This season was always going to be unique for a Juventus team that had won nine Serie A titles in a row but hired a manager who had never coached before in Andrea Pirlo.
It was a sign that Juventus were going to start transitioning from one era to another. Although many thought they would still contend for the title. But now 12 points off the lead with eight games to play suggests they will lose out.
In their 3-1 win against Genoa, which seems on paper like a routine win, there were two faces that we have seen all season with Juventus, the promising, exciting side, and the lethargic, less intense side of Juventus, who were unable to keep a clean sheet.
The first half symbolised what Pirlo is looking to implement, a possession-based style that is hard-working and aggressive out of possession in an attempt to regain the ball as quickly as possible. It was exciting to watch the wide players Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski drift inside the pitch allowing the full-backs to overlap and get forward especially on the right-hand side with a rejuvenated Juan Cuadrado who has had a strong season at right-back causing problems with his silky dribbling.
Unfortunately, after the break we saw the negative side that we have seen many times this season. They gave the ball away cheaply which allowed the opposition to control large periods and keep Juventus under pressure. The midfield got overrun without much support from the strikers and, all of a sudden, a really strong-looking team looked like a team of individuals playing with no intensity.
Their strengths turn into their weakness as they want the wide players to move inside the pitch if they are not in control of possession it allows the opposition to attack down the sides and isolate Juventus’ full-backs. This leaves the back four to try and stand strong and keep the opposition at bay but long gone are the days when Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini could keep most teams out by themselves.
The huge question is how can Andrea Pirlo if kept on next season, can combine the modern, new, exciting style he would like to play with the strengths Juventus have become famous for over the last few years: team spirit, organisation, defending, and most importantly, finding a way to win.