Juventus are in their usual spot of 1st place in Serie A as they go after an incredible 8th Scudetto in a row, no other team has won Serie A since Milan did so in 2011 and it has been a decade of utter dominance by the Old Lady.
Any team hoping that the good times were going to fizzle out for Juve were greatly let down when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo for 100m euros last summer. Together with an already world class squad Ronaldo has helped them back to the top of the league and is currently the leading goal scorer in his debut season in Italy. Everything is like a dream for Juventus at this moment, and then there is Napoli…..
The team from Naples have not won the league since 1990 when a certain Diego Maradona helped them to the title with his greatness and goals. Those days are long gone, but Napoli of the last 10 years have been a very impressive team. Take for example that they have finished runner up to Juventus in the 2010s on 3 different occasions and have at times really tried to push the Turin club. The problem is that Napoli keep losing the title and are being seen as the pretenders each season.
This one looks like ending the same, but Napoli yet again in 2nd place have not given up hope. Currently they have 52 points and are 11 points behind. They have messed up in recent weeks as they drew against both AC Milan and Fiorentina, but is there a way back for the side?
One way could be that Juventus get tied up in the Champions League. They have only won the competition twice in their history in 1985 and 1996, and have been a runner up 2 times from the last 4 competitions. It is the one trophy they are looking for this season and let’s face it it is the reason they signed Ronaldo in the first place, a player that has just won 3 of what they want in a row. Now could be the time.
So from Napoli’s perspective if Juventus get caught up in the competition inevitably they will focus on it, and should start dropping points. Well that is the theory. Let’s remind ourselves that this Juventus team are still unbeaten and it would take Napoli to win every game remaining of this season to have a chance for the title, that’s winning 15 games in a row.
It isn’t going to happen this season, Napoli have dropped the ball so to speak on too many occasions. But next season could be a real possibility and would also mark 30 years since they last won it.
For millions of Inter fans across the world, the last 24 hours have proved to be rather tumultuous. Mauro Icardi has been stripped of his role as team captain as he once again finds his future at the club clouded in uncertainty. Indeed, the Argentine striker has also been omitted from the Nerazzurri squad which travelled to Austria to face Rapid Vienna in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 tomorrow night. Yes, the black and blue half of Milan once again finds itself in a state of absolute chaos. Continue reading →
Luciano Spalletti spoke to the media ahead of Inter’s crucial UEFA Europa League round of 32 match against Rapid Vienna tomorrow night. Here is what he said to the journalists who gathered in Austria this evening: “Rapid are a team with character, they won in Moscow against Spartak on a pitch that I know very well. They made it out of a really difficult group. We congratulate them on this but at the same time we’re here to win.” Continue reading →
There seems to be a buzz around the San Siro of late and that is due largely to AC Milan’s out going coach Gennaro Gattuso. Gattuso was always one to stuck on the field and that attitude hasn’t changed a bit as he intends to be outspoken outside of it. But you can only be that self confident and get away with it if you start producing results on the pitch and that is what Gattuso intends to do.
The past few years have been hard on AC Milan who were so used to dominating world football in the 80s and 90s and even in their declining years and the declining years of Serie A which gave up the great footballing names for La Liga in Spain, Milan were a force to be reckoned with. Witness their 2 Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007 as evidence of that.
But soon after the club were having to play in the Europa League and they haven’t won Serie A since 2011. Indeed apart from the Supercoppa Italiano in 2016, the clubs last major trophy was that Serie A title in 2011.
It is difficult to think that Milan who have won the European Cup (Champions League) on 7 different occasions are also rans in the competition now. They don’t even qualify for Europe’s premier competition and yet are one of the most successful teams to have ever competed in it. This is where Gattuso steps in and he wants to change the clubs losing mentality of the past few years and bring with it a new golden generation of players.
Gattuso is seen as a club legend having joined them in 1999 and stayed until 2012 making well over 300 appearances. He also has a lot of respect from the fans since after retiring he made his way up the managerial ranks, first as coach of the other 19 side and then took charge in winter of 2017 after the sacking of Vincenzo Montella.
His current win rate of 47% needs to be improved but he has still won 32 of the 67 games he has been in charge of and has impressed the Milan board so much that his contract has been extended until 2021. Gattuso could well be a success story at Milan, in short he is one of them which goes a long way.
This season Milan will not win the league and they are actually a whopping 24 points behind leaders Juventus. At the same time the club are in 4th place, which would be good enough to qualify for the play offs of the Champions League. But there are 3 clubs chasing them. Their next target is to overtake Inter, their fierce rivals in the league who have a 4 point advantage over them. Do that and Gattuso makes his statement to the club and fans that his team are going places. Next season could get very interesting for the old veterans of football.
Make no mistake, there was huge pressure on Inter to claim all three points at the Stadio Ennio Tardini tonight. It was very much a case of needing to win at all costs. Luciano Spalletti has been under heavy scrutiny over the course of the past month and there is a sense that his job would have been under serious threat had the Nerazzurri failed to beat Parma. However, to the relief of the coach and his players, the Beneamata have finally won a Serie A match in 2019. Continue reading →
Lautaro Martínez spoke to Inter TV in the immediate aftermath of the Nerazzurri’s 1-0 victory over Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Here is what he had to say after scoring the winning goal in Emilia-Romagna: Continue reading →
If Luciano Spalletti and his players require a reminder of why tomorrow night’s match against Parma will be one of the toughest matches they play all season, they need only look at what happened in Turin last weekend. Indeed, Roberto D’Aversa’s Crociati side scored a last-minute equaliser versus Juventus which, in many ways, epitomises how the season has gone so far for the Emilia-Romagna outfit. Make no mistake, the Gialloblu will fancy their chances of consolidating their Serie A status with another impressive result against one of the league’s most prestigious clubs. Continue reading →
Luciano Spalletti spoke to the media ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial Serie A match against Parma. Here is what he said to the journalists who gathered at the Suning Training Centre earlier this afternoon: Continue reading →
Luciano Spalletti spoke to the media in the aftermath of Inter’s 1-0 defeat at home to Bologna earlier this evening. Many fans and journalists believe the result has plunged the Nerazzurri into full-blown crisis, but the 59-year-old does not share that view. Here is what he had to say: “We created problems for ourselves today, even when we should’ve been comfortable or were in a position to score. Continue reading →
“In these days, we’ve heard a lot of gossip and unfounded news. Spalletti has clearly expressed some wise points which I also share. We’re third in the table, we only went out of the Coppa Italia on penalties so we’re looking ahead with optimism. Nobody can think about putting us on the chopping block.” Those were the words of Inter CEO sport Beppe Marotta, who spoke to Sky Sport prior to this evening’s Serie A match against Bologna. Continue reading →