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. Jose Mourinho: Chelsea had Manchester United’s stars “in our pockets.” Is he right?

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT

    Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Mourinho plays up defensive masterclass. But how did he quell United’s attackers?

  2. Watch Live: Newcastle vs Tottenham (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:44 AM EDT

    StJamesPark Getty Images

    Spurs search for a European place as they take on struggling Newcastle from St. James’ Park.

  3. Manchester City 2-0 West Ham: Two first half goals put down poor Hammers

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:35 AM EDT

    ManchesterCity AP

    The home side produced enough moments at the Etihad to see off a timid West Ham side.

  4. Memphis Depay is a major summer target for top teams according to PSV exec

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Depay Getty Images

    With his goal of an Eredivisie title secure, Memphis Depay will be a popular transfer target this coming summer.

  5. VIDEO: Odd James Collins own goal opens scoring at the Etihad

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Goal Getty Images

    The West Ham defender flubbed an easy clearance and sent the ball into his own net as Manchester City have dominated West Ham in the first half.

  6. Borussia Dortmund names Thomas Tuchel as Jurgen Klopp’s successor

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:16 AM EDT

    KloppTuchel Getty Images

    Thomas Tuchel will follow in Jurgen Klopp’s footsteps for the second time when he takes over at Borussia Dortmund this summer.

  7. Watch Live: Manchester City vs West Ham (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:52 AM EDT

    PellegriniAllardyce AP

    A pair of slipping sides meet at the Etihad in a rematch of last seasons title-clinching win for Manchester City.

  8. Injuries piling up for top teams as Modric, Mertesacker go down

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:31 AM EDT

    Mertesacker Getty Images

    It’s that time of year, where big clubs look to the bench to replace important players in big games.

  9. MLS Snapshot: Real Salt Lake 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

    Apr 18, 2015, 11:39 PM EDT

    Darren Mattocks, Vancouver Whitecaps Getty Images

    Two red cards for RSL, a late goal for Vancouver and the Whitecaps just keep winning.

  10. WATCH: The 2 Robbies answer the question, “Should Chelsea worry about entertaining?”

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:12 PM EDT

    Robbie Earle & Robbie Mustoe, The 2 Robbies Robbie Earle & Robbie Mustoe, The 2 Robbies

    Do the top teams have a responsibility to entertain, or should they look to win at all costs, no matter how boring it may be?

  11. MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew SC 3-0 Orlando City SC

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew SC Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew SC

    Crew SC are going to be a really, really scary team once they get going. They picked up a great deal of steam on Saturday night.

  12. Bale, Modric pick up injuries, could miss Real Madrid’s Champions League second leg

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:58 PM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo & Gareth Bale, Real Madrid CF Cristiano Ronaldo & Gareth Bale, Real Madrid CF

    Not the ideal time for a pair of key players to go down in the same game, four days before a CL quarterfinal second leg.

  13. Promotion Watch: Watford lead the newly reconfigured (again) Championship race

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:58 PM EDT

    Watford v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Getty Images

    New week, same story, new teams on top, same old excitement — the Championship is truly amazing this year.

  14. La Liga & Serie A roundup: Messi scores No. 400, Barca maintain lead; Juve still good

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez & Neymar, FC Barcelona Getty Images

    It was an historic day for Messi, as Barca inch closer to the league tile. Elsewhere, Juve remind everyone Serie A is all theirs.

  15. Premier League Sunday preview: Can Spurs, Man City find hope versus Newcastle, West Ham?

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT

    A pair of Premier League matches are ready for your Sunday viewing pleasure, and take note that one features a different broadcast channel.

  16. Bundesliga wrap: BVB, Bayern, Bayer win; USMNT players split points

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT

    FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-FRANKFURT-MOENCHENGLADBACH Getty Images

    Seventy-seven percent of this weekend’s Bundesliga results are in the books, and Germany is still waiting for its first upset.

  17. VIDEO: Rooney says Manchester United was unlucky, crowns Chelsea champion

    Apr 18, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney felt his team did enough to top Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but the score line says otherwise.

Featured video

Hazard seals victory for Chelsea