The Bianconeri’s dominance in Serie A this season has seen them move to within one point of a magnificent century
Juventus have 99 points and counting. Theirs has been a season to remember, with all-comers being swatted aside by the brilliant Bianconeri. Only Cagliari stand between Antonio Conte’s side and a sensational century of points and a 100 per cent home record throughout the entire campaign.
While two major disappointments have been suffered in Europe, Italy just hasn’t been able to keep up with the pace of the Turin outfit, and, as long as they don’t lose at Juventus Stadium on Sunday, they are set to join a select band of teams who have chalked up 100 points in a European season.
Of course, they have already surpassed the Italian record, overcoming the 97-point season of Inter in 2006-07. That felt particularly good for Juventini, stung by the circumstances which saw their side relegated to Serie B while their biggest enemies were busy securing win after win in a weakened top flight. But now they have a third straight title in the bag, nothing less than three figures will do.
Last Sunday’s victory over Roma not only saw them pass Inter’s Italian record, but also saw them leapfrog Rangers’ and Celtic’s 2002-03 mark of 97, which saw the Scottish Premier League title remarkably won by a single goal by Alex McLeish’s Gers.
And while only two points were awarded for victories before the 1982-83 season in England, the Bianconeri have passed the records of Tottenham’s double winners in 1960-61 and an all-conquering Liverpool outfit of 1978-79 even taking three-point wins into account.
However, Conte’s side still have four teams ahead of them on the points scale.
They currently sit level with Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team of 2009-10, who recorded 99 points to secure a second successive La Liga crown. Lionel Messi scored 34 goals for a Barca side who actually trailed Real Madrid in the title race going into the final eight rounds of the campaign, but their superior consistency over the entire season proved too much to handle.
Madrid made a fantastic response two years later, with Jose Mourinho’s side becoming the first Spanish club to record 100 points in a season on their way to a first league title in four years. Beyond the points tally, Madrid also recorded new highs for goals scored (121), goal difference (+89), away wins (16) and total wins (32) in a Spanish league campaign. While Cristiano Ronaldo fell short of Lionel Messi’s Pichichi-winning total of 50 goals, his 46 came as part of a magnificent team effort.
Not to be outdone, Barcelona racked up 100 points of their own the following season, with the late Tito Vilanova and his deputy Jordi Roura ensuring that the coach’s health issues did not knock their side off course as they swept their way to the Liga title. Whereas in their 99-point run of three years previous the title race was long and fraught, this time Barca led from the front throughout the campaign, and eventually finished 15 points ahead of arch-rivals Madrid.
But while Juve could well surpass all three of those Spanish returns with a victory over Cagliari, the record set by Celtic in 2001-02 cannot be overcome just yet.
Twelve months before their dramatic last-day title heartbreak, they had run away with the Scottish Premier League crown, registering 103 points on the way to a 38th national championship. A record of 33 wins and just one defeat in 38 games led them to an 18-point margin over second-placed Rangers, while their 18 goals conceded and 94 scored saw them finish with both the best defence and best attack. They also boasted the league’s two highest goalscorers, with John Hartson’s 19-goal return being bettered only by the 29 of team-mate Henrik Larsson.
Juventus could well be about to carve their name amongst exalted company in a very select list of 100-point seasons. Campaigns like the one they have achieved are few and far between.