Fiorentina 1-1 AC Milan: Rossoneri fail to secure win despite being one man up

Stefano Pioli’s men failed to grab all three points away at Fiorentina this evening, conceding a late equaliser despite being one man up. Although the referee made many controversial calls, it must be said that Milan should have done a lot better to kill the game. 

Fiorentina got the first real chance of the game as Gigio Donnarumma took way too much time on the ball, eventually losing it to Federico Chiesa. The latter managed to pick out Gaetano Castrovilli in the box, but the midfielder failed to hit the target with his effort. Lucky escape for the big man in goal. Continue reading

Fiorentina vs. AC Milan: Team news, stats and prediction

Following the narrow win against Torino, AC Milan will be looking to build on their good form with yet another three points this evening, taking on Fiorentina away from home. However, the Rossoneri can’t afford to get overconfident, given the importance of their remaining games this season. 

The battle for a top-four finish remains near impossible, especially since Atalanta have been in red-hot form as of late. However, Stefano Pioli’s side are still in the race and won’t give up until it’s done. Currently in eight place, they need to close a gap of ten points with 14 games left of the season.  Continue reading

Cristiano Ronaldo showing no let up at Juventus and he is still after breaking records

Cristiano Ronaldo just looks as good as new, forget that he is 35 this year. The Portuguese star has been a huge hit with Juventus and at the weekend he scored again making it 9 consecutive games, that hasn’t been done in Serie A for 15 years.

Ronaldo scored another two goals both were penalties as Juve beat Fiorentina 3-0. That tally raised his total for the season to 19 goals, and he is second to Ciro Immobile who has 25. Though 7 of Ronaldo’s goals have come from the penalty spot the player is proving to be a hit in Italy.

Ronaldo has already won the league title last season and Juventus are top again in this one and looking for their 8th straight title. Juve manager Maurizio Sarri was very happy for Ronaldo, expressing how the player needs to keep on scoring goals to feel psychologically happy.

At this moment he has now scored 40 goals in the league from just 50 games and in total he has 50 goals from 70 games including cups and European games. It might just be Europe that will ultimately matter for Ronaldo. The former Real Madrid player was brought into Juventus to help them win their first European Cup since 1996, and whilst domestic trophies are welcoming and his goals great, Juventus really want the Champions League trophy. If Ronaldo can help them win it it could be one of his career crowning moments, up there with Portugal winning Euro 2020.

Juventus have been paired with Lyon in the round of 16 and they will start as the favourites. Lyon have had a slow start to the league season but they are finding form and can hurt Juve, but one would believe that Juve over 2 legs and with the second one being at home will simply be too strong for the French team.

Ronaldo’s move was maybe being questioned by some, as he could well have seen out his remaining days at Madrid. However a falling out with club president Florentino Perez didn’t help. But it was perhaps a risky move for Ronaldo to play in Italy so famed for its defensive football, as someone who craves goals he was asking for trouble, and yet he has had little problems in getting goals.

As a side note he would surely love to cap off a successful season by topping the goalscoring charts in Italy, Immobile right now looks like he will get it though, but Ronaldo who is six goals behind him will not give up.

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Winners of the January Window in Serie A

The January transfer window in Serie A saw clubs make significant additions for the short term, while others used these four weeks to get a jump start on a much needed rebuild. Let’s take a look at the winners of the just concluded month:

Winners

 

Rocco Commisso and Fiorentina- the Tuscan club’s new owner was very active in the final stretch of the summer window by bringing in Ribery and Pulgar and continued the positive momentum with a memorable winter session. Patrick Cutrone has made an immediate impact after his brief exile in the Premier League, while Igor was brought in from SPAL to play as either a center back in the three man back line or alternate with Dalbert as the left winger. 

Iachini will be reunited with Alfred Duncan after their previous experience together at Sassuolo, the former Inter youth team product will bring a needed dynamic presence to the midfield and has the added bonus of being left footed unlike the other members of the unit. 

But while it’s helpful to have brought in an immediate reinforcement for all the sectors on the pitch, where Fiorentina outdid themselves was by signing both Sofyane Amrabat and Christian Kouame’ for next season. The fact that the Verona midfielder was a target for both Inter and Napoli underlines what an impressive addition he’ll be while Kouame’ has already proven himself in his brief time in Serie A at Genoa- he can compliment Cutrone very well and the two of them can grow together.

 

Inter’s project- this time last year, the idea that Christian Eriksen would sign with Inter would have sounded preposterous to most fans. Granted the Danish midfielder has had an uneven season so far, but Inter getting him to agree to a multi year deal on essentially a Bosman signing when he had been previously linked to Real Madrid and Paris St Germain is very impressive.

When you consider that Eriksen could start for the current Juventus, it’s hard to argue that he can‘t be a difference maker in this scudetto race on top of being a long term starter. After Diego Godin last summer, Inter have convinced another big name to join them.

 

Maldini, Boban and Massara- on top of landing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has made as much of an impact as the most optimistic fan could have expected, Milan’s trio of directors were able to get rid of a lot of dead weight on a very bloated payroll with Pepe Reina, Fabio Borini, Ricardo Rodriguez and Suso’s departures- players who were either expensive backups or who had fallen out of favor with new manager Stefano Pioli.

 

Genoa’s Back to the Future approach- the rossoblu’ went into the January window in last place and decided to go with players who had previously succeeded at the club. In addition to Mattia Perin, Valon Behrami, Masiello, Destro and Iago Falque’, president Preziosi also hired one of his former players in Davide Nicola to manage the team. Masiello and Iago Falque’ have the ability to be real difference makers in the race to avoid relegation while Behrami should bring the intensity the team lacked in first half of season. Captain Mimmo Criscito was inspired by the club’s efforts to avoid relegation and decided to stay despite an intriguing offer from Fiorentina.

Napoli turns the page- in retrospect this should have happened probably a year and a half ago, but De Laurentiis and sporting director Giuntoli started a serious rebuild of the squad by bringing in Lobotka and Demme to help go back to the club’s classic 4 3 3, Politano to be Callejon’s eventual replacement and the staunch Rrahmani to be part of their defense next season. Napoli are also close to acquiring Rrahmani’s teammate, the very impressive Kumbulla. For the attack the partenopei have also secured Andrea Petagna, who will however finish the season at SPAL- the former Milan prospect should be a great alternative to Milik and someone who can open space for Napoli’s wingers.

 

Atalanta goes with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach”- the Bergamaschi cashed in on Kulusevski and used the proceeds to add significant depth to Gasperini’s squad. Atalanta have been known for finding great value with players in the mid tier leagues and continued this trend by signing Czyborra, Sutalo, Bellanova and Tameze for less than 20 million combined. In addition, they also brought back a familiar face in Mattia Caldara to be a long term part of their defense.

 

Hellas Verona cash in- few expected the gialloblu’ to avoid relegation this season, but they instead find themselves in the upper half of the table while putting manager Ivan Juric once again on the map. The former Crotone and Genoa manager deserves a lot of credit for launching Rrahmani and Kumbulla who are leading one of the best defenses in Serie A while making Amrabat into a star. Rrahmani and Amrabat have already been sold to Napoli and Fiorentina respectively for 35 million, while Kumbulla is being pursued by Inter, Juventus and especially Napoli- on the bright side for Verona, they get to keep all three players until the end of the season.

 

Serie A’s Top Three Breakout Stars

Over the years, Serie A has acted as a home to some of the world’s best up and coming players. Whether it’s established talents like Matthijs de Ligt and Gigio Donnarumma or relatively new ones like Lautaro Martinez, Italy has proven to be a great platform for young players to earn their stripes. This season has been no different and a number of players have made the most of their opportunities and have taken their games to the next level.

Here are the Serie A’s three breakout stars from the 2019-2020 season.

Dejan Kulusevski – Parma: On loan from Atalanta, Kulusevski made the most of his temporary spell at Parma and was undoubtedly one of this season’s breakout stars. The Swedish international is capable of playing on the wing or centrally and has established himself as an elite creator with Parma. Playing in a counter-attacking system, Kulusevski’s pace, and spatial awareness have set him apart from the rest. His five goals and seven assists on the season indicate he’s been able to add end-product to his game, something his new employers, Juventus, will be hoping for. It will be interesting to see where Sarri sees the Atalanta youth product in his setup. Is it in the front three or in the midfield?

Whether he’s breaking the lines with an incisive pass or taking on his marker with speed, Kulusevski is one of the league’s trickiest customers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Juventus dropped nearly 45 million euros for the 19-year-old. If he’s able to maintain his current form, there’s no reason why the Parma man won’t be able to make the transition to the big stage.

Jeremie Boga – Sassuolo: After countless loan spells, Boga made the move to Sassuolo from Chelsea and got the consistency he so desperately craved. With the neroverdi, Boga has been afforded freedom in the final third and often drifts centrally from a left-wing position. Much like Kulusevski, the former Chelsea youth product thrives in a free-roam role and has done so in De Zerbi’s free-flowing system. Many clubs are actively looking for a winger who can beat his man and Boga fits the bill perfectly.

Currently, Boga is averaging the most successful dribbles per game (4.3) in the league and represents a constant menace in the final third. While end-product was previously a concern, it seems Boga has put his finishing woes behind him, having scored five goals already on the season. If you needed any more proof of this, take a look at his curler against Torino from 25 yards out or his chip over Gianluigi Buffon. With many clubs after him, it’s time Boga seriously considers his future and continues his progression into an elite attacking midfielder.

Gaetano Castrovilli – Fiorentina: Moving away from the final third, Fiorentina’s Gaetano Castrovilli is one to watch and is arguably the biggest talent on this list. A natural mezz’ala by trade, Castrovilli combines an impressive range of passing with an uncanny ability to beat his man. Much like Boga, Castrovilli thrives with the ball at his feet and successfully completes 3.2 dribbles per game. In many ways, Castrovilli’s play is eerily reminiscent to that of a young Marchisio, albeit one that’s more comfortable taking on his man. Moving forward, he will need to add more end-product to his game, but his three goals and two assists on the season are a good start.

With a number of Italy’s clubs lining up for the young man, it seems Castrovilli’s days with Fiorentina are numbered. Simply put, Castrovilli has a lot to ponder going into the summer.

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PREVIEW: Juventus-Fiorentina – The Old Lady Looks To Bounce Back

Having crashed out of the Coppa Italia in midweek at the hands of Inter, Fiorentina’s difficult run of fixtures continues on Sunday as they travel to Turin to take on Juventus. Fans of La Viola would love nothing more than to add to Maurizio Sarri’s problems, the Bianconeri having lost away at Napoli last weekend.

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Top Three Winter Mercato Moves

While a few days remain before the transfer window is shut, there has been no shortage of activity within Italy throughout the winter mercato. Napoli have completely retooled their side while Milan are making the most of the window to off-load deadwood and reduce their wage bill. Inter, on the other hand, are actively looking for the final pieces of the puzzle to topple Juventus.

Here are the top three moves of the winter mercato until now.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Milan: When it was announced Ibrahimovic would be joining MIlan, many scoffed at the idea initially. After all, he had just finished playing in MLS and was nearing 40 years old. Despite his relatively high wages, the Swedish international is exactly what the doctor ordered in Casa Milan and his arrival has coincided with the rossoneri’s best form of the season.

Since returning to Milan, Pioli’s men have won five in a row and booked their ticket to the Coppa Italia semi-finals against Juventus. Some players are simply synonymous with winning and Ibra is one of them. The former PSG man has lead a quiet revolution and has introduced a winning mentality to the club. For this alone, he’s arguably the signing of the winter mercato. 

Christian Eriksen – Inter: It may have well taken them all month, but Inter finally got their guy. Giuseppe Marotta had been in negotiations with Tottenham for the better part of the month and finally decided to pay the price for the Danish international. Considering Conte’s men are lacking experience in the midfield, Eriksen’s arrival is a no-brainer.

A natural number ten, Eriksen will look forward to linking up with Lukaku and Martinez and form one of Italy’s most fearsome trios in the final third. With Sensi, Barella, and Brozovic pulling the strings behind them, Marotta has arguably built the best midfield in the league. Eriksen is merely the cherry on top of the cake and could prove to be the difference-maker in the title race.

Diego Demme – Napoli: This signing is one that has flown under-the-radar in Italy, but is one of the shrewdest deals of the winter mercato. The partenopei have looked extremely vulnerable throughout the season as their midfield has oftentimes left their defence exposed. Whether it was Fabian Ruiz, Elmas or Allan playing as the side’s deepest midfielder, Napoli always looked suspect defensively. Demme’s arrival adds some much-needed steel in the middle of the park at a particularly low-price and already looks to be paying off.

The veteran midfielder looked extremely at home in front of Napoli’s back four in their most recent win against Juventus. The 28-year-old regularly broke up play and shielded Napoli’s rearguard brilliantly. If he maintains this, Demme will go down as the signing of the winter.

Honourable mentions:

- Christian Koume to Fiorentina (Question marks remain over his ACL recovery)

- Duncan to Fiorentina. (Sassuolo man is slowly becoming a consistent creative outlet.

Are you a Serie A expert? Can you defeat the top Serie A Fantasy Managers? If you think so, play www.fantasyseriea.com now!

 

PREVIEW: Fiorentina-Genoa may see the Viola use a new attacking trident

Having endured a nightmarish start to 2019/20, Fiorentina appear to have finally got their campaign back on track in recent weeks, new boss Beppe Iachini resolving many of the issues that plagued them under Vincenzo Montella and reaping the benefits almost immediately.

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PREVIEW: Napoli-Fiorentina a match between two sides looking to recover

The wait finally ended on Sunday, Fiorentina recording their first Serie A win at home since October 6 as they held off a resilient SPAL to notch a 1-0 victory. The delight on boss Beppe Iachini’s face reflected the relief felt in the stands of the Stadio Artemio Franchi, and four days later they would grab another victory that arguably meant even more.

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PREVIEW: Fiorentina-SPAL – Can Iachini get his first win?

The first match of the Beppe Iachini era at Fiorentina did not end well, skipper German Pezzella giving away a senseless free kick on the edge of the box. Bologna equalised directly from the resulting set piece, meaning the Argentina international cost his side two precious points and prevented the new Coach from starting his tenure with a victory.

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