Juventus’ disappointing start to the season has now reached the point where Massimiliano Allegri’s side are officially out of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League. The Bianconeri lost 4-3 away to Benfica, and even if they win the last game at home against Paris Saint-Germain, they can only finish third in the Europa League.
A disappointing European trip where Allegri’s team lost four times and only won one game at home against Maccabi Haifa. A failure that the fans who now question the future of the coach will not forget. Until now the club has always protected its coach but we cannot rule out possibilities in the coming weeks after such a poor start to the season in both domestic and European competition. Juventus is eighth in the Serie A table, ten points behind leaders Napoli.
But what has gone wrong? There are three main factors here:
1. Allegri’s tweaks
Surely Allegri has some responsibility to explain the failure of these first weeks of the new season. After a rather disappointing first season following his return in the summer of 2021, expectations were high this year after the club signed the likes of Paul Pogba, Gleison Bremer, Angel Di Maria and Arek Milik. However, it is now quite clear that Allegri was unable to get his players back on their feet while waiting for some to come back from their respective injuries. It is also disappointing that the team is not improving the quality of the football they play, and this is certainly something Allegri is responsible for. The bianconeri tried to change the tactical system, going from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and also to 3-5-2 lately but despite all the changes the results did not come. It’s fair to say that Allegri probably should have tried to stick to a system because all of these changes only created more confusion inside the locker room, even if most of them were prompted by some notable injuries.
2. Some key players injured
Speaking of injuries, some key players were basically unavailable for most games. Starting with Federico Chiesa and Pogba, who are not yet available and continue to recover. Both players have yet to make their debut in the season and we are likely to see them after the 2022 World Cup. Apart from these two, other key players had some issues that kept them out for many matches, such as new signing Bremer who missed the away game against Benfica, or Di Maria, who has already suffered two muscle injuries in the first three months. It is fair to say that Juventus have also had bad luck with injured players so far, but they cannot and should not explain all the problems they have had so far.
3. The defensive system
The most worrying factor is the defensive system that is not working as it should. Experienced players like Leonardo Bonucci and Danilo are underachieving, while newcomer Bremer and young talent Federico Gatti, who played his Champions League opener in Lisbon against Benfica, are still trying to adjust. On the sides, Alex Sandro is now becoming a real problem, and has been for a long time. On the right side, Juan Cuadrado’s performances are not at the same level as before. The club tried to renew the squad but also sold Matthjis de Ligt in the summer to Bayern Munich and replaced him with former Torino captain Bremer, who needs time to become the player he used to be in the past. wWorking under pressure is not ideal to improve and solve all the problems that Juventus have right now, but there are no alternatives if Allegri wants to keep his job.