Looking at Juventus from afar, it would be easy to assume that the team will—pending their Supercoppa Italiana result against AC Milan on Friday—arrive at Italian football’s traditional winter break in good spirits.
While they will hope to beat the Rossoneri in Doha, Qatar, the Turin club hold a strong lead over their domestic rivals and topped their Champions League group.
Director general Beppe Marotta said in an interview with Radio Rai (h/t Juve’s official website) that both competitions are important to the club:
President Andrea Agnelli has already said that winning a sixth Serie A title on the spin would be a legendary achievement. It would be truly unique. We’d be putting into practice something that a few years ago was a dream and that now has all the ingredients to become reality.
The Champions League remains a stimulating objective, but we can’t forget that, whereas in the league it’s the strongest team that wins, in Europe there are many different factors that come into play, such as the draw, injuries and even weather conditions.
However, after watching Juve’s performances in those competitions, there is room for much improvement.
What follows is a look at each department of the side, identifying who has played well and what has worked while also noting the players and combinations that need to improve.
Perhaps the most surprising note among Juve’s goalkeepers is that Neto has already played more minutes (315) in Serie A and the Champions League than he managed in the whole of last season (270).
The Brazilian, 27, was given his debut in UEFA’s elite competition when Dinamo Zagreb visited Juventus Stadium earlier this month, adding a clean sheet to the ones he had already kept against Pescara and Cagliari.
Enligt Aghemo på Sky har #Buffon fått ledigt i två dagar. Det kan innebära att det blir #Neto som står i mål mot Sampdoria. pic.twitter.com/eWxhxi54Cw
— Cuccureddu (@sf_cuccureddu) October 24, 2016
Indeed, he was beaten just once as Sampdoria struck in October’s 4-1 Bianconeri triumph. Neto proved he is more than capable of filling in for Gigi Buffon when needed and is ready for the Coppa Italia to begin next month.
Ah yes, Buffon. The mustachioed skipper of the side has been in ridiculously good form, his performances defying the fact he will turn 39 in January.
He told a press conference earlier this year that he will “almost certainly” retire after the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
BUFFON IS NOT HUMAN. MY GOD WHAT A [email protected] @khaledalnouss1 @hashim0307 @terrenceKC @JuveBillz @ADP1113 @Adz77 @juvefcdotcom pic.twitter.com/X5sG815GRW
— ㅤ (@abomovich) December 17, 2016
He shows no sign of deterioration, though, with the video in the tweet above showing how he managed to put an insane amount of effort into merely preventing a corner against AS Roma.
Buffon has conceded 13 goals in 15 Serie A outings, …