Skip to content

Rout to second-straight title clearing for Juventus

Dec 22, 2012, 9:26 AM EDT

Juventus' Alessandro Matri is congratulated by his team mate Gianluigi Buffon at the end of  their Italian Serie A soccer match against Cagliari at Tardini stadium in Parma Reuters

Juventus may be resorting to their old, uncertain tricks, but with their competition falling by the wayside in Italy, piddling concerns about middling form are quickly becoming irrelevant.

On Friday, Juve gave up the first goal at Cagliari and proceded to trail for 59 minutes, during which time David Astori picked up a second yellow for the hosts. It was only after the Old Lady held a man advantage that they equalized, the much-maligned Alessandro Matri pulling Italy’s leaders even on 75 minutes. Matri and Mirko Vucinic added stoppage time goals to salvage another turn back the clock (to last season) win for Antonio Conte. It’s not pretty, and the performances are starting to bely the record, but when the final whistle blows, Juventus is almost always on top.

As questionable as it’s becoming, Juventus’s underlying quality is becoming increasingly inconsequential. On one level, they’re still getting results, their Friday victory temporarily moving them 10 points clear of second in Italy. On another, nobody’s going anything to close that gap. This race may be as dead as Germany’s, where Bayern Munich took a nine-point lead on Bayer Leverkusen into the Bundesliga’s winter break.

Earlier this week, Napoli — one of two perceived title threats — were docked two points and had their captain (Paolo Cannavaro) suspended for six months after yet another instance of Italian match fixing. A former Partenopei goalkeeper had confessed to trying to manipulate a match, Cannavaro was one of two players cited for failing to report the affair, and as a result Napoli’s season has been derailed. After Juve’s win, Napoli sit 13 points back, left to scratch their way back without one of their best defenders.

Juve’s other potential challenger, Inter Milan, did their part to clear the way on Saturday against Genoa. Despite Nerazzurri control, former Bianconeri prospect Ciro Immobile put the Genovesi up 1-0 in the 77th minute. Esteban Cambiasso equalized for the hosts eight minutes later, but Andrea Stramaccioni’s side had left it too late to get full points. The 1-1 result leaves them nine back of Juventus after a week that’s taken most of the stream out of Italy’s title race.

But we do this every year. There are always leagues where teams take huge leads, and in many of them — be it from complacency, regression, or balance — the leads don’t hold up. Just last year, a big Real Madrid lead in Spain crumbled before Los Merengues finally put Barcelona away, beating them at the Nou Camp in late April. In England, Manchester United completed the biggest collapse in Premier League history by coughing up their lead to Manchester City.

While you’re sure to read “done and dusted” in other posts on this side (most likely from this author), in my more level-headed mood, I’ll simply note the path to a second-straight title has become very, very clear for Juventus.

Latest Posts
  1. Premier League Team of the Week: Find out who starred on Matchday 4

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT

    Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

    It was a week so fertile for goals that one of the world’s biggest names couldn’t dent the strike force of the PL team of the week.

  2. Premier League player of the week — Round 4

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Chelsea v Swansea City - Premier League Getty Images

    No one’s doing it quite like this man right now, who again takes hold of player of the week honors in the Premier League.

  3. Premier League Round 4: Goals of the week

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:37 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    There are five goals here, but it only took four matches to comprise the list.

  4. Galaxy GK Penedo wins individual honor as four clinch Gold Cup berths

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Jaime Penedo AP

    Costa Rica won the tournament for the eighth time, defeating Guatemala in the final.

  5. As Pardew gets lifeline, Carragher blasts the “disgrace” at Newcastle

    Sep 15, 2014, 8:34 PM EDT

    Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

    Newcastle United players and their manager have come under fire from ex-Liverpool back Jamie Carragher, who blasted the club on “Monday Night Football”

  6. Le Toux can snare second Open Cup title by beating his old club

    Sep 15, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

    Sebastien Le Toux, Tony Beltran AP

    The Sounders have three titles and won their first win Le Toux. Soccerly hosts an essay on his quest to deny them a fourth.

  7. Anelka joins Indian Super League; Uncertainty hangs over suspension

    Sep 15, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Mumbai_City_FC

    The English FA asked FIFA to extend Anelka’s quenelle suspension beyond Britain’s borders.

  8. 1860 Munich’s lederhosen kits are absolutely bonkers

    Sep 15, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT

    1860-lederhosen2

    Oktoberfest begins Sept. 20, and 1860 Munich is going all-in when it comes to their away attire.

  9. Hull City 2-2 West Ham United: Debut goals a-plenty in fun draw

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:53 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Abel Hernandez, Enner Valencia, Mohamed Diame and Diafra Sakho all made their presences felt on NBCSN at the KC Stadium on Monday.

  10. VIDEO: Enner Valencia blazes a shot past McGregor at the KC Stadium

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    Hull City v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    Certainly one of the goals of the early season, as West Ham continues to tempt the highlight reels despite a tough start to the season.

  11. Americans Abroad wrap: Brek Shea assists in Birmingham debut (video)

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    Birmingham City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Getty Images

    Brek Shea had a loan debut to remember, while Julian Green had one to forget and both Tim Howard and Brad Guzan kept clean sheets.

  12. At the half: Record-signing Hernandez shining as Hull leads West Ham

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT

    abel-hernandez_3006938

    Abel Hernandez has a goal and had another creation ruled offsides as the hosts rose to steal the first half with late heroics.

  13. Champions League preview: How will the four Premier League teams get on?

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Champions League AP

    Schedules, chances of making the last 16, predictions. Your one-stop shop for all the info as the UCL group stages begins for four PL teams.

  14. Watch live: Hull City vs. West Ham United (Lineups)

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Hull City v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

    Record-signing Abel Hernandez (Palermo) makes his Hull City debut as the Tigers look to pick up their second win of the season.

  15. Rio Ferdinand slams ex-Manchester United manager David Moyes

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT

    FBL-EUR-C1-MAN UTD-BAYER LEVERKUSEN Getty Images

    Ferdinand: “It killed me. Inside I wanted to scream and grab him.”

  16. Stats don’t lie: Spanish clubs almost certain of Champions League success

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:32 PM EDT

    Portugal Soccer Champions League Final AP

    All four Spanish teams are looking odds on to make it out of the group stage. What about the big clubs from England and Germany?

  17. Premier League Preview: Hull City vs. West Ham United

    Sep 15, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    FBL-ENG-LCUP-TOTTENHAM-HULL Getty Images

    All the news and quotes ahead of the Monday afternoon matchup.

  18. Premier League Playback: Manchester United shine bright like a diamond

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League Getty Images

    PST’s lead writer and editor takes an alternative look at all the action from Week 4.

  19. “Cristiano Ronaldo fed up at Real Madrid” says former club president

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:34 AM EDT

    cristiano_ronaldo AP

    Calderon claims that Ronaldo is frustrated with life at Real after several high-profile exits.

  20. David Beckham issues plea to Scotland as citizens vote on independence

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

    Britain Prince William Beckham AP

    Beckham: “What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let’s stay together.”

Featured video

Week 4: Saturday recap