They're searching for answers right now in Turin.
Just a week before the Scudetto showdown with rivals Inter, Juventus are again stumbling out of the blocks after an international break. Not only did Juve fail to impress in the 1-0 win over Udinese a week ago, but they were thoroughly stomped by Bordeaux in midweek and continued their poor form against Cagliari this past Sunday.
What has caused Juventus to go from looking like a legit Scudetto contender early in the season to a sinking ship as November comes to an end?
There isn’t an absolute single factor for why Juve have seemingly gone into crisis mode in such a short period of time. You can’t pin the struggles of this season solely on one player or on manager Ciro Ferrara.
It's true that key players are struggling. Getting any kind of consistency in form from Amauri has been tough. Fellow Brazilians Felipe Melo and Diego—this summer's two biggest signings—have fallen on tough times and aren't playing close to where they were when they first arrived in Turin.
Fact is, this team is still trying to come together as a cohesive unit as their coach learns the tricks of the trade. This is the first managing job that Ferrara has had, and it’s clear he still has a lot to learn about coaching at this level. And he's doing so with such a huge microscope cast upon him.
To be fair, Ferrara is trying to incorporate five summer signings into a squad, which, as a whole, has had to learn different formations on the fly. The base 4-3-1-2 was temporarily scrapped in favor of the more offensively minded 4-2-3-1, which hasn’t clicked in recent weeks.
Still, the team stuggles to find the consistent form they need to keep pace with Inter Milan. That lack of consistency is certainly frustrating. They can look so good one week, like they did against Sampdoria, and then terrible the next, like they were against Napoli.
There was a potential for consistency as the international season came to a close, but ultimately it wasn't the kind some of us had hoped for.
With the problems above, you can’t forget the injuries this team has dealt with. Ferrara is just now getting Claudio Marchisio and Alessandro Del Piero back after missing most of the season. Ferrara's hands are also tied by both Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Trezeguet who are out until January, as well.
The injuries are why Melo had been played all but one game this season, before Sunday’s contest against Cagliari, and why Amauri has been played despite being in absolute terrible form. This made Ferrara unable to go forward with the kind of squad rotation he talked about in pre-season.
Put everything together and you have exactly what Juve is going through.
However, the team still has issues even when it is fully healthy. The defense will always be a concern weather the team is flying high or playing terrible. And even though sporting director Alessio Secco brought in the two Fabio’s, Cannavaro and Grosso, it is a group that will never be the best in Italy.
Does this mean Juve can’t turn it around? No, but things must change starting Saturday night in Turin when Inter pays a visit to the Olimpico.
With Scudetto hopes fading, this Saturday’s clash is even more important than it usually is. There is no other choice but to get three points. If Juve doesn't, the Scudetto might as well be an afterthought.
Tough times are the best test for everybody involved. And if this team is who many of us want them to be, they will show up with the kind of spirit and fight that the black and white stands for.