My Five Serie A Manager of the Year Nominees

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This Serie A season may or may not be continuing after this tough time. However, in any case, the majority of the season has happened already. So, I’ve decided to nominate five managers of the year candidates. Here they are!

5. Paulo Fonseca

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Coming into this season, I expected Roma to barely get a place within the Serie A top 4. However, as of now, they aren’t. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster type of season for the giallorossi. But, they currently sit in fifth. A big reason for that has been the work of Paulo Fonseca. Roma’s backline is still suspect. But, it has definitely improved under Fonseca. Last season they scored a total of 66 goals, which was fourth-best in Serie A. This season they’ve scored 50 goals in 26 matches. So, they’ve definitely improved in that aspect. Their midfield has also stood out, as offensively the speed of their track has improved. Also, without the ball, the midfield looks better this season. Fonseca has elevated Roma this season. We’ll see what he does in the future for them.

4. Roberto D’aversa

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Roberto D’aversa’s Parma side hasn’t been talked about much this season. However, they’re definitely proving to be a formidable force within the league. Last season, Parma was only three points from relegation and ended up in 14th. This season, they’re way past being in the relegation zone. They currently sit in ninth. They’ve proved to be a difficult opponent for any club that faces them. Roberto D’aversa has made them tough to break down at the back. Also, they’re dangerous for any backline to face, as their counter-attack has lots of speed to it. Their biggest flaw is they don’t have a top goalscorer. But, other than that, Roberto D’aversa has gotten the best out of this group.

3. Gian Piero Gasperini

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Based on last season’s spectacular season from Atalanta, many people, including myself didn’t think Atalanta would be able to maintain this level of play because of being in the Champions League this season. Fast-forward to this season and they’ve somehow been able to continue staying in the Serie A top four. They also made it past the Champions League round of 16. They do have issues at the back, but they’re able to outscore most clubs. This should be credited to Gasperini’s work. The likes of Duvan Zapata, Josip Ilicic, and others weren’t big names. But, under Gasperini, they’ve become household names in Italy and around Europe, they’re starting to get the recognition they deserve.

2. Ivan Juric

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The biggest Cinderella story in Serie A has to be Hellas Verona. I expected Hellas Verona to be relegated this season. But, they’ve surpassed my expectations by far. Who would’ve predicted that they’d possibly be challenging for a Europa League spot for next season? I certainly didn’t. Ivan Juric has elevated this squad beyond levels that I could’ve ever imagined this season. They may not qualify for the Europa League, at the end of the season. But, I’d consider it successful for Ivan Juric. Ivan Juric has earned the right to be a top nominee for the Serie A manager of the season, in my view.

1. Simone Inzaghi

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If you would’ve told Lazio fans that they’d be contending for the scudetto at the beginning of the season, I think they would’ve taken it. This season has been beyond anyone’s imagination for Lazio. Like I’ve reiterated in several other articles, over the past several seasons Lazio hasn’t had issues creating chances and scoring goals. However, this season their backline has immensely improved. A massive amount of credit should go to Simone Inzaghi for that. This Lazio project has been a work in progress. But, it seems like they’ve figured out the issues they’ve had and fixed them. Whatever happens, I’m sure this will be a season to remember for fans of the club. Simone Inzaghi has been a big part of making this dream season happen.

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.

Analysis of Saturday’s Serie A Matches

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On Saturday, there were three very interesting Serie A matches that took place. The first match was Udinese vs. Brescia, then Juventus vs. Hellas Verona. After that the Milan Derby took place to wrap up a thrilling Saturday. So, here is my analysis of each of the Saturday Serie A matches!

UDINESE VS. BRESCIA

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For Udinese, this was a match in which they needed to win at home. As much as Brescia can be a tough club to beat, you need to win these matches, as when you are in a stretch during the season where you’re facing tougher clubs, matches like these will matter. Romulo was the player of the match for me and I thought that he played well. Also, it seemed as if Brescia could’ve scored more, as they had some decent chances that they should’ve capitalized on. All in all, I believe Brescia deserved those three points and this will definitely help them in their bid to avoid relegation to Serie B.

              JUVENTUS VS. HELLAS VERONA

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In this match, Sarri changed around his starting  11 a little bit. He started Dybala as the number 9, he started Aaron Ramsey over Sami Khedira, he also started Buffon over Sczesny in goal. I only watched the second half of this match, however, Juve looked like they were struggling mightily in this match. Yes, they won, but it was a sloppy win at home and they did not look like a Sarri-type of club yesterday. What I mean by that is they still lack the fluidity going forward, especially in their midfield. I understand that you cannot start Ramsey, Pjanic, and Rabiot as your midfield three, as that would lack balance, but if Juve wants to win all the trophies they are expected to win this season, Sarri needs to start two of either Rabiot, Ramsey, or Pjanic in every match in order to continue winning.

      AC MILAN VS. INTER MILAN 

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During this match, I had the pleasure of watching it with members of the Milan Club or Toronto as well as the TLN Television team. During the first half, I thought that it was a  pretty even match and both clubs had their chances. However, in the second half, Inter absolutely dominated, in my opinion. One thing I don’t understand is why AC Milan didn’t start Bonaventura or Lucas Paqueta over Lucas Biglia.  That midfield 3 of Calhanoglu, Biglia, and Kessie was bound to fail for the simple reason that none of those three can create chances or provide offensive output the same way Paqueta or Bonaventura can. As for Inter, it was obvious they would dominate in that midfield and they did. Inter’s midfield definitely looked really deadly and opposing clubs should really look at game tapes of this match to see how you don’t deal with them.