1st; W27 D6 L5
What can be said about Juventus' season? True, it wasn't as dramatic as the last: they didn't fly through the season unbeaten, they fell in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, and winning the scudetto isn't quite as thrilling the second time around (ok, maybe it is, but most fans of Italian football have no point of reference for this feat). Yet the reason Juventus weren't quite as clinical this year is because they were also competing in the Champions League, and it's certain that they'd trade an unbeaten season for one playing in the top tournament.
The Old Lady were able to make it through the first ten rounds unbeaten, with a 0-0 draw at Fiorentina the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record. The streak came to an end on November 3, however, when Inter Milan won in Turin. Yet despite this and other minor setbacks, no other side truly challenged Juve for the title. The bianconeri dominance seemed etched in stone after they beat Napoli early in the season, and with the rough start from AC Milan, Lazio's attentions divided by the Europa League, and Inter's meltdown, it was almost too easy for Juventus to lift another scudetto.
Most significant match
Juventus 4-0 Nordsjaelland (7 November 2012)
It could've been the title-clinching victory over Palermo. Or the 3-0 win over Chelsea. Or less happily, the second leg against Bayern Munich, knocking Juve out of the Champions League. But the decisive win over the Danes signified more than just three points that would move the bianconeri out of the group stages. Rather, the match showed that Juventus were capable of bouncing back and moving forward, even after their pride had been injured.
Just a few days before, Inter won 3-1 in Turin to snap the Old Lady's 49-match unbeaten run. Instead of dwelling on the surprise defeat, Juventus pushed through, with Claudio Marchisio opening the scoring in the 6th minute, and Arturo Vidal, Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella each added to the tally. From there, Juve went on to beat Pescara 6-1, draw against Lazio, and soundly defeat Chelsea before falling to AC Milan. Again, though, the bianconeri bounced back, not losing another match in all competitions until the start of the new calendar year.
Success without Antonio Conte
Prior to the start of the season, Juventus manager Antonio Conte was handed a ten-month suspension for allegations that he failed to report match-fixing while in charge at Siena. The coach had his ban reduced to four months and returned to the touchline for the match at Palermo on December 9, a game won courtesy of a single goal by Stephan Lichtsteiner.
The suspension was long enough, however, to see just how well Juve could fare without their coach. Turns out, surprisingly well, as noted above. Under the leadership of caretaker Massimo Carrera, the Old Lady defeated Napoli in the contentious SuperCoppa match to start off the season, then went on to win 11 of their 15 matches and draw two under Carrera.
Setting aside the likes of Bendtner and Anelka, as no one expected much from either, and Mauricio Isla, who hasn't looked quite the same since damaging his knee last season, the performance of Giovinco is a small black spot on an otherwise successful season.
Juventus originally loaned Seba to Parma in the summer of 2010. In his first season with the crociati, the diminutive forward (when discussing Giovinco, you are legally obligated to use the word "diminutive" somewhere in the conversation) scored just seven goals. But after Parma purchased him in full, Giovinco went on to score 15 goals and provide 11 assists in last season's campaign.
But after returning to Juventus, the forward's form dipped again. His goals were infrequent and his assists practically non-existent, notching just six. But the club has made it known that Giovinco will stay for the next season, although it's highly likely that his role will be reduced to that of a substitute, with occasional starts in less important matches.
What needs changing?
Can we say striker? Last year's summer search for a forward was frustrating -- to say the least -- for Juventus supporters, and rather hilarious to everyone else. The end result was the acquisition of Nicolas Anelka and Nicklas Bendtner. Fabio Quagliarella did fine as a substitute, but he and Alessandro Matri rarely gelled. Sebastian Giovinco's performances grew steadily worse as the season went on. When Mirko Vucinic is the club's top forward, with ten goals, you know there's a pressing need to bring in talent.*
Of course, Juve already locked down Fernando Llorente from Athletic Bilbao, so he'll be set to start the season in bianconeri. But they're still in the hunt for another quality striker, and the hottest rumors revolve around bringing Gonzalo Higuaín in from Real Madrid and Stevan Jovetic over from Fiorentina.
*Sorry, Mirko, but I'm still scarred by your removing of your pants. Keep 'em on and I'll be nicer.
Who's off in the summer?
As befits a side that won the scudetto and made it to the Champions League Round of 16, the majority of Juve-centric transfer rumors revolve around who's coming in rather than who's heading out. Some of the bit players are rumored to be on their way, including Luca Marrone, Fabio Quagliarella and Felipe Melo (if you forgot he was still owned by Juventus, don't worry, most of us did).
But there's a starter that might be on his way out as well -- Claudio Marchisio. Manchester United was first in the hunt for the midfielder, but now it seems Monaco, who are flush with cash and ready to spend big, want him. But the Turin native is intent on making it known he wants to stay in bianconeri.
If Juventus could keep one individual...
Ten goals and eight assists this season for the Chilean, but the numbers do little to reflect Vidal's importance to Juventus. The midfielder became a regular in the bianconeri side last season, after signing from Bayer Leverkusen. But this season he was immense, an absolute beast and the definition of grinta. Vidal's strength means he's able to both win the ball and keep ahold of it, while his energy allows him to also get forward and finish attacks.
Of course, every team not named "Juventus" absolutely hates the midfielder for being such a dirty player, but hey, a lot of that is just pure jealousy.