Emre Can’s time in Turin is over as Juventus agreed to sell him to Borussia Dortmund, 18 months after signing him for free from Liverpool. The formula for the transfer is a €1M season-long loan with a €25M conditioned obligation to buy. Despite a slow adaptation and a thyroid issue, he notched 29 appearances in 2018/2019, scoring four times. He was severely hurt by the coaching chance, since he gave his best performances as centre-back in a three-man defence, and he never recovered mentally from being excluded from the Champions League list in January and then went on to play just nine times, starting just twice and logging a total of 279 ineffective minutes, expressing frustration publicly in a couple of occasions.
Atalanta: Josip Ilicic is a suspended, while Luis Muriel is sick, which will cost him a place in the XI but not the call-up. Timothy Castagne had surgery to remove a torn meniscus and should miss the first two games.
Bologna: Jerdy Schouten picked up a knee sprain in the pre-season but he has recovered enough to be called up.
Brescia: Mario Balotelli is disqualified for the first four fixtures, while Ales Mateju will sit out just the first one for the same reason. Emmanuel Ndoj is dealing with an ankle injury that will cost him some time. Andrea Cistana missed the recent Coppa Italia game for a similar, but smaller, issue, but could be back for the opening match. Daniele Dessena, Daniele Gastaldello have recovered from small injuries, while Giangiacomo Magnani and Ernero Torregrossa have been ruled out. Continue reading
The last week prior to the official start of the transfer market was understandably quiet: Sampdoria pulled off the most interesting move by adding another talented youngster, Gonzalo Maroni from Boca Juniors, who can feature in few positions up front and has the potential to be electric. Genoa made a sizeable investment to have Andrea Pinamonti from Inter, who had a very promising rookie season in Frosinone and is set to be their featured guy up front moving forward. Fiorentina are giving the keys to their goal to Barlomiej Dragowki, who blossomed in Empoli last season, and thus sent Alban Lafont to Nantes on a two-year loan. Sassuolo permanently signed left back Rogerio from Juventus after the 18-month loan, Brescia did the same with Ales Mateju, who belonged to Brighton.
Juventus-Empoli: the Bianconeri are coming off their first Serie A loss this season, against Genoa, while they dropped points just twice at home thus far. The Azzurri defeated Frosinone in Aurelio Andreazzoli’s return match, nabbing the second win in the last 13 rounds. They have lost in five of the last six away games. The Old Lady will be without Cristiano Ronaldo, who got hurt while playing with Portugal, and Douglas Costa, who remains sidelined. Therefore, Federico Bernardeschi, Moise Kean, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic will lead the charge and try to alleviate the absence of the Portuguese star. They could be helped by the fact that the Tuscans have one of the leakiest defenses in the League. Continue reading
Plenty of pathos in the last Serie A round: Cagliari-Roma and Lazio-Sampdoria would have been worthy candidates for match of the week, but then Sassuolo-Fiorentina outdid them on Sunday.
Both teams came into the game pretty desperate for a win: the Neroverdi had prevailed just once in the previous eight fixtures, while La Viola last grabbed the full three points for the last time in late September. With Kevin-Prince Boateng out with an injury, Roberto De Zerbi used his best XI, with Khouma Babacar spearheading the front-line, Federico Di Francesco on the left wing and Stefano Sensi as deep-lying playmaker. Continue reading
Massimiliano Allegri previewed today the Fiorentina tilt: “We will have to play well because the matches in Florence never end. Their squad will be pushed by the entire city, they will be fierce and will try everything to beat us. The first three teams will all play on the road in this round. It is not a trap game, but certainly a difficult one.”
On the midfield: “Rodrigo Bentancur still has some energy in him and will start, then we will evaluate the conditions of Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi. Juan Cuadrado could be used there, but we will see where they are at physically. Wednesday’s bout was intense and draining, we need mental and physical energies.” Continue reading
Juventus: Federico Bernardeschi is expected to be called up after shaking off an adductor problem, while Alex Sandro subbed off in Champions League because of a thigh issue that has not been disclosed yet, so he is questionable for the Fiorentina game. Sami Khedira (ankle) and Emre Can remain out for this week.
Napoli: Raul Albiol suffered a mild ankle sprain against Red Star Belgrade and he is at risk for the Monday game. After picking up the same injury, Amin Younes should be at the coach’s disposal, while Simone Verdi is set to skip another one, and likely few more, because his was more severe. Continue reading
The next Serie A slate is pretty tasty on paper.
Fiorentina-Juventus: the Viola are having a weird season. They started off decently, showing well especially at home, where they are still undefeated and have a sound defense, but they have struggled to score recently. They have not netted more than one since late September and they have drawn in their last five matches, against Cagliari, Torino, Roma, Frosinone and Bologna. On the other hand, the Old Lady is cruising with 12 wins in the year, four in a row after the tumble against Genoa, but it will be tested before the break. Fiorentina’s offensive problems stem primarily from Giovanni Simeone and Marko Pjaca’s poor form, as they have combined for just three goals so far. Federico Chiesa is always doing stuff, but he has not bagged many as well. Continue reading
It’s easy to think Fiorentina’s 1-1 draw at the Stadio Artemio Franchi versus AS Roma was a fantastic result when viewed in isolation. It meant the Viola remain unbeaten at home and are currently five points behind 4th place, a finish that would secure Champions League football for next season. Continue reading
It is clear that Croatia international Marko Pjaca possesses the kind of natural talent that would not normally allow a club like Fiorentina to secure his services. Signed by Juventus – a team with a proven track record for acquiring excellent players – for €23 million from Dinamo Zagreb in summer 2016, the Bianconeri clearly expecting him to break into the first team at some point. Continue reading