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The Old Lady completed the 2011-12 season unbeaten, marking them out as one of the most remarkable outfits in Serie A history

COMMENT
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor

There were few tears, truth be told. Juventus’ 2010-11 season ended with a 2-2 draw at home to Napoli which ensured that they would miss out on the Europa League in the campaign ahead. In 2011-12, there would be no Stadio Olimpico, no Luigi Del Neri and no continental football. But it didn’t bother them one bit.

Little did Juve fans realise it at the time, but the ‘losses’ they experienced over those few days would become key factors behind one of the most successful seasons in Italian football history. They knew that a new stadium, new coach and a few free midweeks may well help their cause in the pursuit of a return to greatness, but this term has exceeded all expectations.

They still have the Coppa Italia final to go next Sunday, but the one trophy they already have has been attained in a way dissimilar to all but one team of the past. When Ilario Castagner’s Perugia finished second in Serie A in 1978-79, they did so becoming the first club ever to remain unbeaten in an Italian top-flight campaign. The great AC Milan went one better by achieving the feat as champions 13 years later.

OTHER INVINCIBLES
1889-90 Preston North End 1978-79 Perugia
1929-30 Athletic Bilbao 1991-92 AC Milan
1931-32 Madrid CF
1994-95
Ajax
1942-43 Dresdner SC
2003-04
Arsenal
1972-73 Benfica
2010-11
Porto
1977-78 Benfica
2011-12
Juventus

Two decades on, and it is Antonio Conte who has emulated Fabio Capello by winning the title in his first year in charge without a single defeat to his name. What’s more, it has been a picture-book season for the Old Lady. With Juventus Stadium rocking, new players adding steel and style, and Conte’s relentlessness ensuring there was no let up, the fans could have been forgiven for even realising there was no European football. Those who were missing it realised it was a small price to pay. Juve were flying.
THE OLD LADY REMAINS UNBOWED
Club
Atalanta
Bologna
Cagliari
Catania
Cesena
Chievo
Fiorentina
Genoa
Inter
Lazio
Lecce
Milan
Napoli
Novara
Palermo
Parma
Roma
Siena
Udinese
Home
W 3-1
D 1-1
D 1-1
W 3-1
W 2-0
D 1-1
W 2-1
D 2-2
W 2-0
W 2-1
D 1-1
W 2-0
W 3-0
W 2-0
W 3-0
W 4-1
W 4-0
D 0-0
W 2-1
Away
W 2-0
D 1-1
W 2-0
D 1-1
W 1-0
D 0-0
W 5-0
D 0-0
W 2-1
W 1-0
W 1-0
D 1-1
D 3-3
W 4-0
W 2-0
D 0-0
D 1-1
W 1-0
D 0-0

There was a rocky spell when their season-long inability to make the most of their superior football resulted in a string of draws, but their response was to rack up their greatest run of the campaign. Ten wins in their final 11 games clinched a 28th official Scudetto and set them apart from any club in history. Milan just couldn’t keep up.

A great defensive record has been achieved without them necessarily having a great back line. To add to that, they have beaten 16 of the 19 teams put in front of them without having the most convincing of strikers. Everything they have achieved, they have achieved together. They’ve defended as a team, attacked as a team, won as a team and, well .... drawn as a team.

It has been quite a 12 months since that second successive seventh-place finish, and the year ahead will have plenty of twists and turns in store. But whatever happens to the Old Lady either domestically or on the continent in 2012-13, nobody can ever take away what Conte and his players have achieved this season.

By beating Atalanta this afternoon amidst a party atmosphere, they have gone down in history. Very few clubs in football history can claim to have gone a whole year without a league loss, and on Tuesday the Bianconeri will celebrate that feat. When Sebastian Giovinco was lifted aloft by his Parma team-mates after scoring the winner at the Ennio Tardini on May 15 last year, few could have foreseen the magnificence to come.

The reward for their Scudetto crown is a place in the Champions League, which they have failed to grace in over two and a half years. The unbeaten achievement gains them only a place in a record book, but it can’t ever be wiped out.

It will stay forever in black and white, and may well always be remembered as the moment Juve blasted back. It is their first title since Calciopoli, as well as a superb response to two very difficult seasons. The Scudetto would have been enough, but the fact they achieved it without a single defeat makes it a sensational statement of intent.

Juventus have returned, and are doing their damnedest to achieve the kind of greatness even their miraculous history has never previously known. This version of the Bianconeri are history makers of a whole new breed.

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