Have Juventus been toying with us all along?

On Saturday September 26, Juventus suffered their third defeat of the Serie A campaign and were left licking their wounds as their title defence lay in tatters.

For them, the opening six games of the season had delivered just one win and five points and serious questions were being asked of a side that had been so dominant just a few months previous – a la Chelsea in the Premier League.

Unlike the Blues of England, though, the Old Lady of Turin has got her house in order and responded positively to a period of adversity and uncertainty.

Chelsea, for the most part, have looked lost in the 2015/16 campaign, with too many players performing below the level expected of them and the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ looking more like Joe Matthews than Jose Mourinho.

If they are seeking inspiration from outside sources, though, then they could do a lot worse than cast an eye in the direction of Italy.
Juventus, written off by many as they stumbled so badly out of the blocks, have, slowly but surely, started to rebuild and move ominously up the Serie A standings.

Since the aforementioned 2-1 reversal against table-topping Napoli in September, the Bianconeri have lost just once in the league – rather surprisingly at the hands of Sassuolo – dropping just five of the 21 points on offer.

Key men have returned to the fold after injury and big-money additions have started to repay the faith shown in them.

That is a useful combination for any side, and in Juventus’ case, there is still the promise of much more to come – which should be of great concern to those who had hoped to see the controlling force of Italian wither this term and open the door to the rest of the chasing pack.

As things stand, Juve are still perched outside of the European qualification spots, but their presence will be felt, with a surge into sixth spot carrying them to within seven points of the summit with over half of the season still to come.

Given the calibre of player they have at their disposal, and the monopoly they have enjoyed over top honours of late, you get the feeling that a fifth consecutive Scudetto could be on the cards – they have just decided to make things a little more interesting this time around.

Football betting markets have, in truth, barely wavered in their belief that the Turin giants would come good, with history having taught us that it is never wise to write off those with a rich history of delivering when it matters most.

That appears to have been a wise approach, with there now every possibility that Juve’s campaign can be as good as their last.

Steady progress has been made in Europe even when results at home were disappointing, with there an opportunity against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday for last season’s beaten finalists to book their place in the last 16.

After that will come a vital run of fixtures through to the end of the calendar year which includes domestic meetings with Palermo, Lazio, title-chasing Fiorentina and rock-bottom Carpi.

Were an unbeaten run and positive point haul to be taken from that sequence, it is safe to assume that it would be a merry Christmas and winter break for those in Turin, with Max Allegri and his troops positioning themselves perfectly to complete their scenic route back to the top of the tree.