January 2010, four points collected from a possible fifteen. January 2011, four points collected from a possible fifteen. January 2012, four points collected from a possible six. By this point, the reoccurring theme becomes apparent. With three games remaining this month, the Bianconeri will attempt to achieve something they have failed to do in the past two years, obtain more than four points in January. Following a disappointing home draw with Cagliari, coupled with an equally disappointing second-half performance, do Antonio Conte’s men risk coming close to repeating history?
Unfortunately, predicting the future is beyond my abilities. However, what is certain is that Juve have some sort of mental obstruction when playing a club with the Rossoblu colours. Cagliari followed the example set by Bologna and Genoa in holding the Bianconeri to a share of the spoils in Turin, which at the sound of the full-time whistle was set to ruin the weekend of all those who have an affinity for the league leaders. Come Sunday night however, Juve found themselves a point ahead of nearest rivals Milan after their Derby della Madonnina defeat.
Cossu strikes to secure point for Cagliari
This Saturday presents the tricky trip to Bergamo, where Juventus will attempt to become only the second team this season to inflict defeat on Atalanta at home. Giorgio Chiellini returns from suspension, to fortify a defence that has conceded just six goals away from home all season, three of those coming in the same game in Naples. Undoubtedly this weekend will be a tough task, a sentiment echoed by Stephan Lichtsteiner;
“Against Atalanta it will not be easy, as the Bergamo side have performed excellently at home. We will have to be aggressive, play to our pace of the game and stay alert in defence.”
Astonishingly, Juve have failed to record back-to-back victories since late November, with victory over Palermo followed up with all three points at the Stadio Olimpico against Lazio. It’s this stuttering stop-start form that could permanently jeopardise their Scudetto ambitions, with the likes of Milan and Inter putting together title-winning runs of victories. It comes as no surprise that the Nerazzurri are back in the mix, and they will almost certainly be in the running come the end of the season. However, history suggests Conte should have little to fear on Saturday, although every game represents a new challenge. Unbeaten in their last five clashes with Atalanta, the Old Lady has four wins and a draw, including 5-2 and 4-0 wins in Bergamo. Perhaps in this instance, it might well be a case of hoping for history to repeat itself.
Following Atalanta, a home clash with Udinese and a trip to the Ennio Tardini to take on Parma complete the fixture list in January. However, the New Year hangover has a tendency to stretch into February and beyond. If the Bianconeri dismiss these mid-season fears in the next three weeks, Conte will have overcome another psychological downfall that has the potential to curtail their season. Unbeaten after eighteen games reads wonderfully, but you don’t win the Scudetto before January. If Juve are to prove themselves, they will have to do so over the next few months.
Can Juve avoid their usual mid-season slump? Are you a happy or disgruntled fan following the arrival of Marco Borriello? Who would you like to see join him this month?
FINALLY! This week could finally be the week that Amauri decides he’s done in Turin and moves on. According to Sky Sport Italia, the 31-year-old is on the verge of completing a move to Fiorentina. Reports suggest the striker, who has failed to see a single minute of action so far this season, will fetch €250,000.
OFFICIAL: Juve have sold half of Fredrik Sorensen to Bologna (not literally half of the youngster, 50% in one of those wonderful Italian co-ownership deals), while bringing in Saphir Taider in a similar deal. However Taider will remain at Dall’Ara along with Sorensen for the remainder of the season.
RUMOURS: Porto star Fredy Guarin has confessed his undying love for the Bianconeri and admitted ‘it’s either Porto or Juve’. The search for a midfielder continues.
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