Brescia’s Massimo Cellino wants Serie A null and void, he has a point but is he right?

Brescia  president Massimo Cellino has spoken out and wants the current Serie A season declared null and void but is he thinking of his clubs own interests or the interests of the league?

Brescia surprise surprise are bottom of Serie A and aren’t just last but rock bottom in the fact that they are 9 points from safety and with 12 games to go only a miracle really would have seen them stay up.

However Cellino believes that Coronavirus goes beyond football and his statement about ending the league which would save Brescia has nothing to do with his team being relegated. Cellino said: “I don’t care at all about relegation so far we have deserved it and I have my blame in that, too.”

Cellino went on to say that the season could descend into chaos and that Brescia may just forfeit games if the season did go ahead in respect of the towns in Italy that have been hit the hardest over the virus which includes the region of Brescia.

Cellino said: “This season doesn’t make sense any more. We’ve stopped no team will return as before, the matches will be behind closed doors, plus there’s a risk to the health of the athletes. For me to go back to business is pure madness. If they force us to play, I’d be willing to not field the team and lose the matches 3-0 out of respect for the citizens of Brescia and their loved ones who are no longer there.”

Cellino continued: “We need to change all the national and international rules players’ contracts, balance sheets, deadlines with the banks, the transfer market, preparation, start of the new season. It will be absolute chaos and for what?”.

At first glance it is easy to dismiss Cellino’s claims that the league season should be cut short and end now. His team are bottom of the league and sure to be relegated. At the same time would he be speaking out if Brescia had stunned Italian football and were in first place or challenging for first or a Champions League finish? Only people very close to him could tell you that answer and because of Brescia’s position, Cellino could talk about ending the season all day long, not many would listen. Now if Maurizio Sarri the Juventus coach asked for the season to end that would be different as they are leading and would be giving up the league title.

But Cellino does raise good and valid points about how football simply isn’t as important as some people may make out when a virus is killing thousands in Europe. Also players contracts, health insurance etc, all come into play. Cellino isn’t completely talking nonsense and making isn’t completely only thinking of self interests, and it wouldn’t be  a surprise if Serie A were to look into his views.

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European Fantasy League: Team of the season

Let’s hope that the football season isn’t over and the recent Coronavirus can be conquered enough for us to re start the seasons in their respective counties. However if that isn’t possible there has been talks that this season could be null and voided. That still feels unthinkable, but there is that chance. If so, if the leagues were to end today, which 11 players gracing European football would make the final cut in the team of the season for 2019/20?

Based on European Fantasy League’s point system let’s take a look at the winners, who have performed the best up to now.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Marco Bizot- AZ Alkmaar (103pts)

Marco Bizot is having a great season and has the most points for a goalkeeper in the major European leagues. He has been able to keep an incredible 17 clean sheets for his club. He is valued at just 8m and surely is one of the outstanding bargains of the season.

Defender: Owen Wijndal- AZ Alkmaar (85pts)

Like AZ Alkmaar’s goalkeeper Wijndal has done very well this season. He has scored just one goal this season but that isn’t his job and we shouldn’t forget that he has also assisted in another 6 goals. He has been part of a team that has kept 17 clean sheets.

Defender: Trent-Alexander Arnold- Liverpool (84pts)

Based on his EFL points Trent-Alexander Arnold is far and away the best defender in the Premier League this season. He has made an outstanding 12 assists and been involved in the same number of clean sheets for his side who have easily been the best club side in England this season.

Defender: Virgil van Dijk- Liverpool (73pts)

Continuing with Liverpool players van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the game in world football today. He has scored 4 goals which is impressive for a defender and been like a rock at the back.

Defender: Andrew Robertson- Liverpool (73pts)

It’s incredible to think that 3 of the four best defenders in Europe play for one club in Liverpool. Robertson has been part of a defence that has help keep 12 clean sheets and Liverpool have conceded 20 goals this season when he has been in the side. He seems to improve by every passing season.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool (99pts)

Of course Salah can play as an attacker too, but likes to drop back. Despite having some spells of non scoring he still has 16 goals and also has assisted a further six times too. He is a world class player and usually rises to the occasion time and again.

Midfielder: Oussama Idrissi- AZ Alkmaar (89pts)

Maybe not many people have heard of Idrssi but he continues to have a very good season in the Netherlands. He has racked up 89 points and been involved in 16 goals, scoring 13 of them. His value is just 7.5m and looks to be a real bargain.

Midfielder: Dusan Tadic- Ajax (87pts)

Tadic has not only scored 11 goals for Ajax but has also assisted in another 14 in what has been a stunning season so far for the talented player. His value is just 8m.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane-Liverpool (86pts)

Sadio Mane has been excellent now for 2 seasons and has mostly been the big difference for Liverpool in their attacking threat. He has been involved in 21 of the clubs league goals this season, a stunning stat and a very dangerous player.

Striker: Ciro Immobile -Lazio (118pts)

A star of Serie A, and one of the very good strikers of the past few years. But this one Immobile has really gone up another level. Lazio has a chance to win their first league in 20 years and most of that is down to his goals. He has 27 so far and has also assisted in another 7.

Striker: Lionel Messi- Barcelona (103pts)

A best of team wouldn’t feel complete without Lionel Messi. Barcelona and Messi have had their troubles this season but at the end of the day Barcelona are still top of the league and in the Champions League. Messi is also top scorer in La Liga and has 19 goals and an amazing 12 times he has set up for others.

Overall top 3 players:

1- Ciro Immobile- Lazio

2. Lionel Messi- Barcelona

3. Marco Bizot- AZ Alkmaar

 

What does the Serie A fixture chaos mean for Lazio?

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The worst, it seems, is over.

After a maddening week of indecision, bickering and downright incompetence from Italy’s football authorities, some answers have finally been delivered as to how Serie A will deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The Italian government have issued a decree confirming that all sporting events in the country are to be played behind closed doors until 3 April.

Up until this point, Lazio’s superb season has been unaffected by the public health crisis.

But after a week of contradicting statements and last-minute U-turns, now is the time to answer some of the key questions surrounding the new reality in Italian football. Continue reading

Denis Vavro earns his chance to end difficult debut season at Lazio on a high

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It wasn’t the day anyone expected Denis Vavro to make his first Serie A start for Lazio; not least the man himself.

Last Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off away to Genoa always threatened to be a difficult task for the Biancoceleste given the improved form of the Rossoblu, who have a well-earned status as a bogey team for the capital club.

But the challenge facing Simone Inzaghi’s side appeared all the more daunting when the news arrived in the hour before kick-off that Francesco Acerbi had pulled out through injury in the warm-up, after originally being named in the starting XI. Continue reading

Dangers, banana skins and must-wins: Plotting Lazio’s route to an improbable Scudetto

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Lazio’s stunning win over Inter last weekend made it difficult for even the most hardened cynic to deny their involvement in this year’s Serie A title race.

The come-from-behind victory demonstrated the infectious belief and confidence of Simone Inzaghi’s side yet again, not to mention their quality, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic impressed and Ciro Immobile bagged his 26th goal of the season.

With 24 rounds of the Serie A season played, Lazio are one point behind Juventus in second, and two points ahead of Inter.

Although Inzaghi and his players continue to trot out the cliched “one game at a time” line on a regular basis, the temptation of looking ahead has proven too much for others to resist. Continue reading

Paul Pogba or Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: Who would you take?

After his most recent man-of-the-match performance against Inter, Sergej Milinkovic Savic is drawing comparisons to Europe’s elite midfielders and rightfully so. Many are even making the case that the 24-year-old is the best midfielder in the league right now. After all, the Serbian international is as well-rounded as they come. He can score goals, he dominates aerial duels both in his own half and in the final third and is slick in possession.

It’s since been reported that Italy’s elite are queuing up for the Lazio man, including the likes of Juventus and Inter. Whether Lazio will sell the player is a completely different story; especially if they go on to win the Scudetto.

It’s also recently been reported that Paul Pogba is on his way out of Manchester United and will be available this summer. His agent, the infamous Mino Raiola, is currently hard at work and is trying his best at wedging himself between his client and the club. Considering both are of similar age and will command the same price, which player would you go with? Let’s have a look.

Both players are similar in the sense that they operate best from a mezz’ala role, and enjoy making late runs into the back post, where they can use their physical presence to create space. In addition to their aerial prowess, both Pogba and Milinkovic-Savic are equally capable at firing from range and don’t have to be asked twice to shoot. When it comes to scoring goals, however, I might have to give the Frenchman the slight advantage. Pogba has demonstrated more consistency in this respect over the years.

Defensively, it’s another close call as both players are increasingly involved in their own third, be it through tackles and interceptions. While Pogba has improved in this respect in recent seasons and has become defensively responsible, Milinkovic-Savic currently has the upper hand. The Lazio man is currently averaging 1.6 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game, and makes his presence felt inside his eighteen-yard box. Advantage SMS.

Beyond preventing goals, creating them is equally important. In this respect, Pogba is the more accomplished player. Milinkovic-Savic possesses a great range of passing himself, but the Manchester United man simply creates more chances; chances that translate into goals. Last season, Pogba registered ten assists in all competitions and he regularly leads his side in this regard. While Milinkovic-Savic is slowly developing this facet to his game, as illustrated through his four assists this season, he still lags behind the Frenchman when it comes to end-product. Point, Pogba.

All in all, if they’re both available for similar prices, I’d probably take Pogba and even then, it’s too close to call. In my opinion, he’s the better goalscorer and creator and is equally dominant in the air. Wages, agent fees, and availability come into play, but any team looking to bolster their midfield have no choice but to take a flyer on these two.

Now have your say: Who would you take on your team?

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What to Watch for in Serie A: Round 24

Can you believe we are headed into round 24 of the 2019/20 Serie A season? Neither can we.

For this set of fixtures, there is no shortage of action coming our way. Here, we provide you with what you should be watching for in this weekend of calcio.  Continue reading

Inter are the last team to beat Lazio in Serie A – but they face a different beast on Sunday

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Regret was the overwhelming emotion the last time Lazio faced Inter.

Joaquin Correa was guilty of squandering a series of good chances during an excellent performance, but the game was decided by Danilo D’Ambrosio out-jumping Jony for the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory for the Nerazzurri.

Not even the most  mindlessly optimistic Lazio fan would’ve guessed back then, on 25 September 2019, that the Biancocelesti wouldn’t have lost another league game by the time they faced Antonio Conte’s side again.

Last Sunday’s 1-0 win over Parma set a new club record of 18 games unbeaten in Serie A , on a day that the gap between the top three clubs was squeezed to just one point. Continue reading

Felipe Caicedo has become one of Serie A’s most underrated strikers – and a role model to the underdogs

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When you go to watch Lazio play at the Olimpico, it is soon obvious who the stars of this team are from the player names appearing on the back of the fans’ shirts.

You will see crowds of Immobile 17, Alberto 10 or Sergej 21 drifting past you as you head through the turnstiles, with the odd Lulic 19, Correa 11 or Lucas 6 thrown in.

There is no shortage of standout players in this team, but those flying under the radar have played a crucial part in their success this season; none more so than Felipe Caicedo.

It wasn’t that long ago, about a year and a half to be precise, that most Lazio fans wanted to see the back of the Ecuadorian as he was scapegoated for their late-season collapse in 2017/18. Continue reading

Lazio continue to be a threat to Juventus with a 5 star performance

Can any club in Italy stop Juventus from winning their 8th title in a row? The nearest challenger seemed to be coming from Inter Milan who have not picked up a title since 2010, but in the background there has been a constant threat and that is from Lazio, who have gone two decades without the league.

Lazio have traditionally been there and thereabouts in season past, but this one the club from Rome have really stepped up, showing the type of consistency that a newer generation has rarely seen.

At the weekend Lazio beat SPAL 5-1 to move to within 2 points of Inter in 2nd and 5 points of Juventus. It was the clubs 15th win of the season. Next weekend they will play Verona at home and Inter will have to play in the Milan derby where points can easily be dropped and there is a chance that Lazio could move into 2nd.

Ciro Immobile has been firing in the goals for Lazio and has simply been brilliant this season, he already has 25 goals and has made 6 assists. So Immobile has been involved in 31 of Lazio’s goals from a total of 52 that’s well over 50% of their league goals this season. Immobile is also on course to break the all time Serie A goal scoring record for a season. Currently it is held by Gonzalo Higuain who broke the record in 2016 when he notched 36 goals in. He will need 12 more goals from 17 games to do it.

Simone Inzaghi is really building up his coaching career and has been a Lazio man since retiring from the game. He played for Lazio for 11 years and has been in the coaching set up of the club since 2010. This season is Inzaghi’s 4th in charge. He has won 3 trophies with the club, all domestic ones and this could be a major season for the club who at worst look like qualifying for the Champions League, but Inzaghi will have the league in his thoughts.

Whilst we can wax lyrical about Immobile’s goals football has never been a one man team and much praise should also go to Luis Alberto. The midfield maestro has scored 3 goals but also has assisted in another 11 goals making him one of the most valuable players in the squad. A defence led by Luiz Felipe has ensured 6 clean sheets this season and that means that Lazio have the 2nd best defensive record in Serie A. As far as goalscoring goes they have 52 and only Atalanta have more than them, skewered slightly by their freakish 7-0 win over Torino last week.

How far Lazio can go is up to them of course. Football can be fine margins because they have lost just 2 games, that’s the same as leaders Juventus and yet there is still a 5 point gap. If Lazio are to surprise everyone with a league win they can’t just rely on Juventus having a few bad games, they will most probably have to face them and beat them too. By the end of this month things should be clearer because 5 points is a gap, just a few more and it would be hard to see Lazio close that.

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