Champions League draw analysis: Picks to make it out of each group

August 29, 2015

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, left, and UEFA Competitions Director Giorgio Marchetti, right, remove the balls containing the names of the soccer clubs, during the draw for the Champions League 2015/16 play-offs, at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
“There was a twist to the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco Thursday. UEFA’s new seeding regulations meant that only reigning champions would be picked from Pot 1, leaving some dangerous contenders in the lower pots. And so it proved, as Manchester City was drawn with Juventus and Sevilla while Real Madrid drew Paris Saint-Germain and Shakhtar Donetsk. The draw resulted in some intriguing individual storylines, powerhouses going up against one another and the first steps on the road to the San Siro.” SI (Video)


Roma v Juventus, a season defining game…already?

August 29, 2015

“It is only the second game of the season and we already have the spectre of a ‘season defining’ game as Roma and Juventus go head to head at the Stadio Olimpico. In previous years, this fixture may have been known as an early ‘title decider’, as Roma have been Juve’s closest challengers in the last two seasons (close in the sense of being seventeen points behind).” backpagefootball


The rise of Carpi: Serie A’s newcomers

August 26, 2015

“It has been a truly remarkable ride for Carpi over the last few years. Based in the northern province of Modena, the modest-sized club from the small industrial town from which it gets its name have enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past several seasons, one that has seen them return from the dead and climb up the ranks at a rate of knots, culminating in them gaining a place in Serie A for the first time in their history. Founded as AC Carpi in 1909, the club spent the majority of their life battling in the lower tiers of Italian football, finding it difficult to carve out any success in the provincial leagues.” Outside of the Boot


Italian football’s stadium problem

August 24, 2015

“Italian football has been the sick man of Europe. The phrase was once used to describe the Ottoman Empire, with which Italian football has similarities. Like the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century, Serie A is living off past glories. Its Constantinople was the San Siro, where great Milan sides once battled it out, but now plays host to two pale imitations. The Ottoman Empire was behind the great powers of England, Germany and France, whereas now Italy is also behind England, Germany Spain and France.” backpagefootball


After the Fall: As Juventus Dominates, Serie A Needs Both Milan Teams to Be Competitive Again

August 21, 2015

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“What’s next for Serie A? Last year — with Juventus’s run to the Champions League final and five Italian teams in the Europa League’s Round of 16 — seemed like a big step forward for a league that has struggled to keep up both financially and competitively with other major European brethren. Yet something was missing: The red-and-black stripes of AC Milan. And now this year, for the first time in 60 years, neither AC Milan nor Inter Milan has qualified for European competition.” Grantland


La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1: Who will win titles?

August 14, 2015

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“From managerial changes at some of the continent’s biggest clubs to long-running transfer sagas, it has been a hectic summer of activity across Europe. The season has already begun in France, Germany kick off their league campaign this weekend, while Spain and Italy start the following week. So what has changed? Who are the new faces to watch out for and, crucially, what does it all mean for the title races in Europe’s major leagues?” BBC


Juventus – From A Whisper To A Scream

August 14, 2015

“By anybody’s standards Juventus enjoyed a highly successful 2014/15 season. Not only did they capture the domestic league and cup double, winning the Serie A title for the fourth year in a row, but they also shone in Europe. There was a reminder of past glories as they eliminated Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund on the way to reaching the Champions League final, where they only succumbed to mighty Barcelona after a closely fought encounter. These achievements represented something of a triumph for the Juventus board and especially Andrea Agnelli, who had been appointed President in May 2010 after a disappointing season when the club only finished seventh, thus failing to qualify for the lucrative Champions League.” The Swiss Ramble


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