Juventus: Miralem Pjanic (thigh) and Gonzalo Higuain (head) were ruled out. while Rodrigo Bentancur, who hurt his ribs, is good to go. Douglas Costa has resumed practicing fully and might return to the squad either here or on Sunday, while Aaron Ramsey is still limited, but he is the squad list.
Napoli continue to gallop despite being already certain of their final position and victimized Inter on Sunday, which still had and has a lot to play for, putting together the most dominant performance of the week despite giving up a late consolation goal.
Carlo Ancelotti could count on the returns of Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne, who sat out last week, and picked the Belgian to partner Arkadiusz Milik up front. He opted for his more offensive-minded fullback duo, Kevin Malcuit and Faouzi Ghoulam, while Piotr Zielinski and Fabian Ruiz switched positions, the Polish starlet playing centrally and the Spaniard on the left wing. Orestis Karnezis drew a rare start between sticks. Continue reading
A very entertaining Serie A round was capped off by the seminal encounter between Napoli and Juventus, which, by all accounts, was one of the strangest matches of the season. The Partenopei approached the game trying to cut into the Bianconeri’s sizeable lead and to maintain their impeccable home record, while the Old Lady was looking to put any residual comeback hopes to sleep.
Carlo Ancelotti confirmed the defensive formula he has been using lately, which features Kevin Malcuit and Elseid Hysaj as fullbacks and Nikola Maksimovic filling in for the injured Raul Albiol. Continue reading
Milan and Napoli were the most impressive teams in this round and the Partenopei, who scored more goals and did it on the road against a better opponent, get the coveted weekly award.
The Azzurri had very uncharacteristically failed to score in three of the previous four games, all ending in a nil-nil tie, so their offence had something to prove on Sunday and they certainly succeeded there as the Parma match was never in doubt and they bagged four goals. Continue reading
Andrea Consigli: Sassuolo are not in their best period, but they have tightened up in the back and this week they will host a Fiorentina team that has managed to put it on goal just four times on the road, which is the worst clip in the League.
Joao Cancelo: he will try to stick it to the team that did not pick up the option to buy him this summer and the fact that Alex Sandro is unlikely to play will give him more opportunities on offence. Juventus have kept three clean sheets in a row.
The last round was a little meager in terms of scoring because few teams that were shut out. Here are the best performers.
Stefano Sorrentino (7 points): defenses bounced back after struggling in the match days prior to the break and nine teams managed to keep a clean sheet. None was more impressive than Chievo’s one at San Paolo, where their goalie made eight saves, including a pair of key and beautiful ones. Lukasz Skorupski and Alessio Cragno’s performances to stymie Fiorentina was also noteworthy.
William Troost-Ekong (5 points): a myriad of defenders got five points because their sides did not concede. The Udinese centre-back played a major role in stifling Roma on Saturday, blanketing first Patrik Schick and then Edin Dzeko. Continue reading
Samir Handanovic: Inter have kept three clean sheets in the past four games and have looked rock-solid recently, leapfrogging Sampdoria for team that has allowed the fewest goals so far. The goalkeeper has contributed to the cause with some deciding saves.
Joao Cancelo: fresh off a maintenance day against Empoli, where his absence was noticeable, he will be ready to gallop down the flank versus Cagliari, which have scored just twice on the road so far.
Just a pair of juicy match-ups on deck this week, while the top teams will try to take advantage of cozy fixtures on paper.
Napoli-Empoli: the Partenopei were not super sharp versus Roma, they salvaged a draw but could have probably done more if they did not put themselves in the predicament of having to come back. It was the first time they dropped points at home. Empoli have not won since the first game, but they certainly put up a fight against Juventus before Cristiano Ronaldo decided to win it. Continue reading
Napoli face their biggest game of their Serie A season this weekend as they head to Turin to face bitter rivals Juventus.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have been the perennial bridesmaid during Juventus’ record breaking seven consecutive title wins, finishing second or third in six of those campaigns.
They were unable to break the stranglehold under former boss Maurizio Sarri, and how they are hoping that the experience of Ancelotti will give them a fresh impetus.
Their season has begun well, with five wins from six, with defeat away at Sampdoria their only blot on their copybook, compared to Juventus’ 100% record so far.
This week was less headline-grabbing on the transfer market, but a ton of deals got done, especially involving the lower-table clubs. But let’s start off with some news pertaining the sports justice, which has had a leading role this summer. Parma and Emanuele Calaiò partially won their appeal: the club will no longer be deducted any point but will simply be fined, while the striker is suspended until December 31st, down from the initial two years, for sending some inappropriate texts that the prosecutor believed to have the purpose of fixing a match.