Two Reasons Why Napoli Needs to Beat Juve

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Image Credit: http://90min.com

Today, two Italian football giants will face off with each other at the Stadio San Paolo, which is Naples. However, if there’s any club that needs to win this more, it’s definitely Napoli. So, here are two reasons why they desperately need to win this game.

1. To Move Up in the Serie A Table

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Something that is obvious that Napoli needs to do is move up in the Serie A table. What better way to do that than beat your rivals, Juve, at your home stadium? They need the points and beating Juve could possibly move them up in the Serie A table. If they do win this match they could possibly overtake Fiorentina, who is above them in 12th. It’s definitely obvious for many Serie A and Napoli fans that the Azzuri (one of Napoli’s nicknames), is way below what they’re supposed to be this season. Of course, as I just said above moving up in the standings is a reason why they need to beat Juve.

2. To Boost the Morale of the Squad

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One thing that seems to be a problem with this Napoli squad is their morale. They’ve gotten a result here and there, however, based on the talent of the squad their morale seems low based on results this season. A win against Juve may only be a one-off. However, a win in this match could also significantly boost their morale and may kickstart a turning point to their season. Beating the reigning Serie A champions could change their season for the better and in the end, they could qualify for European competition for next season. It’ll be interesting to see if Napoli can get a result in this massive game.

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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

Image Credit: http://asromacalcio.com

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

Image Credit: http://acmilaninfo.com

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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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

Image Credit: sportsnet.ca

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.

3 Ways the Serie A and Clubs Within it Can Produce More Revenue

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         Allianz Stadium Interior

                                    Image Credit: stadiumjourney.com

Serie A is a great league. One of those reasons is because of the passion of its fans as well as the beautiful football that is played. However, from a business standpoint, clubs within the league as well as the league itself, need to find a way in which to make more revenue, as it is seemingly clear that they’re falling behind a few of the other leagues in this regard. So, here are three ways in which the Serie A as well as clubs within it can make more revenue.

           1. Promote the League in Different Countries Around the World 

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                                                       Image Credit: sportsnet.ca

Over recent summers, it seems as though the Serie A is beginning to promote their clubs around the world in Countries such as the United States, China, India, Qatar and a couple others. However, if Serie A and the clubs within it want to promote the league in more countries, they need to do it in ones that they either haven’t hosted preseason matches in or where they haven’t had matches  in a while. I’ve previously written a blog post on three countries where I think Serie A clubs  should have  preseason matches. I do believe that promoting Italian soccer within these countries will assist the Serie A in making more revenue. For example, if there were Serie A preseason matches in Argentina, it could lead to new fans of the league within the country. Also, it could become so popular to watch, that it would lead to more deals within Argentina  between the Serie A and cable TV stations in the country. This would bring in more revenue for the league and each club within the league would get a share of the money. This would also allow clubs within the league to spend more on buying players as well as training facilities, marketing, etc.

2. Renovate Existing Stadiums/Building New Ones 

   Allianz Stadium Interior

                                                 Image Credit: stadiumjourney.com

According to football-italia.net, there has been recent changes to Italian laws. So, more investment via private entities is allowed to go into stadiums. This is huge! This could be massive because now clubs in Italy will make more revenue for themselves when building/renovating stadiums. The reason for this is because owners of clubs in Italy will be allowed to invest more in building stadiums, therefore, there would be more money going in their pockets, leading to more revenue being earned for the club. Also, having a new/recently updated stadiums could possibly increase Serie A’s average attendance. According to statista.com, the average attendance at Serie A stadiums last season was 25, 237 people. Which, was the fourth highest average attendance per game among all soccer league in the worlds. Unfortunately, the Bundesliga, the Premier League, and La Liga beat the Italian league in this regard. However, newer stadiums may convince more fans to attend matches, which would bring in additional revenue to Serie A clubs.

     3. Attract More Big Name Players to the League 

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                                               Image Credit: en.as.com

I understand that a lot of big name stars are not affordable  for most clubs within Serie A. However, once there is more money from television deals and newer stadiums, more clubs within the league will be able to afford more well-known stars. I’m not saying Serie A clubs need to attempt to buy someone like Mbappe, but there’s other stars that could be attracted to the league that are more affordable. For example, someone such as James Rodriguez, who was almost bought by Napoli last summer, is affordable for many clubs within the league. There’s a good chance he wouldn’t cost 100 million Euros in the transfer market, so, if certain clubs are willing to pay significantly less, he could boost the revenue for the club that buys him as well as possibly elevate the team to new heights. Look, I’m not saying he’s at Messi or Ronaldo’s level, but he’s an affordable soccer star that would bring in revenue for many Serie A clubs. Just his name on a club’s merchandise alone, would be beneficial for their balance sheet.

Thanks for reading this blogpost! This was my first crack at the business side of things relevant to Serie A. Feedback would be much appreciated! Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram @calciofanblogs and on Twitter @calciofanblogs1. Be sure to like and follow my page on Facebook called Calcio Fan Blogs, as well to connect with my LinkedIn, which is Joseph Porco.

Previewing Lazio vs. Roma

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                        Image Credit: http://www.90min.com

     The event of the day in Rome will happen at 12 pm Eastern time today and should not disappoint. Both clubs will want to get ahead, as they’re going to most likely compete for a spot to qualify for the Champions League next season. This blog post will preview both Lazio and Roma heading into this match!

    Previewing Lazio Heading Into This Match

    The Derby della Capitale should be a cracker. Lazio made a huge statement in their opening match of the season, as they won 3-0. Immobile looked in his usual form and Lazio didn’t look vulnerable whatsoever in this match. However, Roma is definitely a tough opponent and based on the way they play, it’ll be a handful to deal with for Lazio. Lazio has also tended to be inconsistent over the last few seasons, which has prevented them from qualifying into the Champions League. Fans of the blucerchiati are hoping that they will brush off that inconsistency and take Rome’s biggest derby. It’ll be fascinating to watch.

Previewing Roma Heading Into This Match 

    After Paulo Fonseca’s first game in charge of Roma, one thing has become clear. The need for an upgrade of their backline is necessary. They were at home last week and still managed to only get a draw vs. Genoa. Against Lazio, they will need to immensely improve their defensive tactics because their local rivals have a significantly better attack than Genoa. However, they did sign Chris Smalling from ManU on a loan. That should help their defense, for sure. But, who knows if he’ll be in their starting lineup for the derby. Roma fans will be happy about their attack, though. They scored 3 goals and looked very fluid and dynamic. This front line can cause tons of harm to Lazio. However, in order to win this match, their defending will need to improve immensely from their first game of the season.

This match should be one to remember and I’m hoping both clubs will be at their best during it. Thanks for reading this blog post! Be sure to follow my blog. Follow my Instagram, @calciofanblogs, my Twitter, @calciofanblogs1 as well as liking and following my Facebook Page, Calcio Fan Blogs. Also, be sure to connect with my LinkedIn account, Joseph Porco.

Previewing Juve VS. Napoli

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                                            Image Credit: http://www.skysports.com

   There will be two amazing matches this upcoming weekend in Italy. The first one wil be between Napoli and Juve and the second one will be between Lazio and Roma. These should be awesome matches. I will preview the match between Juve and Napoli in this blog post. Then, in another blog post that will come out on Sunday at 10am Eastern time, I will preview the Lazio vs. Roma match. Anyways, let’s get back to this blog post!

                    Previewing Juve Before This Match 

It’ll be interesting to see who Juve places on the field in this crucial match. Last match, they got the job done in Parma and won 1-0. However, in that match, many of the new signings did not see gametime, which I found to be a bit odd. I hope we see some of Juve’s new signings play in this thrilling match! However, Sarri will not be behind the bench once again on Saturday, as he’s battling pneumonia. Last match, Juve did play the Sarriball style that we’ve been accustomed to seeing with Sarri as the bench boss. However, in the second half, it seemed as though they were a bit fatigued. Luckily, they were able to hold off Parma. Against Napoli, I want to see Juve be smarter with their pressing. By that, I mean if their midfielders and forwards press Napoli’s defense, their backline shouldn’t be so high up the pitch. I noticed that against Parma, Juve looked vulnerable to fast counter-attacks because their defense moved too high up the pitch, making it easier for them to be suspect on the defensive end. I understand that pressing an opposition’s defense high up the pitch is the style Sarri likes to use with his squads, however, if the backline maintains such a high line, they will get burnt. Napoli is the type of club that can make you pay for mistakes like that.

    Previewing Napoli Before This Match 

   In Serie A’s first week, Napoli showed that they can score, as they got 4 goals on-route to a 4-3 win vs. Fiorentina. It was a tough stadium to play in for Napoli, as they had not won in that place for 5 years before last Saturday. However, they got the job done. Against Juve, I’m hoping their new signing, Hirving Lozano, gets some time to shine on the pitch. He should be fun to watch. Also, I’m wondering how Ancelotti will get his players to approach this game, as they’ll be away in Turin at one of the toughest stadiums to win at in Europe. One thing is for certain, their defense really needs to improve if they are to send a message to the bianconeri and get a good result. While, Napoli’s offense looked like they were top class last week, their defense looked like the complete opposite. But, if I were Ancelotti, I’d take a more cautious approach to this game than last week because you don’t want to be vulnerable at the back with names like Cristiano Ronaldo and Douglas Costa coming at your backline.

   One thing about this game is certain, it will be an intense match. Both Napoli and Juve will want to get off on the right foot at the beginning of the season because it only gets more difficult to get results as the season goes along.

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Previewing Inter Milan vs. Lecce

Every other Serie A club will play on both Saturday and Sunday except for Inter Milan and Lecce. However, this match should be intriguing like the rest and is worth previewing. So, here is the preview of this Monday’s match for both clubs.

    Inter 

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       Image Credit: sempreinter.com

     Over the last couple of months, Inter has vastly transformed itself in terms of their manager, as well as some of their players. Before the summer transfer window, Inter hired the always animated, Antonio Conte, to be their man behind the bench. For many, this marks a change from Inter’s recent years, as Conte expects the best out of his players and doesn’t take any nonsense. Also, Inter have vastly transformed their player personnel on the field, too. First off, they’ve sold a key player in Radja Nainggolan and loaned out Ivan Perisic to Bayern Munich. They’ve also given Mauro Icardi, who was their star striker for many seasons, the number 7 to wear. Inter have signed some good players in Diego Godin, Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, and Romelu Lukaku over the course of the summer, as well. As a result of these changes, many within the nerazzuri fan base expect them to compete for the scudetto this season. Monday at the Stadio San Siro against Lecce will be a good test for them to begin to see if they’re capable of winning Italy’s coveted prize this season.

                                                                             Lecce 

Image result for diego farias lecce

Image Credit: trnews.it

        For Lecce’s fans and people who work for the club, this upcoming season may be very memorable. The club has been through trouble, as they’ve had to win promotion from Serie C (Italy’s third division) to Serie B (Italy’s second division) in the 2017-2018 season. Then, they finally got promoted to Serie A for this season. It will be very exciting for this club to be in Italy’s top flight once again, considering the struggle they’ve went through in recent years. However, they haven’t been very active in the summer transfer market. But, that is understandable considering they’re a newly promoted side.  Their first match will see them travel to Milan to face an Inter side that could challenge for this season’s scudetto. It’ll be a very steep test for this newly promoted club. However, they don’t have much expectations coming into this season, so they could very well catch Inter off guard. There is no doubt that they cannot miss a beat on Monday, if they’re going to get something out of it. However, sometimes low expectations can help clubs more than they hurt them.

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The Top 5 Managers Heading Into the 2019-2020 Serie A Season

Original Image Courtesy: dailystar.co.uk

If there’s anything that’ll improve in this upcoming Serie A campaign, it will be the quality of the managers. This season will see the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte , and many others battle it out for the coveted Serie A trophy. I can’t wait for it! So, here is what I believe are the top 5 Serie A managers heading into this upcoming season.

5. Maurizio Sarri

Many Juve fans will probably not agree with this. However, us bianconeri fans need to be realistic. Sarri does bring an exciting brand of football to Juventus, as it’s very focused on attacking and pressing the opposition’s defence. However, as a manager he does not beat these other men. He only has won one trophy as a manager and that was last season with Chelsea. He doesn’t seem as though he is good at changing or adjusting his tactics against other clubs. This is why he’s at the bottom of this list.

4. Eusebio Di Francesco

If you told me coming into this off-season that Eusebio Di Francesco would be managing Sampdoria, I would’ve thought you were nuts. With all due respect, he should be managing a club with a better squad. Di Francesco not only shocked the football world and led Roma to a Champions League semifinal, but he also led Sassuolo from Serie B to the Europa League within a couple seasons. He is truly a manager that can get the best out of a group of players. Under him, watch out for Sampdoria, as they could shock many Serie A fans.

3. Paulo Fonseca

Paulo Fonseca is a manager that has not been talked about too much coming into this upcoming season. He has won silverware in both Portugal and Ukraine as a manager. Also, when he was the manager of Shakhtar Donetsk, he led them into being a formidable force in the Champions League. They became difficult to beat for heavyweights in the competition. His counter-attacking style is also very lethal towards opposing players. Paulo Fonseca is one manager to watch for Roma heading into this season.

2. Antonio Conte

Some would argue that Antonio Conte should at the very top of this list. However, either way he is a top manager. He is infamous for being animated on the touchline during matches. But, that must work because he has won three Serie A titles with Juve as well as a league title with Chelsea. He definitely possesses the merit to manage a club such as Inter. Inter may not win the Serie A next season, but Conte will definitely make other clubs work to their fullest extent to beat them. Conte is able to get every ounce out of a club’s squad and I won’t expect any different from him at the helm of Inter.

1. Carlo Ancelotti

The top manager in this list has definitely won his fair share of silverware around Europe. He has been doing it for many years, as well. Carlo Ancelotti has won multiple Champions League trophies as well as having won league titles in 4 different countries. Many managers have a specific style of play they tend to implement. However, Ancelotti is unique because his style of play is based on whichever one suits the squad of players at his disposal. He is able to be successful by implementing various styles, which makes him the top Serie A manager heading into this season. As for Napoli, I’d say they could win the Serie A title, as they recently bought Kostas Manolas and are in the hunt to either buy James Rodriguez or Mauro Icardi. So, I’d say to Juventus to get ready for a tight title race against Ancelotti’s Napoli.

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Why Will The 2019 Copa America Be More Exciting Than Usual? Also, What Country Should Serie A Fans Be Rooting For in This Tournament?

Image Credit:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-6630407/Copa-America-2019-draw-Brazil-face-Bolivia-Venezuela-Peru.html

For many fans of the beautiful game like me, the Copa America is just as exciting as the European Cup. Although, Italy is not in the Copa America, it is still exciting to watch. It’ll the most exciting one yet for a couple of reasons, which I will explain below.

REASON#1: It’ll Be More Competitive Than Ever

The last two Copa America tournaments have been very competitive, as Uruguay won it in 2011 and Chile won it in 2015. However, expect this tournament to be even more competitive. I know that many will peg both Brazil and Argentina as the two favorites heading into this tournament. However, like the last two Copa America tournaments, other countries will be prepared to challenge them. But, unlike the previous two tournaments, this one will be more competitive. This was highlighted in the South American 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. The notorious Argentina team were about to not qualify for the 2019 World Cup, but the alien, Lionel Messi came through for them . Also, Peru qualified over a highly talented Chile team, which highlights just how competitive it is. Other than two out of the 12 countries in the tournament, this one seems like it is very open for the taking. Teams with the best talent may very easily lose or get eliminated, which makes this year’s Copa America stand out.

Reason#2: The Depth of Talent Will be Unique

There will be world-class talent on display in this year’s tournament. There is no doubt in my mind about that. But, the depth of talent will leave fans hungry for more. Of course, the likes of Argentina will boast elite talent. However, other countries such as Uruguay, Chile, and Colombia will boast some mouth-watering talent as well. The fact that Uruguay has two unreal strikers in Luis Suarez and Cavani or the fact that Colombia possesses the likes of James Rodriguez, Duvan Zapata, and Radamel Falcao, will make this tournament even more enjoyable to watch. This tournament will be one for the ages and I hope the people reading this will watch it.

The Country Serie A Fans Should Be Rooting For in This Year’s Tournament

If Argentina could have Mauro Icardi, Papu Gomez, and Paulo Dybala on their squad for this year’s Copa America, I’d consider rooting for them. However, the country I would recommend that Serie A fans root for is Colombia. This Colombia squad has a good chance of containing some exciting Serie A talent. If Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel don’t thrill you, then how about Juan Cuadrado or even Christian Zapata. While Argentina boasts way more current players in Italy, this Colombia squad should feature a couple of the most exciting and prominent players within the league. No matter how you size it up, Serie A fans will love this tournament because of all the prominent players from the league that will take part in it.

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3 Reasons Why Juventus Has a Good Chance of Winning the Champions League This Season

Juventus beat Atletico Madrid and got through to the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Tuesday, just in case you live under a rock. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo got a hat trick and the whole squad was on point. Heading into this season, I believed that Juve were one of the top 3 favorites to win the Champions League. This belief has become more apparent, at least for me, after Tuesday’s amazing match. I will discuss 3 reasons why I believe Juve’s odds of winning the Champions League has increased ever since yesterday’s match.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

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Image Credit: https://www.marca.com/en/football/international-football/2019/03/13/5c883ea1ca47417e108b463a.html




I know this is obvious to many fans of footy, but the fact that Juve not only bought CR7 in the summer as well as him having had such a great match on Tuesday, demonstrates that this generational talent gives Juventus a greater chance than ever to win the Champions League this season. Cristiano Ronaldo at 34 years of age is still a defender’s worst nightmare, which helps Juve. Cristiano Ronaldo also possesses the right mentality to win this competition, as he has won it 5 times in his career. Don’t get me wrong, without Ronaldo, the bianconeri (Juventus) still possesses a squad that is very capable of winning the Champions League, but having someone like CR7 at your disposal adds that extra oomph to the squad.

2. Juventus’ Squad Depth

Ronaldo said after the game: 'This is why Juventus signed me'
Image Credit: https://www.skysports.com/football/juventus-vs-a-madrid/403928

Generally, in any winning squad, there is always one player that stands out above the rest. But, in order for that star to be at his/her best they need teammates that can support them. As we have seen in this match and in many others over the past few seasons, Juventus has boasted tremendous squad depth. Even yesterday, both Juan Cuadrado and Douglas Costa could not play in the match because of injuries. However, Juve has so much squad depth that replacing them with Bernardeschi on the right-wing was no big deal and actually, some would argue that Federico Bernadeschi was Juve’s best player on Tuesday. It’s not just upfront, though. At the left-back position, Leonardo Spinazzola played over their regular starter Alex Sandro and played stellar too. This squad depth, as was shown on Tuesday, will give Juventus a good chance of winning the Champions League this season.

3. Juventus’ Heart and Determination

Maybe, it’s Juve’s manager Massimiliano Allegri or the players themselves, but in the Champions League, this club seems to show heart and determination even if they get eliminated in the competition. It’s like the heart and determination lives in the bloodstreams of players who wear the white and black jersey. We’ve seen countless examples of how this club demonstrates plenty of heart and determination and this season is no different. Juventus seem to be the type of club that can bend easily, but is very difficult to break. This is as a result of the club’s mentality. This will definitely help guide Juventus to winning their first Champions League title since 1996. I am hoping, as are many other fans, that Juventus pulls it off this season. Let’s hope it happens!

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