Brescia-Juventus: two questions loom large on the game, one for each side. Mario Balotelli is eligible to return after the suspension, but his conditioning might be a problem after skipping the summer preparation, so he might be initially be kept on the bench. Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out due to muscle fatigue and it is new situation under Maurizio Sarri; they also do not have Douglas Costa, so they lack a pure left-wing player. Federico Bernardeschi could certainly be adapted there, but he has struggled so far, so the coach might try new solutions, like for instance fielding Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain together. Whoever ends up starting up front will have to shoulder a bigger load sans Ronaldo. Continue reading
Milan-Brescia: the first game under Marco Giampaolo presented the same issues the Rossoneri suffered from last season, primarily keeping the ball up front and feeding their main striker. They managed to get only some limited offensive forays without never building a constant assasult. A faux pas that could lead to some tactical and personnel change, with Suso possibly returning to the flank and Ismael Bennacer and Rafael Leao getting the nod from start. If they can turn it around, it could be a decent spot for Krzysztof Piatek, but it is tough to trust them right now. The Rondinelle showed to be solid right away in a fairly tough road game in Cagliari: last year’s design worked and the defense held up. If that continues to be the case, Alfredo Donnarumma will be one to watch, he scored 26 goals in Serie B, same as Dimistri Bisoli, who is their most dangerous midfielder, while Sandro Tonali’s fantasy production is a little shakier because it hinges on set pieces. Continue reading
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
A pretty quiet week, as it is usual in the final one of July and the trend will likely continue in the first one of August as well. The biggest acquisition was made by Napoli, which signed Eljif Elmas from Fenerbahce to add another talented youngster to their midfield.
Inter parted ways with Joao Miranda, who was solid for a pair of seasons, but faded once they brought in Stefan De Vrij last season and would have been further buried in the depth chart because of Diego Godin joining, so he opted to move to Jiangsu Suning. The Beneamata has Andrea Ranocchia as back-up and could decide to keep Alessandro Bastoni, who showed decently at Parma last season. 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.
There were not quite fireworks in the last week on the transfer market, which saw the minnows complete a fully of moves to try to bolster their squads. After selling Krzysztof Piatek, Genoa were one of the most active one, as they added Chievo centre-piece Ivan Radovanovic and Lukas Lerager from Bordeaux to revamp their midfield and Andràs Schafer to have one more alternative on the flanks. The first two could be regular starters, especially because Sandro was sent to Udinese. Boca Juniors long chased Atalanta’s José-Luis Palomino, but they had to settle for Lisandro Lopez. Continue reading
The next round features one of the games of the season, Juventus-Inter, and few other juicy match-ups.
Juventus-Inter: the Bianconeri got the better of Fiorentina, extending their winning streak to five fixtures, but in that occasion they were not as dominant as the final score showed. Against Roma, Inter dropped points for the second time in a row on the road and, despite scoring twice, they never looked in control. The same thing happened in Bergamo, but they are extremely opportunistic, so they can never be counted out. Cristiano Ronaldo added one to his tally with a penalty in Florence, while Rodrigo Bentancur continues to impress. Mario Mandzukic is generally money in big matches, while Douglas Costa has the potential to be a factor off the bench. Despite being useful in other areas, Paulo Dybala’s offensive stats in Serie A have been subpar. Continue reading
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
Standings implications: Juventus dropped points for the first time this season and Napoli promptly took advantage of it, getting closer in the table. Inter prevailed thanks to a late goal in the Derby. Lazio were clinical against a tough opponent like Parma. Roma had a shocking showing against SPAL. Fiorentina’s winning streak was halted by Cagliari. Torino frittered away a two-nothing lead in Bologna, slowing down after two victories. Atalanta came back to winning ways in impressive fashion, romping Chievo on the road. Frosinone and Empoli shared the spoil in an early but still significant relegation zone clash.
In a moderately surprising twist, Jorginho, who for weeks seemed set to join Manchester City, will instead move to Chelsea. The London club made a better offer (€65M) and the deal facilitated the release of Maurizio Sarri from the Azzurri. The player signed a five-year contract.
The 26-year-old midfielder is coming off his best season yet, where he tallied 39 total appearances, proving to be a vital piece of the Azzurri’s chessboard. Largely snubbed by Gian Piero Ventura, he now also appears to be one of the centre-pieces of Roberto Mancini’s new Italy’s course. Continue reading