Serie A Match of the Round – Sassuolo vs Fiorentina

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Plenty of pathos in the last Serie A round: Cagliari-Roma and Lazio-Sampdoria would have been worthy candidates for match of the week, but then Sassuolo-Fiorentina outdid them on Sunday.

Both teams came into the game pretty desperate for a win: the Neroverdi had prevailed just once in the previous eight fixtures, while La Viola last grabbed the full three points for the last time in late September. With Kevin-Prince Boateng out with an injury, Roberto De Zerbi used his best XI, with Khouma Babacar spearheading the front-line, Federico Di Francesco on the left wing and Stefano Sensi as deep-lying playmaker. Continue reading

D’Ambrosio: “We need to win for our fans and because of our history”

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Danilo D’Ambrosio spoke alongside Matteo Politano during Inter’s pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match at home to PSV Eindhoven. Indeed, it will be a decisive game for the Nerazzurri, who must better Tottenham Hotspur’s result against leaders Barcelona in order to reach the Round of 16 stage of the competition. Here is what the former Torino full-back said to the gathered journalists in Appiano Gentile: Continue reading

Spalletti: “The PSV match is the most important one since I’ve been here”

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Earlier this afternoon, Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference at the Suning Training Centre ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial UEFA Champions League group stage match against reigning Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven. Here is what the 59-year-old Tuscan said to the journalists in attendance: “This match is the most important one since I’ve been here and it represents the next step that follows on from Lazio vs. Inter on 20 May. Since I’ve been here, we’ve got the points and put in the performances that we needed. Now, we’re here to play for a spot in the last 16 on the final day of the group stage. Continue reading

Spalletti deserves criticism for handing initiative to Juventus in Derby d’Italia

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“It’s unfortunate that we lost, but we were the team that had the bigger chances during the game. But this is Juventus’s strength: we more than matched them, but they know how to fully capitalise on their opportunities. We didn’t manage to find the back of the net, however. We could have got a better result tonight, but we’ll try to take good heart from the good things we did tonight: on Tuesday evening, we have to win at San Siro in front of our fans, who are always fantastic.” Continue reading

Spalletti: “We did well for long spells, but we’re still too careless at times”

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Luciano Spalletti was understandably frustrated by the manner in which his Inter side were defeated 1-0 by Juventus in tonight’s showpiece Derby d’Italia at Allianz Stadium in Turin. Indeed, the 59-year-old Tuscan made it perfectly clear to the media after the match that he was not satisfied with the way his players handled themselves during the crucial moments, particularly during the second half. Here is what he said: “We did quite well in the game, the team played some great football but we got things wrong at certain times which cannot happen against Juventus. Continue reading

Spalletti: “We’ll face Juventus with courage and determination”

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Ahead of tonight’s Derby d’Italia between Juventus and Inter, Nerazzurri coach Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon. The 59-year-old Tuscan was full of praise for the Bianconeri and the way in which they have continually strengthened their squad over the course of the past few years. Here is what he had to say to the gathered journalists at the Suning Training Centre: Continue reading

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 15

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Juventus XI: 4-3-3 Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo.

Potential lineup changes: Can for Bentancur, Costa for Dybala.

Questionable: Bentancur (thigh).

Confirmed Out: Khedira (ankle), Sandro (thigh), Barzagli (quad), Kean (thigh).

 

Inter XI: 4-2-3-1 Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Brozovic, Vecino; Politano, Mario, Perisic; Icardi. 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

5 Serie A Stocks to Buy Low

The golden rule on the stock market is to buy low and sell high- that is the tried and true way to make money on commodities. We can apply this principle to Serie A players as well- this works if you play fantasy football or if you just want to sound smart while discussing Calcio.

This season we have seen some previous blue chip stocks take a substantial loss, these players used to be among the highest rated at their respective position prior to losing value because of poor performances or injuries. Let’s see who has the best chance to re establish his value during rest of the season:

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Ivan Perisic

Of all the players listed, he may have the best excuse but also the most nebulous future at his current club. Perisic was brilliant during the World Cup and was instrumental in Croatia making it to the final, so a slow start was to be somewhat expected although his teammate Brozovic has brought the positive momentum from the tournament in Russia to Serie A.

So far this season Perisic has been simply unrecognizable. He only has two goals and two assists to his name & to make matters worse we have yet to see his all around game which also features a strong defensive presence. In the meantime Matteo Politano has exceeded expectations and has become a borderline starter for Spalletti, while Keita Balde has been sensational in his last few matches after a very slow start.

If that weren’t enough, Yann Karamoh is making the most out of his loan spell at Bordeaux and looks like a legitimate piece of Inter’s plans for future while Lautaro Martinez is itching to play more upfront with Icardi. Maybe Perisic is onto something when he tells the media he would like to play in the Premier League someday.

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Sergej Milinkovic Savic

Definitely not a good sign when the highlight of his season so far is the picture he took with Diletta Leotta during Monday’s Gran Gala’ del Calcio. There have been many theories put forth as to why The Sergeant has looked like a shell of his former self. Some say he became too cocky, others mention the possibility his heart isn’t into Lazio after expecting a transfer to a bigger club in the summer despite getting a significant raise with his recent extension; in addition, there’s also the possibility this is a case of Serie A managers figuring out how to stop him.

There have been some (minor) positive signs in recent weeks since Simone Inzaghi said he’s satisfied with Milinkovic Savic’s performances because he’s playing a more defensive role this season, something we also previously saw at Lazio with Felipe Anderson. At least in the last few matches he has been adequate rather than a liability to his team. Maybe now that Lazio is on a week long retreat we’ll start seeing SMS spreading Milinkocrazia again.

 

Piotr Zielinski/ Amadou Diawara

 

Last season the Polish international was being compared to Kevin De Bruyne and he was rumored to join Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, but now his stock has taken a hit since Fabian Ruiz has become the talk of the town in Napoli’s midfield. Zielinski has in fact played more under Carlo Ancelotti when compared to the same time period last season, yet he has failed to live up to the hype on top of failing to leave his mark at the recent World Cup. Napoli however is trying to extend his deal in part to remove or increase his exit clause.

While last season Zielinski’s stock saw a substantial rise, the same cannot be said for Amadou Diawara. The former Bologna midfielder had become Jorginho’s backup, which is a nice way of saying he barely played since Sarri didn’t like to rotate in general and even more so with his key players. While Ancelotti has given him 5 starts this season, we have yet to see him dominate a match in the way he did at the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid last season.

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Giovanni Simeone

 

Unless you are a Serie A news junkie, last summer the only thing you heard about Fiorentina was all the excitement surrounding the young offensive trio featuring Chiesa/Pjaca and Diego Simeone’s son. But just like the previous hyped trio of Gomez/Rossi and Cuadrado who only ended up playing 161 minutes together for the Viola, the results have been rather underwhelming.

Simeone in particular has taken a massive step back from last season, he has only scored two goals and has missed numerous chances in recent weeks. On the bright side, manager Stefano Pioli has really no other options at the central striker role so Simeone should have plenty of opportunities to play himself back into good form.

 

Why Inter must take a proactive approach against Juventus on Friday night

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“I would absolutely not be content with a point at the Juventus Stadium. We go there to play it without fear, as that must be the mentality of a sportsman.” Those were the words of Inter captain Mauro Icardi in response to a question about the Nerazzurri’s plan of attack ahead of Friday night’s crucial Derby d’Italia against the Bianconeri. Continue reading