Coach Massimiliano Allegri met the press today and obviously returned on the Atletico Madrid game and the comparison with what happend with Real last year: “The circumstances are different, we have 20 days to prepare this fixture, which will be our match of the year. With enthusiasm and adrenaline. I do not know whether we will advance, but we have to do everything in our power to pull it off. In order to get there, we have to do well in the next three league games. We face Bologna which have a new coach and a new attitude, they have won in Milan, tied with Genoa and did not deserve to lose against Roma. It is an important game because we want to arrive to the Napoli clash with the same lead. We need eight more wins in Serie A.” Continue reading
Milan XI: 4-3-3 Donnarumma; Conti, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paqueta; Castillejo, Piatek, Calhanoglu.
Potential lineup changes: Calabria for Conti, Borini for Castillejo.
Confirmed Out: Suso (suspension), Bonaventura (knee), Zapata (thigh), Caldara (Achilles), Reina (thigh).
Juventus: Sami Khedira underwent a heart ablation with an arrhythmogenic atrial focus and will miss a minimum of one month. Emre Can is suspended. Douglas Costa remains questionable with the quad injury that has forced to skip the last few games.
Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne is disqualified, while Mario Rui has slim chances to return from a thigh pull.
Inter: Mauro Icardi took some tests this week, which revealed no structural damage on his achy knee, but he is still poised to be unavailable this week amid the standoff with the managament. Balde Keita is having a hard time shaking off a thigh strain. Continue reading
Robin Olsen: Roma do not have the most airtight defense this year, but they will square off against Frosinone in this round, which have failed to score in four straights home fixtures. Olsen is coming off a superlative performance against Bologna.
Nicola Murru: Sampdoria are slumping, but in this weekend they will face Cagliari, which will be offensively challenged with few of their attackers on the sidelines and also have failed to hit the net in three straight road games. Murru has the most upside out of the Blucerchiati defenders, but the other regulars Bartosz Bereszynski and Joachim Andersen would be fine choices too. Continue reading
Milan-Empoli: the Rossoneri are coming off a humungous win over Atalanta, the second in a row after they had disposed of Cagliari and they have not lost since in 2019, maintaining a slim advantage over Roma in the Champions League race. The Azzurri snapped an eight-game famine on Sunday, where they had picked up only two points and lost seven times. The Devil will not have Suso due to a suspension, which opens up minutes for either Samu Castillejo or Fabio Borini. Needless to say, Krzysztof Piatek continues to be amazing and his clutchness is remarkable because he does not get as many feeds as other top Serie A strikers. Hakan Calhanoglu finally bagged one last week and they will rely more on their playmaking with Suso on the stands. Continue reading
Juventus could not rise to the occasion against Atletico Madrid, got pushed around and pinned back by the opponents in the second half and now find themselves in a nearly insurmountable hole ahead of the second leg. Here are the best performers from a rough night at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
Wojciech Szczesny: two solid saves by the goalkeeper, one on a strike from distance by Thomas and the other on Antoine Griezmann’s wicked free kick from the edge of the box, and a superb one of the Griezmann/Mattia De Sciglio’s lob in the second half, where he just managed to tip the ball on the crossbar. Continue reading
Coach Massimiliano Allegri and Miralem Pjanic held late yesterday the usual pre-game presser. The coach begun by announcing that Sami Khedira has not been called up and later the club informed that the midfielder will undergo testing for a atrial arrhythmia that emerged yesterday: “We lose a world-class player and will remain with four available midfielders.”
“Paulo Dybala will play tomorrow. It is a game unlucky any others this season, but it is similar to what we already faced in previous years. Champions League has always been a goal for us and whether from the outside they give us more or less chances to win does not concern us. Continue reading
Both centre-backs spoke to Spanish newspapers today, Leonardo Bonucci to AS and Giorgio Chiellini to Marca. Here are the highlights and the new stuff revealed in the interviews, starting with Bonucci: “Being able to stay with my family was one of the reasons why I decided to return to Juventus, I did not see my son Lorenzo very often last year, now he is happier. Unfortunately, he still cheers for Torino: he wavered after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, but he has enrolled in their youth academy. Matteo’s five-month sickness in 2016 was very tough, but it made me realize that I can live without football, but not without my family. Everything is fine now fortunately.” Continue reading
Salvatore Sirigu (7 points): he was probably a little lucky in his best save, on Lorenzo Insigne’s sure-fire attempt, but still made few other deciding ones that allowed Torino to stop Napoli.
Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): the acrobatic tap-in on the goal line, on top of a very easy clean sheet, made him the highest earner for this round.
Matias Silvestre (5 points): Empoli were finally able to prevent the opponents from scoring after failing to do so for 20 straight matches, and therefore the leader of their back-line gets a token spot. Continue reading
The most significant game this week was the bout between Atalanta and Milan with the fourth spot on the line. The Goddess came into the fixture having won four of five, while the Rossoneri were coming off their most convincing win of the season, against Cagliari, and riding a six-match undefeated streak, where they had tied three times.
Both coaches confirmed the XIs they have been using consistently for few weeks: the only tweak by Gian Piero Gasperini was picking Berat Djimsiti to anchor the back-line and moving José-Luis Palomino to left centre-back, over Gianluca Mancini, while Gennaro Gattuso marshaled his usual 4-3-3. Continue reading