This past week hasn’t been one that’s inspired confidence in Turin. Juventus struggled to an uninspiring draw with Sevilla in Champions League, then slunk their way to a loss against Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia on Sunday. Fans are glum, the media are circling, and it seems like things are threatening to spin out of control for the Old Lady of Italy.
But they won’t. Juventus are going to be just fine.
Look, we’ve been here before. Juventus got off to a terrible start last season. Worse than their current speed bump, and by a long ways. But they got healthy, they found their form, and they got absolutely white-hot, at one point ripping off 15 straight league wins and going undefeated for 26 to easily claim their fifth straight Serie A title.
Now, that’s not to say that Juventus are going to go on an identical run this season. But in terms of their struggles relative to their talent level, there’s really no reason to think that this dip in form will be anything but a dip. But just for the sake of argument, let’s look at what’s happened to bring them here.
Paul Pogba left, leaving a gaping hole in Juventus’ midfield. Stefano Sturaro and Claudio Marchisio have been hurt. Mario Lemina and Sami Khedira have struggled with form. Miralem Pjanic is still acclimating to his new club. The same can be said of Gonzalo Higuain, Mehdi Benatia, and Marko Pjaca, though they’re not midfielders and somewhat less relevant to the discussion at hand because of it.
You see, the troubles in replacing Pogba in midfield are the root of Juventus’ woes. Their attack is struggling for consistent service and their defense is seeing too many runners coming at them because of the midfield’s inability to properly screen them. Most games this season, Juventus’ midfield has been barely functional chaos, and in these last two matches, they haven’t even been that.
But that’s OK. That’s a big, obvious cause for problems, and also one that’s far from insurmountable. Getting Marchisio and Sturaro healthy will be a big help, as well finally getting Pjanic bedded into the side and settled into a role. Khedira and Lemina won’t be in such mediocre form forever. These are problems here and now, but two weeks from now, a month from now, 10 games from now, they won’t matter.
So, Juventus fans, stop worrying. Fans in the rest of Serie A, start worrying. The bianconeri will get better. A lot better. This blip in the form may seem perilous now, but at the end of the season, it will be just that: a blip. A bad week, not a cause for long-term panic. Before long, Juventus will be right back to being the world-conquering badasses we’re used to them being.