In today’s football world, winning consecutive domestic titles has become an increasingly difficult task. The influence of money across all of Europe’s top leagues has recently allowed clubs to compete for trophies quicker than ever, while clubs that are already at the top must constantly worry about their squad depth being poached by foreign suitors.
This constant threat makes clubs at the top of their respective leagues always on the hunt for new ways to stay ahead of their opponents, and defending Serie A champion Juventus is a prime example. Juve led the Serie A with 19 clean sheets in 2012-13, on the way to conceding a league-low 24 goals last season. Even though that defense contributed significantly to Juve’s title, the club made a couple of stealth summer moves to build on its attack, signing striker Carlos Tevez for a relatively modest 9 million euros while also picking up Fernando Llorente on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao.
These additions signify that the club is in touch with its needs on the field, and more importantly knows what it needs to stay ahead of its competitors. Juventus manager Antonio Conte knows that the strength of his team lies in the central midfield, specifically the combination of experience and athletic ability that Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba bring to the table. After winning the 2012-13 title without a Serie A top-20 scorer, Conte was concerned that these three players were being burdened with too much offensive responsibility. But thanks to the additions of Tevez and Llorente, Juve’s midfield has matured into an even stronger force within the league, and as a result the Bianconeri again sit atop the Serie A table, six points up on AS Roma while having lost only one match all season.
Here’s a deeper look at what has made Juve so successful this season, how it stacks up against the one Italian club that could challenge it for the Scudetto and its overall Serie A outlook....