Serie A gets a title race but Juventus remain the team to beat

December 6, 2017

“Before last Friday night’s clash with then league leaders Napoli, Massimiliano Allegri had insisted that despite his side being four points off the pace, they were not in trouble. Juventus’ 1-0 win at the Sao Paolo, a ground where they have only won one of their previous 13 fixtures, served to nicely underline the point. Gonzalo Higuain’s 12th minute strike inflicted a first defeat of the season on their flying hosts, indeed their first home defeat since February. …” Back Page

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Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla | Barca’s diamond-esque shape hands them victory

November 21, 2017

“Despite being written off by many this season after the loss of Neymar and rivals Real Madrid’s dominance last season, Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona side came into this game at home to Champions League chasing Sevilla in inspired form. 9 wins from their opening 10 games and Lionel Messi in the form of his life had shut up many critics as they cruised towards their 3rd league title in 4 years with a 4 point lead over 2nd place Valencia and 8 points over bookies’ title favourites Real Madrid in 3rd. …” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Roma 3-0 Chelsea | Chelsea’s Possession Play Failed to Tear Down Roma’s Fortress

November 7, 2017

“… Roma fielded their usual 4-3-3. Alisson in goal, Florenzi and Kolarov as full backs, and Fazio-Juan Jesus duo in the central area. In midfield, de Rossi in the six space covered the moves of Nainggolan and Strootman, who were initially 8’s but had license to roam into the wide areas and center around 10 and 9. In the last line, Edin Dzeko was flanked by Perotti and El Shaarawy. …” Outside of the Boot


Paddy Agnew’s Notes from Italy: Napoli playing catch-up in the Champions League

October 31, 2017

“As the Champions League moves centre stage again this weekend, it is intriguing to note that of the three Italian clubs involved, it is the league leaders Napoli who may well have most to do to play their way into the second round. In their homeland, Napoli can do no wrong, having won 10 of their 11 Serie A games this season, drawing the other (10 days ago to Inter). …” World Soccer


Italian football must do more than read Anne Frank to tackle fascism problem

October 27, 2017

“27 October ~ With 25 points from their first ten games, Lazio have made a superb start to the season. Unfortunately, they may be derailed by events off the field. They have long been notorious for having a fanbase that contains a significant number who are openly nostalgic for fascism. Though they are probably the worst offenders, they share this tendency with several other clubs, most notably Serie B Ascoli, but also Verona and to some extent Inter. …” WSC


Tactical Analysis: Napoli 0-0 Inter Milan | Sarri’s Strong Attack And Counter-Press Against Spaletti’s Deep Block

October 23, 2017


“Luciano Spaletti’s initial plan of a low block was securing the 10 (by occupying Napoli’s 6), defended the defensive third using a 4-4-1-1/4-5-1 basic formation, and blocking Napoli’s use of the diagonal passing lane from the left half space into the box. Borja Valero, Inter’s number 10, would join the central midfield duo to secure the area around Inter Milan’s midfield line. …” Outside of the Boot


Edin Dzeko: ‘I don’t run? I don’t give my best? Come on! That is a joke’

October 18, 2017

“Edin Dzeko looks as if he wants to jump up from the chair. He is animated. His cheeks are red and he gesticulates wildly. … It is a moment that encapsulates what the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker is all about. He has been described as being indifferent and cold but when we meet in an empty hotel restaurant on the outskirts of Sarajevo he is neither. Instead he is extremely passionate about the game, more perhaps than any other player I have interviewed, and a man who realises how lucky he is to play football for a living. …” Guardian