Juventus vs Napoli: The passive approach may cost the title

The defeat against Napoli was like a shock for Allegri’s team on last Sunday night. Juventus was four points above their opponents, and they could have celebrated their 7th Scudetto in a row if they had not lost. But why Juventus was defeated by the Sarri’s squad?

Juventus’s most tragic mistake in the match was the defensive style and the ‘soft’ mentality of all their players. This derby was the most critical match of the season, and Juventus’ approach was not like a leader’s one. In general, Juventus is stronger than Napoli regarding the physical and technical abilities as well as they have more experienced players to cope with matches like this. However, in the last one month Juventus played like a real leader in just one of its games: At Santiago Bernabeu where they pressed Real Madrid exhaustively with a great tactical balance in defence and midfield and with perfect counter attacks.

Highlight of Koulibaly’s goal in the 90th minute of the game

In Serie A, on the contrary, Juventus lost four points against Spal and Crotone, playing a boring game without energy and showing a high level of conceit. Someone can say that Juventus’ goal of the season is to win UEFA Champions League, however, for a club like Juventus with six championships in a row, it is nonsense to set the Scudetto as a second target.

Against Napoli, Vecchia Signora played with the view of keeping Naples away from Buffon’s net with no intention to score goals. By the way, as Gazzetta Dello Sport reported, Juventus did not have one shot on goal which has never happened in Juventus’ home matches again. The key problem was not the effective defensive approach but the problems when Juventus regained the ball, and there were no counter attacks to exploit Napoli’s defensive gaps. Juventus is a club which is fully based on its mental toughness and stability, especially in ‘big matches’, and through this characteristic Vecchia Signora has won six championships in a row.

The following table demonstrates Juventus’ victories against Milan, Inter, Napoli and Roma at Allianz Stadium in the Serie A from season 2012/13 to 2017/18.

Juventus

Milan Inter Napoli

Roma

Season 2012/13

1-0 1-3 2-0

4-1

Season 2013/14

3-2 3-1 3-0

3-0

Season 2014/15

3-1 1-1 3-1

3-2

Season 2015/16

1-0 2-0 1-0

1-0

Season 2016/17

2-1 1-0 2-1

1-0

Season 2017/18

3-1 0-0 0-1

1-0

Source: Soccerpunter.com

As it is illustrated on the above table, Juventus vs Napoli defeat was just the second of the last twenty matches against the four above – mentioned clubs. The marked scores are the two draws and two defeats of Juventus’ results. Remarkably, Inter was the only team that created some problems in the last six years in Allianz Stadium. On the whole, Juventus has won twenty of the last twenty-four home derbies which are approximately 83.33% of victories.

Even if this percentage sounds incredible, the performance of Juventus vs Napoli was a sign that Vecchia Signora starts losing some of its fundamental features on the pitch: Mental toughness and stability. Maybe it is the high average age of some of their key players including Buffon, Chiellini and Barzagli or perhaps the few options on the attack because Dybala, Higuain and Douglas Costa have been exhausted during the season.

On the other hand, Napoli has won two Serie A titles in their history when Diego Armando Maradona was playing for Naples. During the season, they performed impressively, and you can understand in their players’ words and eyes how much they want to win this title. For instance, Napoli’s central defender Koulibaly claimed that he and his teammates were encouraged significantly when they saw their fans at the airport before the match.

“The city fired us up over the last few days, and when we see all those fans accompanying us to the airport, it makes us very happy.”
Kalidou Koulibaly

 

 

The last four games in Serie A lead to a spectacular finale of the season with unexpected outcomes and certainly with emotional moments. Juventus has to be supported by their DNA’s mentality to achieve the 7th Scudetto in a row. In the following summer there is time to fix any mistakes, but now it is time for Vecchia Signora to write history.

UPDATE 15/05/2018

Eventually, Juventus won its 7th consecutive Scudetto after the dramatic victory against Inter Milan with 2-3 and simultaneously Napoli’s defeat against Fiorentina at Artemio Franchi with 3-0. One week after the derby against Napoli, Vecchia Signora remained in the first place of Serie A, four points ahead of its rivals Napoli and the case of Serie A had realistically finished. One more season Juventus wins Serie A, and the question is how the other clubs can stop the dominance of Vecchia Signora in Italy.

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