Analysis: Juventus’ struggles in midfield and the build-up phase

September 18, 2015

“Last season Juventus had one of the best seasons in their history, winning a fourth consecutive Serie A title, the Coppa Italia and coming only a step away from Champions League glory. The Bianconeri midfield was pivotal in their success: Andrea Pirlo led the likes of Pogba, Marchisio and Vidal, all definitively consecrated as world-class midfielders.” Outside of the Boot

European Ennui: Surveying the Early-Season Worries of Juventus, Chelsea, Sevilla, and Gladbach

September 18, 2015

“The Champions League is here! And we’re so excited we’ll say it again: The Champions League is here! Starting today, the best of Europe’s best will square off every few weeks until the final on May 28 in Milan. Well, at least, that’s what is supposed to happen: For a quartet of qualifiers from the continent’s top four leagues, the first month and a half of the season has gone just about as poorly as anyone could’ve imagined. And as if to prove the validity of the cliché ‘misery loves company,’ three of them are in the same group. Let’s take a look at how worried each team should be.” Grantland

Ten Great Italian Goalkeepers Under the Shadow of Gigi Buffon

September 14, 2015

“It seems that foggy, snowy afternoon in Moscow was yesterday, when a 19-year-old Gianluigi Buffon made his national team debut, substituting an injured Pagliuca and valiantly protecting the Italian goal; a responsibility he would assume at the highest level in the subsequent two decades. Keeping a clean sheet for Italy again in last week’s Euro 2016 qualifier match in which the Azzurri beat Bulgaria, the 37-year-old veteran has completed his 150th international appearance, an endeavor spanning over 18 years.” backpagefootball

FC Astana – The Kazakhstani minnows who are taking on Europe’s elite

September 10, 2015

“In beating APOEL Nicosia 2-1 on aggregate, FC Astana have become the first team from the former Soviet Union state of Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. The Kazakhstanis beat Maribor of Solvenia, HJK Helsinki of Finland and Cypriots APOEL on their way to the group stages for their maiden season with Europe’s elite after being drawn against Atlético Madrid, Galatasaray and Benfica in an almost impossible Group C.” backpagefootball

European football: 7-1 scorelines, fluke goals and more

September 1, 2015

“It was a busy weekend across Europe, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich winning, Roma shocking Juventus and transfers galore. But what are the stories you might have missed? Several former Premier League strikers on the scoresheet, freak goals and stadium problems and more – BBC Sport takes a look.” BBC

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


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