Two defeats in a row mean that Lazio have blown the Serie A title

For 20 years Lazio have been in search of the Serie A title and they will most likely have to wait until year 21. The Roman outfit emerged this season as the unlikely title contenders, but in the final straight it looks like they have blown their chance.

In truth everyone expected Juventus to win their 9th title in a row, but Inter Milan looking their best since the Jose Mourinho years in 2010 took up the challenge for the majority of the season often trading 1st place with the old lady. And then in the 2nd act came Lazio, who not only overtook Inter with ease but gave Juventus something to think about too.

But life moves quickly in football and Lazio’s latest form has suffered. At this stage of the game you can’t lose 3 games in your last five and that includes losing their last two in a row. AC Milan beat them convincingly a few days ago 3-0 and that was at the Stadio Olimpico just to rub it in. They followed that up by losing to Leece 2-1 who were in the relegation zone at the time, but that win has now taken them out of it. Leece’s seventh win of the campaign could not have been sweeter as they were trailing 1-0.

So as it stood Lazio were now trailing Juventus by 7pts, so later that night when Juventus went 2-0 up against AC Milan, everyone was believing that the league was done and dusted. Not quite for Milan staged one of the best comebacks of the season scoring 4 second half goals to win the game 4-2.

Now on one hand that was good news for Lazio but on the other it was a huge opportunity lost. Had they won against Leece the gap would be just 4 points with everything to play for. Sure there are 21 points on the board to play with, but being over two wins in front Juventus are in the driving seat and it feels unlikely Lazio will have the quality and speed to take them over.

This could be unfortunate for Ciro Immobile who has been outstanding for the club. He is the leading scorer in Serie A this season with 29 goals and could become only the 11th player to break the 30 goal marker which will surely just be a matter of time. He currently has 126 points in the fantasy rankings which not only makes him the best player in Serie A but based on the points, the best in Euro Fantasy League rankings overall.

Can Immobile still fire Lazio to glory? He can but they will need a few more surprise defeats from Juventus before that happens.

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AC Milan 4-2 Juventus: The positives for the Rossoneri – confidence at an all-time high

AC Milan somehow managed to beat Juventus earlier this evening, despite fighting against a two-goal deficit at the start of the second half. Certainly, it will go down as one of the best comebacks in the Rossoneri’s history, as let alone beating the Bianconeri isn’t something you do every day. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Franck Kessie and Rafael Leao scored three goals in the span of five (!) minutes to complete the turnaround for Milan. After Cristiano Ronaldo doubled the lead in the 53rd minute, not many expected this outcome and you can only praise the Rossoneri for their mentality and willingness not to give up.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 31

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Lecce: another losing effort caused by the nth defensive collapse, but the Giallorossi looked a tiny bit better offensively versus Sassuolo, as Diego Farias returned to the XI and was livelier than Filippo Falco and Riccardo Saponara and Khouma Babacar did a little bit more than usual. The goals came on corner kick and then through the usual penalty kick by Marco Mancosu and it is pretty crazy how many fouls they manage to draw in the box. Antonin Barak has yet to recapture is best form after an injury, but he remains their most appealing non-Mancosu midfielder.

Suggested picks: Mancosu, Farias, Babacar. Continue reading

Cristiano Ronaldo breaks more records with Juventus as he stakes his claim as one of the greatest players of all time

What record is there left for Cristiano Ronaldo to break? When he was younger he said his dream was for a football fan to open up the record books of football and that his name would be on the first page. He may have to share column inches with Lionel Messi, but yes Ronaldo’s name will be there.

Ronaldo has added another record to his ever growing tally and it happened this weekend when Juventus beat Torino to go 7 points clear at the top of Serie A.

Ronaldo scored his 25th goal of the season. The remarkable feat is that no player who has played for Juventus since the 1960s has managed to score 25 or more league goals. That’s quite a fact that wouldn’t be out of place in the quiz game Trivial Pursuit but it is a fact. Not even greats such as Michel Platini or Alessandro del Piero were able to get that many goals in a league season.

In 2016 Gonzalo Higuain who was a goal scoring machine in Italy managed 24 goals but couldn’t crack the special 25. It is testament to Ronaldo who at 35 has scored so many goals for the club who are surely on their way to winning an 8th successive scudetto title.

The record for the old lady was achieved in 1961 and what was bizarre was that Ronaldo’s goal came in the 61st minute. If you’re wondering who had held the record for the past 59 years it was Argentine legend Omar Sivori who finished the season with 25. Though the season before that he scored 28 goals, so Ronaldo now has another record to chase.

It was only a few weeks ago that Ronaldo broke another record, which was the most goals scored by a Portuguese player in the colours of Juventus. That record had been held by Rui Costa.

With 8 games left in the league Ronaldo has plenty of time to add to his goal tally, and he will be after getting on the 30 goal marker, only a few players have achieved this in Serie A history. In fact the 30 goal marker has only been reached 10 times in the whole history. The current record holders are Gonzalo Higuain and Gino Rossetti who scored 36 goals each. Rossetti set the record in 1929 and Higuain equalled it in 2016 whilst playing for Napoli.

The 30 goal mark has also been reached just twice this century by Higuain and Luca Toni who scored 31 goals in 2006 for Fiorentina.

Still records could go this season because Ronaldo with his 25 goals is only 2nd in the goalscorers chart. Ciro Immobile has the most goals so far with 29 to his name and looks set to have the most this season. If Immobile continues to score on his average rate for the season he could well reach 36 goals.

So one eye will be on Immobile and one eye on Ronaldo, we know that the Portuguese star has the quality to score 3 or 4 goals in one game and he won’t be giving up the chase just yet. Whilst the league may be winding up, the goalscorers chart and records will, evidently, not.

How well do you know Italian football? Want to challenge the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play www.fantasyseriea.com now!

 

 

Juventus Top Performers – Round 28 vs Lecce

Juventus jogged around in the first half, but key mistakes by the opponents paved the way to what ended up to be a larger-than-deserved rout. Lecce caused some troubles at the beginning of the game, but were the cause of their own demise for the second straight round.

Matthijs De Ligt (9 points): just two defenders on the pitch and they got to rest for half of the contest since the lights went off for the Salentini after the red card. The start was not promising as the lack of focus in the back-line was palpable, but no harm was done in this case despite a pair of chances. The Dutch starlet came through on the other hand with a freebie for the four-nil. Wojciech Szczesny had no saves. Continue reading

Depleted Lazio need fringe players to step up in season finale

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Lazio were late to the party. By the time they stepped onto the pitch in Bergamo on Wednesday evening, every Serie A side bar the two Roman clubs had experienced their first taste of post-lockdown football. 

Nervous biancocelesti fans were aware that a win was required to maintain a one-point gap to leaders Juventus, and that victory wouldn’t be easily obtained against a free-scoring Atalanta side that battered Sassuolo 4-1 on their return. Continue reading

Serie A Injuries and Suspension Report – Round 28

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic returned from an ankle problem in the last game, thus they have nothing else to worry about.

Bologna: Federico Santander and Andreas Skov Olsen will be out for a while due to thigh strains.

Brescia: Jhon Chancellor (thigh) will miss another one. Andrea Cistana is not close after repairing his peroneal tendon during the lockdown. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 28 – Early Games

Juventus-Lecce: the Bianconeri are a very top-heavy team and further reaffirmed it against Bologna, where their two starts Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala both found the target. The surprise was Federico Bernardeschi showing signs of life after a long while and he will probably get the call again as Douglas Costa needs to work on his fitness. Aaron Ramsey could also see his minutes increase and he remains a wild factor fantasy-wise. Juan Cuadrado and Rodrigo Bentancur are okay choices out of their midfield given the inevitable workload. Lecce have the worst defence in the League, so it is a plum match-up.

Suggested picks: Ronaldo, Dybala, Bernardeschi.  Continue reading

Arthur Melo was meant to be Barca’s ‘new Xavi’ so what has changed?

The news that Arthur Melo is likely to be swapping the Camp Nou for Juventus stadium at the end of the 2019/20 campaign appears to be a real head scratcher on the face of it.

The player can’t be blamed because his stance has always been the same. Many times he’s expressed a desire to stay at Barcelona, and the only reason he could’ve reversed it is because the club have made it clear he’s for sale.

So, you have to ask what’s changed, given he was once touted as the ‘new Xavi.’ Continue reading

Will Sarri’s first success at Juventus come in the Champions League?

Maurizio Sarri has suffered cup disappointment once again as Juventus were beaten in the Coppa Italia final by Napoli on penalties around a week.

Juve were favorites among the betting firms going into that tie at the Stadio Olimpico where it was Sarri’s former side Napoli who held their nerve better in the penalty shootout. The defeat in Rome marks the second straight season that Sarri has lost a cup competition in the final on penalties. In the 2018/19 campaign, his Chelsea side were beaten by Manchester City at Wembley by the same outcome.

Although the betting suggests Sarri’s best chance of silverware this season may come in Serie A, where Juve are locked in a battle with Lazio for the title, the Italian club could still win the Champions League.

Juventus 16/1 To Win Champions League

Sarri’s side are 16/1 to win the Champions League this season. If he were able to deliver Europe’s premier trophy, it would be an impressive opening campaign at the Old Lady.

Juventus have not won the Champions League since they were successful in 1996, beating Ajax in the final that year in Rome. They did reach the final recently in 2015 and 2017, losing 3-1 to Barcelona and 4-1 to Real Madrid respectively.

The Turin-based club’s odds will be much shorter if they are able to overcome Lyon in their last 16 tie in the competition. Juventus trail 1-0 after the opening leg in Lyon. Without an away goal at the Groupama Stadium, they have a lot of work to do when the two sides meet again.

Bayern Munich and Manchester City top the betting for European crown

Bayern Munich are the 11/4 favourites in the Champions League outright betting at this stage of the tournament. They recently recorded their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title so they can fully concentrate on Europe now.

The German club lead Chelsea 3-0 following the opening leg of their last 16 fixture at Stamford Bridge. Barring a huge comeback from the English side, they should reach the quarter-finals.

After a slow start this season, Bayern have been in excellent form in the second half of the campaign. Robert Lewandowski is the top scorer in the Champions League this season with 11 goals to his name.

Manchester City are next best in the betting for the trophy at 3/1. They are bidding for their maiden Champions League win in what may be their last season in Europe for two years unless they overturn their ban from UEFA. The English champions have Premier League odds available of 5/6 to go the rest of the season unbeaten as they have red-hot form since the return of the Premier League.

Guardiola won Europe’s main competition twice when he was in charge of Barcelona. He was hired by the English club to try and deliver the most prestigious trophy in European football.

UEFA have announced that from the quarter-finals onwards this year’s competition will take place in Lisbon in August. The final has been scheduled for the 23rd of August.