Allegri and Can speaks before the clash with Ajax

Juventus Live wire

Massimiliano Allegri and Emre Can met the press ahead of the Ajax game yesterday evening: “Mario Mandzukic is out, I have to decide whom to pick to replace him: Paulo Dybala, Moise Kean or neither. It is clear that if one of them starts, I will not field Joao Cancelo and Mattia De Sciglio together, which is a possibility. I will not make my pick until Wednesday morning.”

On the match: “The first leg does not count, we will have to respect Ajax when they will play in our half. We need to be alert, it will be a very long game, both sides will compete until the end. We will need the everybody’s contribution: the starters, the subs and the fans. It will be an important night that could allow us to reach an extraordinary result, it is even more important than the Atletico Madrid game. We will have to defend all together.” Continue reading

Prince Gouano is forced to stop Amiens v Dijon because of racist chants

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What could be more controversial than the ugly desperate disease that is racism? It has never really gone away of course but there have been too many recent cases of black players being subjected to abuse from the football stands in the last few weeks, be it at international or club level.

The latest vile incident was last Friday night when Amiens played Dijon in a game that ended goalless. Amiens defender Prince Gouano actually halted play because racist abuse was being used towards him and what happened next has been impressive.

In the past we have seen players walk off, or halted a match and been subjected to an investigation by either the national league or UEFA. It doesn’t mean that any official thinks that they were wrong, but actually stopping a game just seemed in the past against the laws of football. Thankfully that looks set to have changed.

When Gouano halted the game everyone seemed to be on his side. The officials, the players, the manager. After the game the French Football Federation commended Gouano for his actions and so did UEFA and FIFA and that response gives everyone involved with football a hope for the future.

The LFP the Ligue de Football Professionnel said ‘The LFP condemns the racist insults that led to the temporary interruption of Friday’s game between Dijon FCO and Amiens SC. The LFP wishes to show its support for Prince-Désir Gouano. On Wednesday, the Disciplinary Committee will study the case. The person accused of the racist insults was identified by Dijon on Friday evening and later arrested. As part of its agreement with the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), the LFP will study the next legal steps to be taken in this case.’

The statement above is terrific news for any real football follower. Ligue 1 has shown that there will be a zero tolerance attitude to racism. If one was to think of this scenario of a racist fan attending a game in the coming weeks surely they are going to have pause for thought about the results of their actions. Leagues such as Serie A could learn a thing or two about how swiftly and correctly the LFP has reacted.

Prince Gouano himself has also commented saying that racism has no right to be in football or society. What Gouano did was the right thing but what has been more remarkable has been how backed up he has been. Take the example in Italy a few weeks ago when Moise Kean for Juventus was subjected to racist chants and not even his teammate Lenoardo Bonucci could see how clear the picture was initially saying it was a 50/50 fault. He later backtracked on his comments, but it felt like a lazy typical reply in the first place.

Every major league in the world has racism problems but tackling it head on as the LFP have done has to be the right thing to do, and hopefully one day this won’t be an issue in football anymore.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 32

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Standings implications: Juventus did not bother showing up in Ferrara and allowed SPAL to take home a precious W that gives them a nice cushion. Napoli returned to winning ways after three rounds, mathematically condemning Chievo to Serie B after a very tough season. Inter prevailed in Frosinone, dealing a big blow to the Ciociari’s remaining hopes. Milan and Roma were both successful in the Champions League race and put three more points between themselves and Lazio. Empoli resisted against Atalanta. Torino did not find a way to down Cagliari, while Sampdoria bested Genoa after two losses, timidly re-entering the fray for Europa League. Another home draw for Fiorentina in Vincenzo Montella’s debut, as the match with Bologna ended with no goals, allowing the Felsinei, alongside Empoli, to get a little closer to Udinese and Genoa. Sassuolo and Parma shared the spoils. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 32

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What was left of Juventus after the abundant rotation was not enough to nab the final point needed to seal the Scudetto race in this round, despite an okay performance especially the first half.

Joao Cancelo: he was one of the most active Bianconeri out there and served as a big creator since he had a lot of room to attack as wing back. He set up Moise Kean’s goal with a shot that seemed destined to finish wide, but was rerouted in the net by his teammate. There is still some sloppiness in his defensive game, but it feels like he is finally rounding back into form. Continue reading

Allegri previews Juventus v SPAL

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Massimiliano Allegri met the journalists earlier today, giving few hints about the lineup: “I will evaluate after today’s practice, but I think many of the starters will rest. Some others need to play and this will be the right game for them. Some may not even be called up. Few youngsters will have the opportunity to be with us. We have an all-important game on Tuesday that will close this current cycle and could allow us to advance to the semifinals.”

On Ferrara: “It would be nice to celebrate there, they are moving towards their second straight successful campaign in Serie A. They renovated the stadium and it is a beautiful city where you breath history, passion and enthusiasm. Whoever ends up playing will have to do well in order to grab one or three points because they are good at home.” Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 32

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SPAL-Juventus: after winning three games in a row, against Roma, Frosinone and Lazio, SPAL were bested by Cagliari, but their recent streak gave them a little breathing room over the last three positions. Juventus toppled Milan last week, winning for the eighth time in the last nine matches and they are one point away from clinching the title. For the Estensi, Andrea Petagna has been a rock all year long, showing to be a much more prolific striker compared to his time at Atalanta. Manuel Lazzari is their main playmaker off the right flank and has picked up eight assists thus far. Jasmin Kurtic is also occasionally able to collect some bonus points, while they have not got much out of the second-striker role, as Mirco Antenucci, Andrea Paloschi and Sergio Floccari have combined for just six goals. Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Week – Round 31

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Marco Sportiello (7 points): few unexpected clean sheets in this round, which had some extraordinary saves, but not by goalkeeper that managed to keep the goal locked up. Among them, Pierluigi Gollini had probably the best performance, but he was docked one point because he was booked. So the shout-out goes the Frosinone player for his alert work in Florence against a pretty good offence.

Erick Pulgar (13 points): the reigning player of the month confirmed his proficiency from the penalty spot by convering two in the span of three minutes.
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Serie A Match of the Round – Juventus vs Milan

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Few tilts were high-scoring and intense up until the final whistle in this round and Juventus-Milan was the most meaningful one out of the bunch. The Bianconeri came into the game looking to get closer or possibly clinch the title with an advantageous combination of results that would have to start with a win, while the Devil were seeking to rebound after three unsatisfactory results, as they had recently lost to Sampdoria and Inter and tied with Udinese.

The Old Lady recuperated and started both Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, but opted to rest Giorgio Chiellini and Miralem Pjanic. Continue reading

AC Milan are in dreamland if they think they can lure Mauricio Pochettino from Tottenham

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There have been reports from Italy over the weekend linking Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to Italian giants AC Milan, and whilst many would say that the story is non starter, the truth is if this has any backable concrete evidence it would be a non starter anyway.

Sadly for Italian football this isn’t the mid 1990′s- European football in England and Spain has left Italian football behind, both on the pitch and off it and there would be zero chance of Pochettino leaving Tottenham and the Premier League at this stage.

In Italy so much has to be changed. On the pitch AC Milan have a team of players that feel unrecognizable compared to the greats that graced the team in the 1990′s. They are reportedly offering Pochettino a £300m so called ‘war chest’, but guess what- players are not tripping over themselves to come to Milan anymore. And even if he did get the money it would take years to rebuild the side. Why leave an exciting project like Tottenham to take 10 steps back and try it again at Milan?

The moment Italy goes quite on hooliganism and showing too much respect to the ultras the supporters who are supposed to create a daunting atmosphere but instead chant out vile racist slurs, that’s the moment that serious football managers turn their back on the league.

Serie A is falling behind at a record rate, with only one club in Juventus flying the flag, and even they have the skill of bottling it when it really matters. At Tottenham Pochettino has not won anything granted, but he is managing a club in a league that has largely moved on from its hooligan and racist days. Yes all of that still exists within the game but at least in England when it does, it is not ignored and it is punished. Could you imagine for example a black player in the Premier League being subjected to racist chants and their team mate saying it was ’50/50′ like Leonardo Bonucci said about Moise Kean for Juventus? Staggering doesn’t come close.

Italian football is a joy to behold and there is so much to love about the game. Let’s not make any mistake that Serie A does have the capabilities of being a better league and more exciting league than Spain’s La Liga and England’s Premier League combined. But the league and the mentality of some involved within it are from anarchic times. Education is needed within the game, infrastructure and a sense of moving forward are too. But we were talking about this 15-20 years ago and little has changed.

In short Pochettino will be saying thank you, but no thanks to Milan, because he is with a completely professional team in a professional league that only looks to the future not to its past.

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 31

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Standings implications: Juventus outlasted Milan on Saturday and are now one point away from the title since Napoli were held to a draw by Genoa. Roma were the only ones to succeed among the teams gunning for a Champions League berth and have pulled closer to the Rossoneri and Atalanta, who have just more point. Inter kept the suitors at bay by drawing against the Orobici, while Lazio salvaged a point at the buzzer against Sassuolo. A slow round in the Europa League race too, as Torino could not find a way to perforate Parma and the Blucerchiati were bested at home by the Giallorossi. Fiorentina keep slipping and Stefano Pioli is on the hot seat after the loss to Frosinone. In the relegation zone, Udinese capped off a big week by topping Empoli and moving four points clear of Bologna, which responded and got out of the final three spots on Monday night by trashing Chievo. Cagliari are almost save after sinking SPAL, which stay in precarious position. Frosinone are trying to mount a late comeback that would be quite incredible: the two consecutive Ws put them five points behind Empoli.

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