Tactical Analysis: Juventus 2-1 Udinese | Absentees force Juventus to seek balance

October 20, 2016

“With a series of injuries and to rest players to prepare for the upcoming UCL encounter against Lyon, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has fielded an experimental side with a hybrid system. Juventus used a standard 4-4-2 formation during the defensive phase with two full backs (Stephan Lichtsteiner / Patrice Evra) and two wide midfielders (Alex Sandro / Juan Cuadrado).” Outside of the Boot

Season Preview: Serie A 2016-17

October 16, 2016

“With €155 million already spent this summer and another Serie A title in their sights, opposition fans will be praying for anything to stop the Old Lady of Juventus dominating another 12 months of domestic competition. Whether it be a Leicester-style upset or fairytale end to the career of Roma legend Francesco Totti, any side close to challenging the Bianconeri will probably receive widespread support throughout the Peninsula. However, while strengthening in preparation of Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata’s departure to the Premier League and La Liga, Juventus have weakened their closest rivals, Napoli and Roma, with the capture of Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic.”
Forza Italian Football
World Soccer: Paddy Agnew’s preview of the 2016-17 Serie A season
Serie A 2016-17 season preview – Football Italia
2016-17 Serie A (Italy/1st division) location-map…

Real Madrid rallies; Manchester City, Dortmund cruise in Champions League

September 15, 2016

“Defending European champion Real Madrid scored twice in the final minutes to turn defeat into victory on a Champions League night that was far livelier and less predictable than the first half of Matchday 1. After a string of thumping wins for the elite clubs on Tuesday, Wednesday brought tension and drama. A Bruno Cesar goal had had Sporting Lisbon dreaming of an improbable victory, but Cristiano Ronaldo leveled with an 89th-minute free kick against his former club before Alvaro Morata’s injury-time header delivered the three points.” SI – JONATHAN WILSON

Gulf in class evident for Barcelona, Bayern Munich in Champions League openers

September 15, 2016

“The build-up to this season’s Champions League was dominated by talk of the disparity in resources between the haves and the have nots of European football and two of the superclubs playing on the first day of this season’s group stage did nothing to dispel that. Favorites Bayern Munich and Barcelona cruised to 5-0 and 7-0 victories over Rostov and Celtic, respectively, to kick off this season’s competition in style.” SI – JONATHAN WILSON

Hipster Guide 2016-17: Sevilla’s tactics, key players and emerging talents

September 1, 2016

“Sevilla made history last season by winning the UEFA Europa League for the third consecutive season and for the fifth time in the previous decade. Their comeback victory against Liverpool in Basel further proved that no team takes to UEFA’s second tier competition quite like Sevilla do, but as incredible an achievement as it was, it did paper over some cracks. Their Europa League run was born from the ashes of a failed attempt at the Champions League, only claiming third spot in their group with a last-gasp win against Juventus, and a 7th place finish in La Liga without a single win away from home was highly underwhelming for a team expected to challenge for 4th place.” Outside of the Boot

James Horncastle: A guide to Inter’s mess

August 23, 2016

“It was 3:45 in the morning in Nanjing when Inter kicked off their Serie A campaign on Sunday. The club’s new owner Jindong Zhang had promised to stay awake for it. ‘I will watch the game on television as will all the Suning staff as one big family,’ he wrote in a message wishing the team good luck for the new season. By 5am Zhang and his 13,000 employees could be forgiven for thinking they were asleep and in the grips of a nightmare. Except the nightmare was all too real.” calciomercato

Over/Under: European club, season predictions for 2016-17

August 20, 2016

“With the new top-flight seasons set to kick off in Italy and Spain this weekend–and Germany one week later–and the Premier League just underway, there are lots of predictions to be made and questions to be answered. Will the competitive imbalance in France, Germany and Italy continue to be a problem? Will we see a surprise winner in any league? Will there be an outsider who cracks the Champions League elite? And just who will Jose Mourinho fall out with next? With all of those questions–and more!–in mind, we take a look at the European club landscape in the over/under prism to provide as much clarity as possible entering a nine-month quest for trophies and championships…” SI