Serie A Club of the Round – Empoli

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Two perfect results in this round, one rather predictable by Juventus against Frosinone, which has already been covered on the site, the other a little more surprising, by Empoli, which rolled past Sassuolo. The Azzurri had not won since December 9th and copped just two points in the past nine fixtures, against Cagliari and Chievo, and were beaten in all the remaining ones.

Giuseppe Iachini fielded Afriyie Acquah over Hamed Traorè and Cristiano Dell’Orco over Jacob Rasmussesn compared to his most used line-up. Sassuolo posed very little resistance, perhaps caught by surprise by the vigor of the opponents, and Francesco Caputo and company pulled the strings all game long. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Empoli vs Sampdoria

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Empoli-Sampdoria was by far the highest scoring and the most entertaining game of the round. The Azzurri came into the match looking to bounce back the 3-1 defeat in the Tuscan Derby with Fiorentina, their first loss in over a month. The Blucerchiati had brought home points in four straight contests, prevailing at home against Bologna and Parma and tying against Genoa and Lazio.

The two coaches pretty much went their regular XI, with Afriyie Acquah replacing the suspended Rade Krunic for the home team and Jacopo Sala in at right back for the injured Bartosz Bereszynski for the guests. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 17

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Standings implications: Juventus edge past Roma and they are now officially Winter champions. Napoli are not in a prolific stretch, but they eked out another win, this time squeaking by SPAL. Inter was pipped at the post in Verona. Lazio returned to winning ways by squashing Cagliari, re-claiming the fourth spot, since Milan got beat at home by Fiorentina. Sampdoria soared past Empoli late, defending their sixth position and building some separation over Sassuolo and Torino, which shared the spoils. Genoa outlasted Atalanta, giving Cesare Prandelli his first win since coming back to Serie A. Marco Baroni salvaged a decent point in Udine in his debut. Parma and Bologna settled for a nil-nil tie. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 17

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Juventus: Sami Khedira should be back to the squad list after missing time with an ankle sprain. Joao Cancelo, Juan Cuadrado (knee) and Andrea Barzagli are not expected to return in 2018.

Napoli: Simone Verdi is likely to be called up as he has been working with the rest of the team for a week now. Mario Rui missed the last game due to muscle fatigue and has been excluded from the squad list again. Alex Meret has a sore shoulder that needs to be monitored. Allan has been ruled out due to back pain.

Inter: Kwadwo Asamoah is suspended. Matias Vecino (thigh) and Dalbert (calf) have been on the sidelines for the last few games, but they will be available. Joao Miranda is fatigued and is very likely to miss the game. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 16

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Juventus: Joao Cancelo has a torn meniscus and will return after the break. Juan Cuadrado hyperextended his knee against Young Boys and he will not play in the weekend, while Medhi Benatia (knee soreness) has recovered. Rodrigo Bentancur is suspended, Sami Khedira will not come back from his ankle injury. Andrea Barzagli is out with a quad strain.

Napoli: Mario Rui subbed off against Liverpool due to a muscular injury that has yet to be evaluated, while Simone Verdi should make the squad list after being on the mend for a good chunk due to a pair of injury, the latest being an ankle sprain. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Empoli vs Atalanta

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There was not a lot of juice in this week’s round, where the two most anticipated matches Lazio-Milan and Genoa-Sampdoria were hard-fought, but low scoring. The most entertaining fixture turned out to be a unforeseen one, Empoli-Atalanta.

The Azzurri came into the game looking to build on the win over Udinese in Giuseppe Iachini’s debut, while Atalanta were coming off four straight victories, including the brilliant one over Inter, where they had their best performance of the season.

Iachini switched from the 4-3-1-2 they have been using so far to a 3-5-2 he is more accustomed to, basically replacing Miha Zajc with a defender, Frederic Veseli, and picked Manuel Pasqual over Luca Antonelli on the left wing.

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Empoli sack Andreazzoli and hire Iachini

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After the 5-1 loss to Napoli on Friday, Empoli have decided to fire Aurelio Andreazzoli and to bring in Giuseppe Iachini, who reportedly agreed to a two-year contract. Andreazzoli was appointed last season on December 2017 and led the team to the promotion by remaining undefeated through the rest of the year, winning 16 games and tying seven times, dominating Serie B.

However, despite being praised for their free-flowing style, the Azzurri have struggled so far in Serie A and have collected just one win, in the opener against Cagliari, have been defeated seven times and have shared the spoils with Chievo, Milan and Frosinone. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Frosinone vs Empoli

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The Derby della Madonnina was balanced, hard-fought and intense, but, albeit in dramatic fashion, it was decided by a single goal in the stoppage time. So the weekly shout-out goes to high-scoring affair between Frosinone and Empoli, which had a lot at stake for an early season game and was brilliantly played by both sides.

The Ciociari have yet to win this season and garnered only a point so far, against Bologna at home. The Azzurri prevailed just in the season opener and suffered five losses after that, managing to tie twice. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 9

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Juventus: Paulo Dybala had a little scare with Argentina, but his knee is fine. Daniele Rugani nursed a rib fracture during the break. The only injured player is Sami Khedira, who is dealing with a hamstring strain. Leonardo Spinazzola is close, but he has not been called up for this weekend.

Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne has picked up a minor injury and will not be available. Kalidou Koulibaly returned early from international duties because of muscle fatigue and he is likely to rest. Faouzi Ghoulam (kneecap fracture), Amin Younes (torn Achilles) and Alex Meret (arm fracture) are inching closer to a return but the could be held out for another week. Sebastiano Luperto is fatigued. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 8

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Juventus: Sami Khedira got hurt again in the few minutes he played in Champions League and will undergo tests on Friday. Daniele Rugani has a fractured rib and will miss the Udinese game. Mattia De Sciglio has a chance to return to the squad list after a second hamstring problem. Douglas Costa will serve the final match of his suspension.

Napoli: Mario Rui is disqualified. Faouzi Ghoulam and Amin Younes could return after the break from their kneecap fracture and Achilles tear, while the recovery of Alex Meret from an arm fracture has had few setbacks and his timetable is uncertain. Continue reading