Why Conte’s ban won’t affect Juve’s chances of defending the Scudetto

by Jonathan Day

Last week’s decision by the Italian Olympic Committee tribunal to reduce Antonio Conte’s ban to four months paved the way for the Juventus manager to return to the dugout from 8 December.

Conte had originally received a 10 month ban from the FIGC for failing to report alleged match-fixing during his time at former club Siena, but Conte has been allowed to coach and train his players during the week, despite the punishment that has been handed down.

The effort, concentration and commitment in training have clearly gone up a notch for the defending champions, with assistant coach Claudio Fillippi confirming “We have always trained well, because the coach (Conte) is always present and the team responds to his suggestions.”, something the players too, are keen to point out.

The absence of Juventus’ general from the sidelines has not hindered their domestic form this season with the Bianconeri sitting joint top of Serie A, after a run of six victories in seven games.

Conte’s man management and tactical approach were key factors in Juventus’ title-winning campaign last season, which saw the Bianconeri go through the whole championship without being beaten. Unlike many tacticians, Conte’s presence in the technical area is particularly commanding, so the early return of the manager is clearly a boost to Juventus’ title hopes.

The missing piece in the jigsaw remains the addition of a world-class striker and the January transfer window will likely see renewed efforts to capture a more prestigious forward with Mario Balotelli one of the names mentioned alongside Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente. The deadline day capture of Nicklas Bendtner did little to excite the fans with director Giuseppe Marotta stating “Bendtner is not the high-profile striker we were hoping to sign, but it’s a chance we had to take in a difficult market like this”.

Juventus did however enjoy arguably the best bit of business over the summer, with the Agnelli family backing Conte to the tune of over £50 million.

Conte chose to largely revitalise the midfield injecting energy and enterprise with the likes of Mauricio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah and Sebastian Giovinco, whilst wide men Eljero Elia and Milos Krasic both left the club without too much ceremony.

Martin Caceres and Emanuele Giaccherini both secured permanent moves, whilst Lucio and Paul Pogba also joined the revolution at the Juventus Stadium this summer.

The Scudetto looks likely to remain in Turin despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the manager and the likes of Inter and Napoli will be hard pressed to wrestle the title away from Conte this season.

Jonathan Day

1 Response

  1. Steven Bell says:

    Good read. I agree, Inter shouldn’t prove much of a threat, along with Napoli and the likes. Good squad strenght too…just that striker to come in January and Juve should see it out

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