Serie A

Juventus: 2020-21 mid-season report card

The inexperienced Andrea Pirlo has taken over an imbalanced Juve squad, whose near decade-long dominance of Serie A now in doubt

 
10:30am on Friday 13th November 2020
By
Emmet Gates

Whisper it quietly, but Juventus' near decade-long hegemony of Serie A could be coming to an end.

The Old Lady have noticeably declined in the last 18 months, and now with the legendary Andrea Pirlo installed as the coach after a week of managing the U-23s, the 41-year-old will hope to receive the ample time needed implement his playing style on the side.

Domestically, the goal, as always, is to win both Serie A and the Coppa Italia, but the Turin giants now measure success on how far they progress in the Champions League.

So how has Pirlo done in the opening months of his coaching career?

Juventus: The season so far

Juventus haven't started the season well. However, this can be put down to a number of issues. Firstly is the lack of preparation in light of the footballing calendar amidst the Covid pandemic (an issue all teams face, it must be said).

Pirlo has had very little time to work out his ideal formation based on the current squad, so he's literally learning on the job this season. Juve looked promising in their opening day win over Sampdoria, but this spoke more to how poor Samp was. Since then, The Old Lady have shown glimpses of the style of football Pirlo would like to utilise.

They've drawn four of the six matches that they've actually played on the pitch, as Pirlo continually chops and changes players and systems. However he will get breathing space by the hierarchy, unless results begin to plummet in the coming months.

Juventus summer moves in

InFromReported fee
ArthurBarcelona£80m
Weston McKennieSchalkeloan
Dejan KulusevskiAtalanta£44m
Alvaro MorataAtletico MadridLoan
Federico ChiesaFiorentinaLoan

Juventus summer moves out

OutToReported fee
Miralem PjanicBarcelonat£63m
Blaise MatuidiInter MiamiFree
Gonzalo HiguainInter MiamiFree
Douglas CostaBayern MunichLoan
Daniele RuganiRennesLoan
Mattia De SciglioLyonLoan
Rolando MandragoraUdineseLoan
Cristian RomeroAtalantaLoan
Mattia PerinGenoaLoan

Much like last season, Juve's squad is an imbalanced mix of veterans and youngsters. The current squad is top-heavy, with the signings of Kulusevski, Chiesa and Morata added to what was already there from previous seasons.

Midfield is still an issue, as it has always been since the summer of 2015 when Pirlo and Arturo Vidal moved on. There is a real lack of dynamism in the Juve midfield, and only Weston McKennie has the ability to motor up and down the pitch at pace.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed several games at the beginning of the campaign due to testing positive for Covid, and his presence was missed. The side lacked a true leader at the sharp end of goal. Paulo Dybala has come in for criticism for some poor performances, with the Argentine struggling to fit into any system Pirlo implements.

One bright spot has been the rejuvenation of Danilo as a right-sided centre back in Pirlo's 3-4-1-2 system. Danilo, who missed many games last season due to injury, has been an ever-present for Juventus this campaign, and has been very impressive.

With Alex Sandro and Matthijs de Ligt to return after the international break, Pirlo will hope the team shows some defensive solidity.

Juventus: Grade C+

Despite only being fifth in the league and four points behind Milan, Pirlo clearly needs to be given time at the club. Once key players return to full fitness, we should get a better assessment of where the stands going into the Christmas break.

On the positive side, Juve are on course to qualify from their Champions League, and they aren't conceding that many goals, at least in the league.

However on a negative note, the squad is incomplete, and the midfield issue will continue to worry Pirlo, arguably until next summer when players can be brought in.

It must also be noted that after the ill-advised Maurizio Sarri experiment, the players are reportedly happy to be playing under Pirlo, and are enjoying training again.

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