Five talking points from Serie A Matchday 13
The 2017/18 season in Italy fast approaches its half-way mark as the 13th round of games concludes today with relegation battling Verona taking on mid-table trotters Bologna.
Over the weekend though, we witnessed plenty of drama starting with AS Roma's nervy 2-1 win over city rivals Lazio, the same score with which Napoli plonked on a visiting AC Milan. The latter's crosstown nemesis though, Inter Milan, won 2-0 against 11th placed Atalanta.
The headline-grabbing result though was Juve's 3-2 loss to Sampdoria, whilst in other news, minnows Cagliari and Sassuolo picked up away wins and Torino was held to a 1-1 draw by Chievo.
#1 Juventus are there for the taking
Quite frankly, the Bianconeri have been terrible this season even if they sit third in the table with 31 points from a possible 39, albeit having played a game more than AS Roma who is hot on their heels.
The aura of invincibility that their star-studded defense had about them in the 2016/17 campaign, appears to have been punctured this time around. With 14 goals already conceded - twice as much as they did at this stage last year - Juve's backline is facing some troubled times.
With the tenacity on the right flank departing with Dani Alves' move to PSG and the unbreachable center-back pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci cleaved after the latter's move to AC Milan, manager Max Allegri was left with the task of reassessing his options at the back. But 13 games in, he's still struggling to come up with a solution.
As it was so evident against La Samp, Juve is lacking the confidence and the chutzpah with which they have bestrode football in the Italian peninsula like a colossus.
The defensive muscle with which they kept out the fearsome attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar over the course of 180 minutes, is today, struggling to keep out minnows such as Atalanta, Genoa, and even bottom-placed Benevento.
That's the sorry and sorrowful state of Juve's rearguard today. It's a far cry from their impenetrable selves of 16/17.