Juventus remain favourite to win the Champions League this season despite losing two of their last three games in Europe’s most prestigious tournament.
Wednesday’s defeat in Bern ultimately had no bearing on their finishing position in Group H, but the team’s complacency and failure to salvage even a point from the game may have unnerved some Juve fans.
However, with coach Massimiliano Allegri at the helm of the star-studded squad, bolstered by summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo and another Portuguese ace, the Turin-based club still have a very good chance of winning the Champions League in June.
Juventus suffered two defeats in the UCL group stage, but won their four other clashes, ensuring their progress to the knockout stages.
They remain undefeated in Serie A, their worst result being a disappointing draw against Genoa, and coach Allegri will be hoping their recent drop in form in the UCL is merely a blip.
In the group stage’s other four games, Juve achieved some impressive feats, which suggest they will excel in knockout football.
Perhaps most importantly, Juventus kept clean sheets in all their victories, executing the Italian style of play to perfect; even in their opening fixture against Valencia, which saw Ronaldo controversially sent off in the first half, leaving them outnumbered, the team remained organized and emerged victorious after Miralem Pjanić converted two penalties.
The club’s first-choice central defender pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci has proven to be near-impregnable on many occasions this season, and Juve’s ability to remain on the front foot and avoid conceding in a game will be paramount in the remainder of their Champions League campaign.
Manchester City have an almost identical record to Juve in their respective domestic league in terms of goals allowed, but they have looked a bit shaky in the Champions League, though they also ended up progressing comfortably, topping their group.
Ronaldo was undoubtedly the club’s landmark signing in the pre-season transfer window, and the Portuguese striker has adapted well to the Italian style of football after a somewhat lacklustre start to the season, eventually finding his scoring boots and bagging ten league goals and five assists, leaving him in a good position to win the Capocannoniere award.
Interestingly, both of Juventus’ defeats came in matches which Cancelo didn’t feature in.
Juve’s Push for UCL Glory
The serial Italian champions have dominated their domestic league, winning seven consecutive Scudettos, and are poised to top the standings again this season, already eight points clear of second-place Napoli.
After such a protracted spell of success in Serie A, Juve have their sights firmly set on lifting the UCL trophy, in addition to triumph in the league and the Coppa Nazionale, and seemingly signed Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo – for a club-record transfer fee – solely to achieve this.
Other top European clubs will also be vying for the title, and all the prestige and prize money that comes with it, but, having slipped up in two UCL finals in recent seasons, no club will be hungrier and more driven than Juve.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Suliman Mulhem and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.