Juventus: Emre Can made the squad list, approximately two months after suffering the thyroid issue. Rodrigo Bentancur is dealing with a back problem, but he was called up. Alex Sandro (thigh) and Sami Khedira (ankle) have been ruled out, same for Andrea Barzagli, who is rumoured to have suffered a severe quad injury, and Moise Kean, who has some muscle fatigue.
Massimiliano Allegri introduced the clash with Inter earlier today: “I expect a great night of sport between two teams that, alongisde Milan, made the history of Italian football. The emotional side will be as important as the technical and tactical ones. We will have to be fully prepared. They raised their self-confidence through good results. Inter and Napoli are the main candidates to be our antagonists.”
On the free kicks: “We have few specialists but we have not buried one yet. We hope to do that tomorrow. We had three good ones in Florence: we certainly have to improve our aim and exploit them better. You have to score one out of three.” 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
Juventus were the only team to defeat the opponent by multiple goals while also keeping a clean sheet, therefore they get to make an appearance in the club of the week column, something than has been less frequent than one would expect considering they have won 13 out of 14 games. The match was also much more challenging than what the final score indicates.
Massimiliano Allegri chose Mattia De Sciglio to replace the injured Federico Chiesa, but he moved Joao Cancelo to the left flank, so he did not have the burden of dealing with Federico Chiesa, and gave Miralem Pjanic a rare rest day, with Juan Cuadrado deployed as box-to-box midfield. Paulo Dybala completed the triden, tracked back a lot to contribute to the build-up. Continue reading
The last round was a top-heavy one, with several of the most selected players picking up bonus points and rewarding their fantasy owners, even though not necessarily all of them made the team of the week.
Juan Musso (7 points): only three clean sheets this week, for a stat that continues to be very seesawing. As a matter of fact, two came in the same match, where the Argentinian goalie outdueled Sassuolo’s Andrea Consigli and held down the fort and helping Udinese bring home a good point. Continue reading
Standings implications: Juventus continue to roll and toppled Fiorentina, but Napoli outlasted Atalanta away. Roma showed great character against and the big match of the round ended in a 2-2 draw. Milan put together a gritty comeback against Parma: a valuable result that allowed them to leapfrog Lazio, which got halted by Chievo. Sampdoria finally got a win trouncing Bologna, which are officially in trouble. SPAL and Empoli shared the spoils in a very well played game, similarly to Frosinone and Cagliari. Torino downed Genoa with two quick goals at the end of the first half, while Sassuolo-Udinese was scoreless. Continue reading
The late penalty scored by Cristiano Ronaldo made the score larger than what transpired on the pitch, but Juventus again came out on top in the trip to Florence, continuing to rack up wins and demoralizing the chasers. One goal per role on Sunday, so it is not exactly rocket science to indicate who the best performers were in this case.
Giorgio Chiellini (9 points): another big-boy performance by the captain, who was constantly plugging holes and sliding to sandbag the efforts by the enemies, constantly clapping and inciting the teammates. Continue reading
Mission accomplished for Juventus against Valencia, as the win clinched the qualification to the knock-out stage. However, Manchester United again spoiled the Bianconeri plans late, so they will have to garner some points in Bern too to secure the first spot. Here are the best player for each area.
Wojciech Szczesny: one of the greatest virtues of Gianluigi Buffon was the ability to make miraculous saves despite being challenged very little during the game. Sometimes for a goalie it is easier to perform well when he is under heavy pressure and asked to intervene multiple times, since you get in the zone in those situations. Continue reading
Milan-Juventus was the most anticipated match coming into the round and it did not disappoint, even though the score ended up being a little lopsided. As if there were not enough storylines already, one arose even before the start as Massimiliano Allegri elected to keep Leonardo Bonucci on the bench, sparing him a date with a very hostile environment. His replacement Medhi Benatia had a mixed performance.
The Bianconeri came into the game trying to maintain their lead over Napoli, which were victorious on Saturday, and looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss against Manchester United in Champions League. Milan had prevailed in five of their last Serie A fixtures, twice thanks to Alessio Romagnoli in the final minutes. Continue reading
Juventus once again showed some cracks against Cagliari and had little juice up front despite having the lion’s share of possession, but still pulled away just in time to avoid a very intense finish defending a one-goal advantage. The chasers, who had very convincing showings in the last couple of days, are kept at bay for now.
Medhi Benatia: the Moroccan filled in for the dinged up Giorgio Chiellini and had arguably his best performance of the season with few timely interventions. He was particularly clutch late, intercepting a ball in the final third that could have triggered a threatening fast-break and especially with a slide to block Leonardo Pavoletti’s almost clear-cut finish to prevent the equalizer. Continue reading