Previewing Lazio Against Inter

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There are a lot of matches over the course of the Serie A season that are crucial. However, this one probably tops all of them so far. Both Inter and Lazio are competing in a tight scudetto race and this could be a deciding match in it. So, here’s the article of me previewing Lazio against Inter.

Lazio

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Coming into this match, Lazio are among the scudetto contenders. I assume that pundits and fans can’t believe it. However, they have the potential to win the Scudetto, for sure. Everything has been working out for them this season. Immobile is Serie A’s leading scorer with 25 goals thus far. His partner in crime, Joaquin Correa is doing decent as well. Things have definitely fallen in to place for them. Heading into this match, they’re undefeated in their last 5 league matches. Indeed, if they play as they have for the better part of the season, Inter will have a very difficult match on their hands. Consider, Lazio is playing Inter at the Stadio Olimpico as well.

Inter

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For Inter, this season has definitely been a good one so far. Yes, many expected them to be scudetto contenders this season. But, I don’t know who thought they’d make the title race this tight. Antonio Conte has definitely got the best out of his squad. Their defence and midfield are great sights to watch. Even, upfront both Lautaro Martinez and Romelu lukaku are having tremendous seasons. That striker duo has combined for 28 goals so far this season, which is very surprising. Coming into this match, they’ve been undefeated in the last 5 matches. However, out of those 5 matches, they’ve only got 2 wins. However, one thing is for sure and that’s the fact that this match will probably be Inter’s biggest challenge so far this season.

Comparing Atalanta and Roma’s Market Values from February 15, 2018 to now.

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Coming into this weekend’s match, both Atalanta and Roma are battling for the last Champions League spot for next season. For each of these clubs, this could be the most important match. It should be a good one. So here’s an article each club’s respective market value from February 15th, 2018 to February 15th, 2020. The market value is in US Dollars, so keep that in mind when you read this article.

Atalanta’s Market Value

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As a result of last season, Atalanta is in the Champions League for the first time in their history. That remarkable feat is definitely reflected in their market value. According to transfermarkt.us, on February 15, 2018, Atalanta’s club market value was $167.59 million . At that time, Atalanta was Serie A’s 8th most valuable club. Now, if you fast-forward a year later, their market value increased to $188.93 Million. However, as a result of them being in the Champions League this season, and possibly other factors, their market value is currently $328.79 million. Which, is a massive jump in value. From February 15, 2018, to February 18, 2020, Atalanta’s market value increased by 96.2 %, which is remarkable. Looks like things are looking up on and off the pitch for this club.

Roma’s Market Value

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Since 2018, Roma has qualified for the Champions League Semifinals as well as being in the competition every season other than this one since then. So, here is their market value from 2018-2020. On February 15th of 2018, their value was $378.84 million. That was a couple of months before they made it pretty far in the Champions League, of course. Their market value was forth-highest in Serie A at the time. Exactly, a year later in 2019, their market value was $438.24 million. However, they went down a place and we’re the fifth most valuable club in Serie A. Then, today their market value is $484.33 million. As a result, from February of 2018 to February of 2020, their market value increased by 27.8%. It’s obvious that since 2018, they’ve been doing well off the field. However, in the field, it hasn’t been that great.

As you can see, off the field Atalanta and Roma’s market values have increased since 2018. But, we’ll see how they do on the pitch when they face each other today.

Three Things Napoli Should Do to Turn Things Around This Season

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It’s no secret that Napoli hasn’t been stellar so far this season. Before the season started, I predicted that they’d be Juve’s number one title challenger this season. I was wrong and now for Napoli to qualify for the Champions League next season it’s next to impossible. As a result of this disastrous season for Napoli, I’m doing an article on three ways they can improve. So, get ready for me to be an armchair manager and armchair member of Napoli’s upper-management.

1. TRY TO SIGN A STRIKER IN THE WINTER TRANSFER WINDOW

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Like most things, this is way easier said than done. However, Napoli urgently needs a striker. Last summer and even the one before that, Napoli fans have been wanting their club to sign a proven striker. However, now that Mertens is out, it’s been even more noticeable. Milk has done pretty well and scored 7 goals in 10 game of action so far this season. But, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon, and Hirving Lozano have only combined for 8 goals in total, so far this season. For players who play as either wingers or strikers, that’s absolutely pathetic! They’re also tied for 8th most goals scored this season as a team with 28 goals, which highlights their problems even more. Listen, there are only close to two weeks left until the January Transfer Window is done, but Napoli’s upper-management should make buying a striker a priority this month.

2. BENCH LORENZO INSIGNE OR REMOVE HIM AS CAPTAIN

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Don’t get me wrong, I’ve admired Lorenzo Insigne as a player throughout his career. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. In this case, it holds true, as Insigne clearly hasn’t been near his best this season and maybe benching him will give him the motivation he needs to perform better. With only 4 goals and 3 assists so far this season, it’s obvious just how below par he’s performing. Also, by benching him and starting someone such as Hirving Lozano, it could improve their frontline and turn things around for them. One other thing that Napoli should consider is stripping his captaincy from him. Now, I’m not fully for this move, as it’s really drastic. But, ever since Hamsik left Napoli and the captain’s armband was given to Lorenzo Insigne, they haven’t performed how they should. There’s some food for thought for Gennaro Gattuso and other members of Napoli’s management.

3. PUT DI LORENZO BACK AT RIGHT-BACK

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Ever since 2020 began, Gattuso decided it’d be a good idea to place Giovanni Di Lorenzo at centre-back, instead of at right-back, where he seemed to be performing well. I understand that Koulibaly is injured. But, it’d be better to place Di Lorenzo at the position he was at before because he doesn’t look comfortable as a central defender. It’s only been a small sample size of two games, but Napoli clearly needs to string together some good results and this would definitely help. Luperto or Tonelli aren’t ideal options to replace injured Koulibaly for the time being. However, it’d be better to place players in that position that are used to playing as central defenders. If Gattuso implements this change, they may actually get the results they want and might actually move up in the Serie A table. Let’s hope Gattuso thinks about this before Napoli’s next match against Fiorentina

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

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.

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:

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Top 3 Italian Players in This Season’s Serie A So Far

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Right now, the Italian National team is going through a rebuild that is being led by Roberto Mancini. As a result, it seems that there are many talented players emerging from the shadows. Also, older players seem to back themselves after that disaster a couple years ago. So, here are my top 3 Italian Players in the Serie A, so far this season.

3. Andrea Belotti

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So far, il gallo (Andrea Belotti’s nickname), has looked very impressive. So far, he’s looked very similar to how he did in the 2016-2017 season, when he scored 25 goals in the Serie A. However, it’s still early. He has also scored 4 goals in Italy’s qualifying campaign, thus far. He looks like he just can’t stop scoring and he may the reason that Torino gets a spot in a European competition next season. I wouldn’t put it past him and his club to accomplish something like that.

2. Ciro Immobile

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Once again, Ciro Immobile is on fire for Lazio. He’s currently the leading scorer in Italy with 8 goals and it’s almost like defenders can’t stop him. However, one common theme over Ciro Immobile’s career has been that outside of the Serie A and Serie B, he’s struggled. When he played for Sevilla and Dortmund he struggled. Also, when he’s been called up to the Italian national squad, he has struggled time and time again. However, his domestic this season has been unreal. That’s why he’s been my second best Italian player so far in this Serie A campaign.

1. Stefano Sensi

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When Inter signed Stefano Sensi over the summer, I don’t think they knew exactly how good he can be. So far this season, he’s scored 3 goals and 2 assists. However, he doesn’t play as an attacker so that’s not as valid. But, one thing that has impressed me about him is how dangerous he looks when Inter are attacking. He tends to draw defenders to him, as he dribbles the ball deep into Inter’s half. Then, in dangerous areas, defenders get drawn to him, so he gives the ball to his other teammates in these parts of the field. Therefore, making him so dangerous. He’s played so good this season that I wonder if he would’ve changed the match for Inter if he wasn’t injured early on against Juve. Either way, he’s definitely been the best Italian player in the Serie A, so far. At least, that’s my view.

How I Became a Juve Fan

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I’ve made it no secret on my blog website, that I’m a bianconero. Indeed, I’ve been a Juventus fan since 2006. It has come with many moments of heartbreak and joy, however, I wouldn’t change it for anything. So, here’s why I became a Juventus fan as well as when I started liking calcio.

THE ORIGINS OF MY SERIE A FANDOM

Basically, ever since I was born, I’ve been a Serie A fan. Growing up, I was born into a family that really liked the Toronto Maple Leafs and of course, calcio. However, it wasn’t until 2006 that I started to become a Juve fan. I remember that when I was growing up, I would wake up early to watch the first Serie A matches of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. This even happens now. I remember, I’d try to watch as many matches as possible. For me, it was something I fell in love with early on. Occasionally, I would watch an English Premier League match, however, it never compared to watching the Serie A, in my opinion. Indeed, I’ve watched Serie A when the likes of Maldini, Del Piero, Totti, Inzaghi, and Figo were in the league to now when Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Insigne are playing in Italy. It’s been a lifelong passion for me and I will keep it that way.

HOW I BECAME A JUVE FAN

Growing up, members of my family were usually either Lazio or Napoli fans. That has to do with the fact that on my mom’s side my nonni (grandparents) came from the province of Frosinone, which is in the province of Lazio. Also, on my dad’s side, my Nonna (grandmother), came from a small town in the region of Campania. My Nonno (grandfather) on my dad’s side, came from a small town in the province of Cosenza in the region of Calabria. So, it’s understandable why many of my relatives root for Napoli and Lazio.

Until a certain moment in 2006, I didn’t have a specific club I was rooting for. However, in February of 2006, I remember watching a huge match between Juve and Inter, which was big for both clubs, as, at that time it would possibly decide the Scudetto winner that season. It was tied 1-1 and my favourite player of all-time, Del Piero, was taking a freekick that was pretty late in the game. Of course, he scored it with ease and Juve ended winning that game 2-1. However, that very moment is when I became a Juve fan.

For the record, I’ve always admired Del Piero as a kid, even before I became a Juve fan. He’s my favourite football player of all-time. But, for some reason that one moment of his is when I became a Juve fan. Ever since then, I’ve become a huge bianconero. However, there is one thing I’d like to see Juve do one day and that’s winning the Champions League. As much as I’ve witnessed some incredible moments as a Juve fan, that would be beyond incredible. I hope it happens in the near future.

3 Takeaways From Last Weekend’s Serie A Action

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Like usual, this past weekend of Serie A matches were amazing! As a result of the matches this past weekend, there were two managers fired, as well. This made this past weekend’s fixtures seem even more fascinating. So, here are 3 of my takeaways from last weekend’s Serie A matches!

 

1. JUVE SHOWED WHY THEY’VE KEEP WINNING THE SERIE A TITLE WHEN THEY FACED INTER.

 

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This past weekend, Juve were victors in the Derby D’Italia, beating Inter 2-1. However, this match demonstrated why they’ve won the scudetto 8 consecutive times. Not only did they get the job done, but they dominated such a big match in the Serie A. I’ve had my doubts about Maurizio Sarri ever since he got appointed to be the manager of the bianconeri. However, it seems as though the squad is beginning to learn how to fit within his system. In my view, Juve’s defence still needs work. However, Bonucci looks as though he is becoming comfortable with leading that backline. Despite, Juve’s key injuries, they don’t look like they’re missing a beat, whatsoever.

2. SAMPDORIA NEED TO GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER QUICKLY

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Last season, Sampdoria seemed like they had so much upside under Giampaolo. Then, he left and they appointed Eusebio Di Francesco. I must admit that before the season started, I had written a blog post that mentioned Sampdoria as being underrated with Di Francesco as their manager. However, I was completely wrong and instead, he was a bust at Sampdoria. After, only leading Sampdoria to one win in his seven matches on the touchline, it was inevitable that he’d be sacked and he was. Now, Sampdoria will need to get back to how they played last season if they want to finish in a mid-table spot by the end of the season. They will need to fix their issues fast, as they are currently on track to be relegated to Serie B by the end of this season.

3. AC MILAN WON AGAINST GENOA, BUT GIAMPAOLO IS NO LONGER THEIR MANAGER

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AC Milan has now gone through 8 different managers in 5 years as a result of this sacking. The weird part is that AC Milan’s upper-management decided to sack Giampaolo after they won against Genoa last Saturday. However, it is not surprising, as AC Milan’s upper-management seems to not have had patience with their managers over the past several seasons. I understand that under Giampaolo, AC Milan were performing way below par, but they should’ve given him more time to implement his philosophy with the squad. However, the club’s board has clearly not possessed patience for a while, in regards to the managers they’ve hired. As a result, they are a mess and all I will say to AC Milan’s new manager is good luck because whoever it is, will need a ton of it.