Standings implications: Inter did not manage to find a way around Roma’s defence, but actually gained a point on Juventus since the Bianconeri lost for the first time this season against Lazio. The Biancocelesti moved three points behind second place. Atalanta outlasted Verona and are breathing down La Lupa and also Cagliari’s neck. The Sardinians found a way to surive versus Sassuolo too. Napoli continue wheezing as they were held to a tie by Udinese. Torino downed Fiorentina for their second W in a row, same achievement for Milan, which took home the full spoils in the Bologna game, while Parma knocked down Sampdoria away. Lecce came back from down two-nothing to equalize against Genoa and Brescia toppled SPAL away in Eugenio Corin’s return in the relegation zone.
Juventus brought something close to their A-game in the first half of the Saturday night game, but the game took a turn for the worst right before intermission and they ultimately, down to ten men, they could not contain a superb Lazio team, suffering the first loss of the season
Wojciech Szczesny: every defender had their fair share of troubles in this one, but the Polish goalie at least kept the score close for a while with an outstanding double save on a Ciro Immobile penalty and the subsequent rebound. He tried his best not to foul Joaquin Correa there but still brough him down and was hung out to dry by his teammates on the other two goals. Continue reading
Atalanta: Duvan Zapata flew back to Sevilla after further checks on his thigh and now it is unlikely that he will return before January. Marten De Roon and Simon Kjaer are questionable because of knee soreness and muscle fatigue respectively.
Bologna: Gary Medel is suspended. Mitchell Dijks underwent further tests on his injured second toe and he will be sidelined for two-for-three months. Roberto Soriano is unlikely to be back from his knee edema. Mattia Bani, Blerin Dzemaili and Ladislav Krejci picked up some dings and bruises in the Coppa Italia game: the left-back did not make the squad list, while the two centre-backs are available. Continue reading
Inter: 3-5-2 Handanovic; Godin, De Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Vecino, Valero, Brozovic, Biraghi; Martinez, Lukaku.
Potential lineup changes: D’Ambrosio for Biraghi.
Ruled Out: Sensi (thigh), Barella (knee), Sanchez (ankle), Gagliardini (foot).
Inter-Roma: the Nerazzurri have prevailed five times in a row, La Lupa five in their last six matches, with non-substantial home/away splits. It could go either way: draw.
Atalanta-Verona: the Goddess looked like itself against Brescia and, while they have been plucky, Verona have not been able to garner points against the top teams: home win.
Udinese-Napoli: the Friuliani have dropped two in a row and have been pushed around too easily by the best clubs, however the Partenopei have not won in six straight rounds, equalizing (or worse) in matches they were supposed to take hom: draw. Continue reading
Salvatore Sirigu: Torino are not close to last year’s defensive levels, but perhaps the gritty win over Genoa will get them going. More importantly, they are slated to face a Fiorentina team that could be very depleted up front.
Timothy Castagne: he is coming off an assist and could stay in the lineup due to other players’ injuries. In any case, while Castagne is the most appealing, all Atalanta defenders and Pierluigi Gollini are good picks this week because they are finally tightening up in the back with three clean sheets in their past four games, including Champions League. Continue reading
Inter-Roma: the Nerazzurri keep riding their elite striking duo and Lautaro Martinez has been balling out over the last few matches, as he is coming off two braces in a row. Romelu Lukaku did not score last week, but he has already reached the double-digit threshold in the domestic league. Antonio Candreva and Marcelo Brozovic both dished an assist in the last game and they are the two members of the supporting cast who are more likely to pick up bonus points. Matias Vecino has an history of scoring in big games and he has done some damage recently. Their back-line, instead, has not been airtight in the past couple of months, but Stefan De Vrij showed up big on the other end. Continue reading
Juventus’ top executive Fabio Paratici gave another interview, this time to Tuttosport. After reaffirming the club’s serenity about Cristiano Ronaldo’s status and future, he commented on Giorgio Chiellini’s incendiary’s words about Real Madrid robbing the Portuguese ace of the Balloon d’Or last year: “He truly deserved it, he is the best. Giorgio was right, some clubs have more power on the international scale, but I do not how you can influence an award like this.” Continue reading
It took him a while to gain an acceptable physical level following his sentimental decision to move back to Cagliari after Inter kicked him to the curb, but he has been uncontainable once he hit his stride. Continue reading
Today was awards’ night both both on the European stage and in Italy: Cristiano Ronaldo came in third as far as the Balloon d’Or was concerned, while Matthijs De Ligt was 15th and won the Kopa trophy as best U-21. Domestically, Cristiano Ronaldo was elected the Serie A’s MVP for last season and, like Miralem Pjanic, Giorgio Chiellini and Joao Cancelo was voted into the team of the year.
Juventus’ chief football officer Fabio Paratici weighed in on the current affairs during the soiree: “In previous seasons, we have been even in fourth position at this point of the year and then we managed to come back. We are only in December, we are doing well and collected a lot of points, while Inter have done super well.” Continue reading