No matter if it was summer, fall or the early stages of winter, we heard the same kind of thing from Juventus players. It involved how as time goes on, how comfortable they are becoming within Maurizio Sarri’s system. The more time goes on, the more comfortable they feel and, as a result, the more they should play the way that Sarri wants them to play.
That is the line of thinking.
It’s not just the players who are thinking that line of logic, though.
It’s those of us who watch them every game.
For months we’ve seen Juventus not play all that well. They’ve won, sure, but the end product has been far from what this team is going to have to do if it wants to challenge on multiple fronts and continue its run of Scudetto-winning seasons. But the caveat has always been that history has told us that Sarri’s teams always get better with team, and the second half of the season is usually when things start to turn for the better.
As Juventus gets ready to start back up again after the holiday break with Cagliari coming to Allianz Stadium on Monday, the second half of the season is getting closer and closer to being a thing. And it’s not just about Juve getting better on the whole, it’s the fact that there’s a legitimate Scudetto race taking place — which is something we haven’t always said over the course of this eight-year run.
This is the start of when the schedule starts to matter just that much more.
And it just so happens to be starting up against one of Serie A’s true surprise stories this season. You know, a Cagliari side, one that finished all of three points of the relegation zone a season ago, that is now sitting in a comfortable sixth-place position and has been hanging out with the big boys of Serie A for much of the 2019-20 campaign.
It was only until a couple of games before the holiday break that Cagliari was sitting in a Champions League spot and basically surprising the living hell out of everybody as they tried to be this season’s version of Atalanta while also being ahead of Atalanta in the table.
But as Sarri pointed out at his pre-match press conference on Sunday, this is a Juventus team that has made its share of mistakes over the course of the first four months of the season. That’s not exactly earth shattering information based on the fact that Juve’s far from reaching their full potential as the midway point of the season is basically here. Eliminating said mistakes was a focus of Sarri during the past week’s worth of training sessions as the squad returned from the holiday break.
The thing we’re waiting to see coming out of the holiday break is easy to figure out, then, isn’t it?
Can Juventus start to truly show signs of Sarrismo? And, maybe more importantly in the short term, will those mistakes that Sarri referenced continue to be the thing that holds this team back as the second half of the season gets going in a matter of days?