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Market Movers: Juventus struggles continue as Champions League elimination looms

As Juventus’s struggles at home and in Europe continue, while QPR and Bournemouth’s extended their good form, we’re looking at some of the week’s biggest Market Movers.

After winning five straight titles before his departure in 2019, the theory was that upon Max Allegri’s return in the summer of 2021, the Old Lady would be back fighting for the title once again.

Dealing with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, who’d won Capocannoniere the previous season, Juve would finish a distant 16 points behind champions Milan.

Veteran Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt left this summer with big-money signing Bremer arriving from Torino, but a title challenge already looks beyond Juventus, 10 points behind table-topping Napoli.

Serie A looks as competitive as it’s been for many a year, and after beating Sassuolo on the opening day, with Dusan Vlahovic bagging a brace, Juve were in to 15/8 for the title. But four draws and one win in their next five saw them lose early ground in the title race, before a defeat to newly-promoted Monza before the international break saw them drift to 8/1. 

Saturday’s defeat to Milan has seen them pushed out further to 12/1, leaving their Champions League ambitions in jeopardy. Having being chalked up at 1/6 in pre-season for a top-four finish, Juventus are now 6/4.

It’s not just next season’s Champions League campaign that’s in jeopardy, but this season’s too. After the embarrassing loss to Maccabi Haifa in midweek, Juventus are now 16/1 to reach the last 16 having been 1/8 to qualify after the draw, with ties against Benfica and PSG to come, and have gone out from 33/1 in the Outright to 500/1.

Allegri will certainly be feeling the pressure, and with one win in five and no wins on the road all season, a trip to rivals Torino at the weekend may be the last thing they need.

There’s a long way to go, but Bournemouth fans would’ve snapped your hand off to be sitting comfortably in mid-table in October if you’d offered them that in pre-season. 

The Cherries were 2/5 to go straight back down, with few giving them a prayer of staying up, particularly when their fellow newly promoted sides were a strong-looking Fulham and a hugely bolstered Nottingham Forest. 

The opening day win against Aston Villa got them off to the perfect start and saw them out to 4/6 for the drop. 

But of course, the terrible trio of Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool saw them concede 16 goals, score none, and lose manager Scott Parker. At 1/3 for relegation, Gary O’Neil steadied the ship with nine points from their next five, seeing them out to 4/5 to go down, and into 16/1 from 40/1 to finish in the top half.

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When assessing the potential promotion contenders in pre-season, few would’ve eyed up QPR. 

The R’s limped over the finish line last season, denying themselves a play-off place, and saw Mark Warburton replaced by unknown quantity Mick Beale.

But the former assistant to Steven Gerrard deserves huge credit for the impact he’s had at Loftus Road, particularly for the run they’ve put together in recent weeks.

Following the opening day defeat to Blackburn, which saw them drift from 10/1 to 12/1 for promotion, they hit back immediately with an impressive win over well-fancied Middlesbrough, seeing them back in to 9/1.

Two points from their next three had them back out to 11/1. But since the international break, QPR have recorded three wins in a week, two of which came away from home, and one-and-a-half of which were without talisman Chris Willock – whose season-ending injury in March coincided with QPR’s slide down the table.

The signs in West London are promising, and with some of the bigger hitters falling short of expectations so far, a place in the top six certainly looks within reach.

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