After about 14 weeks of the season already behind us, Europe’s major leagues have already taken shape.
None of the continent’s heavyweights, with the exception of Liverpool and Juventus, have shown some sort of consistency so far.
La Liga is the prime example of this inconsistency amongst the big teams. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid have blown hot and cold, allowing the likes of Granada and Real Sociedad to have come within one point of the top standings at a point in time.
Barcelona have already dropped points against Athletic Bilbao, Osasuna, Granada, and Levante, while Real Madrid have been beaten by Real Mallorca and drawn at home to Real Valladolid and Real Betis (Skysports).
In the Premier League, Manchester City have lost to Norwich and Wolves already while the likes of Chelsea, United, Tottenham, and Arsenal have seen more than two losses already (Skysports).
Only Liverpool and Juventus remain unbeaten in their domestic leagues but the Champions League is the one that leaves Sarri and company in uncharted territory.
The reigning European champions have lost to Napoli in the Champions League this term and as it stands, there is still a mathematical chance of Liverpool falling to the Europa League if they lose their final fixture to Salzburg and Napoli get the expected win against Genk.
Juventus, on the other hand, are unbeaten in both their domestic league and have already qualified for the Round of 16 in the Champions League, with the closest opponent in their table standings being six points behind (BBC).
Despite what the stories say, It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Juventus all the way and to an extent that further shows how they could be the best team so far this season.
Juventus have had to scrap out victories on many occasions and had to rely on “lucky” calls to finish off games as well. The fact that Juventus are yet to hit their blistering best this season and still maintain their high standard of expectations (results) is a reason to say there is still more to expect from the side.
More so, the above narrative coincides with the form of their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo. The 34-year-old has been unstoppable for national duty with Portugal but his influence in the Juventus side has waned over recent weeks.
As per Transfermarkt, the Portuguese has only scored five Serie A goals this season – with two of them being penalties. The bigger surprise comes in his “own” competition where Juventus have scored 10 goals so far but Ronaldo’s name has only been on the score-sheet once.
While that is something Sarri would want to be improved in no time, It’s a somewhat positive light showing how the Bianconeri have relied on team efforts this season compared to last season where they were overly reliant on the former Madrid man.
Paulo Dybala has continued to be the cog in the team’s wheel with his seven goals and three assists (Transfermarkt) making him the most influential Juventus player so far this season.
Higuain has also contributed strongly with five goals and five assists(Transfermarkt) – which included a vital winner against Inter back in October. As per Whoscored, 10 other members of the Juve squad have at least a goal and this sees the Bianconeri with one of the most squad members with at least a goal in Europe’s top five leagues.
It might not be strongly mentioned or talked about or perhaps the manner of their wins might still leave a sense of uncertainty around the team. One fact remains that Juventus have probably been the best team in Europe so far this season.