Brescia-Milan: the Rondinelle will not have Mario Balotelli for a couple of matches, but Ernesto Torregrossa has actually carried the load scoring-wise recently and he and Alfredo Donnarumma formed a formidable partnership last season in Serie B, so they might be able to survive the blow. They have added two intriguing pieces in January in Birkir Bjarnason, who was very dangerous for a midfielder in his time in Pescara, and Simon Skrabb: they should both have their chances because Nikolas Spalek at no.10 has been pretty inconsistent. Sandro Tonali is coming off a two-assist performance and also Stefano Sabelli and Romulo have been decently proficient in a supporting role. 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
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 was back in front of the journalists to discuss the tomorrow’s Coppa Italia game against Udinese: “Matthijs De Ligt is coming back to peak form and the Roma match is a proof of that. Daniele Rugani is an important player and I hold him in high regard.”
“It is not easy to recover after a big game but we have to do that, we spent a lot physically and mentally on Sunday. We want to move forward, so we have to find the proper motivations and strength to recharge the batteries. Every competition we are in is an objective of ours.” Continue reading
After being gifted two goals in the first ten minutes of the Roma game, Juventus played with fire for the rest of the contest, failing to take advantage of the opportunities to seal the deal, but still managed to hold onto the lead and reclaim the first place in the standings.
Merih Demiral (4 points): the night of the defender got cut short by an apparently serious knee injury, but he scored a massive goal with a very opportunistic finish, fully exploiting a pair of imperfections by the Giallorossi defenders on a set piece. Matthijs De Ligt was forced into action and was not too shabby for somebody who is supposedly dealing with a pair of ailments and hs a matter of fact he had a crucial block on a late clear-cut attempt. Continue reading
Cagliari-Milan: the Rossoblù played their worst game of the season against Juventus and will be eager to bounce back here and snap out of a three-game losing streak. Their last two goals were scored by Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone and obviously the Brazilian forward, who has tallied 11 in the season, remains their most appealing player, while the ex-Fiorentina man is more inconsistent, but has his moments in the sun. Radja Nainggolan has not been done a lot in the past four games and that has caused a decline in their offensive efficiency. They lack reliable fantasy option behind those because Nahitan Nandez and Marko Rog are not involved in the offense on a regular basis and their yield there is spotty. Their fullbacks, Luca Pellegrini in particular, have picked up few assists. 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
Brescia-Lazio: it did not take much, but the Rondinelle are playing way better after the return of Eugenio Corini and have rediscovered a pair of weapons that had not produced in the first handful of games, such as Ernesto Torregrossa and Nikolas Spalek. Torregrossa is a more natural fit next to Mario Balotelli and, while not overly prolific, he can hit the net from time to time. The Slovenian no.10 instead had struggled to find his footing in the top league, but he is getting there. His emergence, on top of injuries to other midfielders, pushes Romulo to a less offensive position, where he is not as appealing fantasy-wise. Dimitri Bisoli is also faromg better lately, while Balotelli has corrected his attitude and found the target twice in the past month and is obviously their featured guy up front. Stefano Sabelli is always very frisky for a right-back. Continue reading
Standings implications: Inter and Juventus prevailed in their matches against the Genoa-based teams and so continue to go hand-in-hand, while Lazio will have to wait till February to know the results of the Verona game. Roma handled Fiorentina, while Cagliari suffered the second loss in a row at the hands of Udinese and were leapfrogged by Atalanta, which dismantled Lecce. Torino found a way to lose at home against SPAL. Bologna are surging with their third W in the past four rounds, this time over Lecce, while Parma and Brescia shared the spoils. Napoli finally returned to winning ways with a little luck against Sassuolo, as the final goal at the buzzer was probably an own goal. Continue reading