IS JUVENTUS THE BEST TEAM IN EUROPE RIGHT NOW?
When you have won the last seven Serie A titles with little or no competition after not winning any for about 10 years, all would seem to be well with the world right? Well, you are wrong. Very wrong. Juventus does not play like that. Juventus is currently top of the Serie A standings, winning eight from eight games, defeating their closest rivals this season (and last) in Napoli and are currently six points ahead. Also, they are top of their seemingly tough Champions League group with two wins from two, scoring five times and conceding none. That makes it 10 straight wins from 10 in all competitions. With all these statistics flying around, the Holy Grail of Club competition (The Champions League is what I mean, for some of you that like to guess) has always eluded them. To put it in context, Juventus has played in two of the last four Champions League finals and has lost both, once to Barcelona in 2015 and then to Real Madrid in 2017.
To say that they have had some bad luck in the Champions League would be an understatement.
Going further back, between 1995 and 1998, Juventus played in three finals, winning against Ajax (1996), then losing to Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and the Real Madrid in 1998. Then in the 2002-2003, they played against AC Milan, losing on penalties. That means since the rebranding to the Champions League in the 1992-1993 season, they have played in six finals, winning once. That is not a very good record.
But it seems things are about to change. Across Europe, there are just a handful of unbeaten teams in Europe’s top 5 Leagues: Paris St. Germain, who have always failed whenever big teams come to town; Liverpool, whose front three seems to have seriously dipped in terms of their productivity; Chelsea, who are playing some beautiful football but are still adjusting to life under Maurizio Sarri; Manchester City, who have started slowly but are still underdogs in Europe and have already lost at home to Lyon this season in Europe and Borussia Dortmund; who are taking full advantage of Bayern Munich’s slips and are enjoying a new lease of life under Lucien Favre.
Also, the big teams in Europe seem to be all faltering at the exact same time: Real Madrid (Champions League winners for three consecutive years) has not won since September 22nd (heck, they have not scores since then, which amounts to five games); Bayern Munich under Nico Kovac has not won since September 25th and has scored two goals since then; Barcelona who has not won any of their last four League games.
To cap it all up, Juventus went ahead to sign (arguably) the best footballer on the planet in Cristiano Ronaldo. No one needs to tell us that he was not signed to win an eighth consecutive Serie A title for them. If that is not a statement of intent from Juventus, then I have no idea what is.
It is still early days in club competitions, especially the Champions League, but the stars seem to be aligning for Juventus. Can they get over the line this time?
Posted by: Abiodun Motunrayo
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