Previewing Roma Vs Juventus

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There have been some massive matches this season in Serie A so far, such as last week’s game between Napoli and Inter. However, not many matches get bigger than the one that’ll be played today at the Stadio Olimpico between Roma and Juventus at 2:45 pm Eastern Time. So, here’s my preview of this match for both clubs.

ROMA

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Paulo Fonseca has led Roma to heights that a lot of people have been surprised about. Coming into this match, they are in decent form, by winning their last 3 matches, losing a match, and drawing one. They do have a few injuries coming into this match, however, that shouldn’t faze them, based on their recent form. They will have a massive test against Juventus, who are currently competing with Inter for the scudetto. It’s possible, though, that being at the San Siro against this other Italian giant may inspire them to victory. However, a victory for them in this match for Roma would depend on how well they can contain Juve’s attack. That will be a monumental task for them, but maybe, Paulo Fonseca has something up his sleeve.

JUVENTUS

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So far this season, Juve has had a huge challenge trying to win Serie A’s biggest prize, once again. Inter has been challenging them for the title throughout the season and this match against Roma just adds to the tough season. However, coming into this match Juve should be motivated to win, as this will probably be one of Juve’s toughest matches over the whole season. Juve will have to be on their game if they want to get a result in the Eternal City. The key to the game for Juventus is being clinical and converting their chances. There’s a good chance they will get a lot of chances in this match, so being clinical would give them the edge. This will prove to be a big test for this Juve squad.

MATCH PREDICTION

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This match should be a very close one. I don’t see either club blowing out the other. As much as Roma is in decent form and are really coming into their own under Paulo Fonseca, I see Juve winning this match 2-1. Just because upfront, they’re on a roll and I don’t see how Roma can contain their frontline.

Three Reasons Why Zlatan Ibrahimovic Will Help AC Milan

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For the past couple of years, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been rumoured to be rejoining AC Milan. However, that hasn’t happened until now! On January 3rd, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was once again presented to Rossoneri fans. Since this signing, a lot of people have given their opinions on him. So, here are the three reasons why I think he’ll be a good signing for AC Milan!

1. He’ll Bring Leadership and a Winning Mentality to this Group

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For some people, Zlatan Ibrahimovic can seem arrogant. Despite that, you can’t deny that he’s a natural winner. He’s won league titles in four different countries. He’s also had six seasons throughout his career where he’s scored 25 goals or over. So, it’s no secret that he has a proven track record of success. I don’t think that he’ll lead AC Milan to a Champions League place for next season. But, I do believe that he’ll elevate the level of the squad and be a great leader for them. Once other players on the squad see his work ethic and his motivation to be the best, it’ll rub off on the squad very quickly. His presence should significantly improve their place in the Serie A standings.

2. The Club Will Make Revenue Off Him

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It’s easy to see why Ibrahimovic is a good signing on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, he should definitely help AC Milan make tons of revenue. There are so many ways for them to make more revenue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Merchandise with his name on it should sell out like crazy ticket sales should also definitely increase significantly. Also, he should be able to increase AC Milan’s following on all of its Social Media platforms. That increase in the following will also lead to more companies wanting to advertise themselves on AC Milan’s Social Media platforms. Therefore, it will pull in more revenue for AC Milan right now.

3. He’ll Help Improve the Rossoneris Results

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Coming into this season, AC Milan were expected by many to compete for a spot in next season’s Champions League. However, this season has become a complete mess for this iconic club. But, Zlatan Ibrahimovic can change that. There’s a very small chance that AC Milan will compete in a European competition next season, based on the current table. However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic can definitely somewhat save this season for AC Milan. I don’t think he can fully save it. But, if they play in the Europa League next season, it’ll turn out to be a decent season for them. It’ll be interesting to see if he can somehow elevate their game.

Three Current Players I’d like to see Play in Serie A

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It’s official! Franck Ribery, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Romelu Lukaku will all be playing against each other in the same domestic League for the first time ever! That league is, of course, the wonderful Serie A. As a result of these players joining Serie A at the same time, I’m writing about three other ones I’d like to see play in Italy. So, enjoy!

1. KYLIAN MBAPPE

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The legend of Kylian Mbappe keeps growing at a fast rate. At 21, he’s already won the World Cup as well as three Ligue 1 titles with both Monaco and PSG. He definitely boasts an impressive resume for his age. That is exactly why I’d love to see him play at a Serie A club. Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, and Kylian Mbappe playing in the same league. That’d be something remarkable and I hope it happens. However, the big limitation to trying to buy the player is his price. He was purchased by PSG in 2017 for 145 Million Euros plus 35 Million Euros in bonuses. Also, he keeps getting better by the day, so, I’m not sure which Serie A clubs can afford to buy him without selling many of their key players. But, it’s a dream of mine for this young star to grace the calcio fields of Italy.

2. LIONEL MESSI

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As of now, it’s very difficult to see Lionel Messi going to another club other than Barcelona. Indeed, the loyalty he has for the club seems unbreakable. However, in 2005, Inter were nearly able to sign the young Lionel Messi. That’s in the past now, but, I’d still love to see him play in Serie A, not just because of his technical abilities or dribbling technique, but also because it’d be cool to see him pursuing a new challenge in his career. What better challenge than to play in Italy? Lionel Messi would also join many other Argentinean legends by playing in Italy. However, it is still only a dream, as, like I mentioned earlier, I can’t see him ever leaving Barcelona to go to another club.

3. KEVIN DE BRUYNE

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It’s an interesting thing to say, but, compared to the other players in this article, I’d say Kevin De Bruyne is the most likely to make a move to Serie A. His price would be crazy. However, he would definitely be cheaper than the other two players. Also, while, he has won a bunch of silverware for Manchester City, I feel like he’s the type of player to want a new challenge. Maybe, if Manchester City plateaus with their current group, he’ll want higher level trophies such as Europa League or even Champions League trophies. A move to Serie A for Kevin De Bruyne would depend on if Man City keeps achieving the level of success that they have for the past couple of seasons. Hopefully, this move happens in the near future.

How Serie A Clubs Will Do in the Champions League Knockout Round

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Something remarkable has happened in the Champions League this season! That something, is the fact that there will be three Serie A clubs in the round of 16 this season in the Champions League. For Serie A fans, it’ll be more fun than usual to watch. So, here’s how far I think the Serie A clubs will do in the round of 16.

ATALANTA

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Earlier this week, Atalanta qualified for the Champions League in a triumphant fashion against Shakhtar Donetsk. It was absolutely amazing, to say the least! There were videos of Atalanta fans as well as players and staff celebrating this remarkable accomplishment. Now, they will be in the round of 16 for the first time in their history. They are coming in hot, as well. Based on the way they’re playing right now, many clubs should be scared to face them. However, I don’t think they’ll make it past the round of 16. I understand that they’re in pretty good form right now, however, I feel that their lack of experience in this type of situation is why they won’t advance past the round of 16. Sorry, La Dea fans!

NAPOLI

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There’s been a lot of drama surrounding Napoli lately. The players reportedly rebelled against Aurelio De Laurentiis and Carlo Ancelotti got sacked this week as well. So, it’s been an interesting few weeks for Napoli. However, fans will be happy that they went undefeated in the Champions League Group Stage and are now in the round of 16. Yes, Gattuso isn’t experienced as a manager at all with a club in the Champions League. However, based on how they’ve performed in the Champions League this season, no top club will want to face them. They’ll be a tough squad to beat, especially this season. That’s why I think they’ll make it through to the quarterfinals this time.

JUVENTUS

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If you didn’t know too much about Juventus and you based your knowledge off of what Bianconeri fans and pundits say, you’d think Juventus are doing terrible and they’re in a crisis. However, that’s not the case at all. Yes, they currently sit in second in Serie A and still have deficiencies in their Midfield, but, they went undefeated in the Champions League Group Stage. They also came in first in their group. Which, leads me to believe they’ll make it far in this competition. In my opinion, there’s no reason why Juve shouldn’t at least make the semifinals. I actually predict they’ll make the Champions League finals this season. Despite, their deficiencies in the midfield, I think they’ll continue to improve over the season under Sarri and should find themselves in Istanbul on May 30, 2020.

Here’s a video of Atalanta Fans Celebrating after they qualified to the round of 16! Video Credit: YouTube-Light Yagami

The Most Disappointing Serie A Clubs So Far This Season

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Last week, I published an article of who I thought were the most impressive Serie A clubs so far this season. However, in this article I will be writing about who I think have been Serie A’s biggest disappointments this season. So, here they are! Enjoy!

SAMPDORIA

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Sampdoria’s start to the season was worst than I think anyone could’ve imagined. They had only won 2 matches in their first 8 under Di Francesco. After that horrible run of form, Eusebio Di Francesco got sacked and in came Claudio Ranieri. Ranieri has only earned two wins so far as Sampdoria’s managers. However, they’re steadily improving. Their place in the standings is not where they should be at all, despite their improvement. They currently sit one point above the relegation zone in 17th, which is disappointing, considering at the beginning of the season, I thought they’d be able to challenge for a spot in a European competition. It could still very well happen, however with Quagliarella not scoring like last season, I don’t see anyone bailing them out enough for that to be possible.

UDINESE

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For me, at least, coming into this season I would’ve thought Udinese would fight for a midtable place in the Serie A. However, fast-forward to their current situation and they sit in 16th, only being 4 points from relegation. Their current position is very surprising, considering, some of the talent they have. For example, a player like Rodrigo De Paul is very underrated, in my opinion and may very well leave Udinese soon if they are this low in the standings down the road. However, there are rumors linking him with a January move to Inter. I’m hoping that this iconic club stays up. But, if they continue to play the way they are, I don’t see it. Indeed, they’ve developed some great players such as Dino Zoff, Alex Meret, Antonio Di Natale, etc. It’d definitely be a tragedy if they were to go down to Serie B.

AC MILAN

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At the start of this season, many thought that while AC Milan was going through a rebuild, they’d Challenge for a Champions League spot. However, as of now, they are in 10th place and their performances this season have been consistently underwhelming. Yes, they seem to be improving under Stefano Pioli, however, they’re still not performing as expected. Gennaro Gattuso may have said why he resigned as the rossoneri’s manager last summer. But, now many are starting to realize what he said about the players was true. There’s still a long way to go before the season is done and dusted, however, they need to improve immensely before the end of the season. A signing of a certain someone in January may help them. That someone would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

NAPOLI

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If you were to look at Napoli’s results in the Champions League this season, you’d think they’d be scudetto contenders. However, it’s not been like that at all. They’ve been very disappointing this season. So much so that they fired Carlo Ancelotti earlier this week and replaced him with Gennaro Gattuso. There are many reasons people think as to why this has been a disastrous season for Napoli, so far. A big portion of the blame is going to some of the core players that have been underperforming. There are also several other reasons why they’re underperforming. However, if Napoli want to be scudetto contenders this season, they’ll have to improve immensely. With the squad that the club has, there’s no excuse not to finish in the top 3, in my opinion.

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The Most Impressive Clubs So Far This Season in Serie A

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Like every season, there’s been several surprises so far. However, it seems as though there has been more surprisingly overachieving clubs than usual, this season. Here’s who I think have been the most impressive Serie A clubs, so far this season.

HELLAS VERONA

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Many Serie A fans would’ve thought that coming into this season, Hellas Verona would battle relegation throughout. However, they’ve proved so many wrong and may challenge for a spot in a European competition if they continue like this. They currently sit in ninth in the standings. The interesting part of Hellas Verona is the fact that they don’t possess any notable players. But, they’re getting the job done and that’s what matters the most. Well see if they can avoid a relegation battle throughout the rest of this season.

CAGLIARI

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When Nainggolan was loaned to Cagliari, it seemed as if his biggest motivation was to prove Inter wrong. So far, him and Cagliari are doing just that. Yes, Cagliari sold their star player last season, Nicolo Barella. However, they’re boasting players such as Joao Pedro, Giovanni Simeone, and of course Radja Nainggolan, who are taking the league by storm. Also, they boast some decent veterans such as Ragnar Klavan and Luca Cigarini as well. All in all, they’re a very underrated squad and at this rate, they have a good chance of being in the Europa League next season. They’re also challenging for the Champions League, so watch out for this squad.

LAZIO

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So far, Lazio looks like a very tough club to face. Ciro Immobile has scored the most goals out of all players in Europe’s top 5 leagues, this season. Once again, he is feeling it. They also sit 3rd in the Serie A table and are an exciting club to watch. They play a very offensive style. Also, unlike past seasons, it seems they’ve found a defender who can be a rock for them at the back. Right now, that’s Francesco Acerbi. They also possess Joaquin Correa who plays as a forward. Him and Immobile seem to complement each other’s games. They also a boast a midfield that has the highly touted? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, as well as Luis Alberto, who is massively underrated. It’ll be tough, however if they can keep being this consistent, we’ll see them in the Champions League next season.

INTER

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Inter has a very good manager in Antonio Conte at their disposal. However, despite that, I predicted they’d finish in third before the season started. But, Inter is definitely proving me wrong by a wide-margin. Antonio Conte has gotten this squad to play how he wants them to already. Also, although Barella and Sensi are currently injured, they’ve been a massive part of this midfield that has dominated many other Serie A sides. Upfront, with Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, they’ve been pretty good, as well. That midfield is a big part of it, in my opinion. Not to take away either from Martinez or Lukaku, but the service that midfield has provided to those two is a big part of why they’re playing tremendously right now. As for their backline, nothing needs to be said. Many expected that backline to be a wall and it has lived up to that, so far. We’ll see if they’re able to get enough points to win Serie A’s iron throne this season. One thing is for sure, it’ll be a tough fight, but one they’re winning as of now.

3 Reasons Why Juventus Has Been Quietly Successful Under Sarri So Far

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Many fans of the bianconeri have been complaining that so far, the style of play Juve has implemented under Sarri hasn’t looked different than that of Allegri’s. However, despite that, Juve is undefeated in all competitions. They’ve also sealed first in their Champions League group. But, Juve has not been as heavily talked about this season compared to the last, at least from what I’ve heard and witnessed. In the summer of 2018, Juve signed CR7. Within the season that proceeded, it seemed as if all eyes were on Juve to finally triumph and win the Champions League. But, it didn’t end up happening and Massimiliano Allegri got sacked the following summer. This season, Sarri has guided Juve to massive wins and they’re doing it very quietly, which makes them scary to face. So, here are 3 reasons why I think Sarri has led them to being undefeated , thus far.

Reason #1: Sarri Has Revitalized Dybala’s Career

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Last season, Dybala did not start as much many would’ve wanted him too, as Allegri decided to play a 4-3-3 formation, which led him to be an outcast. Even during this past summer, there were rumors that Dybala would be sold to numerous clubs. Among the clubs rumoured to be interested in Paulo Dybala were Tottenham and ManU. However, Dybala stayed put in Turin and already has 4 goals and 1 assist in 11 Serie A appearances. Last season, he got 5 goals and 4 assists in 30 total appearances in Serie A. This demonstrates that Sarri has gotten the best out of Dybala. Sarri has been consistently deploying a 4-3-1-2 formation for Juve this season, which suits Dybala’s style of play. Dybala has been playing as one of the two strikers up top. The reason this formation is the most beneficial for him is because he’s a very technical player, whose also a great play maker. As a result, putting him as one of the two players up front as a support striker allows him to playmake freely, as he’s used to doing. Also, he’s a very good goalscorer, so putting him up front takes the load off of Gonzalo Higuain, who is typically the other player up top with him.

Reason#2: Maurizio Sarri Has Allowed Juve To Have More Creativity in their Midfield

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Yes, Juve’s midfield is still missing another creative spark. That’s just my opinion. However, Sarri has allowed Juve’s midfield to become more creative in the opponent’s half. He hasn’t really deployed his famous “sarriball” at Juventus yet, as the midfield overall, doesn’t fit this type of system. However, from what I’ve noticed, they’ve looked more fluid. Maybe, it’s because Dybala has been starting more or for other reasons. But, for me the big reason Sarri has allowed Juve’s offense to look more fluid this season is because of the formation change. From reading this article, you probably think my favourite formation for any club coach to deploy is the 4-3-1-2, however that’s not always the case. It’s just that in this instance, having that central-attacking midfielder or better known in Fifa as CAM, has provided a link between Juve’s central midfielders and attackers. As a result, the service the attackers have received has improved from last season. My opinion is that if a club has a midfield who doesn’t have enough flair to provide adequate service to the players upfront, a CAM is needed so that there’s that extra creativity, if necessary. It seems to have been working under Sarri so far, let’s see if it continues.

Reason#3: Maurizio Sarri Has Made Them Less Dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo to Score

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I’m sure this is a very unpopular opinion and I may get some flack for it, however, I think that a big reason why Sarri has been successful with Juve thus far, is that he’s limited the over-reliance on Cristiano Ronaldo to provide offense. I don’t believe that Sarri has tried to undermine Cristiano Ronaldo, I think he’s attempted to coordinate the offense so that there’s less responsibility on CR7 to generate the majority of it himself. Unfortunately, last season under Allegri, Dybala under-performed, Higuain was on loan, Douglas Costa was often injured, and Mandzukic also underperformed. As a result, Ronaldo had to carry the majority of the offensive load for Juve. Yes, at Real Madrid, CR7 had to carry their offense load as well, during his last couple of seasons with the club, however, at least he had adequate service from the midfield to do that. Last season at Juve, the service to the players upfront wasn’t great. Unfortunately, that forced Cristiano Ronaldo to have to be more of a playmaker than he normally would be. In his prime, CR7 was a very technical and creative player. However, he’s a bit past his prime and doesn’t have the speed he once had. Therefore, when they centred the offense around him and didn’t get the best out of the other players upfront, it wasn’t beneficial for the club at all. Sarri has implemented a system to ensure that there’s less pressure on one particular player to generate offense in the opponent’s half. It has definitely yielded better results this season than the last one, so far. This is especially true in the Champions League for Juve.

Three Serie A Clubs Where Pochettino Should Manage

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Just in case you haven’t heard, Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked as Tottenham’s manager and Mourinho is now his successor. I’m currently running poll on my Twitter account @calciofanblogs1, asking which Serie A club Pochettino should manage next. As a result, I decided to write an article about the three clubs in Italy that I think Pochettino Should manage. So, here they are!

1. ATALANTA

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Atalanta currently sit fifth in the Serie A standings. However, they don’t seem to be in crisis mode, as they are two points off of a Champions League spot and Duvan Zapata is out with an injury. So, it’s not like Gasperini is under the hotseat. However, if Gasperini leaves within the next couple of seasons for some reason, Pochettino would be the perfect successor. Most likely, Atalanta would be playing in a European Competition. Also, domestically, Atalanta would most likely be challenging for a Champions League spot. Therefore, it would be a great place to manage. Pochettino wouldn’t have the pressure that he might have managing other clubs in Italy.

2. AC MILAN

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Based on the way AC Milan has played this season and the last several ones, I’m sure fans would love for Mauricio Pochettino to manage their club. I feel that this would be more of an immediate appointment, as they desperately need a top level manager. However, there is one big problem that might hinder Mauricio from managing AC Milan. That big issue is the fact that they aren’t playing in any European Competition this season and have a good chance of not doing the same next season. The challenge of this job would definitely be immense for Mauricio Pochettino. However, if he were to succeed at this project, he would become a legend to AC Milan fans. Also, AC Milan are at a low point in terms of results, therefore, the expectations probably won’t be unreasonable for him to accomplish.

3. NAPOLI

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Current, Carlo Ancelotti finds himself on the hotseat as Napoli’s manager, as they’re in seventh in the Serie A table and haven’t really looked as they should on the pitch this season. If Napoli continues this poor run of form under Ancelotti, Pochettino would be an ideal replacement for him. If you really think about it, his situation at Napoli wouldn’t be too different than what it was at Tottenham . Yes, there is a bit of a difference because Napoli has actually won a couple trophies within the last five years. However, they are similar in that they’ve both consistently qualified for the Champions League, recently. Theyve also challenged for their respective domestic titles in recent years. Pochettino will also have a pretty skilled squad at his disposal. It’d be a challenge, however, not as much as some other clubs he’s been linked to.

Twitter Poll

My Preview of Napoli against Genoa

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Coming into Saturday’s match, both Genoa and Napoli are going through some interesting times. Genoa recently hired Thiago Motta to be their new bench boss and seem to be feeling good lately. Whereas, Napoli seem to have been struggling on the pitch lately and the relationship between their upper-management and players has taken a bad turn. However, anyway you sum it up, it should be a beautiful game of calcio to watch. So, here’s my preview of this match for both clubs.

NAPOLI

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Napoli are currently sitting at seventh in the Serie A table. They have also only won one Serie match in their last five. Add to that, all the drama that’s currently happening between Napoli’s board and players and you get a mini- crisis out of it. It is very possible that this club could go undefeated in their next 10 matches domestically, then this part of the season would be completely forgotten. But, right now it looks like a nightmare scenario for Napoli. Of course, there is still plenty of time for the season to unfold. But, it doesn’t look good for the partenopei. The thing that Napoli will need the most coming into this match, is for someone to step up and be clinical in front of goal, as that seems to be their most glaring weakness. We’ll see whether they can fix their lack of goalscoring.

GENOA

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When Aurelio Andreazzoli got sacked a few games before by Genoa, it seemed as though they were on track to be relegated. Then, Genoa hired Thiago Motta as their manager. Now, I’m not saying he won’t get them relegated. But, Genoa looks like they’re playing a lot better. It also seems as though, Thiago Motta is getting the squad to play more technical and pass the ball around a lot more often. As a result of that, they’ve kept possession a lot more under Thiago Motta, so far. During the first 8 matches under Aurelio Andreazzoli, Genoa averaged 50.62% possession of the ball. Whereas, in his first three matches, Thiago Motta has gotten Genoa to average 58.67% possession of the ball. Albeit, it’s a very small sample size, but it looks like this style of play is already bearing some fruit for the rossoblu. Here is a great example of that last week against Udinese:

Video Credit: YouTube- Sportmedia

2 Reasons Why Roma Is Surprising Serie A Fans

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So far, Roma seems to be impressing many Serie A fans. Before the season started, I predicted that Roma would qualify for the Champions League next season. However, it’s still early. Here are two reasons why I believe Roma is surprising calcio fans, thus far!

1. Paulo Fonseca’s Brilliance

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Despite the fact that Roma upgraded their backline over the summer, it still seemed very suspect on paper. However, it seems as though Fonseca has gotten the best out this backline, so far. In the last couple of seasons, Roma’s defence has looked vulnerable, but Fonseca has improved that backline. It also seems as though Roma’s midfield has been improving under Fonseca. Veretout and Mancini are very underrated and have been doing well in the midfield. Under Fonseca, they’ve improved in several different ways. If Fonseca keeps this up with this group of players, their potential is endless. Time will tell.

2. Roma’s Improvements on Defence

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When Roma signed Chris Smalling and Leonardo Spinazzola in the summer, I thought that they’d definitely be upgrades to Roma’s vulnerable backline. However, I didn’t anticipate that they’d be as good as they’ve been during this season. At Manchester United, Chris Smalling was used as a scapegoat for their recent lack of success. However, at Roma he’s definitely proved his doubters wrong. Even, Spinazzola has been superb, thus far. As a Juve fan, it’s still mind-boggling that they decided to sell him to Roma. He is very underrated and has looked better than he ever has been. This backline has proved many critics wrong and it’ll be interesting to see whether they can continue to do that.