Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 16

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An extra-long Serie A round is main evented by the Derby della Mole on Saturday night.

Inter-Udinese: the Nerazzurri will be looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking elimination from Champions League, where they fumbled away a great opportunity, and the tough loss against Juventus, where they squandered their chances. The Zebrette were handed their first loss under Davide Nicola by Atalanta last week. Inter continue to be carried by Mauro Icardi and Matteo Politano, with Balde Keita capable of some impressive showings, but still lacking that consistent playing time necessary to be a fantasy stud, even though the real Ivan Perisic has not showed up in a while. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Champions League – Round 6

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A weird game by Juventus in Bern, where they appeared in control for the first portion of the game but then completely lost the plot after the opponents went up in the score. The late push did not salvage a draw, but the loss this time was painless thanks to Valencia and their win over Manchester United. Here are the top performers of a cold Swisse night.

Daniele Rugani: not a great performance by the back-line, which was in a nice groove recently, as it looked like the squad underestimated the intensity of Young Boys, which still very much desired to get a positive result in front of their crowd despite being already eliminated. Continue reading

Szczesny and Allegri’s presser before the Young Boys game

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Wojciech Szczesny and Massimiliano Allegri talked to the press yesterday to preview the clash with Young Boys. Here is what the goalie had to say, starting with the synthetic pitch: “It makes a little difference, it is a quicker ground, but as far as I am concerned I would play even on sand if it was a Champions League fixture.”

On the game: “We expect it to be difficult, they created problems to both Valencia and Manchester United. We do have an excellent back-line, there is no disagreement there.”

On the top spot in the group: “It is essential, we deserve it and we have to confirm that today, so we can face the ballot with more serenity.” Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 15

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Juventus: Emre Can made the squad list, approximately two months after suffering the thyroid issue. Rodrigo Bentancur is dealing with a back problem, but he was called up. Alex Sandro (thigh) and Sami Khedira (ankle) have been ruled out, same for Andrea Barzagli, who is rumoured to have suffered a severe quad injury, and Moise Kean, who has some muscle fatigue.

Napoli: Simone Verdi will remain on the mend because of an ankle sprain, while Adam Ounas missed the last game with a minor muscular ailment. Alex Meret should be ready to start. Continue reading

Allegri previews Juventus-Inter

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Massimiliano Allegri introduced the clash with Inter earlier today: “I expect a great night of sport between two teams that, alongisde Milan, made the history of Italian football. The emotional side will be as important as the technical and tactical ones. We will have to be fully prepared. They raised their self-confidence through good results. Inter and Napoli are the main candidates to be our antagonists.”

On the free kicks: “We have few specialists but we have not buried one yet. We hope to do that tomorrow. We had three good ones in Florence: we certainly have to improve our aim and exploit them better. You have to score one out of three.” Continue reading

Juventus injury updates, Spinazzola & Szczesny’s agents speak and recent fan poll

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Juventus started yesterday the preparation for the Fiorentina bout: Alex Sandro might miss the match after bowing out early against Valencia and his muscular problem will be evaluated in the next few days. Federico Bernardeschi practiced regularly, so he could be good to go after a month on the mend, while Emre Can trained partially, which is a good sign and respects the timetable recently indicated by coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Speaking of comebacks, Leonardo Spinazzola talked to the club’s TV yesterday: “I am fine, the knee is responding well and getting better by the day, then it depends on the workloads. It still hurts a little when I combine some movements, but it is normal and it is part of the rehab protocol.” Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 13

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Juventus: Federico Bernardeschi and Sami Khedira will not play this week because of an adductor issue and an ankle sprain. Miralem Pjanic should be available after a little muscular ailment with Bosnia. Emre Can is recovering from thyroid surgery. The two German players could return within a couple of weeks, the Italian winger sooner.

Napoli: Simone Verdi worked his way back from a thigh problem, but rolled his ankle in practice and could miss some time. Amin Younes has shaken off the Achilles injury, but he had the same problem of his teammate, even though his one is considered milder. Alex Meret is dealing with a sore shoulder on top of going through a bumpy rehab from a forearm fracture. Dries Mertens got a bruise in practice. Continue reading

Cuadrado talks and injury updates

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Juan Cuadrado gave a slightly unusual interview to Marca yesterday: “Coach asks me to always be ready in any moment and in any role. I will always go all-out for the team. Everybody knows my skills, my preferred position is on the right wing, but I play wherever I am fielded, trying to give all I have.”

“I am very happy in Turin, I have been in Italy for many years and I settled in nicely. My family is comfortable here as well. They are always cooking Colombian food and we can find everything here, so that is not a problem. What I miss the most is the rest of my relatives: the grandfathers, the uncles, the aunts. It is not very cold yet, it is bearable for now and it will get worse in December, but I am used to it by now.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “We already knew how professional he was, he is a very special person, he has a big heart. It is a privilege to share the locker room with him. I learn something new from him everyday, you need to have that hunger in order to be able to win and achieve your goals. He is a great players and a superb athlete and what he won was the result of all the work he puts in. We have not taught him how to dance yet, we will see whether he will like to celebrate like that one day.”

On the seasonal objectives: “We have a great team, but we have to remain serene because there is a lot of competition. We have to stay grounded, work and put our faith in the hands of God and then everything will be rewarded.”

On his future: “Being at Juventus and reaching our targets is enough for me. We have to be in the running in March, that is the objective we set for ourselves and that is want we want to do. We want to fight in every competition we are in. Then I will take part to the Copa America, which will be a nice opportunity to obtain something with Colombia as well.”

Injuries continue to be a big headache for the coaching staff as Miralem Pjanic subbed off from the last Bosnia match because of a thigh injury that is believed to be minor, while Sami Khedira rolled an ankle in practice on Saturday. They will be re-evaluated at the beginning of last week, but the midfield could be really thin for the upcoming SPAL game. Gazzetta dello Sport also reported that, even if Emre Can is expected to resume practicing soon, he is slated to undertake a specific training regimen and it could take a while before he is ready to contribute.

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Ronaldo’s daily routine, Costa and Matuidi speaks, Spinazzola & Can updates

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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

Serie A Injury Report – Round 11

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Juventus: Mario Mandzukic has practiced fully this week so he has recovered from an ankle sprain. Sami Khedira has resumed training regularly in the last couple of days after a hamstring strain and he could be available in limited capacity on Saturday. Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi are fatigued and have been ruled out by coach Allegri. Emre Can will miss 30-40 days after having his thyroid removed for some nodules.

Inter:  Radja Nainggolan has worked his way back from an ankle sprain and he could play few minutes on Saturday.
Continue reading