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

Previewing Roma Vs Juventus

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

ROMA

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

JUVENTUS

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

MATCH PREDICTION

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

Ways Serie A Clubs Can Increase Their Attendance at Stadiums

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Serie A is a very attractive league to watch. However, in regards to attendance numbers at stadiums, it’s still behind other top football leagues such as the EPL (England Premier League) and the Bundesliga. So, I decided that it’d be a good idea to compare the EPL’s average attendance numbers to Serie A’s numbers. Also, I want to write about ways Serie A clubs can increase their attendance at stadiums. So, let’s get it done!

EPL’s AVERAGE STADIUM CAPACITY AND ATTENDANCE NUMBERS THIS SEASON

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To start off, I got each individual club’s stats from https://www.soccerstats.com in order to write this article. Then, added the numbers from each club. After that, once I got the total numbers from each league, I divided it up by the number of clubs that are in each league. That’s how I was able to get the average attendance, stadium capacity, and the average percentage of seats being filled from both leagues. From my calculations, so far this season, the average number of fans that are attending EPL matches this season is approximately 39,295. The average capacity of English Premier League stadiums close to 40, 546 people. Finally, the average percentage of each stadium in England’s top-flight that has been filled this season is 96.6%.

SERIE A’s AVERAGE STADIUM CAPACITY AND ATTENDANCE NUMBERS THIS SEASON

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To calculate Serie As average attendance and stadium capacity numbers, I used the same method as I did above. Serie As average numbers in these categories are lower, which means they need to improve. So, here are the numbers. Based on what I calculated from the https://www.soccerstats.com website, Serie As average stadium capacity is approximately 39, 331 people. Also, Serie A’s average attendance so far this season is about 26, 641 attendees. To cap off Serie A’s average attendance and capacity numbers, approximately, 71.7% of the league’s stadium capacities have been filled.

SO HOW CAN SERIE A CLUBS INCREASE THEIR ATTENDANCE NUMBERS?

1. BUILD NEWER STADIUMS/RENOVATE OLDER ONES

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This solution is a very difficult one to implement, as it would have to go through a lot of political barriers as well as major planning. Also, some club owners would be hesitant just because there are a lot of costs associated with this. Permits, building costs, and more would be part of those costs. However, in the long-term, I believe that it would attract more fans to attend Serie A stadiums each week. Personally, if I were to go to any Serie A stadium, it’d be a dream. However, some fans would love to go to stadiums that are newer and aren’t crumbling apart. One of the big factors as to why Stadiums in the EPL have a high number of fans attending their matches each week is because of a lot of stadiums being newly built or renovated.

2. ELIMINATE THREATS OF VIOLENT AND DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOUR WITHIN THE STADIUMS

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Unfortunately, sometimes Serie A gets a bad reputation because of some people within the stadium who look to cause physical violence as well as displaying discriminatory behaviour towards fans as well as players. Serie A needs to crackdown on people who display this type of behaviour in the stadium because first of all, it’s wrong and shouldn’t be tolerated at all. We are all human beings who shouldn’t be threatened by violence or discriminated against in any shape or form. Second of all, if fans feel that they’re in danger by going to a stadium and watching their team play, it’ll result in them not wanting to go. Therefore, Serie A needs to crack down on these types of actions within stadiums.

References:

https://www.soccerstats.com/attendance.asp?league=italy

https://www.soccerstats.com/attendance.asp?league=england

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

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

1. KYLIAN MBAPPE

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

2. LIONEL MESSI

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

3. KEVIN DE BRUYNE

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

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

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

ATALANTA

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

NAPOLI

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

JUVENTUS

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

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

The Most Disappointing Serie A Clubs So Far This Season

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

SAMPDORIA

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

UDINESE

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

AC MILAN

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

NAPOLI

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

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My Preview of Napoli against Genoa

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

NAPOLI

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

GENOA

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

Video Credit: YouTube- Sportmedia

2 Reasons Why Roma Is Surprising Serie A Fans

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

1. Paulo Fonseca’s Brilliance

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

2. Roma’s Improvements on Defence

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

Previewing the Turin Derby

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Derbies in Italy are amazing. However, this one should be extra good. Torino will face Juve in the famous Turin derby this Saturday at 3:45 pm Eastern Time. It should be exciting! So, here’s my preview of this match for both clubs!

JUVENTUS

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So far, despite having to adjust to a new system and different style of play Under Sarri, Juve still remains the club to beat. As of now, they’re in a tight scudetto race with Inter. But, heading into the Derby Della Mole, Juve look good. They may not be winning by multiple goals consistently, but they’re getting the job done and that’s what is the most important thing. The one issue Juve has right now is injuries. Douglas Costa is still injured, also, Chiellini being out definitely makes their backline look a bit more vulnerable than it should be. They’ll have to watch their defensive line, as Torino’s Belotti is in decent form and can be very tough to stop.

TORINO

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So far this season, Torino hasn’t looked close to the way they did last season. Last season, they conceded the least amount of goals in Serie A. However, their defense does not look remotely close to how it did last season. Yes, they have a lot of the same players leading that backline, but there seems to be something missing. However, I can’t seem to point to the main issue with them. As of right now, they are 13th in Serie A. It’ll be a huge challenge for them to beat Juve, despite the fact that they’re at their home stadium. We’ll see if they can rise to the occasion.

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.