's main challengers this season come from Naples, and the Partenopei overturned a points deduction for two of their players—Paolo Cannavaro and Giuseppe Grava—failing to inform the authorities, despite having prior knowledge of the latest betting scandal to sweep the country.
Napoli were quite valiant until the big showdown at the San Paolo last Friday revealed the gulf in class between the two sides.
When the second-best team in Italy only possess one player, Edinson Cavani, who would get into the best team in the country, perhaps the six point gap at the top of the league is somewhat flattering to Napoli, especially when you consider Juve's intense Champions League schedule.
Yes, Juve are destined for back-to-back titles, even if they are drawn with a side of outstanding calibre in the next round of the Champions League, such as Real Madrid.
Conte would surely be required to field weakened sides in the league matches surrounding the tie, so as to rest his key players, but even this would not be enough to give Napoli or even a late charge from Milan any hope.
Juve will rightly pick up the Scudetto in May. They are simply the best again.
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