Juventus' last minute 1-0 defeat to Genoa on Wednesday night was their third in the last six games, between Serie A and Champions League, and the fourth game in which Juve failed to win. Even more worringly, the bianconeri are dropping points to sides they should easily beat. They came back to equalize against bottom-side Sassuolo, but couldn't find a win, despite having 70 minutes remaining. Olympiakos might be able to dominate in Greece, but the furthest they've made it in the Champions League was the quarter-finals, and that was in 1999 (and they lost to Juventus). And Genoa spent their last three matches barely edging the teams in the relegation zone.
At Genoa, Juve failed to turn domination into something concrete, which isn't a new problem. In their last four away games, in both competitions, Massimiliano Allegri's team has scored just one goal, far too little even for much less ambitious team. What was the trademark of Antonio Conte's Juventus from three seasons ago -- high tempo and pressure -- is now almost forgotten.
When Allegri took over after Conte's departure, there were concerns about his being too conservative. What Juventus needed was someone who would upgrade from Conte's work, allowing them to progress in the Champions League as well as to stay top in Serie A, not someone who would blindly follow the same formula. Allegri is yet to disprove that those concerns were justified. The new manager persists on using Conte's favored 3-5-2 formation, which has failed to bring results for Juve in Europe, but had worked consistently in Italy. Recent results may suggest other Italian teams have not only adapted, but found a way to counter it.
But it's far too early to say the Old Lady is in crisis. Juventus are still the (joint) leader of Serie A, having defeated the only real competition, Roma, a few weeks ago. Both sides have dropped just four points thus far.. But with Roma, most people are talking about an amazing form and possible future greatness. With Juventus, some are starting to panic. It shouldn't be forgotten that, while yes, Allegri did get the best team in Italy, he also inherited a team that has dominated for three seasons. It's hard to find motivation to change after becoming accustomed to being the best.
The Belgrade Derby
The Belgrade Derby
In a way, the defeat to Genoa could be a good wake up call for the Old Lady. On paper, at least, Juventus are still the best team in Italy, and they certainly have enough quality to reach the knockout phase of the Champions League. Next up is a trip to Empoli, a newly promoted side sitting just above the relegation zone, and one of the best possible opponents Juve could face right now.After that comes the crucial Champions League reverse fixture against Olympiakos at Juventus Stadium. Calls for Allegri's head are far too early, but this is going to be the first time since he took over that he will have an imperative to win. If he fails, we can talk about something more than just a glitch, and the pressure will progressively rise. But for now, Juve are still ok.