Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 12

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic was handed a two-game suspension for kicking an opponent from behind. Duvan Zapata is not ready to come back from his thigh strain. Robin Gosens is dealing with sciatica. Ruslan Malinovskyi has a sore glute. Remo Freuler is bang up as well and the trio is legitimately questionable. 

Bologna: Roberto Soriano has been ruled out due to a knee bruise, Federico Santander because of a calf one. Takehiro Tomiyasu (thigh), Mitchell Dijks (toe contusion) and Mattia Destro (knee soreness) stay on the shelf. Continue reading

Sarri rules out De Ligt and assesses his time in Turin

Maurizio Sarri updated on Matthijs De Ligt’s status and weighed in on Gonzalo Higuain and their journey up to this point in the pre-game presser ahead of the tilt against Lokomotiv Moscow.

“Seeing some growth out of the team and reaching the next stage are goals that go hand-in-hand. You do not collect points in Europe if you do not play well. It will be a difficult game, they gave us fits it the first contest. We want to secure the qualification, then aim at the first place in the following one, but they are still in the running. We have to focus on our performance to get the result we want.” Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 11

Wojciech Szczesny (7 points): clean sheets were again hard to come by as the defences continue to be ravaged by an overall offensive explosion. Just two goalies managed to stop the opponents and the Polish left in his mark on the Derby della Mole with a great dive on a dangerous attempt in the second half.

Matthijs De Ligt (9 points): he finally contributed positively after struggling in the majority of his first few Serie A games and picked a very timely spot for his first goal in black-and-white. He showed improvements in the back too. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 11 – Derby della Mole

Juventus emerged victorious in a very hard-fought Derby where Torino brought their A game, but a rather random goal made the difference.

Matthijs De Ligt (9 points): he would have gotten the nod even if he did not score because he was very assertive in the back, held the opponents gravitating his area in check and also delivered a pair of heavy hits to send a message. He was at the right place and the right time to punch it home to decide the contest. He also uncorked some tasty long-balls in the first half, a part of his skill-set he had yet to display in Turin. The lack of the VAR did go his way on an early borderline call on a handball. Wojciech Szczesny exuded the usual confidence when called into action, in particular on a late sneaky strike by Cristian Ansaldi on the near post. The defensive phase tightened up in the game where it faced the most pressure, which is likely not an accident considering that the level of attention had to stay high at all times. Not a good return in the starting lineup for Mattia De Sciglio, who looked too slow and out of place and was too often a liability. Continue reading

Buffon weighs in on PSG exit, his future, Italy, Inter and De Ligt

Gianluigi Buffon touched on few topics in his TV appearance in the program Tiki Taka: “In the last few years, there is always some controversy if a top team does not win. Sometimes tying has to be accepted, we played a great game against Lecce. We accustomed everybody to strong results, so there is some chatter where we are not successful.” Continue reading

Juventini up for France Football awards plus soundbites

France Football released their lists for the annual awards on Monday, which feature few Juventus players. Cristiano Ronaldo and Matthijs De Ligt are in the running for Balloon d’Or, joined by Kalidou Koulibaly as the only other Serie A representatives. According to the bookmakers, the Portuguese ace is a long-shot to win it as Virgil Van Dijk and Lionel Messi are the clear frontrunner sand a pair of other Liverpool players are also in the mix around his same odds. Continue reading

Paratici rules out Ronaldo leaving in 2020 and January moves

Juventus chief football officer Fabio Paratici talked to the journalists after the Manlio Scopigno award and dismissed a rumour about Cristiano Ronaldo departing at the end of the season that has been circulating in the last few days: “He is very focused on his current objectives, I do not believe in the slightest that he will leave at the end of the season or later. He is under contract and I think he will honour it: we are very happy with him and he is happy at Juventus.”

On Adrien Rabiot’s tough time in Italy so far: “We need to give him some time, he is coming off a long period where he did not play.” Continue reading

De Ligt discusses his start in Turin plus injury updates

Matthijs De Ligt talked about his mixed start in Italy in an interview with Dutch site Nu.nl: “The most important lesson I have learned so far at Juventus is that you need to have confidence in yourself. At the beginning, I was very worried about not making mistakes, but obviously you should never do that. I had never played before with that in my mind. My focus centred too much around that in the first few weeks. I took stock after the Atletico Madrid match, I wanted to resume performing with confidence. Something can always go wrong, but I am sure things will improve and I have started getting better from that day on.” Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Inter vs Juventus

The best game on paper going into the round turned out to be a riveting contest and therefore Inter-Juventus easily gets the nod this weekend.

The Beneamata had a perfect record prior to Sunday, while the Old Lady had dropped two points so far. Antonio Conte confirmed his standard lineup, with Romelu Lukaku returning after missing one with a quad problem. Maurizio Sarri picked Paulo Dybala up front and Federico Bernardeschi in the hole instead of the predicted Aaron Ramsey. Continue reading

Bonucci gears up for Inter clash and talks up De Ligt

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci talked to Sky Sport on Friday, two days before the bout with Inter: “It is hard to find a favourite going into the match, there will be a great Juventus on Sunday night, we will travel to Milan in order to win through an excellent performance.”

On the opponents: “They got off to a flier with Antonio Conte on the bench, but that was to be expected. They assembled a great team. Their defence is top-notch, they are doing well and complement each other. The right scheme allows you move in sync and everything becomes easier. They are pulling that off.”

On the game: “We want Scudetto, but they want it too. They had a nice showing against Barcelona, you could see the hand of the coach for an hour. They play vertically and aggressively, then the extra-terrestrial quality of the Blaugrana players emerged. They are growing, it will be a thrilling game and we will trade blows. We are ready to fight.”

On being coached by Conte: “He conveyed to us hunger, a never-give-up attitude and the mentality that allows you to look past the problems to reach your goal. He was able to communicate that since day one. He was perfect for Juventus that year: he needed a chance in a top team and we wanted to return on top after Calciopoli. We needed somebody like him, who made us realize what wearing that jersey truly meant. After three great years, our ways parted but our relationship remained strong.”

On moving from Massimiliano Allegri to Maurizio Sarri: “The new requests are opposite to how Allegri read the game. We guard more a zone or the spaces rather than our man and there were some difficulties there at the beginning. We are growing now and things tend to improve through hard work. Our journey has just become and will not stop here.”

On Matthijs De Ligt: “He has everything in place to become the best in the word. He needs to take it step by step, he was under too much pressure in the first few matches. Everybody has gone through that, it is part of the business, but he is more serene now. He likes to play the ball like I do, he comes from the Dutch school. Differently form me though, he is stronger and fiercer in the one-on-one and in blanketing his man and that is why we initially encountered some problems.”

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