Football

Juventus struggling after key departures

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Juventus lost their fourth league game of the season on Wednesday night against Sassuolo, leaving the Bianconeri 11 points behind Roma at the top of Serie A.

The champions fell behind in the 20th minute when Italian international, Nicola Sansone curled a splendid free-kick into the top corner giving Gianluigi Buffon no chance.

Things got worse six minutes before half-time when Giorgio Chiellini was sent off for a second bookable offence. The Old Lady tried to get back into the game, but Sassuolo held firm to secure a famous 1-0 win and increase the pressure on Massimiliano Allegri.

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Juve have won four league titles in a row and were one game away from the treble last season, were it not for Luis Enrique's brilliant Barcelona. It is an amazing fall from grace but what has gone wrong for the Bianconeri?

Juventus' squad last season was very experienced and whilst they still have internationals to cover most positions, they lost three players in the summer who they have not been able to replace. Andrea Pirlo went to New York City, Arturo Vidal to Bayern Munich and Carlos Tevez to Boca Juniors.

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Pirlo, whilst past his best, was still able to dictate the tempo in most games, an ability Juve no longer possess. Tevez finished last season with 29 goals in all competitions and although Paolo Dybala has scored four goals, he still has a long way to go before he can emulate his fellow Argentine.

Finally, the loss of Vidal has arguably hit them the hardest. The Chilean is arguably the most complete midfielder in world football. He can play defensive, attacking or box-to-box, neither Hernanes or Sami Khedira are on that level.

All three departures are creative players and nobody has stepped up to fill that void. Dybala is the only player to have scored and assist more than one goal in Serie A. A club that expects to win titles need more than that.

As well as losing three of their best players the Bianconeri have also lost three of their biggest characters. Pirlo, Vidal and Tevez are all leaders and are the sort of players who could raise standards with their own performances and, perhaps, this is the biggest problem for Juventus.

They still have leaders at the back, but there is nobody who will push the team forward in a crisis. Paul Pogba could grow into that role but he is still raw at 22-years-old and Allegri desperately needs the Frenchman to mature quickly.

Despite being 11 points off the pace, Juventus will still feel they can claw it back, but it will be extremely difficult. They have a squad of players who are used to winning and Allegri needs to tap into that mentality as soon as possible.

There is still enough time for a resurgence, however, if they don't solve these problems quickly, the era of Juventus domination could be coming to an end.

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Topics:
Carlos Tevez
Arturo Vidal
Serie A
Football

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