Juventus Top Perfomers – Round 38 vs Roma

An already checked-out Juventus could not find a way to contain a more spirited Roma team and ended up throwing away one of the few things they had going for them, besides winning the title of course, as they soiled their home invincibility.

Danilo: it is again tough to find something good in the back-line, but the Brazilian fullback was more lively than usual and produced a pair of interesting runs that switched field position in a hurry, won a bunch of duels and drew some fouls in dangerous spots. He ends his campaign on a slight crescendo, despite the unlucky PK foul. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 38 – Saturday Games

BRESCIA-SAMPDORIA

Brescia: they actually played better than expected versus Lazio, where they had some opportunities to score, in particular with Ernesto Torregrossa, but were unable to cash in. Several injuries left them with a skeleton crew as Torregrossa, Florian Aye, Nikolas Spalek and Jaromir Zmrhal are the only attackers available. All of them, excluding Aye, have been able to hit the net recently, while Sandro Tonali and Bruno Martella have been pretty good in the less offensive roles.

Suggested picks: Torregrossa, Spalek, Zmrhal. Continue reading

Three Takeaways From Sarri’s First Season At Juventus

Maurizio Sarri’s first season with Juventus did not exactly go to plan, with the Bianconeri losing two finals and stumbling to their ninth consecutive Scudetto. After securing the league title against Sampdoria, the Italian champions now have their sights set on overturning a narrow first-leg deficit against Lyon in the Champions League.

With the season officially behind us, it’s as good a time as any to reflect on Sarri’s first year in charge. Here are three takeaways from the season that was:

1) Individual brilliance reigns supreme. 

Much was expected from Sarri in his first season, but the veteran tactician disappointed and was regularly bailed out by individual brilliance in the final third. Beyond some encouraging signs of ‘Sarriball’ at different stages in the season, Juventus often relied on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala to lead them to the title. Moving forward, Sarri will be hoping the Bianconeri acquire technical players, which will help him further implement his playing philosophy. The additions of Dejan Kulusevski and Arthur will help in this respect, but Juventus arguably need another midfielder.

If Juve’s top brass is hopeful of every seeing Sarriball at the Allianz Arena, they will need to bolster the side and the midfield in particular, starting with this summer.

2) Shaky defense responsible for dropped points. 

Juventus have struggled at the back this season, conceding 38 goals on the season with two games to play. In fact, no Bianconeri side has conceded more over the last ten years, dating back to Luigi Del Neri’s Juventus, who finished 7th place. Their lapses in concentration have cost Sarri’s men crucial points throughout the year, dropping a league-leading 18 points from winning positions.

Sarri has had to make do with middling fullbacks and even converted Juan Cuadrado to right back at the beginning of the season. With Alex Sandro failing to hit his former heights and Danilo struggling when called upon, Juve’s defense was as vulnerable as they have ever been. Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci formed an uncompromising partnership at the heart of defense, but were often let down by their fullbacks. Next season, Sarri will be hoping for a more solid Juve side, otherwise, their domestic dominance may just come to an end.

3) Juventus need to cut their deadwood. 

If one thing was made clear this season, it’s that few teams around the world have more deadwood than Juventus. The Bianconeri have a number of players on inflated wages contributing little to nothing on the pitch. Sami Khedira featured under 1000 minutes on the season, collecting 6 million euros a year. Bosman signings Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot make 14 million euros between them and combined for a mere four goals on the season. Gonzalo Higuain, the side’s third-highest earner, regressed significantly this year, netting seven goals.

Moving forward, this is something Juventus are going to have to address and cut ties with mediocre players on increased wages. Recent reports suggest that the club is pondering a mutual termination of Khedira’s contract while Higuain is weighing a return to Argentina. Beyond them, the Bianconeri’s top brass has important decisions to make in the middle of the park. Ramsey has not looked sharp when called upon while Rabiot has kicked into another gear in recent weeks. Given their high wages, it may be difficult to find a suitor, just one season after acquiring them.

In any case, Paratici will  be a busy man this summer as he will be looking to rejuvenate this Juventus side and decrease their wage will significantly. The former Sampdoria director is off to a strong start so far, but is arguably just getting started.

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Juventus Top Performers – Round 35 vs Udinese

Juventus tried to stroll their way to the title as they run into the brick wall erected by Udinese, somehow found a way to score but, as it has happened few times now, everything went south while trying to manage the lead and then got bitten late by the typical weapon of this kind of teams, killer counters.

Matthijs De Ligt (3 points): the squad had to go the extra-mile to break the deadlock and he came through on that regard busting a great daisy-cutter out of nowhere at the end of the first half. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 34 vs Lazio

A defensive mishap made the final minutes tenser than they should have been, as Juventus had managed to solve Lazio in about an hour, delivering a killer one-two punch early in the second half exploiting the opponents’ mistake. The light did not completely go off this time around and the result stood, so the Old Lady assessed the penultimate blow to the title race.

Wojciech Szczesny: the defence needed to bounce back and it did it up until the last ten minutes, holding in check the opponents pretty comfortably, as they were limited to just one chance, a major one though as Ciro Immobile hit the post with a sudden strike. Continue reading

Juventus Top Perfomers – Round 32 vs Atalanta

Juventus survived a literal battle against a terrific Atalanta thanks to excellent second half and two Cristiano Ronaldo PKs, garnering a point in a big spot that moves them much closer to the title.

Matthijs De Ligt: obviously an imperfect display by the defence, but it is extremely hard to keep up with Bergamaschi these days, as they can throw such a smorgasbord of weapons at you and built the two goals in two completely different plays, perfectly executed by two separate tandems. De Ligt had some hiccups, most notably on the 1-0 goal, where he got sucked out of position and then fooled by the crafty Alejandro Gomez, leaving the poor Rodrigo Bentancur dealing with Duvan Zapata and predictably capitulating. However, he was engaged throughout the night in all-out duel with the Colombian tank and he often emerged victorious and was simply so much busier and noticeable than the rest of the defenders. The actions, but the second tremendous goal, mostly shied away from Leonardo Bonucci’s zones. Danilo often looked sloppy and unfocused but did not significant damage, low bar but Alex Sandro came off the bench much better than in the Milan game. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 31

Alessio Cragno (7 points): offenses generally bested defenses in the last matchday, so the clean sheets were numbered. It took him a minute, but the Cagliari goalie is finally looking like his old self and saved the day late with a great leap on a Christian Kouame header that was destined to the top corner.

Rafael Toloi (9 points): he often picked up assists this season and he has become an integral part of the Atalanta offense, but he had to go the extra mile against Sampdoria, as he bagged a perfectly executed thumping header to finally make the opponents late. Continue reading

Juventus Top Perfomers – Round 31 vs Milan

Juventus fumbled away the Milan clash just as they had managed to built a comfortable lead out of the blue in the second half, as a five-minute black-out allowed the opponents to stage a glorious comeback and prevented the Bianconeri from further pulling away in the standings.

Danilo: even though he left a lot of meat on the bone when attacking in the first half, as he had a lot of room at his disposal, at least he was not at fault in any of the four goals in a collapse for the ages by the rearguard. Leonardo Bonucci inadvertently kick-started it with a hand-ball, as an Old Lady defender again drew the short end of the stick on a VAR review. But then he and Daniele Rugani were way too soft, lax and statuesque on the other two quick goals, where they were completely bamboozled by the opponents. Alex Sandro completed the awful night by gift-wrapping the final goal with an easily interceptable horizontal pass in front of the box. Wojciech Szczesny should have done more as the shots that went in did not look particularly powerful or uncatchable. Continue reading

Juventus looking to sign Everton star as part of a swap deal

While many have looked at the freeze in football action as being a difficult period to get through, clubs have been scouting out the competition and looking to see how they can improve their squads. This is certainly true for Juventus with the Italian team linked with a possible attempt to sign Lucas Digne while Everton get their supposed target Adrien Rabiot.

This could be quite the swap for both teams, as Rabiot only moved to the Italian side last summer from Paris Saint-Germain. Recently, there has been a growing talk about a Rabiot move away from Italy, and it looks as though Everton have been considering steps towards securing him. This was first reported a few months ago when it was speculated that Rabiot was unhappy with the amount of playing time he was getting under Maurizio Sarri.

However, Everton may have a tough task on hand considering that Manchester United have also shown a strong interest in signing the French player. Everton started showing interest in Rabiot since back in January while the pursuit from United (and supposedly from Newcastle as well) was a more recent development.

It’s quite surprising that Juventus is willing to let the midfielder leave, but of course the deal won’t take place if the Italian side don’t get something compelling in return.

A Look at Digne and What He Can Bring to Juventus

The swap offer that could potentially be put forward is for Everton’s left-back player Digne to move across to Juventus for Rabiot. Due to the fact that the Italian team only has a single left-back at the moment in Alex Sandro, it’s understandable that adding Digne to the squad will help with both depth and competition. It wouldn’t be such a dramatic move for Digne himself either, considering he spent the 2015/16 season on loan to Roma, so the Italian scene could potentially work well for him. He signed with Everton from Barcelona in August of 2018 for £18 million.

It seems as though swap deals could actually become the norm for Premier League clubs too, as reports suggest that the recent lockdown may result in losses of £1 billion in revenue. Where Everton is concerned, the team could be without four of its top players in the early stages of the league’s restart. Yerry Mina and Jean-Philippe Gbamin remain inactive on the sidelines for the time being, but they’ll likely be joined by Theo Walcott once he undergoes abdominal surgery.

Therefore, the likelihood of sports bettors backing the Everton side does seem less likely for the moment with this being the case. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be plenty of action taking place at sites like William Hill once things return full force in England. You may want to learn how to download William Hill app on Android smartphones and tablets just so that you can get used to wagering from such a device. Then, wherever you are, you can bet on Everton, Manchester United, Newcastle and all the other teams with things returning to normal in the English Premier League.

The fourth player who is questionable for Everton is Andre Gomes, who suffered a knock during one of the team’s training sessions recently. Everton did put in a decent showing against expected champions Liverpool. The league leaders- Liverpool- were unable to impose their game against city rivals Everton.

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 26 – Second Half

Brescia: Ales Mateju will miss this round due to yellow-card accumulation, as, by letter of the law, all suspensions in Serie A are served in the next match. Ernesto Torregrossa, Romulo have recovered from the small injuries that had sidelined them recently and will play against Sassuolo. Andrea Cistana hurt his ankle in practice, Sandro Tonali has a sore quad and they will both be sidelined. 

Fiorentina: Dalbert is disqualified, while Franck Ribery returned to full training following his massive ankle sprain, but he will need some time to get his conditioning up.

Genoa: Stefano Sturaro is trying to shake off some muscle fatigue and he is questionable, like Marko Pajac, who has spent time on the shelf with a sore tibia. Paolo Ghiglione (thigh) is progressing but this week is likely too early. Continue reading