Allegri’s presser ahead of the Fiorentina clash

Juventus Press Conference

Massimiliano Allegri previewed today the Fiorentina tilt: “We will have to play well because the matches in Florence never end. Their squad will be pushed by the entire city, they will be fierce and will try everything to beat us. The first three teams will all play on the road in this round. It is not a trap game, but certainly a difficult one.”

On the midfield: “Rodrigo Bentancur still has some energy in him and will start, then we will evaluate the conditions of Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi. Juan Cuadrado could be used there, but we will see where they are at physically. Wednesday’s bout was intense and draining, we need mental and physical energies.” Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 13

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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 Mandzukic returned to the starting XI with an immediate goal, then Cristiano Ronaldo bagged another one. 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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Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 12

milanjuventus

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

Bonucci and Allegri introduce Juventus vs Manchester United

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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

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 11

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Standings implications: the top three teams did not stutter in favourable match-ups. Inter and Napoli pummeled Genoa and Empoli, while Juventus had to dig deeper against Cagliari, but maintained their lead. Fiorentina and Roma shared the spoils in a result that helps neither. Lazio smoked SPAL, but Milan kept up with an improbable late goal in Udine. Torino looked very impressive again on the road as Sampdoria were their latest victims. Sassuolo tamed Chievo very easily despite being away. Atalanta keep climbing the standings and mounted a comeback against Bologna.  Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 11

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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

Juventus Top Performers – Champions League – Game 3

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Juventus have one foot in the elimination stage after an impressive showing at Old Trafford, where they dominated in the first half, opened the score with Paulo Dybala, and, despite not doubling the lead, managed the game nicely, limiting the opponents to just one clear scoring chance. Here are the best performers for each position.

Leonardo Bonucci (6 points): a great game for both centre-backs, who were tasked with the arduous job of handling the muscular Romelu Lukaku. Giorgio Chiellini is always at his best in this kind of match-ups where he can go to war with the enemy, while Bonucci has a cleaner and more elegant style. Continue reading

Fabio Paratici talks plus international call-ups

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Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici received yesterday the Manlio Scopigno Award and talked to the press in that occasion, starting with his new leading role: “Operating behind the scenes suited me, not just because of corporate choice, but due to my character. Things will change now, but I will keep working to make Juventus more competitive. I share this award with my co-workers and I dedicate it to Giuseppe Marotta, who groomed me and taught me a lot. I will forever be thankful for what he has done.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “He has our full support, we hold him in high regard. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performer – Champions League – Game 2

Italy Soccer Champions League

Juventus trucked Young Boys on Tuesday, picking up their second win in Champions League and later taking control of the group since Manchester United and Valencia shared the spoils. Here are the best players for each position.

Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): this fixture was not expected to be a big test for a back-line, even though the Bern-based club is running amok in its domestic league, and it was indeed not challenged much by the opponents. Juventus defended with ease throughout the 90 minutes, allowing just one or two minor chances. Continue reading