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

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 31

LECCE-LAZIO

Lecce: another losing effort caused by the nth defensive collapse, but the Giallorossi looked a tiny bit better offensively versus Sassuolo, as Diego Farias returned to the XI and was livelier than Filippo Falco and Riccardo Saponara and Khouma Babacar did a little bit more than usual. The goals came on corner kick and then through the usual penalty kick by Marco Mancosu and it is pretty crazy how many fouls they manage to draw in the box. Antonin Barak has yet to recapture is best form after an injury, but he remains their most appealing non-Mancosu midfielder.

Suggested picks: Mancosu, Farias, Babacar. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 30

Jesse Joronen (7 points): after a bonanza of goals in the previous rounds, defences managed to have the upper-hand in few cases over the weekend and five teams kept a clean sheet. Brescia’s Finnish goalie had by far the best performance among #1s, as he answered the bell on the multiple big chances created by Verona attackers.

Timothy Castagne (5 points): Atalanta’s key reserve on the flanks got the nod in Cagliari, put in a very solid shift and could have easily provided an assist with the usual cross wingback-to-wingback if Hans Hateboer correctly met his great delivery.   Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 30

Standings implications: Juventus prevailed handedly in the Derby, while Lazio got demolished at home by Milan, so the Bianconeri’s lead atop of the table ballooned to seven points. Atalanta eked one out in Cagliari, while Inter threw the Bologna game away: the two Nerazzurri teams are now separated by just one point. Napoli defeated Roma in the head-to-head clash and caught them in fifth position.

As far as the seventh place is concerned, Milan pulled away from Verona, which surprisingly stumbled in Brescia, while Bologna and Sassuolo were successful but still have some ground to make up The Emilian duo overtook Cagliari and Parma, as the Ducali laid an egg versus Fiorentina. Continue reading

Cristiano Ronaldo breaks more records with Juventus as he stakes his claim as one of the greatest players of all time

What record is there left for Cristiano Ronaldo to break? When he was younger he said his dream was for a football fan to open up the record books of football and that his name would be on the first page. He may have to share column inches with Lionel Messi, but yes Ronaldo’s name will be there.

Ronaldo has added another record to his ever growing tally and it happened this weekend when Juventus beat Torino to go 7 points clear at the top of Serie A.

Ronaldo scored his 25th goal of the season. The remarkable feat is that no player who has played for Juventus since the 1960s has managed to score 25 or more league goals. That’s quite a fact that wouldn’t be out of place in the quiz game Trivial Pursuit but it is a fact. Not even greats such as Michel Platini or Alessandro del Piero were able to get that many goals in a league season.

In 2016 Gonzalo Higuain who was a goal scoring machine in Italy managed 24 goals but couldn’t crack the special 25. It is testament to Ronaldo who at 35 has scored so many goals for the club who are surely on their way to winning an 8th successive scudetto title.

The record for the old lady was achieved in 1961 and what was bizarre was that Ronaldo’s goal came in the 61st minute. If you’re wondering who had held the record for the past 59 years it was Argentine legend Omar Sivori who finished the season with 25. Though the season before that he scored 28 goals, so Ronaldo now has another record to chase.

It was only a few weeks ago that Ronaldo broke another record, which was the most goals scored by a Portuguese player in the colours of Juventus. That record had been held by Rui Costa.

With 8 games left in the league Ronaldo has plenty of time to add to his goal tally, and he will be after getting on the 30 goal marker, only a few players have achieved this in Serie A history. In fact the 30 goal marker has only been reached 10 times in the whole history. The current record holders are Gonzalo Higuain and Gino Rossetti who scored 36 goals each. Rossetti set the record in 1929 and Higuain equalled it in 2016 whilst playing for Napoli.

The 30 goal mark has also been reached just twice this century by Higuain and Luca Toni who scored 31 goals in 2006 for Fiorentina.

Still records could go this season because Ronaldo with his 25 goals is only 2nd in the goalscorers chart. Ciro Immobile has the most goals so far with 29 to his name and looks set to have the most this season. If Immobile continues to score on his average rate for the season he could well reach 36 goals.

So one eye will be on Immobile and one eye on Ronaldo, we know that the Portuguese star has the quality to score 3 or 4 goals in one game and he won’t be giving up the chase just yet. Whilst the league may be winding up, the goalscorers chart and records will, evidently, not.

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Juventus Top Perfomers – Round 30 vs Torino

Juventus kept the winning going in the Derby della Mole, which had a weird development as the Bianconeri scored twice early, but Torino managed to get back in the game with a penalty and threatened the lead early in the second half, then a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick pulled the chestnuts out of the fire.

Gianluigi Buffon: he did not get to play hero, but it was a momentous occasion for the legend, who surpassed Paolo Maldini and is now the player with the most Serie A appearances in history with 648. He had a couple of good saves but business as usual. Matthijs De Ligt was unlucky on the penalty as those pesky arms keep sticking out, but he actually had a strong display, hooking and clearing a couple of dangerous balls in the box. Leonardo Bonucci was less flashy, Danilo attacked a little more than usual but all in all remain a weak spot of the formation, given for instance how meaningful the contribution of Juan Cuadrado was on the other flank. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 30

JUVENTUS-TORINO

Juventus: the Bianconeri are thriving offensively thanks to the great form of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, who scored in three consecutive matches. Douglas Costa contributed off the bench versus Genoa and he can be a factor even if he rarely plays full matches because of his injury history. Juan Cuadrado picked up an assist in the past match and he has been effective despite the more defensive role. Rodrigo Bentancur is in outstanding form but is not very prone to picking up bonuses. Their run of clean sheets was interrupted by a consolation goal, but they will be facing a sputtering attack in this one. Continue reading

Serie A Fantay Preview – Round 29

TORINO-LAZIO

Torino: the Granata had a nice reaction after falling in an early hole versus Cagliari, but an untimely penalty did them in. Andrea Belotti has found the target for two straight matches and has been excellent missed penalty aside. Simone Zaza is unlikely to be present, but Simone Verdi and especially Cristian Ansaldi, two of their most talented players, saw minutes in the past match and could be ready to start, unlocking few options up front, first of all the advancement of Alex Berenguer. Ansaldi had a positive impact after he subbed on, Verdi might need more time and had been struggling prior to the lockdown. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 28

Gianluigi Donnarumma (7 points): goals galore in Serie A in the last round and just two goalkeepers kept a clean sheet, Milan’s one and Wojciech Szczesny. Neither was particularly challenged, but Donnarumma did it against an better opponents.

Matthijs De Ligt (9 points): the Dutch centre-back rounded out Juventus’ trashing of Lecce with an easy finish from close range, notching his third goal of the season. He was the top point-getter over the weekend. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 28

Standings implications: Juventus took care of business against Lecce, but Lazio came back late against Fiorentina, so the gap between the title contenders stays at four points. Inter came back to life late and rallied against Parma, so the top four teams were all successful. Atalanta needed an extra effort to down Udinese but kept cruising, enlarging the cushion over Roma, which were defeated by Roma, and staving off Napoli’s push. The Partenopei breezed past SPAL. A quality W for Milan, which built a little lead over Verona in Europa League race, as the Scaligeri were pipped at the post by Sassuolo. Two consecutive wins for Cagliari, which toppled Torino and are looking to re-join the rest of the bunch fighting for a continental berth. Bologna returned to winning ways by outlasting Sampdoria. Down low, Genoa could not fully expolit a favorable round and gained just a bit of separation over Lecce by tying with Brescia, but they are now on a par with Sampdoria, which lost again.

Continue reading