Football is such a reductive sport. It’s all about scoring one more goal than the opposing team, as Jose Mourinho once pointed out. Easy as pie, right? Wrong! It’s easy to say…but on the pitch, it’s most times a different story altogether. So many things can and do go wrong on the pitch, that it’s not that simple to outscore your opponent. Form, recovery, efficiency, injuries, and of course luck; so many things can affect the results of a game.
With that in mind, how can we ever predict who wins a game, let alone, a tournament like the Champions League quarter-final. There are a couple of big guns(Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich), not so big guns(Juventus, Atletico), and some small guns(Dortmund, Leicester, Monaco). Can we even predict the winner? Of course not, but…
Enter Juventus. They should win this trophy comfortably this season. Why? First, let’s consider why not. 2 things: Man for man, they don’t have the best individuals; Bayern Munich tops this metric. Experience, nope either; Barcelona and Real Madrid edge them out.
So why should they win? First, the collective. Juventus have the best balanced squad whose individuals complement each other. The back 4 needs no introduction (Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini). Add Rugani, Dani Alves, Alex Sandro, Stephan Lichsteiner you get a great combination of pace, intelligence, experience. In midfield: Marchisio, Khedira will be key. They have experience at the highest level (think world cup), intelligence and aggresiveness. In attack: Higuain(finishing), Dybala(movement, elusiveness), Cuadrardo(pressing, directness), Pjanic(creativity) and Mandzukic(pressing).
Second, tactics. In Allegri, they have arguably the cream of coaching talent. A coach who has brought the team to a higher level of tactical versatility and intelligence. They can and have played in 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 formations. They can adapt really well to various opposition shapes. Tied to the coach and tactics is the team’s shape. They are comfortable in both attacking and defensive shapes. They go all out attack in the beginning of a game and usually score in the first 30 minutes of the game. But also, they can sit back and defend rather comfortably. This is crucial in control the game, especially if they get an early goal. All players contribute defensively, ensuring they remain compact.
Third, experience. Yes, other teams edge them out on this, but considering the fact that Juventus have played Barcelona, knocked out Real Madrid and should have knocked out Bayern Munich. They are not new to the elite playing ground. They have gone toe to toe with the best teams, they will not be fazed.
Will they win it? Only God knows that. But this is their season. All other teams have significant problems and little time to fix them. Allegri once quoted “to do or not, there is no try“; the title is theirs for the taking.