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Serie A Preview! The Big Eight Download: Juventus has Won the League

Stop Me if You Have Heard This Before. Juventus is Going to be the Best Team in Italy


Juventus is going to be very good again. They will continue to set the pace for the rest of Italy in the upcoming season. The midfield has improved, the defense has solved its Leo Bonucci problem, and the attack has remained the same. Szczesny will continue to be the starting goalie next season, with the bonus of a back up in Buffon. The more crucial question is, how will Juve do under Sarri and will the older players in the squad maintain their form from last season. Sarri will introduce his new, more aggressive passing formation to the Allianz. Juventus will grow into Sarri’s style but should dominate Italy next year. The real goal for the team is to win the Champions League. The new style of attack from Juventus, with a much better midfield, will help them get past the round of 8 next season. Expect them to dominate throughout the peninsula and the continent.

Sarri will bring a dynamic form of passing that exploits space by creating quick diamonds or triangles. The goal is to open space in between opposition pressing players. By creating triangular passes between the center defensive midfielders and the center backs help open space for these players to exploit. De Ligt and Chiellini also can move the ball forward up the field with their movement. Triangular passing opens space for the center backs to move into. Once space is opened, Juventus’s play will turn into quick give and goes, or aggressive wing play that will open the opposing defense. In a 4-3-3, expect the wingers to take freedoms to run inside. Midfielders will make themselves available to be a pivot for the attackers. Typically, Sarri holds one center midfielder back to help recreate attacks. If one fails, then Sarri will have the team recycle the attack and try from a new direction. Pjanic will be crucial to the Sarri system. Pjanic will orchestrate the field next season.

Expect Juvents to be better than they were last season, and to win more trophys.

The Goalies

Szczesny and Buffon are the two starters for next season. While Buffon is the club legend, Szczesny should be the starter next season. Szczesny saved more goals than Buffon did last year and succeeded more when looking at the percentage of xG allowed compared to goals scored against.

Juventus Goalies

Player Goals total Goals per 90 Goals Saved over Allowed xG Goals Saved over Allowed xG/% xG against Shots total Save % Shots per 90 Clean sheets
Player Goals total Goals per 90 Goals Saved over Allowed xG Goals Saved over Allowed xG/% xG against Shots total Save % Shots per 90 Clean sheets
W. Szczęsny 20 0.67 6.43 0.756715853 26.43 87 77.01 2.92 11
G. Buffon 18 1.06 1.38 0.92879257 19.38 72 75 4.26 5

Buffon is a luxury backup goaltender and would be considered a starter for most of the Italian league. However, he no longer is the same goaltender that left Juventus two seasons ago. The most important bonus of adding Buffon back is the bonus of having a more complete backup goalie that can take part in squad rotation. Both Buffon and Szczesny can play throughout the season and when Champions league nights come about, Szczesny should get the start.

The Defense

Matthijs de Ligt is fantastic (the promotion campaign has been lazy). Chiellini is also fantastic. Those two players compromise the best center back duo in the league, even though Napoli is getting close. Chiellini and de Ligt will be perfect ball carriers in the Sarri system next year. De Ligt is the new modern center back and will continue to progress under the guidance of Chiellini. Most importantly, De Ligt will be an important ball distributor for Sarri. De Ligt’s ability to move and pass will allow for Danilo and Sandro to advance further up the pitch. Allowing the wing-backs to press forward will let Sarri’s system reach its full extent. Sarri will also let Chiellini and De Ligt press up the field too. Chiellini can run until he has to beat a man, but De Ligt possess the tools to pass by a man or two.

The wing-backs will become crucial for Juventus. Depending on the system played by Sarri, both wingbacks may be able to press up the field, or just Sandro. If Juventus is playing in a 4-3-3, then Sandro will most likely get the freedom to press as much as he wants. Danilo will most likely be caught near Pjanic when Danilo moves forward. In a 4-3-1-2, then both wingbacks will be able to press up the field and complete crosses. Sandro is a good forward passer, but he does not penetrate the box as much as one could want. Next season, he will be given the ability to be as offensive as he would like.

De Sciglio and Pellegrini will provide good backup for Juventus. The squad depth at defense will help make a deeper run into the Champions League. Demiral and Bonucci will back up Chiellini and De Ligt. That is a good backup duo and will have the ability to take time away from the starting two.

The Midfield

Pjanic will continue to be the pivot in midfield. He will play off the defense and help get Rabiot, Ramsey, or Dybala the ball. In a midfield three, Rabiot will play as a ball progressive central mid, Ramsey more attacking, and Can can play the defensive disruptor. Blaise will play a tireless box to box style of a central midfielder. Bentancur will play as a passing central mid who can progress upfield. The most important aspect of the Juventus midfield will be the quick passing from the back up the field. Pjanic will need to maintain his level of quality if Juventus is going to control games. Sarri will have Pjanic become his new Jorginho. This is not too much different than how Pjanic was utilized under Allegri. Pjanic should be ready for his new role underneath Sarri.

Rabiot progresses the ball towards the attackers. He will continue to do that next year. His ability to exploit space with his passing will help connect the midfield to the attack. Rabiot, Ramsey, and Dybala will all be able to create passing lanes to help the strikers link up, and score. Ramsey is the more attacking of the two and could see time at central attacking midfielder next season. In a 4-3-1-2, Ramsey and Dybala could split time at the 1 spot. Can will find time as a defensive stopper, or cover, for Pjanic. He will be played similarly to how Kante and Allan were played under Sarri. The defensive solidity could be important for a counter-attacking side. Expect the midfield to dominate.

The Attack

Cristiano Ronaldo will continue to lead the line. Ronaldo produced the 2nd most expected goals out of any player in Serie A last season. He produced the most expected goals per 90 minutes last season in Serie A. He is the best attacker in the league, which is not surprising. He will continue to be one of the premier strikers in Italy next season. Mandzukic and Higuain will play support for Ronaldo but in different ways. Higuain will be more of a finisher type, where Mandzukic will be more of a defensive pressing forward who can head the ball. Dybala will play either to the right or behind of Ronaldo and the other striker. His central play and his passing in behind will help him consistently be connected in the attack. A better midfield will also help Dybala do what he does best, which is float, complete progressive passes, and score brilliant goals.

Juventus Strikers

Player Goals xG Assists Goals per 90 Non-penalty goals per 90 xG per 90 Shots per 90 Assists per 90 Dribbles per 90 Touches in box per 90 Progressive runs per 90 xA per 90
Player Goals xG Assists Goals per 90 Non-penalty goals per 90 xG per 90 Shots per 90 Assists per 90 Dribbles per 90 Touches in box per 90 Progressive runs per 90 xA per 90
Cristiano Ronaldo 21 23.21 6 0.66 0.5 0.73 5.24 0.19 6.62 5.58 2.98 0.13
G. Higuaín 11 13.17 1 0.4 0.4 0.48 3.47 0.04 2.92 3.94 1.01 0.09
P. Dybala 5 6.47 2 0.2 0.16 0.26 2.6 0.08 5.09 2.37 2.05 0.17
M. Mandžukić 9 5.06 5 0.38 0.38 0.21 1.1 0.21 0.59 3.38 0.59 0.19
Juventus Strikers

Ramsey will also hang behind the attackers in a 4-3-3 or in a 4-3-1-2. Ramsey will help provide passing and another outlet for runs and scoring in the Juventus team. His versatility will help make the midfield more dynamic. There will be goals and assists to be had in this team. Ronaldo will score most of these goals, but everyone will take part.

The Prediction

Juventus is going to win the league, which is not surprising. This team is better than the one from last year. Moise Kean will be missed by many, and me. He should do spectacularly at Everton and should turn into a star. Juventus will win a lot next year and should be competing for a treble. Napoli will be the strongest title contenders to Juventus next season. The goal next year for Juventus will be to win the Champions League. The league should be fairly easy to win, becoming the Champions of Europe will be more difficult, but should be attainable. The midfield will be one of the strongest on the planet, the defense will continue to be one of the best, the attack should continue to be one of the best. The question becomes, where is Ronaldo in ability, and how does Sarri do at a larger stage.

Echoing a statement said by another writer for this SB Nation blog, Milan is progressing to win the league next. The youth and the quality will help Milan challenge very soon. Hopefully, Milan will be competing for the Champions League next season.

Juventus, however, will win the league, and score a lot in the process. Repetition is fun, right?