Serie A

Juventus remain unstoppable under Allegri - Serie A in 2014-15

 
10:00am on Sunday 12th April 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Juventus’ beleaguered rivals hoped that the shock resignation of Antonio Conte as coach during the summer of 2014 because of a dispute over transfer strategy might destabilise the champions. No such luck.

While the appointment of Massimiliano Allegri did not initially go down well in Turin, the former AC Milan coach not only tightened the Old Lady’s grip on domestic honours, winning a double in his first season at the helm, he also re-established the Bianconeri as a major European force during their run to the Champions League final.

They may have been beaten in Berlin by Barcelona but 2014-15 was nonetheless a remarkable campaign for Juve, who won the title by a whopping 17 points from Roma before beating Lazio after extra time in the Coppa Italia final.

By this stage, the defensive excellence of Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini was taken for granted, and they were actually bolstered by the arrival of another veteran, Patrice Evra.

While Andrea Pirlo’s powers may have been on the wane, Paul Pogba continued to grow into one of the most dynamic midfielders in world football alongside him.

Up front, Alvaro Morata added crucial goals but Carlos Tevez was the undoubted star of the show, hitting 29 goals in all competitions as an almost complete Juve side came within a whisker of a first ever treble.

CHANGES

Juve duo Morata (€20m) and Evra (€1m) both made for unsurprisingly shrewd signings, but Roberto Pereya also proved yet another fine useful acquisition from Udinese at a cost of just €1.5m.

Milan, meanwhile, hired Pippo Inzaghi to replace the sacked Clarence Seedorf as coach but the Rossoneri were still struggling financially and, thus, forced to take gambles on top club’s castaways.

In fairness, Jeremy Menez was one of the few success stories of an otherwise dire season at San Siro, but loan signing Fernando Torres was an unmitigated disaster.

Inter bid farewell to nearly all of their remaining treble-winning heroes, including Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso, Walter Samuel and Diego Milito, and their replacements - Gary Medel, Yann M’Vila, Dodo and Pablo Osvaldo - did not measure up whatsoever.

Lazio, by contrast, made a couple of astute signings in Stefan de Vrij and Marco Parolo, and while Roma wasted €24.5m on Verona winger Juan Iturbe, the Giallorossi did well to replace the Bayern Munich-bound defender Medhi Benatia with Kostas Manolas. Napoli also strengthened their backline by snapping up Kalidou Koulibaly from Genk.

SEASON SUMMARY

The Inzaghi era began promisingly, with Milan taking maximum points from their opening two games, but any hopes they had of getting back into Europe evaporated during a horrific run between October and March in which they won just four times in the league.

Milan finished 10th but Inter did little better. Mauro Icardi scored freely throughout but despite sacking Walter Mazzarri and bringing Roberto Mancini back to San Siro, the Nerazzurri limped home in eighth.

Napoli appeared to be coming into decent form as February approached but they sensationally blew the chance to qualify for the Champions League at Lazio’s expense by throwing away a 2-1 lead at home to the Biancocelesti on the final day of the season.

Serie A Player of the Year, Carlos Tevez

Gonzalo Higuain netted twice for the Partenopei but he also missed a decisive penalty as the visitors came storming back to win 4-2 at the San Paolo.

Despite the criticism Higuain received for his squandered spot-kick, third place was just reward for Lazio and their coach Stefano Pioli, who had done an excellent job in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma tried valiantly to challenge Juventus, opening with five successive wins, and even in a last-gasp 3-2 loss in Turin on matchday six, it did seem that the Giallorossi had significantly closed the gap to their rivals.

However, they won just one game between January 11 and March 16, allowing the Old Lady to saunter to yet another Scudetto, with the Bianconeri claiming a fourth consecutive title thanks to a 1-0 victory at Sampdoria on May 2.

AWARDS

PLAYER OF THE SEASON

CARLOS TEVEZ

The Argentine attacker hit 20 goals in Serie A alone as the Old Lady racked up a fourth successive Scudetto.

MANAGER OF THE SEASON

MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI

Greeted with hostility by Juventus fans at the start of the season, the former AC Milan boss was feted as a hero by the end of it after coming within one victory of a historic treble.

TOP GOALSCORER

LUCA TONI, MAURO ICARDI - 22 GOALS

There was no separating Luca Toni and Mauro Icardi in the Capocannoniere race, with both strikers netting 22 times, with four penalties apiece.

GOAL OF THE SEASON

For pure cheekiness, It’s impossible to look past JEREMY MENEZ, who knocked the ball around the Parma goalkeeper before backheeling home.

TEAM OF THE SEASON

BUFFON; DARMIAN, BONUCCI, RUGANI, CHIELLINI; PIRLO, NAINGGOLAN, POGBA; TEVEZ, TONI, ICARDI

MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER

Juan Iturbe

Verona to ROMA

€24.5m

KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON

Leonardo Bonucci’s brilliant volleyed winner in Juve’s 3-2 defeat of Roma was pivotal. Rudi Garcia claimed afterwards Roma would go on to win the league but rather than inspire his men, those words became a weight around their necks.

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