Roma fall 9 pts behind after derby defeat against Lazio and exit Coppa Italia

Of all the defeats Roma can take in a Serie A season the one that will always hurt the most is the defeat in the derby and at the weekend Paulo Fonseca’s team were no match for Lazio.

Lazio ran out 3-0 winners and while the final result looked more like gloss against a game that was closer no one could deny that Lazio were the more attacking side and deserved their win.

A terrible defensive error by Roma’s Ibanez allowed Lazio a glorious chance which Ciro Immobile snapped up to put the designated home side in the lead. That was Immobile’s 12 league goal of the season as he tries to catch up to Cristiano Ronaldo and is only 3 goals away from that target.

By the 23rd minute Lazio were 2-0 up courtesy of Luis Alberto. It was a strange goal as Manuel Lazzari came bursting into the area on the right hand side and he thought he had been fouled for a penalty, the referee waved on. However Lazzari quickly got up and passed the ball to an unmarked Alberto who slotted home well.

The best goal was saved for last in the 2nd half when Alberto placed the ball into the lower bottom right corner from just outside the area and his expression after the goal said it all, he knew it was a special goal and also a special derby performance from his club on such an important occasion.

The result means that Roma have fallen 9 points behind Milan in the race for the title and the Giallorossi are in 4th place on the same points as Napoli with 34 but they in turn are 6 points behind 2nd placed Inter. Despite losing their 4th game of the season Roma are still in a Champions League place but we are not even at the halfway stage of the season yet.

Coach Fonseca was obviously disappointed and a little dejected by the defeat against Lazio. Fonseca said: “We can’t change what happened, but we can start thinking that what happened should not happen again. The team must understand that we can only change the future by changing our attitude in the game. As I said I’m above all disappointed for our fans.”

Roma crash out of Coppa Italia against Spezia

Paulo Fonseca talked Spezia up and said they would be a dangerous side and he was correct. Spezia knocked out Roma after extra time winning 4-2. It was a game full of incident and for Spezia fans and the neutral it was one full of excitement too.

It looked all over for Roma after Spezia took an early two goal lead but the home side were able to pull a goal back just before half time through Lorenzo Pellegrini’s penalty. When Henrikh Mikahitaryan made it 2-2 late on in the 2nd half it seemed as though Roma were easing themselves back into the game and would go on and win it either in normal time or extra time, but Spezia would get the final say.

Roma imploded in extra time and had not one but 2 players sent off within 30 seconds of each other. Gianluca Mancini was given a his 2nd booking after a tripping and then frustration built up and Pau Lopez followed him for an early bath. Although the game was still 2-2 it became stretched and Spezia made playing against 9 men count and scored 2 goals soon after to kill the match. This was a very disappointing result for the club.

Tension mounts after sacking of Gianluca Gomber

Not only did Roma lose in the Coppa Italia to Spezia but they would have in fact been kicked out of the competition even if they had won the game. This was because the club made six substitute choices instead of the required 5 allowed.

The blame did not go to Paulo Fonseca as ‘team manager’ Gianluca Gomber was in charge of the count of subs being made. Unlike for example in England where only 3 subs are allowed, although five in the cup, in Italy and other major leagues 5 are allowed in all the games.

Gomber made the fatal error and was sacked by the club on Wednesday morning, the day after the game. But it doesn’t end there as Roma’s players are furious with the decision. Gomber was part of the behind the scenes team and the players had a close and good relationship with him. The players have made it known that they want Gomber reinstated and that anyone can make a mistake. Watch this space!

Could Fonseca be sacked too?

The big news breaking this week is that Roma coach Paulo Fonseca could be sacked. It is understood that the club were expecting to be much closer at the top of the league but 9 points seems like a mountain and now they have been knocked out of the cup Fonseca could go.

It has been rumoured that Max Allegri and Maurizio Sarri have emerged as the favourites to take over the club and that Fonseca’s job is under real threat. One would expect that if Roma fail to impress at the weekend where again they will face their cup conquerors Spezia he could be walking.

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Inter move to 2nd in Serie A but Champions League dreams hanging by a thread

Forget Juventus, well forget them for now anyway because all of a sudden it feels like a decade ago, before Cristiano Ronaldo flexed his brilliance in Turin, before the run of 9 titles in a row, Milan and Inter are 1st and 2nd in Serie A and both clubs will want to be more than just pacesetters.

The Old Lady aren’t far behind of course just 1 point separates them from Inter but for Antonio Conte’s team the weekend result was a good one, a 3-0 victory away to Sassuolo.

Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring in just the 4th minute and it is funny what confidence can do for a player. It has been no secret that Sanchez has been struggling for a few seasons now, but it was nice to see the Chilean international score last weekend and he scored again. Lautaro Martinez’s initial effort was stopped by the goalkeeper but the ball came back to the striker and instead of going for goal again used his maturity to square the ball to the waiting Sanchez who had an easy chance.

Ten minutes later it seemed that the game was slipping from the home side’s grasp even before it had really begun when a dangerous cross was pinballed into the five yard area and Vlad Chiriches scored an own goal which was unfortunate for him.

Even though it was 2-0 to Inter early on Sassuolo did not to their credit lie down and had a few good chances themselves, indeed each club recorded 3 shots on target in the first 45 minutes and Sassuolo dominated possession but couldn’t get the break through.

In the end it took until the hour mark to see a third goal and more importantly for Inter it was for them. It was to be by far the best goal of the match scored by Roberto Gagliardini. The midfielder received the ball on the right hand side edge of the box and with the ball slightly in the air toe poked it delightfully, for the sheer beauty of it this goal should be considered one of the best of the season.

There was a chance near the end to make it 4-0 which would have gone down as one of the extraordinary goals with two different Inter players volleying the ball to each other before Sanchez volleyed it towards goal- but alas it wasn’t to be. But this win was another important statement for the club that they could be league contenders.

Inter are in 2nd and are 5 points behind city rivals Milan who beat Fiorentina 2-0. Inter have won 11 points from their last 15 available and have lost just once so far this season.

Antonio Conte said after the Sassuolo game that despite the 3-0 victory this wasn’t a great performance. “We always try to give our best, at times it works better than others, sometimes the results aren’t as positive but we always give 100 per cent. It’s our best result of the season, but other performances have been far better. The result tends to affect judgement of performances. If we are talking about furore and determination, then perhaps it was the best, but if we’re discussing quality of football, then that’s a different matter. The ideal is to combine those two elements.”

Inter beat Borussia Monchengladbach to give hope for Champions League survival

Group B is tighter than tight and only 3 points separates 1st from 4th. Inter are currently last with 5 points but saved themselves from a group exit when they beat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2 in Germany. It was an absolutely fantastic result given that the Bundesliga team are top of the group and it was their first defeat of the group stages.

Matteo Darmain opened the scoring for Conte’s side but the hero of the night was Romelu Lukaku who scored a brace to win the game 3-2. Lukaku had made his comeback in the league game but came on as a late substitute but it was in this match where Lukaku underlined just what an important player he is for the club.

There is only one more game to be played in the group stages and Inter must beat Shakhtar Donetsk. The good news is that Conte’s team will, at least, be at home. When Inter played Shakhtar away from home earlier in the group games the match finished 0-0. However Inter will also need Real Madrid to beat Borussia Monchengladbach in their final game, and Real will need to go for the win to assure qualification anyway. Madrid will be at home for that game.

Spotlight on Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is the one player that just keeps scoring the goals and rescuing Inter and he did so yet again in the Champions League. Inter will be hoping that the Belgian international will be able to perform at 100% when they take on Shakhtar in a crucial final game of the group stages.

Italian media have been praising Lukaku this week and the player himself has admitted that his time at Inter so far has been the best of his career- in short he is enjoying his football and it is really showing on the pitch. Lukaku has scored seven goals in just 8 league matches this season and overall has netted 45 goals in just 63 games.

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Edin Dzeko hoping to return this month as Giallorossi prepare for new director of club

Roma have not played since November 8th due to the international break and their next game will be against Parma. The big news surrounding this is the return of Edin Dzeko back from injury. Although the player is set to miss the Parma clash the target is to have the Bosnian international back before the end of the month.

At the beginning of the season it seemed that Dzeko was on the verge of joining Juventus but an eleventh hour change means that the talented striker has stayed with the Giallorossi at least for this season.

Dzeko’s possible return in a weeks time has been making all of the headlines in Italy and that’s for good reason considering that he’s scored 81 goals in just 177 league appearances for the club.

Tiago Pinto is welcomed to Roma from Benfica

Roma have taken advantage of a break in domestic football duties to appoint a new director of football and have chosen 36 year old Tiago Pinto. Pinto will come from Benfica. Pinto had been with Benfica for 3 years and his new role at the club will not commence until January. Pinto said “Leaving Benfica was a very tough decision, given what we have achieved together over the past eight years, but the chance to join a resurgent Roma and to contribute to that momentum under this dynamic new ownership was a professional opportunity that I could not turn down.”

Preparing for Parma

Roma’s next game will be at home to Parma. The club come into the game in 4th place and are just 3 points behind current leaders Milan. At Stadio Olimpico Roma are undefeated after 3 games winning 2 and drawing one and come into this game with back to back wins. Their last match at home ended in a 2-0 win over Fiorentina.

The Giallorossi could be without Chris Smalling who has become ill through food poisoning. Smalling has made a big impact on the team but after his Coronavirus and now this he has had a stop and start time to the new campaign.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was banned from playing for Armenia in the international games because of recently contracting Coronavirus and this means that the player who has amassed the most fantasy points with 28 so far must be a doubt for the Parma game. A lot of responsibility will fall onto the shoulders of Jordan Veretout who has earned 22 points this season for the Italians and been their second best player in the fantasy rankings.

R.I.P Dino Da Costa

Roma legend Dino Da Costa has passed away at the age of 89. Da Costa scored 75 goals in 160 games for Roma and played for the club for six years between 1955-1961. In scoring 106 goals Da Costa is 8th in the all time club scoring charts for Serie A.

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Christian Eriksen looks set to leave Inter as Coronavirus affects 9th player at the club

The move to Inter and to play in Serie A was supposed to be Christian Eriksen’s dream move as his time at Tottenham came to an end and he pushed for this transfer to happen. However just a year on and it seems that dream has turned into a nightmare for the midfielder.

At first it was just initial rumours but quite a few figure heads at the club and people associated with Inter have come out and spoke about it. Coach Antonio Conte said “Players must be functional to an idea and a project in order to be competitive at national and international level. The modern footballer must be fast, strong, resistant. I take the technique for granted if you join a club like Inter.” His comments seemed like a dig at the former Premier League player, that he simply has not been able to fit into Inter’s system.

Former Inter owner Massimo Moratti has also commented on Eriksen’s situation, “Eriksen is a nice footballer but we have to see if he is able to adapt to Italian football, this is a patient world but to a certain extent, and if he were to continue at this pace I imagine that Inter could think of selling him,” said Moratti.

With there being no sign of Antonio Conte leaving his position and with Inter doing fairly well under his leadership, Eriksen’s future at Inter looks bleak and he will probably be heading for a January exit.

Coronavirus and Inter creates a headache for club selections

Aleksandar Kolarov has become the 9th player for Inter to pick up the Coronavirus. Kolarov has been added to the likes of Milan Skriniar, Roberto Gagliardini, Ashley Young, Radja Nainggolan and Alessandro Bastoni. In an ever growing problem for the club.

The Coronavirus whilst still affecting a small portion of Europe compared to the population is really hitting sports hard and especially football. One will have to understand why this is happening so frequently. The answer could well be in all the travelling that football players need to do, and let’s face it social distancing is almost going to be impossible for a football player. Hopefully the new vaccines that could be released into the public from 2021 will be able to curb this dreadful virus.

Looking ahead to Torino

Inter’s 8th game of the season will be at home to Torino this Saturday. Inter come into the game undefeated in their last 3, although they have drawn their last two games. Home form will need to improve though where the club would actually be in 14th place based on home form alone. So far Inter has recorded just one win at home which was back in September when they beat Fiorentina in a seven goal thriller eventually winning 4-3.

Inter’s best performing player so far

The best performing Inter player in the fantasy football rankings is Romelu Lukaku who has 19 points. The striker has scored 5 goals so far this season and his value is 10.5m.

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Inter held at Atalanta as Lukaku comes back from injury

It was another two points dropped for Inter at the weekend as they drew 1-1 at Atalanta. Draws are becoming the norm at Inter who have drawn in their last two games and have almost ended their matches all square on 50% of their occasions so far.

Inter took the lead through Lautaro Martinez’s glancing and precise header. Martinez latched onto an Ashley Young cross and it was a superb unstoppable header from the Argentine international. With Inter breaking the deadlock just before the hour mark they instantly became favourites to win the game at that point.

However in truth this was an encounter that was very close and the teams enjoyed equal share of chances and possession, a draw did feel like the right result and the home team eventually obliged. The equaliser was a well worked one although one would have to question Inter’s defending at the time which seemed all over the place, letting Atalanta have time on the ball as Aleksey Miranchuk swerved and shot on the edge of the area. That was the midfielder’s first goal of the campaign and his first fantasy points earning 4 for the weekend.

Though Inter drew again they didn’t lose ground on the league leaders Milan as they also drew 2-2 at Verona and so the gap between them remains at 5 points. Also on a plus point is the fact that Inter have lost just once this season. Inter’s next game will be at home to Torino after the international break.

Still there was a disappointment in the air over the Atalanta game because the club had taken the lead and also because they came into that game with virtually no injuries to the first team squad. A welcome return was given to striker Romelu Lukaku returning after missing a few games. He started from the bench but when he came on he made some good runs even if looking inevitably rusty. Lukaku has now joined up with the Belgian national side for the November internationals and Inter will be keeping a close eye on him and hoping that his previous injury does not flare up.

Focus on Lautaro Martintez

Lautaro Martinez is one of the hottest properties in European football right now. The 23 year old is wanted by the biggest teams in Europe, and of course Inter want to keep him. The question is could Antonio Conte’s team refuse an exceptional offer? He will of course stay for this season but if his goals help Inter win the league for example that only goes to highlight his name once more.

There can be little doubt of his excellence. He is not just scoring goals but helping create them and when he does score they are usually a thing of beauty. He is the real deal and if he can remain injury free he will have quite a career in front of him.

So far this season Martinez has scored 4 goals in the league and five in all competitions and he is valued at 7.5m in the fantasy rankings.

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Inter shot down by Ibrahimovic in Milan derby, concentration now on the Champions League

The Derby della Madonnina was won by AC Milan who beat Inter 2-1 in a pulsating game of football. Both sides are being tipped to challenge Juventus this season for the Serie A title so this derby had much more spice about it than it has had in the past few seasons.

But it was a derby that felt like it was over just after it had started. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was slightly touched in the box and seemed to go down far too easy for Milan to be awarded a penalty in the 12th minute which he stuck away with no problem. And then after a superb counter attack Milan were 2-0 up just four minutes later and Zlatan again was there from a couple of yards out to prod home in what was an easy goal for him to score.

But twelve minutes later Ivan Perisic crossed the ball for Romelu Lukaku who actually looked surprise by the poor defending of the Milan back four and seemed to take his time in easily tapping in from close range just as Ibrahimovic had done moments before. With 3 goals scored and not even half an hour played this looked like it could be a rare derby game with lots of goals, and yet there would be no more.

Inter did remain a threat and late on they thought they should have had a penalty but VAR concluded and was right that in the build up Inter were offside.

All in all and compared to other derby games this was an enjoyable one, in part because in the 2nd half Inter had to come forward and they ended up with 4 shots on target to Milan’s six. Milan are now top of the league with 12 points and Inter are in sixth place and are 5 points behind. It was Inter’s first defeat of the season and they have now gone their last two matches without a win.

Inter coach Antonio Conte had this to say after the game: “I think we played very well and created many situations to score goals, in some cases we are unlucky, and it’s disappointing because the lads certainly put the effort in and believed they could win. We were distracted and made errors on their two goals, still had the chances to equalise, but Milan won and so we congratulate them. Every match we seem to create many, many scoring opportunities, so need to be more cool-headed and clinical in front of goal. At the same time, I cannot complain about their attitude, as we tried everything to at least get the equaliser.”

Inter prepare to meet Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League

The Champions League has returned and Inter will kick off their campaign at home against German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach. Inter will be the favourites to secure all three points when the two teams clash. The big news for Inter is that Christian Eriksen and Alexis Sanchez should be able to return for the club and both are set to start the game.

Romelu Lukaku- the best player of Inter so far in the fantasy rankings

Romelu Lukaku took over Lautaro Martinez as the best player for Inter in the fantasy rankings. Lukaku now has 15 points and collected a further four points at the weekend as he scored what turned out to be Inter’s consolation goal. The Belgian international much like last season is on fire and may be worth adding to your team. You can check out Lukaku’s full stats right here.

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The reinvigoration of Hirving Lozano

Not many sides have taken Atalanta apart quite like Napoli did last weekend. At this stage it’s no secret how much Gian Piero Gasperini has changed the entire fabric of the club since his arrival four years ago. La Dea are usually the ones handing out a 4-1 mauling, they don’t tend to be on the receiving end.

But on Saturday they were. Napoli simply blew their top-four rivals away in the opening 45 minutes with an intensity and attacking verve that’s usually Atalanta’s calling card. Gasperini’s men were thoroughly given a dose of their own medicine. Pivotal to their success in that opening period was Hirving Lozano, who scored twice in four minutes.

Lozano’s second, a wonderfully executed curling effort just inside the penalty box, was indicative of the confidence the Mexico international is now showing at the club. With four goals already this season, Lozano has equalled the tally of goals he scored in Serie A last season. Continue reading

Inter ready for Milan derby in crunch game

This weekend will see Inter play Milan in the derby and there is heightened interest in this fixture given how both clubs have started the season.

The Milan derby is, of course, always special but in recent years it hasn’t felt as big as it should be. This has been in part due to either Inter going through a bad spell or more recently Milan so the game has felt more lopsided. This Saturday that is set to change when the clubs clash at San Siro.

Both clubs have been tipped for a title challenge and are seen as the biggest threats to Juventus this season. Inter coach Antonio Conte will be delighted that star striker Lautaro Martinez escaped the international break with no injury concerns and the exciting Argentine also scored for his nation, he is really in superb form.

There is a doubt that Alexis Sanchez would struggle to be ready for the game but Sanchez himself has confirmed that he fine after picking up a knock on international duty with Chile.

The derby has been dominated in recent years by Inter who have won the last 4 league games in a row. Indeed AC Milan have not beaten Inter in the league since 2016 and they will be the designated away team for this encounter. The last time the Rossoneri won as the ‘away’ team was 10 years ago.

Martinez and Romelu Lukaku have already made an impact this season and the deadly pair will be hoping to add to their combined 6 goals already this season at the weekend.

Top performing players for Inter in 2020/21

Looking at the fantasy points these are the best performing players for Inter so far this season. Do you have them in your team? Check out their full stats on the links.

1. Lautaro Martinez  12pts

2. Romelu Lukaku     11pts

3. Roberto Gagliardini  6pts

Pirelli set to be replaced after 25 years

Historical sponsors Pirelli who have had their tyre brand on Inter’s shirts since 1996 look like they will be replaced by a Chinese sponsor perhaps Hisense from the 2021/22 season. Pirelli have been associated with Inter through some of the clubs glorious moments but simply put it seems that the tyre company can’t afford to pay what some other companies are shelling out each season.

Some sponsors are happy to spend upwards of 40m euros to have their brand on a top football teams shirt but it is thought that Pirelli’s deal is only worth 10m euros a year.

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Pedro helps Roma to their first win of the season but club post record debts

Roma’s new signing Pedro scored his 1st goal for the club as they beat Udinese away 1-0 and that resulted in their first win of the season.

It’s been a slow start for Roma who have won 1, drawn 1 and lost 1 but the victory at the weekend took the club up to 10th place and they are 5 points behind the current leaders Atalanta.

Pedro took his goal well and ran with the ball before unleashing a 25 yard screamer that was unstoppable. It was a magic moment in a game that lacked real quality from both sets of teams.

It was an important result for the Giallorossi as going to Udinese is never an easy task. After the game Roma coach Paulo Fonseca had this to say: “In the first half we continually played in Udinese’s final third, but they were dangerous when breaking on the counter. We weren’t aggressive enough when we lost possession, but still created good situations. After the break we managed to get the goal and the team remained united to bring home the result, which was the most important thing. Roma are a very attack-minded team, but Udinese’s style in the closing stages forced us to sit deeper. The team is playing well with Lorenzo Pellegrini in his current midfield position and we’ll see in future whether he remains there.”

El Shaarawy deals falls through but Smalling is back

Stephan El Shaarawy almost rejoined Roma on transfer deadline day but the move collapsed at the final hurdle with El Shaarawy claiming that the blame did not lie with him. The Italian left Roma to join Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua last season where he has scored just once in 16 games. With the Chinese league suspended until February it was thought that he could re join Roma up until then but that won’t happen now.

Still there was some good news as Chris Smalling completed a permanent transfer to the club after his successful loan period last season. Such was that news that fans even went to the airport to greet Smalling who has now officially left Manchester United.

New Balance and record losses

Roma reported the 2nd biggest lost in Italian football over a season as they came up short by 204m euros. Only Inter Milan a decade before reported higher losses. The club though have been busy looking for new sponsors and it appears that New Balance will take over from Nike, though this has yet to be confirmed.

When the league returns Roma will  be at home to Benevento where they will be the huge favourites to win that and hopefully move up the table and get their season fully on track.

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Do Juve really need Federico Chiesa?

In the end, Juventus got their man, just. Only hours remained of the transfer window when it was officially announced that the club had signed Federico Chiesa from Fiorentina.

Juve had to shift some pieces of the jigsaw around in order to get the 22-year-old; a Douglas Costa loan move to Bayern Munich here and a Daniele Rugani loan move to Rennes there, freed up the necessary funds in order to get the Chiesa deal finalised.

As has been the story of this Covid-influenced transfer window, Juve signed Chiesa on a two-year loan deal, but in reality it’s just a creative method of staggering the payments for the winger.

So everyone was happy: Juve got their man, Chiesa got the move he wanted a year ago, and Fiorentina offloaded a player who clearly didn’t want to be there for a cool €50m. But is Chiesa actually what the champions need?

There is no doubting Chiesa’s talent. The son of Parma and Sampdoria legend Enrico has seemingly unlimited barrels of energy, and can skip past players at will, when in the mood. Yet since his graduation to the first team at Fiorentina, Chiesa’s decision-making has been questionable. Too often he has beaten an opposing defender in a one vs. one situation, only to produce an inadequate cross or fail to pick out the correct pass. On occasion he’s simply been guilty of supreme selfishness, aiming for goal when a colleague was in a better position.

Chiesa posted 10 goals and six assists in Serie A last season for the Viola, a respectable record for a player in a side that finished 10th. Yet it should also be pointed out that he took more shots on goal than any of his teammates, with an average of 3.3 per game. Next in line was striker Dusan Vlahovic, with 2.2.

On the verge of his 23rd birthday, Chiesa is still incredibly raw. His development has been hampered by a succession of coaches at Fiorentina utilising him in a myriad of different positions, thus denying him the possibility to hone his ability in one position. Vincenzo Montella, Paulo Sousa, Stefano Pioli and now Beppe Iachini have shifted Chiesa everywhere from right wing-back to left winger, via stints as a second striker and attacking midfielder. It’s left the player as a non-accomplished jack-of-all-trades, and certainly a master of none. It’s a wonder Chiesa hasn’t been tried out at centre back, given the poor performances of Federico Ceccherini recently.

So where does Juve’s new €50m signing fit in Andrea Pirlo’s starting XI, and was Chiesa an essential purchase?

Due to the lack of pre-season games, Pirlo has been given little margin for experimentation as Juve boss thus far. In their opening game of the season against Sampdoria, Juve lined out in a 3-5-2 formation. A week later Pirlo changed to a 4-4-2 in order to accommodate the returning Alvaro Morata, but the switch didn’t work, and Juve played like the ghost of Maurizio Sarri had returned for one final game.

Speaking of ghosts, for the game that wasn’t against Napoli on Sunday, Pirlo had intended to line up in a 3-4-1-2 system. Should Pirlo return to this set-up in matches that actually happen, then this could be where Chiesa is set to play, replacing Juan Cuadrado on the right-hand side.

Chiesa’s arrival also gives Pirlo the option to utilise a 3-4-3 system, with Chiesa either being deployed as a right-winger, or on the right in the four-man midfield.

Whilst plotting theoretical positions for Chiesa is all well and good, do Juve actually need him? The answer is no, they don’t. Sporting director Fabio Paratici should’ve prioritised signing a right-back, with Danilo fluctuating somewhere between injury and unconvincing since joining the club from Man City a year ago. Cuadrado has done fine job as a makeshift right-back, but the Colombian is now 32, and defensively suspect, as is the case with someone who spent the majority of their career playing as a right winger.

Midfield is still another fragile position that’s been underfunded over the last half decade, with the shadows of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal still looming large. It’s early days in Weston McKennie’s Juve sojourn, but the American produced a positive display against Sampdoria on his debut. Is he the Vidal-replacement the team has required for five years? Only time will tell. The signing of Arthur may alleviate the creative burden from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Dejan Kulusevski, but the Brazilian lacks the dynamism the midfield area so badly requires.

Bringing things round to Chiesa once more, recent history isn’t on his side. Giorgio Chiellini, signed by Juve in the summer of 2005, remains the last player to arrive from Florence and succeed. Since then, the likes of Felipe Melo, Neto, Valeri Bojinov and Federico Bernardeschi have all made the switch and failed to make an impact, and in the case of Melo, damagingly so.

There are similarities between Chiesa and Bernardeschi, the most recent player to make the jump. Like Chiesa, Bernardeschi arrived at Juve as the Viola’s brightest star in the summer of 2017 with a price tag of €40m. Furthermore, Bernardeschi, again like Chiesa, possessed some degree of versatility. This has proved to be his downfall at Juve, with the Carrara-native operating in various positions in the final third of the pitch, and in the process blunting his own skillset. The club would’ve accepted an offer to offload him during the transfer window, but there were no serious takers.

The pressure is firmly on Chiesa now to make the qualitative leap that playing for Juve demands. He wanted the big move for over a year, and now he’s got it. His father Enrico never got to play for Italy’s biggest club, it’s up to Federico to demonstrate that he’s more Roby Baggio or Chiellini, than Melo or Bojinov.

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