The next round features one of the games of the season, Juventus-Inter, and few other juicy match-ups.
Juventus-Inter: the Bianconeri got the better of Fiorentina, extending their winning streak to five fixtures, but in that occasion they were not as dominant as the final score showed. Against Roma, Inter dropped points for the second time in a row on the road and, despite scoring twice, they never looked in control. The same thing happened in Bergamo, but they are extremely opportunistic, so they can never be counted out. Cristiano Ronaldo added one to his tally with a penalty in Florence, while Rodrigo Bentancur continues to impress. Mario Mandzukic is generally money in big matches, while Douglas Costa has the potential to be a factor off the bench. Despite being useful in other areas, Paulo Dybala’s offensive stats in Serie A have been subpar. Continue reading →
Fiorentina-Juventus: the Viola are having a weird season. They started off decently, showing well especially at home, where they are still undefeated and have a sound defense, but they have struggled to score recently. They have not netted more than one since late September and they have drawn in their last five matches, against Cagliari, Torino, Roma, Frosinone and Bologna. On the other hand, the Old Lady is cruising with 12 wins in the year, four in a row after the tumble against Genoa, but it will be tested before the break. Fiorentina’s offensive problems stem primarily from Giovanni Simeone and Marko Pjaca’s poor form, as they have combined for just three goals so far. Federico Chiesa is always doing stuff, but he has not bagged many as well. Continue reading →
Coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed tomorrow’s clash with SPAL earlier today and begun by addressing the Balloon d’Or rumours: “I do not know anything about that. Cristiano Ronaldo is practicing well and would deserve it for what he has done.”
On Paulo Dybala scoring with Argentina: “It is a nice step for him. He is constantly improving, he started off very well this year, both physically and mentally. He has to keep it going, but that also depends on his desire. He is at his best when he plays almost as midfield, between the lines, knitting the maneuver. He tracks back to help his teammates and then feeds Mario Mandzukic and Ronaldo, who work less in the build-up.” Continue reading →
The next round could be a little one-sided for the top clubs, but surprises are always around the corner in Serie A and there still a couple of juicy games on deck.
Juventus-SPAL: the Bianconeri prevailed in the always tense match-up with Milan, surviving a penalty but appearing pretty dominant overall. They have won in 11 of the first 12 games, setting a new Serie A-point record to start the season. SPAL looked a little better against Cagliari, but squandered a two-zip lead and had to settle for a tie. They had lost in six of the previous seven fixtures. Mario Mandzukicreturned to the starting XI with an immediate goal, then Cristiano Ronaldo bagged another one. Continue reading →
Gazzetta dello Sport revealed today the daily routine of Cristiano Ronaldo, which, as one could imagine, is carefully thought out and organized. He generally wakes up at 8 am or a little earlier and tries to catch ten hours of sleep per day in order to be fully energized. Usually the team’s practice begins occupies most of the morning and several teammates have praised him for his intensity and work ethic. His diet in handled by the club’s nutritionist and it is low on sugar and on heavily processed foods that are difficult to digest. He then returns to his compound on the hills just outside of Turin close to the Gran Madre church, which actually comprises two houses, one for him and his family and one for his staff. Continue reading →
Juventus: Sami Khedira (hamstring) and Mario Mandzukic (ankle) played in Champions League, while Douglas Costa was ruled out for another thigh problem, same for Moise Kean. They are unlikely to be available for the weekend. Federico Bernardeschi is questionable for the muscular ailment that has been bugging him for a while.
Inter: Radja Nainggolan started against Barcelona, but he is still less than 100 percent because of the recent ankle sprain so he could be rested.
Napoli: Dries Mertens subbed off versus PSG because of a bruised shoulder, but he avoided further complications and should be good to go for the weekend. Continue reading →
The next slate before another international break is pretty juicy.
Genoa-Napoli: the Griffon have not won in four games and the effects of the coaching change have not been palpable, since they continue to concede a lot. They lost twice in San Siro last week and the schedule does not do them any favor. The Partenopei easily romped Empoli last week and have won three out of their last four games, looking splendid at times. Krzysztof Piatek has not scored for four games in a row, which is unlikely to be a coincidence, and their last goals under Milan Juric have been pretty random, by Cristian Romero on a free kick, by Romulo on a penalty and by Daniel Bessa on a defensive mishap. Continue reading →
Leonardo Bonucci and Massimiliano Allegri spoke yesterday evening to preview the game against Manchester United. The defender took the floor first: “It will be an important week for me and for Juventus. We can clinch the qualification with a win and that would mean reaching our first seasonal goal. After this game, we and I will think about the Milan match, another must-win one. It will be obviously be exciting to return to San Siro, but we are focused solely on Manchester now.”
On José Mourinho’s praise: “His compliments are obviously nice because they come from a great coach. What we achieved over the last few years is the result of the sacrifice and the work of everybody. Continue reading →
Juventus are going through a particularly unlucky period of time in terms of injuries and could be pretty short-handed in the next two games before the break, against Manchester United and Milan. Mario Mandzukic was ruled out late against Empoli because his ankle flared up again, while Giorgio Chiellini is trying to shake off a thigh pull. They were both able to practice fully on Monday, so they could be available.
On the other hand, Federico Bernardeschi rolled an ankle while he was recovering from some muscle fatigue and will take some tests in the next few days. Blaise Matuidihas a bruised hip and had to do some personalized work, while Joao Cancelo trained on his on because of a little strain in the left thigh flexor. Continue reading →
Juventus once again showed some cracks against Cagliari and had little juice up front despite having the lion’s share of possession, but still pulled away just in time to avoid a very intense finish defending a one-goal advantage. The chasers, who had very convincing showings in the last couple of days, are kept at bay for now.
Medhi Benatia: the Moroccan filled in for the dinged up Giorgio Chiellini and had arguably his best performance of the season with few timely interventions. He was particularly clutch late, intercepting a ball in the final third that could have triggered a threatening fast-break and especially with a slide to block Leonardo Pavoletti’s almost clear-cut finish to prevent the equalizer. Continue reading →