Maurizio Sarri kept his cards close to the vest regarding the XI in the presser ahead of the Coppa Italia tilt against Roma: “I expect a very difficult game, you just need to look at Roma’s results on the road to have proof of that. They conceded little and score as much as at home. They are a quality team. We would lose sight of reality if we thought we are not going to have some challenging moments against them.” Continue reading
Juventus did not offer the cleanest nor the most inspiring performance versus Parma, but managed to take home three vital points once again propelled by Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring prowess.
Matthijs De Ligt: another game, another key block for the Dutch starlet, who got in the way of a sure-fire attempt by Mattia Sprocati that Wojciech Szczesny probably would not have not been able to save. He also trucked and outjumped few opponents, as per usual. The Bianconeri gave up an avoidable goal, this time on a corner kick, so not only the defenders were at fault and also a lot of the credit goes to Andreas Cornelius’ gorgeous header. The goalkeeper responded well when challenged, especially on long-range attempts. Danilo entered the game with a purpose after Alex Sandro subbed off and had a flashy performance, hitting the post on an offensive incursion. More of the same understated brilliance instead out of Leonardo Bonucci. Continue reading
Maurizio Sarri opened the presser ahead of the Parma game by remembering Juventus great Pietro Anastasi, who passed away on Friday: “He was a very important player for this club and for the national team. It feels right to me to pay homage to a great footballer and man. The 1968 European championship final is one of the first games I recall and he was starring there.”
On the trident: “I would rather have abundance issues than the opposite thing. We will see how they are feeling today. The most important aspect is to dominate while being balanced, without taking risks. Continue reading
Thomas Strakosha: the Biancocelesti held up against Napoli’s attack, confirming their solidity at home, and the goalie answered the bell when he was required. It is not a particularly great round for defences on paper, so it is better to stick with safe picks.
Matthijs De Ligt: the injury of Merih Demiral will allow him to return to the XI on a consistent basis and he did look good against Roma and in Coppa Italia. Juventus have allowed nine goals at home (second-best in Serie A), so their defenders can be deployed even though Parma are the quintessential sneaky team. Continue reading
Juventus did not mess about in the Coppa Italia round of 16, utterly dominating an Udinese team that offered very little resistance and punching their ticket to the next stage, where they will face either Roma or Parma.
Matthijs De Ligt: Gianluigi Buffon had just one minuscule save and so the rear-guard fully did his job, keeping the opponents at distance. The rest of the squad played a big part in achieving that through incessant possession. The centre-backs saw more action on the opponent’s box than in their one, as De Ligt almost propitiated a goal and Daniele Rugani hit the post. The Dutchman was slightly tidier than the teammate. Alex Sandro instead was in energy-saving mode and did not bother motoring down the flank and Danilo was not very very active either. Continue reading
Lazio-Sampdoria: despite a fairly muted performance, the Biancocelesti came out on top versus Napoli last week, for the second week in a row propelled by a late Ciro Immobile goal. The capocannoniere keeps producing and has already reached the 20-goal threshold. He has scored their last three goals. Joaquin Correa will be limited, so Felipe Caicedo might get another chance to start and he has posted three goals and two assists in limited action in the last five appearances. Luis Alberto will be looking to pad his assist numbers (12), while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has reverted back to his less efficient self after a hot stretch. Senad Lulic will be suspended, so Jony is set to play on the left wing and he is a willing crosser. The Eagles have been airtight at home. Continue reading
Coach Maurizio Sarri set the stage for the Roma clash in the usual pre-game presser: “It is a difficult game where we will be looking for consistency. We have often had different stretches with different interpretations. We are getting better, we have to follow up what we did against Cagliari. The level of the opponent is very high, so it will be a diverse game. Some rotation could be in order considering the busy schedule, they will come naturally with three matches in a week.” Continue reading
Maurizio Sarri began the presser before the Cagliari tilt by detailing what they did during the break: “We worked on several mistakes we made. We focused on ourselves before studying the Sardinians late in the week. We need to improve our mentality, because in most game we made more error there than tactical or technical ones.”
On Matthijs De Ligt: “He had a complicate period because of a shoulder and adductor issues. He played a lot, he is super young, while Merih Demiral was in optimal shape, so we were in position to rest him. De Ligt is improving, we will see tomorrow.” Continue reading
After a season and a half in Turin, Mattia Perin will leave on a temporary basis. The goalkeeper, who joined in the summer 2018 from Genoa, has already taken medicals with his former club, where he will return on a six-month loan to help them avoid relegation. Perin played nine times in the previous campaign, conceding eight goals before suffering a shoulder injury in April. Once the Old Lady brought back Gianluigi Buffon in a back-up role, he was supposed to move to Benfica, but the deal fell through due to the recovery from surgery. Continue reading
League leaders Inter will be looking to extend the gap at the top when they take on Roma in a few hour’s time. Juventus, on the other hand, will be traveling to Roma’s cross-town rivals Lazio and are eager to return to winning ways. However, Ciro Immobile and co. are in sensational form and will arguably have something to say about that. Otherwise, Napoli take on Udinese and Atalanta host Hellas Verona.
With match-day 15 upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your elevens. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Matthijs de Ligt (CB, Juventus, Value 14.21) – After a phenomenal performance against Atletico Madrid, the Dutchman got the nod against Sassuolo and put in a display to forget. Turkish international Merih Demiral will be wondering what he has to do to get into the side. While the former Ajax man is still young and growing pains are a part of the process, he’s proven to be error-prone this season, costing Juventus both goals and penalties.
With the Dutchman struggling for form and a high-powered Lazio coming up, I would temporarily swap de Ligt out of my fantacalcio side.
Krzysztof Piatek (FWD, Milan, Value 12.00) - When the side’s left-back is the joint top goalscorer on a whopping three goals, you know Milan currently have a striking problem. Since his breakthrough year, the Polish international has looked a shade of his former self and hasn’t found the back of the net since his strike against Lecce back in October. That’s six games without a goal.
At 12 million euros, you can do better and select a player who’s actually in-form. Whether it’s the number nine curse at Milan, a complete lack of service, or his own wastefulness, Piatek is not someone you want in your sides moving forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo (FWD, Juventus, Value 17.36) - Speaking on misfiring forwards, Ronaldo is yet another player who hasn’t exactly played his best football this season and has struggled to attain his typically lofty heights. While there are reports that the former Real Madrid man is nursing a knee injury, Ronaldo has looked a step behind the pace and often finds himself firing shots from unlikely ranges. As of right now, it’s Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain scoring the important goals for Juve and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.
His star-name and past experience may attract you but based on current form, there are better options for his 17.36 million euro price-tag. It may be difficult, but you probably need to drop Ronaldo.
Kostas Manolas (DEF, Napoli, Value 10.73) - When the Greek international joined Napoli, he was supposed to add defensive solidity and form a fearsome partnership with Kalidou Koulibaly. Fifteen match-days into the season and nothing of the sort has taken place. In fact, Napoli’s defence has taken a step-back if anything this season, conceding 18 goals already and only have one clean sheet in their last nine games in all competitions.
While Manolas is not the only one to blame, the former Roma man’s elevated price-tag means he’s a luxury not worth purchasing. Consider replacing him with high-flying fullbacks or the man who took his place in the nation’s capital, Chris Smalling.
Sandro Tonali (MID, Brescia, Value 12.00) - While the midfield maestro has been Brescia’s only bright-spot this season, he has struggled in recent weeks. Since Fabio Grosso’s appointment, Brescia have conceded ten goals, scoring none, and lost all three games. Grosso has since been replaced with the man he took over from, however, that arguably won’t change Brescia’s fortunes.
As a result, you would be wise to temporarily use the 12 million elsewhere and wait until Corini steadies the ship once more.
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