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Are Juventus ready to return to the top of Europe?

Juventus

With the transfer period ending on Wednesday night and Juventus having made a perfect start to the season (2 for 2 in the Serie A), are the “Bianconeri” capable of winning the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1996?

After winning the Serie A title for a fifth straight time, the club has its sights set on returning to the top of Europe, as Bayern Munich eliminated them in the first knockout stage last year.

During the summer transfer period, the “Old Lady” tried to acquire players that would be able to make the difference for the squad and take it to the next level.

Despite the departure of Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata, who were two of the squad’s best players, Juventus signed Gonzalo Higuain, who is coming from the best season of his career (36 league goals), as well as Dani Alves, probably the best right back of the past decade.

Moreover, the purchase of Miralem Pjanic offers a decent solution in the midfield line, with the Bosnian being expected to create a decent duo with Paulo Dybala.

Although the Bianconeri didn’t sign Axel Witsel from Zenit St Petersburg, the return of Juan Cuadrado (on a three-year loan) lets them have one of the deepest and most talented rosters of their history.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri, after proving the doubters wrong at home, will now face the biggest challenge of his career, namely to help the club win the UEFA Champions League.

The players that were acquired give the Italian manager the opportunity to use different formations and adapt to the opponents’ different playing style.

More specifically, apart from the 3-5-2 formation, which has been Juventus’ most useful one in the past five years, Allegri can also use the 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-3 formations, respectively, as he has players that can offer variety and be effective in different playing styles.

For example, Alves, Alex Sandro and Patrice Evra can play both in an aggressive and more cautious way as wing backs, while Sami Khedira (who has made a promising start to the season) and Claudio Marchisio can retain the balance between the defensive and offensive line.

Concurrently, Dybala and Pjanic can play both as a second striker and an attacking midfielder, while Cuadrado is able to cause problems to his opponents with his pace and technique.

In the offensive line, Higuain seems perfect for the “Old Lady’s” playing style, as the 28-year-old striker is quick, skillful and experienced, but, most importantly, at his peak right now.

Along with Mario Mandzukic, they can create a duo that can score many goals, both in Italy and Europe, and that’s what Allegri is expecting from both of them.

For the first time in many years, the “Old Lady” has raised the expectations and anything less than a place in the semi-finals will be considered a failure.

Although it’s still too early in the season, and judging by the roster, Juventus look ready not only to win the domestic titles, but also claim the UEFA Champions League and return to the top of Europe for the first time in 20 years.

 

*Images from: uk.sports.yahoo.com, www.espnfc.com, www.goal.com

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