There was once a time when Juventus was synonymous with victory and greatness, a time when all of Italy feared the Old Lady of Turin.
As one of the peninsula’s most storied clubs, the pressure is always on for Juventus to perform well—and to do so in style. The days of "Lo Stilo Juve" seem to be long forgotten, considering the Bianconeri can’t control the ball, let alone the play, these days.
Lately, Juventus has been acting anything but the storied and prestigious club they are. The objectives set at the beginning of the season are all but washed away. What’s left of the club only seems to be bits and pieces.
How did the club get to this point?
Not only has the Old Lady dropped down to an unacceptable fifth place after a string of extremely disappointing performances, but the displays on the pitch have been nothing short of pitiful.
“We are absolutely embarrassing ourselves out there. We have many injuries, but that is not an alibi. There's no point hiding here. We are trying, everyone is giving their all in terms of effort, but the results are pitiful. We don't create chances and concede far too much. You can cling to bad luck, but obviously today we did nothing to win the match,” said defender Giorgio Chiellini after their Sunday defeat away to Chievo.
By the current state of things, the risk of missing out on Champions League play next season is becoming all the more a real possibility for the club.
So what is really wrong with the team?
Here are a just few examples: An inexperienced coach who doesn’t seem to be able to get the best out of a teamconsisting of underperforming players that clearly lacks both identity and a clear strategy. Not to mention the usual alarming rate of injuries and lack of consistency—in good results, that is.
“We have to say that it's our fault. We can't be happy with the performances and similar results. It takes continuity to reach great objectives, but we have found continuity in negative results,” goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon complained after his comeback against Chievo.
What happened to the pride of wearing the Juventus jersey? Have the players forgotten the history, the honor and the prestige of what it means to be wearing the black and white shirt?
The squad certainly has the talent, ability, and quality needed in order to get out of the bad spiral, but their current mental state is keeping them from reaching their potential. The lack of determination, aggressiveness, and confidence has made it possible for any team to beat the Old Lady of Turin these days.
Would a change in the managerial position make the difference?
Ciro Ferrara’s leadership abilities and desire to win was what made him an icon at the club. However, the former defender clearly doesn’t seem to have the managerial skills needed to guide a team of Juventus’ caliber.
Add poor tactical innovations and dubious other tactical moves where the players are forced into the wrong systems in regards to their qualities, combined with a clear lack of consistency, and it quickly becomes clear that the board might have made a mistake in appointing the rookie coach in the first place.
The team and Ferrara are, however, not alone to blame for the current situation at the club. Far from it, truth be told. The board of directors seems frighteningly clueless about what to do next.
The mixed signals regarding their stand concerning most issues has come under scrutiny on numerous occasions, and when former scandalized sporting director Luciano Moggi claims they know nothing about football, one can’t help but to think he might have a legitimate point.
The players being linked to the club at the moment are nothing short of mediocre and if that is what Juventus has been reduced to, it’s time that leading powers realized what club they represent and started to act accordingly.
It’s going to take time to get these things right, but the first thing the slumbering Old Lady needs to do is to actually wake up and see the situation for what it is.