Szczesny is shaky, De Ligt is a shadow of his former self and replacing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 30 goals a season is impossible… why it’s all going wrong for Allegri’s Juventus after dreadful start
- Juventus have taken just one point from their first three Serie A matches
- Only once in the past 52 seasons have they made such a terrible start
- Massimiliano Allegri has returned as manager but faces an uphill struggle
- Replacing the 30 goals a season of Cristiano Ronaldo will be a major challenge
- Errors by keeper Wojciech Szczesny are causing panic in the defensive ranks
- Adrien Rabiot is swamped in midfield and forwards are struggling to find form
- The issues in Turin are mounting and the supporters are growing disillusioned
- Juventus face tricky test of a visit to Malmo in the Champions League tonight
From the eyes of the tiger that have always characterised their history to the frightened eyes of the rabbit.
The gaze of Juventus isn’t what it was 24 months ago and their Serie A position is starting to scare a few.
The team coached again by Massimiliano Allegri has conceded five goals in three matches and never reacts when in difficulty, lacking personality despite having so many high-valued players.
Juventus players react with dismay after losing late on to Napoli on Saturday evening
Kalidou Koulibaly was able to hammer the ball home from close range to win the contest
Juventus have taken just one point from their opening three games and are 16th in the table
Right now, Juventus are in the perfect storm and hope to come out unscathed at the end of the next round of matches which will demonstrate the true strength of Cristiano Ronaldo’s orphaned team.
At the moment, Juventus have just one point on the board, the same as they collected at the beginning of the 2015-16 title-winning season but on that occasion Allegri’s Bianconeri produced an impressive and hardly repeatable comeback.
NEGATIVE STATISTICS AND SHOCK SERIE A RANKING
The team is suffering and is no longer able to scratch their opponents. Now, it’s more like a harmless tickle.
Juventus have failed to find a victory from their first three Serie A matches for only the second time in the last 52 seasons.
There are many problems but the most relevant concerns their goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Massimiliano Allegri has returned as Juventus manager and clearly faces an uphill struggle
The team fears the mistakes of their goalkeeper. Even when they are defending well, there is a lot of fear in the eyes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci for any dangerous actions that could lead to a Szczesny error.
City neighbours Torino, meanwhile, are ahead of Juventus in the standings for the first time in six years, a statistic that demonstrates the great difficulty the club is going through following the departure of CR7 to Manchester United.
SZCZESNY HAS SOAPY HANDS
Allegri’s new Juventus is living with the tragedy of having a goalkeeper in great difficulty and unrecognisable after three serious mistakes made in the first 270 minutes of the Serie A season.
The man capable of putting Alisson Becker and Gianluigi Buffon on the bench has become Juve’s weakest player and seriously risks ruining his career.
At 30, such an evident decline is inexplicable and his hands seem wet with soap – he cannot hold any ball and always puts his team in difficulty by showing great slowness and awkwardness in his movements.
Szczesny’s shaky performances in goal are causing panic in the Juventus defence
After his disaster against Udinese in the first game of the season, Szczesny continued to show signs of wear and tiredness at the Diego Maradona Stadium in Naples on Saturday as he continued to make mistakes.
Allegri said immediately after the 2-1 defeat to Napoli: ‘For me, he remains the starting goalkeeper, he is a great goalkeeper. Szczesny did everything he could do wrong, that’s enough. That’s enough, I’m OK.’
But actually Allegri has a lot of anger for having lost five points due to the carelessness of his goalkeeper, guilty of three sensational mistakes against Udinese and Napoli.
The dodgy form of the Polish goalkeeper is giving Juventus cause for early season concern
His presence on the pitch does not give serenity to the rest of the team and he has collected bad performances over the past 19 months.
His contract of about £5.5million makes him little sought after in the transfer market and Juventus were forced to endure his stay in Turin without being able to better manage the legacy of Buffon, who moved to Parma at the age of 43.
Mattia Perin is ready to replace him but Allegri has already confirmed that Szczesny will play against Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The boy from Vercelli is experiencing the psychological repercussions of his return to Juventus.
The 10 minutes Moise Kean played at the Maradona Stadium were embarrassing and not for the typical mistakes of a striker but for the sensational mistake made during Kalidou Koulibaly’s goal. His header put Szczesny in big trouble and helped the African defender to score and make it 2-1.
The Everton loanee’s start to the season was a shock and he will now have to work hard to erase the big mistake that sentenced Juventus to an undeserved defeat.
Moise Kean has returned to Turin keen to prove a point but has been ineffective so far
Kean wanted to return to Turin and his target is to take revenge after being rejected by Maurizio Sarri and to regain a permanent position at the heart of the Italian national team.
Juventus wanted to focus on a young Italian striker who knows the environment while his agent Mino Raiola is a guarantee for lightning-fast operations of this kind.
But the conditions for his second debut in the black and white shirt are disastrous. Now Allegri will have to try and manage him better and try to give him more and more confidence.
DE LIGT STUNNED
Only four years ago Matthijs de Ligt was considered the greatest defender in the world. Today, he is almost judged as an ugly orange duckling who cannot find his right size in a more competitive tournament than the Eredivisie.
Serie A represents a very strong stress test that risks compromising the harmonic growth of one of the strongest Under 23 players in the world.
The stock of Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt has slumped dramatically in recent months
De Ligt continues to be clumsy and isn’t trusted by Holland coach Louis van Gaal or Allegri, who left him on the bench even for a big match against Napoli.
Until a few weeks ago, De Ligt was the irreplaceable player in the Dutch defence and for Juventus – but not now.
In the formation, there seems to be more space for the splendid boy who at 19 was already the captain of Ajax and also often of Holland.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini doesn’t seem able to stem the flow of goals against this season
He was the man chosen by Juventus to rebuild a defence that has always been a strength but has been worn out by the advancing age of the two pillars Chiellini and Bonucci.
De Ligt has become a simple alternative to Chiellini but in Turin he received a salary of around £10.25m a year. It is a tactical and financial problem that Juventus must solve as soon as possible.
RABIOT ALWAYS GUILTY OF BEING LATE
There is a lot of time to recover the points but it will take a long time to see Juventus in great shape.
Allegri completely renounces the attacking game and chooses the solidity of the defence but is betrayed by his goalkeeper and his favourite midfield player: Adrien Rabiot.
The French midfielder jumped in an uncoordinated way for the second goal conceded by Juventus against Napoli.
Adrien Rabiot has looked off the pace in midfield during the opening three matches
Serie A unless stated
Tuesday Malmo (H)
Sunday AC Milan (H)
September 22 Spezia (A)
September 26 Sampdoria (H)
September 29 Chelsea (H)
October 2 Torino (A)
A harmless shot from the left side led to Rabiot becoming the protagonist of an embarrassing intervention that prevents Kean from clearing the ball away.
During the 90 minutes, Rabiot appeared in a very bad physical condition – always late, always in difficulty and committing fouls.
His impetuosity is useless and forces Juventus to suffer so many dangerous free-kicks that make the goalkeeper and defence shiver.
His salary of around £6m remains a mystery considering his poor performances of the last two years.
He is under scrutiny and Juventus will have to decide what to do with him given in two-and-a-half years he has failed to convince any coach.
DYBALA’S CONTRACT PROBLEM
Paulo Dybala continues to be considered by captain Chiellini as the future of Juventus but, at least for the moment, the player continues to have a contract that expires in June 2022.
From January, he will be able to sign an agreement with any club to leave free of charge.
It’s a serious situation that risks taking away the serenity of the club and risks destroying the projects of the Agnelli family, who asked Dybala to become the new Juventus captain.
Chiellini spoke about Ronaldo’s farewell, arguing that the presence of the Portuguese inhibited Dybala’s growth.
Paulo Dybala is out of Ronaldo’s shadow at last but needs to resolve his contract issue
‘This will be Allegri’s and Dybala’s Juventus. In recent years Paulo has inhibited his own game because of Cristiano Ronaldo but he is the key player of this team and it is something recognised by everyone in the locker room,’ he said.
Dybala has a contract worth around £6.4m and his entourage is asking for a raise to around £10.25m. Juventus have offered £8.5m plus bonuses.
It is difficult to imagine Juventus losing Ronaldo and Dybala within the space of 12 months but until the player renews his contract it will be difficult to make certain predictions about his future.
Chiellini’s words allow the Argentine to believe that he is indispensable to the club and his agent is working to speed up the contract talks.
THE ABSENCE OF CR7
The team is suffering from the loss of Ronaldo and his 30 goals a year. His Premier League return showcased his brilliance while his former team’s Napoli disaster showed that Juventus are trembling in Ronaldo’s absence and playing with the constant fear of losing.
Kean is an excellent player, Alvaro Morata is a good player and Kaio Jorge is an unknown quantity who has arrived in Turin with a certain muscular fragility.
Cristiano Ronaldo showed his enduring class for Manchester United at the weekend
None of those three can be considered the heir to CR7 because none of the three has ever reached even half his goals.
Now it will be up to Allegri to build a compact and fearless Juventus based on the club’s built-in memory of the 4-3-3 with which he won the last three Scudettos.
Ronaldo scored a goal every two matches and so Juventus have lost 65 per cent of their attacking strength since his departure.
Without him, Dybala, Morata and Kean will have to reach 10-15 goals a year to be able to replace the Portuguese champion.
Moise Kean walks off the field looking dejected following Saturday’s defeat at Napoli
DEL PIERO EXPRESSES WORRIES
In a long interview granted to Gazzetta dello Sport, the former captain Alessandro del Piero analysed the difficult moment Juventus are experiencing.
‘We must consider this group negatively. These three matches have made worse the problems of conviction after what has happened in Europe in the last three seasons and in Serie A,’ he said.
‘Is Dybala still the player who two years ago was the best at Juventus? And I could go on with the defence, De Ligt, Locatelli and others.
‘The problem cannot be the absolute quality of the players but how much they are finding ideas and courage. Eight points dropped after three round of games shouldn’t scare you.
‘The problem is not the ranking but the team’s performance and the players’ heads.’
The issues are mounting. Fans are growing disillusioned. Juventus are in desperate need of a big result and performance away in Europe tonight.
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