Reasons Why This Season Has Been a Success for Atalanta

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To say this has been a good season for Atalanta is an understatement. It’s been a great season! From currently being in a top-four spot in Serie A to qualifying for the Champions League Quarterfinals, it’s been spectacular. So, here the reasons why this season has been a success for Atalanta!

1. Gasperini’s Squad Management

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There are so many articles where I clearly admire Gasperini. See this article and others for reference! One particular aspect from him that I’ve really enjoyed this season, particularly, is how he’s been able to manage the squad. Many people like me, thought that Atalanta didn’t have the depth to compete in three competitions. However, Gasperini has rotated the squad so well that it’s hard to notice their depth issues. He’s been rotating his players particularly well at the attacking positions. But, in saying that, it helps when you have the likes of Papu Gomez, Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel, Josip Ilicic and a few others to lead your attack. If this season does in fact continue, the only question will be whether they can sustain this level of attacking prowess. But, either way, it’s been another successful season for them.

2. Atalanta’s Market Value Increase

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According to Transfermarkt, Atalanta’s current Market value as of April 1st is $364.76 million USD. On April lst 2019, their market value was $213.35 million USD. That’s approximately a 71% increase in market value. That’s remarkable! Their market value was eighth highest in Serie A on April 1st of 2019. But, on April 1st of 2020, their market value moved up to being seventh-highest in Serie A. This also demonstrates that when clubs get results on the field, results off the field tend to follow. I’m sure Atalanta’s owner, Antonio Percassi, as well as other stakeholders within the club, are enjoying that increase. I mean, who wouldn’t? Let’s hope their market value keeps increasing!

3. Atalanta’s Attack

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I’m no soccer analytics person. However, this season has seen plenty of goals from this la dea side. Once again this season, they’ve scored the most goals in Serie A. They’ve got 70 goals in 25 matches, so far. Last season the squad scored 77 goals in 38 Serie A matches. That’s amazing! Papu Gomez, Josip Ilicic, Luis Muriel, and Duvan Zapata have combined for 45 goals. That’s very impressive and consider the likes of Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel were injured for several matches during this season. This squad has made goalscoring look like an art form. When opponents face this club, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll concede a goal. If their attackers are on top of their game, it’s scary for any opponent to face.

The Most Exciting Serie A Clubs to Watch Over the Course of the Season

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This season has been exciting for a number of reasons. We don’t know what’ll happen with the rest of it, but, nonetheless, here are the clubs that I think have been the most exciting ones to watch over the course of this season.

Lazio

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What else is there to say to about this squad? Not only have they overachieved, but they’ve also been very exciting to watch. Week in and week out they’ve dominated the opponents they’ve faced. Whether Luis Alberto is making some amazing plays or Ciro Immobile is scoring some great goals, this squad is definitely exciting to watch. It doesn’t matter who they face, either. They play the same style no matter how good their opponent is. In other words, it’s constantly fun to have watched them on a weekly basis this season. I’m just hoping that they can keep a lot of their core group of players together in the future.

Parma

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From reading some of my blog posts, it’s obvious that I’m a fan of Parma’s squad and their manager, Roberto D’aversa. Read this article, to see how much I’m a fan of D’aversa’s Parma squad. Not only is he a great manager, but his squad is also super exciting to watch! They defend well and their counterattack is fast as well as fun to see. Their fast attacking players make you feel as though they’ll create something out of nothing. That’s why I think their attack is so exciting to watch. With Kulusevski in the midfield throughout the season as well as Gervinho in the attack, there’s no reason not to smile when watching this club.

Atalanta

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Watching this club under Gasperini has been mesmerizing. Despite, selling a lot of players over the past several seasons, they’ve maintained a high-level of attacking play that makes you want to watch every one of their matches. In February, they even outscored Valencia in the Champions League. Every time I watch them, I feel like they can pretty much outscore anybody. Yes, they tend to leave themselves vulnerable at the back. But, their attack makes up for it, results-wise, and for my own personal excitement. This squad never fails to amuse me.

Lecce

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If the season ends tomorrow, which it literally could in these circumstances, Lecce would be relegated. However, their relegation battle has not provided a shortage of excitement. On the turn of a dime, they can score on you. Unfortunately, they haven’t done that consistently enough. But, either way, they’ve provided tons of excitement. They may not have many players that stand out, but despite that, they play a fun brand of football. They kind of remind me of Benevento in the 2017/2018. Of course, Benevento got relegated to Serie B the next season. But, them and Lecce are fun to watch. It would suck to see this Lecce side not be in Serie B next season, as they’re very fun to watch.

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Previewing the Derby d’Italia

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It was officially announced yesterday, that the Derby d’Italia will be played behind closed doors on Sunday, March 8th at 3:45 pm Eastern Time. This means that there will be no fans attending the match. However, despite that, it’s still going to be such a crucial match. So, here’s my article previewing the Derby d’Italia!

Inter Milan

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The season is mostly finished and Inter has definitely looked better than the last several seasons. However, recently their form has dipped. In their last five Serie A matches, they’ve won two matches, they’ve lose two matches and drew a match. That form has led them to go down in the table. Currently, they sit third in Serie A. If Inter are to win this match, I’d advise Conte to not play the 3-5-2. Unfortunately, their wingbacks are vulnerable defensively, which will make this formation very tough to implement. Especially, against a side such as Juve. I’d also advise Conte to start Christian Eriksen in this match.

Juventus

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Juve fans like myself will find it tough to complement Juve’s season so far. They’ve looked a bit shaky. However, in Serie A, they’ve had a pretty good season through the majority of it. They’re one point clear at the top of the table. Their form hasn’t been superb in the league lately, as they’ve won three out of their last five matches. If I were to give advise to Maurizio Sarri, it’d be to implement the 4-3-1-2 for this match. Unfortunately, Juve doesn’t seem to have good enough wingers going forward to play the 4-3-3. In my opinion, I think the 4-3-1-2 works for them, as they’ve looked more fluid going forward.

Match Prediction

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Based on this match being played behind closed doors, the Derby d’Italia will definitely be different this time around. Juve won’t be about to feed off the energy of the crowd, as they do with most matches they play at the Allianz Stadium. Just because of that, I think it’ll be a 1-1 draw. Whatever the result, get ready for the popcorn. It should be awesome!

Four Reasons Why Lazio Has Surprised This Season

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If I’m being completely honest, I’ll admit that at the beginning of the season, I thought Lazio would finish outside of the top four. Fast-forward to March 1st and they are now scudetto contenders. For the past few seasons, they’ve finished in Europa League spots. It has completed changed this season. Here are the four reasons why they’ve surprised many this season.

1. Simone Inzaghi’s Tactical Flexibility.

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Ever since Simone Inzaghi took the reins behind the bench, I thought he’s been underrated. It’s been even more apparent this season. Whenever Lazio’s opponents seem to take leads on them, Inzaghi is very tactical flexible and can change their tactics on the fly. It’s absolutely remarkable! Simone Inzaghi has all got the best out of the players he has, which is always easier said than done. If Lazio keeps getting results, Simone Inzaghi should be the Serie A coach of the season, in my opinion.

2. Lazio’s Attack Has Been Spectacular

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Lazio’s attackers have been scoring like crazy this season. It’s been exciting to watch and it’s obvious opposing clubs would rather not face Lazio’s frontline. Also, consider, the likes of Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have contributed mightily to this already deadly attack. One thing is for sure, it’s highly-difficult to prevent Lazio from scoring on your club, as their attack is so deadly.

3. Lazio’s Midfield Has Been Deadly

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When another club faces Lazio, one thing that is very hard to do is contain their dynamic midfield. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic leads the Biancocelesti in the middle of the park. It’s amazing to watch on a weekly basis. The dynamism of their midfield is nearly flawless and the transition they create from midfield to attack is top-class. Luis Alberto has also been the best player to combine Lazio’s attack and midfield very well. Not a lot discuss this, but their midfield is very good at tracking back and assisting on the defensive end, which also makes them fun to watch.

4. Lazio’s Backline Has Been Solid

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Over previous seasons, a massive part of Lazio’s inconsistency has been their vulnerable backline. However, this season it’s been a completely different story. They’ve only conceded 23 goals in the league this season. That’s the Second lowest in Serie A. Francesco Acerbi has been the leader of a backline that’s been solid. Manuel Lazzari has looked the same. I’d argue that Lazzari and Acerbi have been the some of most underrated signings in the last Summer Transfer Window. They seem to have more structure at the back and they’re harder to break down. Combine all these reasons and you have a Lazio squad whose contending for the Scudetto and currently sit first in the Serie A table.

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.