Massimiliano Allegri’s incredible reign as Juventus coach reached further heights yesterday as the Bianconeri clinched their sixth straight Scudetto by beating Crotone 3-0 at the Juventus Stadium.
It’s unprecedented in Italy to win six Serie A titles in a row and for Allegri it was his third league title in three seasons. The coach has also added three Coppa Italia’s to earn three league and cup doubles in his three seasons. Add two Champions League finals, where they can still emerge with the trophy this season, and you get one of the most dominant managerial reigns ever seen.
“We have to first of all compliment the six players who won all six Scudetti, as they go into legend”
Juve raced into the lead against an in-form Crotone when Mario Mandzukic converted Juan Cuadrado’s low cross. The goal was the embodiment of Allegri’s great tactical decision of this campaign; switch to a 4-2-3-1 with Cuadrado on the right, Mandzukic in a new role on the left, Paulo Dybala behind Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic in midfield. Juventus have been peerless although Roma have stayed within distance and will likely finish the season only four points behind the all-conquering Juve.
Paulo Dybala added a beautiful free-kick to make it 2-0 before halftime and with seven minutes remaining the Argentine playmaker set up Alex Sandro for the final goal of the afternoon to make it 3-0 to clinch the historic title.
“My career might not be that long now, but I love football. There’s a lot of pressure, but I find that enjoyable. I hope that I haven’t reached my peak yet. I hope that I can do even better, as if you are not motivated to improve, then why bother? This victory is part of the history of Juventus.”
Allegri’s work is tremendous and his Juventus are one of the most tactically complete sides ever seen. They can defend with positional defensive system, they can man-mark in zones or collectively across the pitch while they can attack with a positional possession style, they can counter-attack at pace or they can go long over a high-pressing team and use the physicality of Mandzukic and Higuain. Basically, they can do everything and play in every way imaginable meaning Allegri can always adapt his team to the challenge and the opposition. This represents superb coaching on the training ground and Juventus’ tactical preparation has been spot on almost every week. Allegri has created a team that is a true reflection of himself; flexible, adaptable and intelligent.
Three straight doubles is fantastic, and if they add the Champions League trophy on 3rd June then Juventus will have completed their first ever treble. It would be very deserved for Allegri’s work over his tenure at Juventus.
Elsewhere, Atalanta mathematically clinched fifth place and their Europa League place by beating Empoli 1-0 away from home. Alejandro Gomez (who else?) scored the only goal of the game as a fitting symbolism for his best ever campaign.
Empoli are in real trouble though and need a win next week at Palermo to be certain of staying up. Crotone’s loss meant Genoa could secure safety by beating Torino at Marassi so at the final day, Crotone hosts Lazio and Empoli travel to Sicily with everything at stake. Crotone stays up if they win and Empoli doesn’t, while Empoli are safe with a win no matter what Crotone does. It will be dramatic and it will be nervous, be sure of that.
Milan won their final home game comfortably against Bologna to finish on a high, Inter finally won for the first time since March, Roma won 5-3 at Chievo while Napoli thrashed Fiorentina 4-1 in a really well-played clash between two beautiful sides.
Sassuolo were rampant against Cagliari and race into a 3-0 lead after only about fifteen minutes. They ended the game 6-2 winners against a Cagliari side that have been involved in some high-scoring games during the season and have always been an entertaining watch.