Juventus 2022/23 mid-season review: Hope for an unlikely Serie A title push?

There was a clear improvement from Juventus before the World Cup break, but is the damage already done, or can they make an unlikely push for the Scudetto in 2023?

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A disappointing start to the 2022/23 season has forced Juventus and their coach Massimiliano Allegri to make several changes, but they were able to turn things around before the campaign came to a halt before the 2022 World Cup.

The Bianconeri are third in the Serie A table with 31 points after the conclusion of Matchday 15, just two points behind second-place AC Milan, but 10 points behind league leaders Napoli.

It was also a Champions League campaign to forget for La Vecchia Signora, dropping down to the Europa League after collecting three points in a group consisting of Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, and Maccabi Haifa, the worst result in their history.

A shock 1-0 defeat to Monza on Matchday 7 prompted a rethink in Allegri‘s tactics and Juventus have gone on to win seven of their last eight games in Serie A.

Player of the Season so far

Danilo in action for Juventus against Inter after his disallowed goal. [@juventusfcen]

Consistency has been a major issue for this Juventus squad, but one of the very few players that has been dependable despite the team’s poor results at times is Danilo.

The experienced and versatile Brazilian defender has been able to adapt to the multiple formation changes made by Allegri, and while multiple players have been battling with injuries, he has been able to remain fit.

Although he has predominantly stayed at the back, he has occasionally made forays forward and he has supplied two assists as well.

What’s gone well for Juventus?

After struggling with back-four systems, switching to the 3-5-2 formation has brought the best out of the players available to Allegri. Juventus have produced their best form when defending in a deep block and then breaking quickly.

Adrien Rabiot celebrates his goal for Juventus against Inter. [@juventusfcen]

Up front, the system change allows Dusan Vlahovic to play alongside Moise Kean or Arkadiusz Milik instead of being isolated, while the likes of Juan Cuadrado and Filip Kostic are functioning better as wing-backs rather than being conventional wingers.

At the back, the Brazilian trio of Danilo, Gleison Bremer, and Alex Sandro have looked at ease in a back three, and Federico Gatti has slowly been integrated at the back.

For many years, Allegri has been criticised for his reluctance to give youth a chance, but he has given Italian youngsters like Nicolo Fagioli and Fabio Miretti opportunities to start matches while Argentinian winger Matias Soule has been making a few cameo appearances off the bench.

Surprisingly, the much-maligned France international Adrien Rabiot has become an integral part of the midfield, scoring five goals and supplying two assists in 16 competitive matches for Juventus.

Cause for concern

Paul Pogba at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium (Twitter: @paulpogba)

Fitness has been a major area of concern in the first half of the campaign so it is important for the medical staff to ensure that Juventus don’t rush anyone back prematurely.

Paul Pogba is yet to feature in a game since returning from Manchester United, Angel Di Maria has been in and out of the squad with multiple injuries, and Federico Chiesa has only recently returned from a knee injury.

Although their counter-attacking approach has reaped rewards in Serie A, the Bianconeri struggled in the Champions League against teams that pressed aggressively and move the ball at a high tempo. Domestic football and the Europa League might be more forgiving, but a lack of pace at the back is concerning.

Emerging superstar Vlahovic has scored six goals in 10 Serie A games, but La Vecchia Signora still need a greater input from the Serbian while also finding other scoring outlets. If Milik and Kean can score more often, it would draw less attention away from Vlahovic and perhaps give the 22-year-old more space to work in.

Prediction for second half of the season

Despite an underwhelming start to the 2022/23 season, Juventus were able to turn their form around domestically and now find themselves in the Champions League spots.

Fighting for the Serie A title is perhaps a mammoth task this season given how strong Napoli have been in the first half but the Bianconeri should at least secure Champions League qualification.

It will be unlikely that Juve take the Europa League seriously, but if they do, their balanced approach should produce better performances than what they offered in the Champions League.

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