The Bianconeri emerged triumphant in Italy for the third year in a row, but is there any reason to celebrate?
It’s party time in Turin, as Juventus have won the Scudetto for the third season in a row, their 30th official in history. They will play their Week 36 match only on Monday, but Sunday’s 4-1 defeat for Roma against Catania means that Antonio Conte’s side are the Italian champions yet again.
No one can dispute that the Bianconeri have been the best side in Serie A this season, or that they have been head and shoulders above the rest in the peninsula for the past three years. And no one can argue that Conte has proved himself time and again that he is a top-level coach.
Conte’s current Juve side are only the fourth team to clinch the Scudetto three seasons in a row and could break the 100-point barrier if they win their final three matches of the season. Starting on Monday against Atalanta at Juventus Stadium, that is exactly what the Old Lady would be aiming to do.
In all likelihood Juventus will win on Monday. The Turin giants have won all 17 league matches at home in 2013-14, scoring 43 goals and conceding just nine in the process. On the road, Conte’s players have scored 32 goals and have conceded 14 in 13 wins, three draws and two defeats.
Yet, one wonders if perhaps Juventus’ victory in Italy is made all too hollow by the lack of challenge they have had to face. Make no mistake, Serie A is a very competitive league and has many world-class footballers, but the only squad that could have genuinely competed against Juve were Roma. Rudi Garcia’s side are currently eight points behind on 85, while third-placed Napoli are way back on 69.
Last season Napoli finished second, nine points behind Juventus, who ended up four points ahead of their nearest challengers AC Milan in 2011-12. That season Udinese finished third – 16 points behind the Rossoneri. It wasn’t all plain-sailing for Juve this campaign: the Bianconeri have had to score late goals, grind out results and lose matches, but they are on course to making it over 100 points in 38 matches – that shows how superior they are to the rest of the teams in the Italian top flight.
Conte is a brilliant coach and who at 44 years of age has accomplished a great deal in the domestic arena, but he has been exposed in Europe. Last season when Juve reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, it was hailed as a mark of great progress. After all, this was a club that was still in its rebuilding phase.
This term when they crashed out of the group stage despite the investment in the likes of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, there was a bitter disappointment. You could argue all night that UEFA should not have allowed their final match against Galatasaray to be played on a really horrible pitch, but remember there were two teams playing on it, not just Juventus.
Juventus fans can celebrate long into the night and deep into the summer, but in the wider scheme of things, their third successive Scudetto triumph is a hollow one.
Do you consider Serie A to be a top-three domestic league in Europe?