No one can stop Juventus in Italy
Background photo: GabbyGaiffe, CC BY-SA 4.0
The Old Lady keeps getting younger every day, it would seem. Juventus are on course for their eighth consecutive league title but the worrying sign is that the teams that are meant to compete with them are simply not up to the challenge. At the moment, Juventus boast an eight-point lead atop the table. They're on course to break their own points record of 102, set in 2013/14, under Antonio Conte's tutelage.
Juventus won the Scudetto in the last seven years but last season supposedly proved the gap is closing. Napoli finished the campaign on 91 points, five behind Juventus. The Turin-based outfit didn’t assume the top spot until the campaign's latter stages and used trophy-winning expertise to get across the finish line. Maurizio Sarri and Jorginho's summer exit left Napoli a little short. Newly arrived Carlo Ancelotti must rebuild.
The Old Lady is unbeaten this term, winning 15 and drawing just one from 16 matches, the best start to any Serie A campaign. They've become more ruthless, winning games in different ways and styles. They are just obsessed with winning, highlighted by the fact that they have scored just 33 goals. Meanwhile, the rest of the teams can’t match Juventus for finances, clout, salaries and squad depth.
Roma, despite an impressive 2017/18 season have gone backwards. Inter and AC Milan haven't demonstrated Juve's level of consistency, ruling them out of the title race. The league table puts this in proper perspective. Roma, in seventh, are just two points behind AC Milan, who occupy the final Champions League spot. Milan are 20 points behind Juventus, quite remarkable considering only 16 matches have been played. Inter Milan have their problems, too. They rely too much on Mauro Icardi, their chief goalscorer.
Napoli remain closest to Juve on the table as well as in terms of manager and team but the Partenopei didn’t recruit well enough last summer to topple Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo's addition to the Bianconeri strengthens Massimiliano Allegri's squad. The Portuguese fits like a duck to water in Serie A. The 33-year-old was signed to end the team’s Champions League hoodoo. He has scored 11 times and has created a further 5 overall.
Juventus' remarkable squad depth might be the primary reason no one can keep pace with them. There are at least two quality players in every position. Allegri can rest key players ahead of key matches, keeping them fit and fresh for when it matters most. The likes of Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani have barely had a sniff of action but step in when called upon like they've always been in the side.
That the rest of the league can’t compete with the might of Juventus is flattering to the Turin side but a concern for Calcio as a whole. It is becoming worrying that only one team can dominate the rest of the league. Neutrals are beginning to look upon Serie A as another Scottish Premiership or Ligue 1, where Celtic and Paris Saint-Germain win all the domestic trophies and leave nothing for the rest. The Old Lady is losing her status as the queen of Italian foortball hearts and more and more wish another club will come along and say "Off with her head!"