Serie A Team of the Week – Round Nine

Atalanta handed Udinese what will go down as one of the worst drubbings of the entire season despite actually going down the score early and easily took home the coveted shout-out in this round.

The Orobici came into the game in third position after drawing against Lazio last week, but had to wash away the bitter taste of the lesson taught them by Manchester City in Champions League on Tuesday. Gian Piero Gasperini was forced to change the back-line due to injuries to Andrea Masiello and José-Luis Palomino, so Simon Kjaer and Berat Djimsiti got the nod. Timothy Castagne relieved Robin Gosens on the left flank, while Alejandro Gomez played despite drawing the questionable tag. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round Seven

Marco Silvestri: Verona have proved to be very stingy so far and the goalkeeper himself has been pretty relibale. They have a sneaky opportunity for points this week since they will host Sampdoria, which have scored just four times.

German Pezzella: he dominated in San Siro against Milan and could be in for another strong display against Udinese, which have found the target just three times so far, the worst clip in the League, and have been shut-out on the road. Continue reading

Serie A Deadline Day Recap

A pretty eventful deadline day in Italy ended with the most anticipated news of the summer as Mauro Icardi finally left Inter to join PSG on loan with option. Roma finished off their summer with two more international additions: Nikola Kalinic and Henryk Mkhitaryan, while Milan brought in another striker in Ante Rebic, sending André Silva to Eintracht Frankfurt in return.

Napoli rounded up their attack by signing free agent Fernando Llorente, who is back in Italy after playing for two seasons at Juventus. The Spaniard has not been prolific with Tottenham, just two goals in Premier League in the last two seasons while he scored a bit more in the various cups, but they wanted a back-up for Arkadiusz Milik and he could be useful in late-game situations. Continue reading

Sevilla keep Champions League qualification hopes alive in La Liga

Pablo Sarabia

Sevilla bounced back well from their 1-0 home defeat to Valencia at the end of March. Since then, they have won two La Liga games in a row, with both games finishing 2-0.

Joaquin Caparros’ men are 5th in La Liga, just one point behind Getafe and a coveted spot in the top four. Three points behind Sevilla are Valencia, the team who beat them on March 31st.

Valencia followed up that win at Sevilla with an impressive 2-1 home victory against Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid. However, they lost 2-0 at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday in a surprise result. Continue reading

Messi on fire as Barcelona win at Sevilla

Lionel Messi

There was no looking past the world’s best player on Saturday afternoon as Lionel Messi put on another masterclass to help Barcelona win 4-2 at Sevilla.

The home side actually went ahead through a well-taken finish from Jesus Navas but Messi equalised with a sublime left-footed volley just minutes later.

Sevilla were in the lead again at half-time, however, after Gabriel Mercado scored three minutes before the break. Pablo Machin’s side were good value for their 2-1 lead at that stage.

Machin’s half-time team-talk probably consisted of something like “keep Messi quiet and we can win this”.

Sevilla considering Eric Bailly move to bolster their defence

Bailly

La Liga side Sevilla are considering a shock bid for Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, as Pablo Machin looks to strengthen his back line during the January transfer window.

Ivory Coast international Bailly is reported to be unhappy at the recent departure of Jose Mourinho from the club, and is considering his future in England, after starting just one game under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

According to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Bailly is open to a return to Spain – where he enjoyed spells at Espanyol between 2014-15 and Villarreal between 2015-16 – before making the move to Old Trafford.

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La Liga leaders Sevilla set for testing run of fixtures

sevilla

Sevilla are back at the top of La Liga ahead of Game Week 14, with holders Barcelona slipping down to second following their late draw with Atletico Madrid.

Pablo Machin’s side secured their return to the summit with a routine 1-0 win over newly promoted Real Valladolid on Sunday.

Their rise to the top caps a run of nine La Liga games, in which they have lost just once, to Barcelona, and beaten Levante, Real Madrid, Eibar, Celta Vigo, Huesca and Espanyol on the way.

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Denmark’s flying wingers crucial to World Cup dream

sisto

With all nations in the 2018 World Cup now having played two games each, things are beginning to formulate themselves into what happens next.

Most groups have a clear path as to who will, or will likely, qualify for the last 16, ahead of the last round of fixtures this week.

However one of the groups that is still undecided is Group C, with Australia and Denmark still battling it out for second place, behind France.

They could not be separated when they faced each other a week ago, with Mile Jedinak’s second penalty of the tournament cancelling out Christian Eriksen’s excellent early goal.

That leaves the situation finely poised ahead of the final round of games, with the balance in Denmark’s favour.

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