Preview: September’s Serie A Fixture Schedule Shows No Mercy to Juventus

Juventus’ decision to bring Massimiliano Allegri back to the helm has failed to pay any dividends at the beginning of the season. Following an underwhelming fourth-place finish in 2020/21, I Bianconeri parted ways with Andrea Pirlo and standout performer Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer.

Juventus turned a 2-0 half-time lead into a disappointing 2-2 draw away to Udinese on the opening weekend, courtesy of Wojciech Szczesny’s epic blunders. While the supporters could put the blame on the Pole for their side’s sluggish start, no one can explain the Turin giants’ disastrous performance against Empoli last time out.

Newly-promoted Azzurri took the Allianz Arena by storm, returning home all three points for the first time in the club’s history to send Juventus to the international break without a single Serie A win this season. The pause has come to Allegri’s rescue, providing him with a fortnight to piece together a plan to get his team’s league campaign on track. 

Napoli (Serie A) – September 11

Napoli’s ferocious start to the 2021/22 Serie A season under Luciano Spalletti has seen I Partenopei rack up a pair of victories to announce their title candidature. Unfortunately for Allegri, Juventus’ first post-international league fixture pits them against in-form Naples giants at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

A trip to the south is likely to stir some unpleasant memories for the record-time Serie A champions. They have lost both previous away top-flight meetings with this opposition by a single-goal margin, failing to score before half-time on each occasion. 

Despite Napoli’s eye-catching form, Juventus have no margin for error here. There are different levels of must-win matches, and this isn’t one of them. However, another negative outcome could be the real backbreaker to the Turin side’s road to redemption.

Malmo (Champions League) – September 14

You have to go back to 1995/96 to find the last time Juventus wrapped up the Champions League title. Therefore, the club’s extreme desire to conquer Europe’s top-tier club competition needs no explanation. 

After failing to make it out of the Champions League round of 16 in their last two attempts, I Bianconeri will be aiming for a better European campaign this time out. Paired together with Chelsea, Zenit St Petersburg, and Malmo in Group H, the Italians’ chances of progressing from the group stage look good.

Juventus will kick off their 2021/22 Champions League campaign against reigning Swedish champions Malmo at the Eleda Stadion. The last time these two sides met in the competition’s group phase, the Serie A heavyweights won both legs by the identical 2-0 scoreline back in 2014/15.

Milan (Serie A) – September 19

September’s fixture schedule shows no mercy to Juventus as they welcome resurgent Milan to the Allianz Stadium just eight days after their trip to Naples. The Bianconeri faithful must be harboring some painful memories about their most recent encounter against arch-rivals in the back of their minds.

Milan hammered Juventus 3-0 in Turin back in May after going winless in their previous nine Serie A tours to the city. A potential defeat here would see Allegri’s team suffer back-to-back league reverses to this opposition for the first time in a decade. 

Given Milan’s impressive start to the season, history beckons as Allegri was incidentally the last manager to help I Rossoneri secure consecutive Serie A wins at Juventus. The famous tactician will now do everything in his power to defy history and upset his former employers.

Sampdoria (Serie A) – September 26

While Napoli and Milan are not exactly must-win fixtures, Sampdoria’s visit to the Allianz Arena is a must-win affair in the strictest sense. Juventus can fall back on an imperious home form against the Genoa-based outfit, having won each of their last six Serie A H2Hs in Turin by an aggregate score of 19-2.

The managerial shift at Sampdoria has yet to bear fruit, with I Blucerchiati going winless in their opening two league matches without scoring a single goal (D1, L1). Additionally, they have netted under 1.5 goals in 12 of their 13 Serie A travels in 2021, barring a 2-0 win over last season’s relegation strugglers Parma in late January.

Sampdoria’s glaring scoring woes should give Juventus’ hopes of keeping a clean sheet an upper hand. Despite boasting the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, they have failed to register a shutout in 16 consecutive league outings, 2020/21 included.

Chelsea (Champions League) – September 29

The most highly anticipated match-up in the Champions League Group H will see Chelsea play host to Juventus at Stamford Bridge on September 29. Touted for a top-place finish in this group, the European heavyweights will trade tackles in Europe’s prestigious club competition for the first time since 2011/12.

Since losing their first-ever Champions League clash against Chelsea in February 2009, Juventus have gone unbeaten in their subsequent three such H2Hs (W1, D2). Having scored 2+ goals in each of those three encounters, I Bianconeri will hope to break down the reigning European champions.

Chelsea’s stratospheric rise under Thomas Tuchel’s stewardship has been based on a water-tight defense. So Paulo Dybala and co will face an uphill task of maintaining their free-scoring form against the Londoners.