The Great Wall of Juve

The Great Wall that is the Juventus Football Club defence has undoubtedly led to their success in the Champions League.

The forceful back-line of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, and Giorgio Chellini along with legendary 39-year-old keeper, Gianluigi Buffon are arguably the best in the business.

The back three consistently working in unison clearly exemplify why Juventus have been crowned champions of Italy for the past four (potentially five) seasons.

While Juventus seems to be the best defensive team in the world at the moment, only Denmark’s F.C. Copenhagen had less goals conceded in the UEFA Champion’s League (UCL) Group Stage. Copenhagen could not escape the group stage due to only two wins, one loss, and three ties. Only France’s Olympique Lyonnais was able to tie Juventus in second spot for goals against.

With regards to international soccer, the Azzurri, who play with a 3-5-2 formation under former manager Antonio Conte (current Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura), also field the four stars of the Juventus Great Wall. Consequently, playing on two dynamic teams have created a solid bond between the veteran defenders. It is such a bond that elite players such as Andrea Belotti (Torino FC), Edin Dzeko (Roma FC), and the one and only, Lionel Messi (Barcelona FC) have difficulty breaking through the fortified wall. Even if they did, they would face the Italian guardian, Buffon.

According to Daily Mail, before the first leg of the quarterfinals of this year’s UCL, in which Juventus and Barcelona were destined to clash, manager of F.C. Barcelona, Luis Enrique, praised his four-time Balon d’Or winner by calling him “the best player in history.” This may be true and he is arguably the player that most opponents revere, although the advantage that the Bianconero had and felt confident about was the fact, that Messi has never scored against il capitano, Buffon.

Allegri and his troopers deservingly won the first leg of that clash 3-0 by only conceding three shots in which two of those were blocked by Bonucci in the second half and the other was an effortless save by Buffon. Although the “BBC trio” was not in action that night because of a minor injury that Barzagli suffered several weeks ago (though he did substitute in the 89th minute), Allegri anticipated the vigorous chemistry of Luis Suárez, Neymar, and Messi, so starting the game without Barzagli in the lineup forced to switch to having four defenders on the pitch as opposed to the usual three.

After successfully shutting out Barcelona in both legs of the round (3-0, 0-0) it was confirmed that Barcelona’s Argentine captain has yet to score on Buffon in his career, undoubtedly a remarkable statistic.

With only three games left to play in Serie A’s 2016/17 campaign, there is a high probability that Juventus will win the league once again for the fifth consecutive year as they have a comfortable 85 points. With such a commanding defensive team and monumental back line, there is plenty of faith and confidence going into the UCL Final against Real Madrid on June 3. We shall wait and see who will be crowned the champions of Europe.


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