Massimiliano Allegri returned to Juventus after two years away, tasked with bringing I Bianconeri back to the top of Serie A.
His challenge could prove more difficult than initially thought, having started off with a draw against Udinese and then suffering a loss to Empoli the day after they lost their star man Cristiano Ronaldo.
Losing to Empoli marked a 10th home defeat for Juventus in Serie A since 2011/12, when they moved into the Allianz Stadium with 30 percent of those losses coming in 2021.
Juventus’ poor mentality and a mess in midfield
Allegri returns to a team that, in the last two years, has had to adjust to two different coaches and different styles with not much success. A team that only knew how to win now looks like they have lost that conviction and confidence he will have to focus on rebuilding the group mentally and help them understand that winning is all that matters when you play for La Vecchia Signora.
Midfield is a key part of any team but something Juventus have struggled with recently. Arthur Melo arrived from Barcelona a year ago, but has not yet made an impact partly due to injuries, Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur have played a majority of the matches in recent seasons but still aren’t taking their positions by the scruff of the neck.
This dissatisfaction is highlighted by the signing of Manuel Locatelli and, against Empoli, Danilo being asked to play in holding midfield in the second half, proving that Allegri is missing something in that position.
Life After Cristiano Ronaldo
This could be the start of a new exciting era at Juventus but could take some time to put the pieces into place. Cristiano Ronaldo‘s goal record can never be in discussion wherever he has been, and leaving Juventus with 101 goals in three seasons is incredible.
The one doubt is that, with a player like him, everything had to be on his terms, which made it hard for coaches to implement their styles that could favour the majority of the team because he will not allow for anything that could disturb his performance.
Apart from the obvious financial benefits of allowing him to leave there is also an opportunity to focus on creating a more team-oriented mindset and allowing others to take centre stage and really develop. One of those, in particular, is Federico Chiesa who was single-handedly carrying the torch against Empoli but will have to contribute with more goals to help fill the void Ronaldo leaves.