“The outspoken Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis made a salient point recently when he suggested Serie A is arguably Europe’s most competitive top-flight.No fewer than seven teams are capable of challenging for the championship, the movie producer suggested, when arguing his case to reduce the number of clubs from 20 to 16 feeling it would make the Italian top division even more competitive.” Squawka
“The Netherland’s recent dismantling by France symbolized the frightening predicament the national team now finds itself in. The side that gave us ‘total football’, previously a staple fixture in the latter rounds of major tournaments, now faces the prospect of failing to qualify for two in a row. In truth, the 4-0 score line flattered the Dutch, who were overran in midfield, ponderous at the back, and unimaginative up top. New manager Dick Advocaat was clueless as how to line up against a technically superior side, in stark contrast to his predecessors van Gaal and van Marwijk. Their problems go far beyond the manager however, and at the present moment Dutch football is facing an identity crisis and a lost generation of talent as they desperately attempt to scramble their side into the World Cup finals next summer. …” Backpage Football
“After interesting transfer windows from both OGC Nice and AS Monaco, the sides would meet in the Ligue 1, with both having been part of the title race the previous season. Lucien Favre and Leonardo Jardim’s 4-4-2 systems, which share many similar traits, would clash in a battle between two teams who will undoubtedly be aiming for some of the highest positions in France’s most prestigious domestic league. A relatively poor start by Nice contrast to their opponent’s Monaco, who have been unstoppable as they have picked up the maximum of twelve points from their four games so far. …” Outside of the Boot
Romelu Lukaku scores Manchsester United’s winner past the despairing dive of Fraser Forster.
“For more than half an hour, José Mourinho sat waiting on the Manchester United team coach outside St Mary’s doubtless basking in the comfort of a job well done after extending his side’s unbeaten run to eight matches. They displayed a callous efficiency and a charming stubbornness in an unforgiving and occasionally ugly performance that earned United victory and a fifth clean sheet in six Premier League matches. Romelu Lukaku, though, was still stationed inside in doping control, and, such is the ruthlessness of this United team at present, they left for Southampton airport without him. …” Guardian
“As Leeds United’s supporters celebrated at the traditional gathering place of The Old Peacock just a short walk from Elland Road, one of English football’s institutions had taken another small step on the long road to recovery. A 3-2 win over Ipswich – a game almost designed to play on nerves frayed by 15 years of trauma – kept Leeds top of the Championship on goal difference going into Tuesday’s game at third-placed Cardiff.” BBC
“… Schalke 04 started quite well; the first two lines of their press were coordinated well and managed to force turnovers within FC Bayern’s half. But, as the time went by, slowly but sure, Bayern found the rhythm and gradually dismantled the hosts’ uncoordinated press. James Rodriguez was amazing, but apart from that, particularly in the second half, Schalke were just not good enough to deal with Bayern’s possession play. …” Outside of the Boot