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Few the weeks leading up to the 2022 World Cup, it seemed that the position of Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was more than in doubt. The Bianconeri started the season off poorly with disappointing results in both Serie A and Champions League campaigns. The European journey has been a disaster, with Allegri's side eliminated in the group phase, losing twice against Benfica and Paris Saint Germain and also away against Maccabi Haifa. Five defeats and only one win at home against the Israeli team led to a lot of criticism around the Italian manager. Things were not good enough also in the domestic league, with Juventus losing against newly promoted team AC Monza away on Sept. 15. 

Allegri being dismissed seemed inevitable, but the club decided to trust the manager once again. On Oct. 8, the Bianconeri lost at San Siro against AC Milan, but then from that moment on they won every Serie A clash, all eight of them, and didn't concede a single goal. 

But how Allegri manage to turn things around ahead of key Scudetto clash that will take place on Friday against Serie A leaders Napoli?

Allegri was always considered one of the most successful Italian coaches around. That's the main reason why he was called back at the club in the summer of 2021 after a two-year break from coaching. Juventus won trophies with both Maurizio Sarri (one Scudetto) and Andrea Pirlo (one Coppa Italia and one Super Cup) but the feeling around the club was different and Allegri was called back by President Andrea Agnelli to oversee a new cycle. Juventus' motto is "winning is not important, it's the only thing that counts," and there is no better coach than Allegri that can embrace their idea of winning. 

Over the past years, he repeatedly said that the winner is the one that is remembered at the end of the day, and it's not important how you achieve that success. Many former players and commentators criticized this way of thinking but in the end, he was the one who was lifting the Scudetto time and time again, as he won five Serie A titles in a row from 2015 to 2019. And this made him a serial winner. When he came back in the summer of 2021 things were different. Juventus lost their crown to Inter Milan for the first time in nine years and the feeling was that Allegri needed to restore the winning spirit in the environment. The first season was difficult for multiple reasons, also because Cristiano Ronaldo left a few days before the end of the transfer window and the club didn't have time to replace him. Juventus managed to qualify for the Champions League but expectations increased for the second season under Allegri after his comeback. 

The start of the 2022-23 season wasn't good enough, but after losing against AC Milan in October, things changed drastically. Juventus are now second in the league, seven points behind Napoli and on Friday they will have the chance to reopen the Scudetto race. The Italian coach, despite multiple key players injured, decided to shift from a four-man defense to a three-man defense, and from that moment on Juventus didn't concede a single goal in Serie A.

The soccer they play is not particularly entertaining, that's for sure, but at least results are coming and this is what matters for Allegri. With Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic still injured and Angel Di Maria not in his best condition, Allegri counted on the comeback of Federico Chiesa and some unexpected key players. Brazilian defender Danilo became a regular starter and he was also the captain during the last Serie A game against Udinese when he scored the winning goal a few minutes before the final whistle. 

American International Weston McKennie, despite the interest of multiple European clubs, was also a starter and Allegri played him in different roles: as a winger but also as a central midfielder alongside Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli. Former Napoli striker Arek Milik became a starter as well and already has seven goals this season, helping deal with the absence of Vlahovic, who is still recovering from persistent groin pain that is preventing him from playing regularly. Allegri counted on the players he knew he could trust in the most difficult moment since he rejoined Juventus. And it has worked out. On Friday against Napoli, we will know if that was enough also to become a Scudetto contender for the 2022-23 season. 

Viewing information 

  • Date: Friday, Jan. 13 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
  • Location: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona -- Naples, Italy
  • Live stream: Paramount+
  • Odds: Napoli -107; Draw +235; Juventus +305 (via Caesars Sportsbook)