As crazy as it seems if you searched the hashtag on social media over the weekend you would have found a concerning number of tweets from Juventus fans who wanted their manager to be sacked, after just three games of the new Serie A season.
Juventus fans aren’t used to dealing with losses. This is a club that won nine straight league titles, in which time they lost just 34 matches. 34 out of 342, that’s an incredible level of dominance. In part, particularly at the start, they were an elite club, one of the best in Europe. But recently they have been struggling, coasting almost on their past successes. And as teams like AC Milan, Internazionale, Napoli and Atalanta have grown they have been caught out.
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It still seems incredible that Allegri, architect of five of those title wins, is under pressure, and it certainly will have helped that they got a comfortable 3-0 win over Malmo in the Champions League. But does that merely paper over the cracks? Or does Allegri need more time to put things together? In order to find out we got in touch with Simone Pace from Eurosport Italy.

What’s the mood?

To start with we asked Pace what the general mood around Juventus was. The defeat last weekend to Napoli was a huge blow but the win against Malmo was some welcome relief, even if it was expected.
However Pace doesn’t think anyone is getting carried away yet.
“Juve have found some serenity after Malmo but it's better to remain cautious," began Pace.

Spalletti, Allegri - Napoli-Juventus, Serie A 2021/2022

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“In the Champions League Bianconeri faced a simple test against a very soft opponent. Allegri has chosen a compact and logical 4-4-2: he was right but he knows that against Milan it will be a more difficult and completely different match.
“After Malmo, Juve have improved their mood but have not yet fully recovered.”

Tactical shifts?

One of the interesting angles of Allegri coming back was what sort of system he would use. Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo seemed to have clear ideas about how they want to play but Allegri has demonstrated on a number of occasions that he is very flexible. That has proven itself to be the case already this time around.
“Juventus in Serie A have achieved horrible results so far (one point in 3 matches),” says Pace.

Alex Sandro (Malmoe-Juventus)

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“Precisely for this reason, after the defeat against Napoli, Allegri decided to rely on a solid 4-4-2 which, in the offensive phase, becomes a sort of 3-5-2 with Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro as the offensive wingers/wing-backs.
“At this moment Juventus need clear ideas and simple football. In the future Allegri will certainly try 4-4-3, which is the formation he had in mind since July. Federico Chiesa is still not at his best after the injury but when he returns to 100% Allegri will be able to field him with Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata (or Kean).”

Is the manager at fault? Or is the squad not that good?

So does that mean that Allegri Is at fault for trying to overcomplicate things and not give the players a clear system? Or is there more to it than that?
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at the club is that CEO Andrea Agnelli has been more focused on the European Super League than his team. Although he was clearly paying enough attention to not renew the contract of sporting director Fabio Paratici. The last few years have been tough. There have been more misses than hits. The squad doesn’t feel invincible, there are fewer stars.
“In my opinion it's too difficult to judge Juventus now,” Pace says.

Fabio Paratici

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“Cristiano Ronaldo's departure was a shock. The team is young, many players are not in top condition, so it's best to wait a bit before making any judgments. Allegri has a strong team but with gaps in midfield. He will have to find the right balance and his experience will be very useful to Juventus.
“Finally, let's not forget that Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 100 goals in 3 years with Juve: his absence will be felt, at least at the beginning.”

Chiesa key?

One key point in Juventus’ struggles has been the absence of Chiesa, who has played just 82 minutes for Juve in the league this season. Chiesa missed the Napoli game with a hamstring issue. It is not thought to be anything major, and the exclusion was supposed to be precautionary. But then he missed the Malmo game as well.
Not having their dynamic forward is certainly hurting Juve and Pace thinks it’s a big issue.

Federico Chiesa, Juventus-Empoli 2021-22

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“I really think so because Chiesa could play both as a winger in a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 and as a second striker in a 4-4-2 with Dybala, for example).”

And how are Milan doing after Liverpool?

And a final word on their opponents, Milan, who were entertaining during their 3-2 loss to Liverpool on Wednesday.
“Milan have not lost their convictions despite the defeat against Liverpool,” says Pace of Stefano Pioli’s side.
“The Rossoneri played with courage and lost against a stronger team. The result was uncertain until the end and this is the most positive aspect for Pioli.
“The defeat against Liverpool is seen as a stage in the growth path. Milan will be able to understand its real value only by measuring itself against such opponents. This is why the defeat at Anfield did not affect the feeling within the team.”
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