Last season: Juventus 2010-11 season review
The Squad: A change of Coach meant another mini revolution for a side that have long avoided stability and encouraged big changes but judging by the team’s pre-season performances, Juventus may have finally gotten it right.
The back-line has long been Juve’s Achilles heel and whilst their centre-back pairing failed to truly take off last season, it is the absence of capable full-backs that cost the side several points and arguably a place in Europe. As such, it’s only natural that Juventus splashed out for right-back Stefan Lichtsteiner, a defensively secure yet attacking full-back that appears ideal for Conte’s tactics. On the left, his Swiss compatriot Reto Ziegler arrived on a free transfer and is a player renowned for his pinpoint crossing and ability to overwhelm the opposition.
The midfield saw a complete reshuffle and both Momo Sissoko and Felipe Melo were sold. The latter’s sale upset many fans as he was arguably Juve’s best player last season but it appeared that Conte was looking for more and as such, Arturo Vidal arrived – the Chilean youngster who performed admirably well for Bayer Leverkusen last season and deemed the ideal partner for Andrea Pirlo in the middle.
Despite protracted negotiations for the likes of Sergio Agüero and Giuseppe Rossi, the promised global star never arrived and neither did the left sided winger Juve have long coveted. Whilst Mirko Vučinić is flexible enough to cover the role, it appears Conte may be reluctant to forego his extraordinary skill as a centre-forward to deploy him on the left.
However, Juventus’ summer transfer campaign is far from over as they seek out at least another two players to add to the fold, likely to be another winger and defender.
Coach: Master of the 4-2-4 and likened to the tactician who inspired him, Giampiero Ventura, Antonio Conte is the legendary ex Juve captain who has returned as Coach in hopes of restoring glory to a side that has persistently suffered from negative results.
Infamous for his 4-4-2 formation that transforms into a 4-2-4 when in possession, Conte is aiming to create a cohesive team unit adept at playing together. Fluid movements, quick passes and possession football are the foundations of the new Coach’s tactics as he aims to rid the team of last year’s reactive style of football.
Pre-season friendlies have already given the fans a glimpse of what they can expect from the new Juventus. Determined and persistent, offensive movements are initiated from the back, the ball is kept on the ground and the squad look to continuously pass to one another to keep the team moving.
Having spent most of his coaching career in Serie B, Conte may not be tactically savvy enough to steer the Juve ship to glory but the club will be hoping his infamous fighting spirit will help inspire a sleeping giant that has misplaced its winning mentality.
Player to look out for: Arturo Vidal. The flexible midfielder maestro who impressed for Bayer Leverkusen last season has arrived with big expectations. A defensive midfielder by trade, his pressurising style of play and ability to break up attacks render him vital alongside Pirlo. However, played a little further up and we stand to witness his attacking creativity.
Prediction: Champions League qualification may elude them due to tough competition.
Lichtsteiner – Bonucci – Chiellini – Ziegler
Vidal – Pirlo
Krasic – Matri – Vucinic – Marchisio