Roma begin Serie A season in chaos as their first league game is awarded to Verona

After all the pre-season build up and the chaos endured by the Coronavirus over last season which is clearly affecting this season too, Roma, in the end, shot themselves in the foot.

The club coached by Paulo Fonseca thought that they had earned a point away to tricky opponents in Verona as the game had ended 0-0. Not so, there was more drama to come.

Verona were awarded a 3-0 win in the end that is standard practice in football due to the other team either cheating or make a terrible error- in Roma’s case they made a terrible error. A wrong player selection. The case of Amadou Diawara to be exact who was added to the Under 22 portion of Roma’s squad even though he turned 23 in July. That is a serious no no and Serie A sporting judge Gerardo Mastrandrea officially awarded the win to Verona and the game’s original result effectively null and void.

Pantaleo Longo Roma’s secretary has handed in his resignation and Roma have lost a point and been made to look foolish, though of course it was just human error but rules are rules.

It leaves Roma in 19th place, not exactly where they want to be as they have been seen this season as genuine title challengers to the all conquering Juventus. Without the mix up Roma would be entering their 2nd league game in 9th place, 10 places above. The good news of course is that there is plenty of time to make those points up.

As for the game Fonseca’s side lined up with a formation of 3-4-2-1 packing the midfield. New signing from Arsenal Henrikh Mkhitaryan played the lone striker.

Roma enjoyed more of the possession and had 15 attempts on goal, though only 7 on target which was the same as Verona.

Goalkeeper Antonio Mirante collected the most points earning 7pts for his ‘clean sheet’ of course whether that will stand long term is unclear in the fantasy rankings. The best outfield player on the day was defender Ibanez who seemed to be everywhere and cover so much ground, his value is 6m to add to your team and he earned 5pts.

The other big news coming out of the club this week is that striker Edin Dzeko looks very likely that he will join Juventus. The deal will be for 2 years, and that dashes any hope that Luis Suarez had of joining the old lady although he looks set for a move to Atletico Madrid.

Roma’s next game will be against the champions Juventus, they will be at home in a very early test for the club. The result remains uncertain but one thing is for sure and that is the team line ups will be checked and checked again.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Two – Remaining Games

SAMPDORIA-BENEVENTO

Sampdoria: the Blucerchiati tried to stay close in the Juventus clash but, despite a moderate surge at the beginning of the season half, they were not threatening. The coach kept initially Fabio Quagliarella and Gaston Ramirez on the bench and that was costly. The Uruguayan had some good plays upon subbing in and he is generally the stick that stirs the pot for them, as they do not have much creativity throughout the roster. Federico Bonazzoli struggled as main reference point, Fabio Depaoli, Mehdi Leris and Jakub Jankto did not much of note. However, in an easier match-up, Jankto and Morten Thorsby could be more proactive. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Two – Top Matches

TORINO-ATALANTA

Torino: the Granata did really not show anything new in the Fiorentina game even though Marco Giampaolo is supposedly going to bring a ton of changes, but that will take time and likely a couple of new players to come to fruition. They created just a pair of changes, with Andrea Belotti fully in the thick of it as per usual, while Simone Zaza rubbished a tasty one. They might be better off signing a new striker. The coach went with Alex Berenguer in the hole and then voiced doubts about Simone Verdi’s playing in that position, however there is not really any other place for him in the formation, so he will have to adapt. Soualiho Meite and Karol Linetty were not very involved offensively, mostly because the match-up was not easy, but this upcoming one is worse.  Continue reading

Inter prepare for new Serie A season in style amidst claims Lionel Messi will arrive soon

Serie A kicked off at the weekend though without Inter Milan whose first game will take place this Saturday at home against Fiorentina.

Inter will be one of the favourites to challenge for the title although a few levels above them of course will be Juventus who will be determined to become champions again and win their 10th title in a row.

By next year it would have been 11 years since Inter last won the league when they swooped up not only that but the treble by winning the Coppa Italia and Champions League. Those days are long gone but on the evidence of last season Inter are getting back into challenging for honours under coach Antonio Conte.

In pre-season the club have scored an incredible 19 goals. However there is a catch of sorts given their opponents. With the pandemic hitting back again Inter had no choice but to keep games local and not to travel large distances. Their first match was against Lugano a local team right on the Swiss/Italian border and that match ended 5-0 to Inter. Lautaro Martinez a transfer target for Barcelona scored a brace to help the club on their way and Romelu Lukaku got the final goal.

Inter’s next game was against Carrarese a team who plays in Serie C so the final score shouldn’t have been much of a surprise as Inter ran out 7-0 winners. Lukaku and Martinez each scored a brace in a simple game for the club. Their final pre-season game was against Pisa and it was a repeat score, another 7-0 win with Martinez scoring a hat trick.

The games were too easy for Inter but at the same time it has been a good workout for the players and they needed some game time before they kick off their season proper.

The big news surrounding the club has been reports that Lionel Messi will move to Inter at the end of this season. And it doesn’t seem all tabloid talk either as those words came from ex Inter player and legend Nicola Berti. Berti said that he believes Messi will arrive next year, as Messi will be a free transfer by then and that Inter are a very strong team and can challenge for the league title.

If anything these do look like exciting times for Inter. They have a complete team now that should be able to give Juventus a run for their money. We will know much more where the club are at after this weekend.

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Juventus bring back Morata

Juventus’ lengthy search for a new centre-forward came to an end on Tuesday as they announced the acquisition of Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid, who returns in Turin five years after his first stint at the club. Morata spent two seasons with the Bianconeri between 2014 and 2015, scoring 27 goals in 93 appearances, including one in Berlin’s Champions League final, and left because Real Madrid activated the buy-back clause that was included in the original deal. Continue reading

Inter sign Vidal, plus other moves

It took them a couple of years and Barcelona deciding to clean house, but Inter finally managed to reunite Antonio Conte and Arturo Vidal, who was one of the first players the coach asked for when he joined the Nerazzurri. The signing was made official Tuesday and the 33-year-old midfielder agreed to a two-year deal with an optional third one. The Italian side will play just €1M bonus.

The Chilean international joined Juventus in 2011, a couple of months after the hiring of Conte and quickly won over the gaffer, becoming an integral part of his formation. After four years with the Bianconeri, where he totaled 178 appearances and scored 48 goals, he spent three seasons at Bayern Munich and finally the last two at Barcelona. Continue reading

Gattuso hints Napoli star could leave this month

Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly has been strongly linked with moves to Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain for a while now.

The 29-year-old played in their 2020-21 Serie A season-opening win over Parma on Sunday. Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne scored in the second half of a 2-0 win at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

Speaking after the game, Napoli coach Gino Gattuso told Sky Sports Italia:

“I had no doubts, he is one of the strongest champions in the world in his role.

“He has always given me great availability and always trains well. I would be sorry to lose him, both for the man and for the player.

“But you know that numbers are important for clubs and at this moment something needs to be done for numbers, but I’d be happy to keep him.”

Kalidou Koulibaly has been widely-expected to leave during this transfer window, particularly as Napoli failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League; something the three aforementioned clubs can offer him this season.

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AC Milan 2-0 Bologna: Ibrahimovic decisive once again as Rossoneri secure three points

After beating Shamrock Rovers by 2-0 in the Europa League qualifiers, Milan secured the win in the league opener with the same scoreline this evening. Bologna never really threathend the Rossoneri, who relied on their foundations and their key players, most notaby Zlatan Ibrahimovic this time out. 

The Swede managed to get on target, not just once but twice, and even came close to scoring a hat-trick as his teammates picked him out in good positions. Stefano Pioli will surely be happy with the performance as a whole, especially considering that they have had little time to prepare for this season.  Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round One

Antonio Mirante (7 points): the Roma coach picked him over Pau Lopez, who was really uneven in the resumption, and the veteran had a pair of big-time saves that preserved the result in the challenging game against Verona, keeping his first clean sheet of the season. Unless Paulo Fonseca did it just to send a message to the Spaniard, it will be tough to take the starting job away from him on a performance basis alone.

Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): he looked re-energized and uber confident featuring in something similar to a three-man defence and with his buddy Giorgio Chiellini next to him. He stymied multiple attempts with great timing, launched a pair of interesting long balls and scored the pivotal second goal for his side with a tap-in on a corner kick. Continue reading

How Inter could line up with new summer signings

Internazionale have been busy again this summer, with Arturo Vidal’s arrival from Barcelona on Sunday being the sixth new face to arrive at the San Siro this summer.

The Italian giants also have a number of players back from loan spells last season, including Ivan Perisic, Joao Mario, Valentino Lazaro and Radja Nainggolan, though whether they will be moved on permanent before the close of the transfer window remains to be seen.

Mauro Icardi’s sale to Paris Saint-Germain has given Antonio Conte increased transfer budget to build a side capable of challenging for the Serie A title this season.

€40 million has been spent on Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid. The pacey right-back has impressed on loan at Borussia Dortmund over the past two seasons that it was a surprise the Spanish giants moved him on.

Alexis Sanchez spent last season on loan from Manchester United before making his move permanent in August at the start of August.

Midfielders Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi have joined from Cagliari and Sassuolo off the back of good campaigns in 2019-20. Inter then signed experienced left-back Aleksandar Kolarov from AS Roma.

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