Juventus’ defence, which has been the healthiest department so far, is suddenly short-handed as Medhi Benatia is dealing with some knee soreness, which will sideline him for the Young Boys contest and will likely require further exams. Andrea Barzagli recently suffered a quad strain and he is not expected to return before the end of the calendar year. After missing two and a half games with a thigh pull, Alex Sandro should be able to contribute, either on Wednesday or on Saturday, while Sami Khedira’s ankle still has not healed.
The Bianconeri will be looking to clinch the top spot of the group in Bern, which would allow them to avoid some dangerous teams in the first round of the knock-out stage. The next goal will be a milestone achievement, as it will be the 5000th scored in the history of the club. Continue reading →
Champions League Group C is a tight one between leaders Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain and last year’s runner-up Liverpool entering the final round of play. As things stand, the Partenopei lead PSG by a single point, while holding a three point cushion over the English giants who they will pay a visit tonight at Anfield.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli can qualify for the Round of 16 through one of the following scenarios: 1) win or draw vs Liverpool, 2) lose by a goal, but score at least once (2-1, 3-2) and PSG wins/loses. Continue reading →
Goals galore in Serie A this week: here are the top 11 perfomers.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (7 points): just four clean sheets in this round, by Milan, Torino, Napoli and Juventus. The starlet once again showed off his cat-like reflexes with a pair of superb saves on a header by Iago Falque and on an attempt by Andrea Belotti.
Faouzi Ghoulam (9 points): his return on the pitch after over a year and two major knee injuries could not have gone any better as he perfectly set up the two goal by Arkadiusz Milik with crisp crosses. Continue reading →
Plenty of pathos in the last Serie A round: Cagliari-Roma and Lazio-Sampdoria would have been worthy candidates for match of the week, but then Sassuolo-Fiorentina outdid them on Sunday.
Both teams came into the game pretty desperate for a win: the Neroverdi had prevailed just once in the previous eight fixtures, while La Viola last grabbed the full three points for the last time in late September. With Kevin-Prince Boateng out with an injury, Roberto De Zerbi used his best XI, with Khouma Babacar spearheading the front-line, Federico Di Francesco on the left wing and Stefano Sensi as deep-lying playmaker. Continue reading →
Danilo D’Ambrosio spoke alongside Matteo Politano during Inter’s pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match at home to PSV Eindhoven. Indeed, it will be a decisive game for the Nerazzurri, who must better Tottenham Hotspur’s result against leaders Barcelona in order to reach the Round of 16 stage of the competition. Here is what the former Torino full-back said to the gathered journalists in Appiano Gentile: Continue reading →
Earlier this afternoon, Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference at the Suning Training Centre ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match against reigning Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven. Here is what the 59-year-old Tuscan said to the journalists in attendance: “This match is the most important one since I’ve been here and it represents the next step that follows on from Lazio vs. Inter on 20 May. Since I’ve been here, we’ve got the points and put in the performances that we needed. Now, we’re here to play for a spot in the last 16 on the final day of the group stage. Continue reading →
An easy call for club of the week this time around, as Napoli quickly disposed of Frosinone on Saturday. As he often does, Carlo Ancelotti looked ahead, at the decisive Champions League clash with Liverpool coming on Tuesday, and spared some of his best men: Raul Albiol, José Callejon, Fabian Ruiz and Dries Mertens. Sebastiano Luperto, Adam Ounas and Arkadiusz Milikdrew the start.
It was an evening of debuts and returns, as Alex Meret was between the sticks for the first time after being sidelined by an early forearm fracture, Faouzi Ghoulam got the first start in over a year and Amin Younes played his first minutes with the Azzurri after recovering from an Achilles tear. Continue reading →
Winless in their last four going into Saturday’s clash against Sampdoria, Lazio needed to rebound at home. After a dubious stoppage time penalty shot from Ciro Immobile put the hosts ahead late, it seemed like it would finally be their day. Yet, in the 99th minute, a headed-on long ball found its path to an onrushing Riccardo Saponara who expertly lobbed Strakosha with a deft touch, stripping the biancocelesti of the three points. The draw was Lazio’s fourth consecutive and sees the side trailing an injury-riddled Milan by a point for the fourth and final Champions League spot.
Lazio’s struggles haven’t gone unnoticed in the peninsula leading Simone Inzaghi to the hot-seat. With Champions League football as the objective, the Italian tactician is facing pressure for the first time since taking over in the nation’s capital. Throughout this poor stretch, the biancocelesti have largely been wasteful in front of goal, averaging a mere goal a game. Outside of their talisman Immobile, no player on the team has more than three Serie A goals, leading many to believe they’re a one-man show in the final third. Despite their struggles, Lotito has assured the fans Inzaghi is here to stay.
“The coach will be here for the next few years. We’ve put a lot of things in place to grow the club and it can happen that some games don’t go in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean catastrophes or broken relationships,” said the Lazio president.
When it goes wrong it’s easy to scapegoat the manager but both Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto have been shadows of their former selves and have been wholly ineffective in the final phase, whereas last season they were key contributors. While the Serbian’s price-tag was quoted near the 100 million mark just this summer, Lazio president Claudio Lotito will be lucky to recoup even half of that if he keeps performing like this. Luis Alberto, on the other hand, has failed to follow up his debut season in Serie A and has suffered from the same inconsistency problems that plagued him earlier in his career.
Cristiano Ronaldo gave an attention-grabbing interview to Gazzetta dello Sport: “I am happy to be here, the city is very pretty, the fans are nice and Juventus is a fantastic club with an extraordinary organization. The players are humble and work hard. The first impression has been wonderful.”
On the squad: “This is the best group I have played in, we are a team. In other clubs, some players felt like they were bigger than the teammates, while that is not the case here. They are aligned and they want to win. Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic are happy even if they do not score. I noticed the difference. Compared to Real Madrid, this is more like a family.” Continue reading →