With the European club season finally reaching its conclusion and the prizes being handed out in both the Champions and Europa League competitions, the footballing focus now shifts back to matters of a more domestic nature.
None more so than in Serie A and as always, it is Juventus who are generating the most debate and with them being the sole dominant force of Italian football’s past decade, it is easy to understand as to why they are the catalyst for so many column inches.
Inches that not only have discussed a managerial switch in Turin, but also talk of an incredible ten in a row in terms of Scudetto’s and the man charged with completing the perfect set, is none other than former star Andrea Pirlo.
While Juventus may have recently scooped a ninth successive Serie A title, their league success is nothing more than the minimum standard these days and it is once again, failure in Europe that has proved somewhat costly.
A cost that former manager Maurizio Sarri has ended up paying the ultimate price for, as defeat to Lyon at the Round of 16 stage of the Champions League subsequently meant managerial change has now been ushered in by the ‘Old Lady’.
Change that seems to be following a recent trend of club legends coming back to manage some of the biggest clubs in Europe and where the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United have started, Juventus have followed.
With the mercurial Andrea Pirlo now taking the reins, some will say he has the easiest job in club football. One that sees the team pick itself and success is then set to follow come the end of the season.
However, critics will also argue that he may actually have the most difficult task of all and with the prospect of potentially being the man who fails to extend Juventus’ incredible streak of Italian league titles, it is not something the 41-year-old will want on his CV.
In fairness, it has been quite a tumultuous summer for Pirlo, as he was previously appointed as manager of Juventus’ reserve outfit – who themselves operate within the confines of Serie C, only to then find himself earning a rather unexpected promotion nine days later.
There is certainly a large amount of confidence being placed on the shoulders of the former Italian international and it is confidence that is reflected by the bookmakers when you look at the latest Serie A odds.
A look at the 2020/21 outright market has Juventus as favourite at 7/10 and although there are no guarantees when it comes to football betting, that might be as close as a sound long-term investment as you could hope for.
While if the sky is to fall in on the Allianz Stadium and Juventus’ reign of terror ends, then Inter Milan will be the best-placed team to facilitate a changing of the guard and after being the bridesmaid both home and abroad last season, they will look to go one better this time around.
If that is to be the case, Inter may have to dig a little deeper and although they finished just a point behind Serie A’s perennial champions, you have to take into account Juventus taking their foot off the pedal in the final few weeks of the season.
An easing of efforts that perhaps distorts the landscape within Italy’s top division and signifies the work that Antonio Conte still has to undertake at the San Siro. Work that now also includes, having to lift a squad that recently lost to Sevilla in the Europa League final.
The bitter disappointment of losing to the Spanish outfit, can serve one of two purposes. It can either remind the club and the men involved that they have failed to get over the line or it can act as a genuine impetus for the season ahead.
If Conte can harness that downbeat feeling and turn it into a positive, it may just give the blue and black half of Milan the thrust they need to finally topple Juventus and if anyone knows how to eventually get the job done, it will be a man who has been there before.
With the Lecce born manager masterminding the first three of Juventus’ current title-winning streak, he is arguably the best man to make sure ten in a row does not unfold and although may have been foiled in his plans once before, don’t be too quick in ruling out success for Inter second time around.