Allegri’s presser ahead of Juventus-Genoa

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Massimiliano Allegri talked to the press today after the break to introduce the clash with Genoa and started off informing on the condition of his players: “They are fine, somebody has fewer minutes in his legs. Leonardo Spinazzola played an hour in a friendly. Mattia De Sciglio is okay, same for Douglas Costa. We hope to have Sami Khedira back for the second game against Manchester United here at home.”

On Paulo Dybala: “He is available to play, I will have to evaluate the form of the midfielders and then I will decide how many attackers to field. The only player who will rest for sure is Giorgio Chiellini.” Continue reading

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 9

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Roma-SPAL

Roma XI: 4-2-3-1 Olsen; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Santon; Nzonzi, Cristante; Under, Lo.Pellegrini, El Shaarawy; Dzeko.

Potential lineup changes: Santon for Florenzi, Kluivert for Under.

Questionable: Pastore (calf).

Confirmed Out: Perotti (calf), Karsdorp (thigh), Kolarov (foot), De Rossi (foot), Schick.

 

SPAL XI: 3-5-2 Gomis; Cionek, Vicari, Bonifazi; Lazzari, Luiz, Schiattarella, Missiroli, Fares; Antenucci, Paloschi. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 9

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Serie A returns with a pretty decent slate capped off by the mouth-watering Milan derby on Sunday night.

Roma-Spal: the Giallorossi have solved some of their initial problems and have put together a three-game winning streak, defeating Frosinone, Lazio and Empoli. The Estensi are going in opposite direction, since have suffered four straight losses, to Fiorentina, Sassuolo, Sampdoria and Inter, after a hot start. Eusebio Di Francesco seems to have found the right scheme for his men, a 4-2-3-1 with Lorenzo Pellegrini in the hole. The youngster has been remarkable filling in for the injured Javier Pastore, to the point that there is a real competition here. Continue reading

Paulo Dybala gets hurt, Nainggolan speaks about Juventus and Curva updates

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Paulo Dybala subbed off in the game against Brazil after 57 minutes and was spotted icing his knee on the bench. The Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni didn’t provide an update on the injury after the game and suggested that the substitution with Lautaro Martinez was made more for tactical reasons than for physical ones. According to Tuttosport, La Joya and the doctors reassured Juventus about the potential injury. The player will be better evaluated in Turin and was already a candidate to sit against Genoa considering the late return from international duties. Douglas Costa could end up starting right away after the end of his suspension. Continue reading

Juventus makes it to the top-20 list of sports brand in the world

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Juventus is one of the 20 biggest sports brand in the world, according to the Powa Index, and is currently in the 12th spot. The standing is topped by the NBA as a whole, which has 97,624 points. The first two football clubs are Real Madrid and Barcelona, which are ranked second and third. The following positions belong to the NFL, the Premier League, Manchester United, Champions League, La Liga, Arsenal, Liverpool, MLB and then the Turin-based side, with 39,933 points. The Bianconeri are above Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, the 2018 Fifa World Cup, Formula 1, the Indian Premier League of Cricket, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and the New England Patriots. Continue reading

Juventus have two records in sight

Juventus v BSC Young Boys - UEFA Champions League Group H

Juventus have racked up ten wins so far, eight of them in Serie A, and will be aiming at putting together an all-time start when the domestic and the Champions League matches will resume on Saturday. The record was set by Milan in 1992, a legendary team that featured, among others, Franco Baresi, Roberto Donadoni, Zvonimir Boban, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Dejan Savicevic and Marco Van Basten and was managed by Fabio Capello. The Rossoneri collected 13 victories in a row in all competitions to open that season.

The Old Lady is also gunning for the record of longest winning streak to begin a year in Serie A alone, achieved by the Rudi Garcia-led Roma five seasons ago, when La Lupa prevailed in ten straight fixtures. Continue reading

Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal might be better off apart

It has become one of the mysteries of the 2017/18 season. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Arsenal were deep in discussions with Aaron Ramsey over the signing of a new contract. The Welshman’s current deal expires at the end of the season and so it was natural that the Gunners would see to tie down one of their most valuable assets. Then things got weird.

News broke that discussions between the two parties had broken down, with the player himself revealing that he believed an agreement to have been made before the contract offer was taken off the table by Arsenal. After losing so many of their best players over the years through an inability to compete financially with their rivals, the Gunners are now willingly allowing Ramsey to leave on a free.

Aaron Ramsey

From a financial standpoint, this seems to be a strange decision. Ramsey is attracting attention from all over Europe and so a new contract, even if he’s not in Unai Emery’s long term plans, would allow Arsenal to sell the Welsh midfielder for a relatively high fee. As things stand, their best hope is to sell of Ramsey at a cut price in January.

But taking the financial aspect out of the equation, is Emery right to seek to move Ramsey on? And could a departure from Arsenal be the best thing for the Welshman’s career? The case could be made on both points. Arsenal and Ramsey might be better off apart.

Ramsey has always been something of an awkward fit at the Emirates Stadium. Signed from Cardiff City as a much-hyped teenager, the midfielder was never really a quintessential Arsenal player. His best quality has always been energy, while Arsene Wenger tended to favour those who were more technically adept with the ball at their feet.

Teams like Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who are thought to be interested in Ramsey, would be a better fit. Even Manchester City, who play with more forward thrust than Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona ever did, would suit Ramsey better. The 27-year-old has options, with Barcelona and Juventus also among the contingent believed to be monitoring Ramsey’s situation at Arsenal.

Ramsey surely regrets the decision to turn down Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United to sign for Arsenal all the way back in 2008. Not only would he have won Champions League and Premier League titles under the greatest manager to have ever lived had he pitched up at Old Trafford, Ramsey would have played for a club that was a better stylistic fit. He might have reached even higher heights as a talent.

But this contract impasse allows Ramsey to make up for lost time. Regardless of who is to blame for the manner in which discussions have broken down, this situation presents the Welshman with an opportunity at the peak of his career. He should be thankful for that.

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Jose Mourinho’s biggest test will come after the international break

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Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, has been under immense pressure to keep his job with the Premier League team since the beginning of the season. In the Red Devils last game against Newcastle United his job looked over after his team went 2-0 behind within the first ten minutes. Then a fightback in the second half took place and United won 3-2. It was a flashback of sorts to a side willing to never lose and Jose walked off that night with a smile.

But those in the know will undeniably know that Mourinho’s job at United is far from safe. Already the club look out of Premier League contention and all is not well within the team. And yet the club and Mourinho have just done enough each time to calm the waters before a full storm has taken affect.

But no one would be relishing the fixture list that is around the corner for Mourinho and it is a list that will surely define his time at the club. It kicks off ironically for Mourinho away to his former side Chelsea in the Saturday lunch time kick off. Already a difficult fixture anyway, the Blues could be the final hammer in the nail for Mourinho’s career at United. Chelsea come into the game unbeaten this season and Eden Hazard has been in world class form, United will certainly be the underdogs to win this game.

If Mourinho is still at United then three days later they play in the Champions League against another side unbeaten this season in Juventus. And of course they will bring with them one Cristiano Ronaldo a United club legend who would love to turn it on full style at Old Trafford.

The fixture list doesn’t let up for the Red Devils in November either when they will play Juventus again in Italy before a crunch match with their all time rivals and Premier League champions Manchester City. To add salt to the wounds that game is at the Etihad Stadium.

This will be an incredible testing period for Mourinho and the omens do not look good for him and his side who have failed to impress this season. However Mourinho has always been a fighter and on the flipside these games could well save his job and his reputation with some wins and positive results.

For a man who once called himself the special one, now is the apt time to go and prove it.

Agnelli explains the origin of the Ronaldo coup plus Benatia speaks

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In the weekend, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli took part to an event in Trento, alongside UEFA head Aleksander Ceferin and Torino owner Urbano Cairo. Besides weighing in on the future landscape of European football and on the upcoming FIGC election, Agnelli explained how the idea of acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo was born: “We built this transfer through the years. Since 2010, the year when I was appointed as chairman, our roster improved increasingly, champion after champion. We were very strong even without Cristiano, then we put the cherry on top.” Continue reading

Barzagli talks Ronaldo, Juventus mentality and ambitions plus injury updates

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Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli talked to La Stampa yesterday after an event to showcase his wine. He started off by commenting on whether the squad is at risk of relaxing after ten wins a row: “I don’t think so, we built a winning mentality in the last few years, we are always focused. We always want to prove our strength: winning every game is not easy, but we don’t want to stop.”

“On paper, this is the best Juventus I have played in, but we must prove it at the end of the season. On a technical level, it is the most complete, then we still have some room for improvement. We started off with great performances and the right spirit.”  Continue reading