Previewing Both Clubs Ahead of the Turin Derby

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The Turin Derby is one of the most underrated derbies in Italy, in my view. However, this weekend it should be fun to watch. It will take place at the Allianz Stadium this upcoming Saturday at noon ET. Here is my preview of both clubs as well as the most interesting matchup coming into this game.

Juventus

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Coming into the Turin derby, Juve has looked shaky early on during the season. On paper, their squad has improved. However, I believe that because their manager, Andrea Pirlo, is inexperienced and due to Juve’s midfield being overhauled over the Summer, it’s been tough for Pirlo the find the right formation and balance for the squad. However, this match may present the opportunity to rebound. Juve’s backline will have their hands full trying to contain Andrea Belotti. If I were Pirlo, I’d deploy a 3-5-2, as Torino’s strength is mainly down the centre of the attacking half. An extra defender in the middle would provide extra security for aerial duels as well, as Belotti is great in the air.

Torino

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Again, it’s still early in the season. However, Torino under Giampaolo has looked atrocious, to say the least. Defensively, they look mediocre as well as in the midfield. Their saving grace so far has been their attack, especially Andrea Belotti. Andrea Belotti has performed superbly for il toro and could be the main reason Torino won’t get relegated this season. So far, he’s scored 7 goals in the league which is tied for third-highest in Serie A. Torino will be happy to know that Juve’s defence, particularly at centre-back has been vulnerable this season. Torino should look to exploit Juve down the middle in the attacking half. If I were Giampaolo, I would go with a 4-3-3 against Juve. They’ll need a lot of width to swing crosses into the box to the likes of Zaza and Belotti as Juve is particularly vulnerable with aerial balls. Torino will be hoping to get a result in this derby to boost the squad’s momentum, as they need it.

Most Interesting Matchup

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Usually, in a derby, there are several key matchups during a match that catch the viewer’s eyes. However, in the Derby Della Mole, I want to point to one particular match that I think will be the most interesting to watch and that’s Belotti against Juve’s central defenders. Like I pointed out earlier, Andrea Belotti is a handful to deal with. He’s not the most technically sound player and doesn’t possess top-class dribbling abilities. But, he’s very physically strong and is difficult to deal with inside the 18-yard box. Also, he possesses a powerful shot and is quick, so Juventus’ centre backs will have to focus on trying to limit him from getting open looks to shoot. I’m sure Belotti will be extra motivated to score during the derby, so this will be an interesting match, at least for me.

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Previewing Napoli Vs.Milan

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We will have to wait ten days to watch Napoli take on Milan due to the international break. However, this will be a top match early in the season, so I’m already thinking about it. Here’s my preview of both clubs heading into this thrilling match.

Napoli

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I’ve reiterated this multiple times and I’ll say it again. Last season, was very disappointing for Napoli, as they finished 7th. So far this season, they’ve looked the opposite. I mean, Napoli signing Osimhen and Bakayoko might’ve helped. Also, keeping Koulibaly might’ve boosted their’s squad morale. Either way, they look like a Scudetto contender early on. They’ve lost two Serie A matches. One was against Sassuolo and the other was against Juve. However, that loss to Juve was due to a controversial decision where Napoli didn’t show up to the Allianz Stadium in Turin to face Juve. Despite that controversial decision and the loss against Sassuolo, Napoli should be a formidable opponent for Milan. Also, who knows? Maybe, they’ll produce a master-class and get the win. It wouldn’t be surprising, that’s for sure.

Milan

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If you’re a Milan fan right now, I’m sure you’re pleasantly surprised at just how good the rossoneri have done early in the season. Currently, they sit two points clear atop the Serie A table. Everything has gone their way, so far. Ibrahimovic is the current top scorer in Serie A at 39 years old. Add to that, how well Theo Hernandez, Rafael Leao, Donnarumma and the rest of the squad have been playing and you’ve got yourself a possible fairytale. The match against Napoli on November 22nd will be a stern test for this squad. It could be a measuring stick to see where they’re at as a squad. This clash should be one for the ages and could be a scudetto decider for the end of the season. I can’t wait to watch it and I’m sure fellow calcio fans are excited in anticipation of this match as well.

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3 Reasons Why Mario Balotelli Won’t Prevent Brescia From Getting Relegated

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                               Image Credit: agimeg.it

During the summer, I published a blog post arguing three reasons why Mario Balotelli will prevent Brescia from getting relegated. This blog post will argue three reasons why he won’t prevent Brescia from getting relegated. Then, I will  state my own conclusion to the argument at the end. So, here it goes.

1. MARIO BALOTELLI WILL RUIN THE SQUAD’S CHEMISTRY

       I understand that adding a striker such as Balotelli may add to an already stacked Brescia frontline. However, he could also hurt it badly. Alfredo Donarumma was Serie B’s leading scorer last season with 25 goals. But, there’s a chance Balotelli may ruin the chemistry that he has with his other teammates. The reason for is simple. When a club adds another striker to the starting 11, the number 9 that was there originally, may not be able to adapt to getting passed to less, therefore causing chemistry problems. When Balotelli gets inserted in the starting lineup, there’s a chance that Alfredo Donarumma won’t be able to adapt to possessing the ball less and as a result, that may cause Brescia to be relegated in the end.

2. MARIO BALOTELLI MAY RUIN BRESCIA’S BID TO STAY IN THE SERIE A WITH HIS UNPREDICTABLE OFF THE PITCH ANTICS.

I’ve always admired Mario Balotelli as a player, as I believe he possesses some great talent. However, his off the field antics have hurt him and the clubs he’s played for before. I understand that it seems as though he’s changed and been better off the field. But, there is still a chance that he does something outside of calcio that becomes a distraction for the club and could possibly ruin the club’s harmony. Therefore, leading to Brescia being relegated. However, for Brescia and Balotelli’s sake, I hope this doesn’t happen.

      3. MARIO BALOTELLI MAY NOT PERFORM HOW HE’S SUPPOSED TO. 

Generally, when Mario Balotelli was on the field, he has had the tendency to perform. However, there’s a chance, even if it’s small, that Mario Balotelli will not perform how he’s expected to at Brescia. If Balotelli does infact not score as much as supposed to, it’ll be a huge negative for Brescia. Below-par performances for Balotelli would put too much pressure on Brescia to score goals throughout the season, which may lead to their relegation.

I’ve argued reasons for why I think Balotelli will and won’t help Brescia get relegated next season. However, based on all this, I’ve formed my own conclusion on the matter. Unfortunately, I predict that despite Brescia’s signing of Balotelli, they’ll get relegated. However, I also believe that even if Balotelli has a great season, he won’t prevent it. The reason is because Brescia has a very deadly attack. But, in my opinion, there are still question marks surrounding how good their defense is. However, this opinion could very well change over the course of the season.

3 Takeaways From Italy’s Euro 2020 Qualifying Campaign So Far

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    Coming into this campaign, Italy needed to start rebuilding for the future  to return to what they once were and  so far, they’ve done that under Mancini. Here are my three takeaways of Italy’s Euro 2020 Qualifying Campaign, thus far.

    Roberto Mancini Has Called Up A Lot of Young Players 

    Coming into this, fans of the azzuri wanted to see Mancini call up players to the national squad that were younger, as under Ventura, we all know what happened and it just so happened that  throughout the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Campaign there  were a lot of older players there. Even if these younger players haven’t gotten the desired playing time for the club they represent, Mancini still seems to call up as much young players as possible. So far, many of these players haven’t disappointed and I hope Mancini keeps recognizing the talent of some of these young guns and continues to bring them to the azzuri’s squad.

    Italy Has Flourished Offensively Under Mancini 

       So far, in this qualifying campaign, the Italian national team has scored 18 goals with 4 matches remaining. Whereas, in 2018 World Cup Qualifying, they scored a total of 21 goals. A big reason for this has not only been Mancini’s implementing of a new philosophy, but also the wingers he’s deployed to play alongside the strikers. For many years, Italy has relied on a talented number 9 to carry the load in terms of goals. However, by calling up wingers such as Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa and others he has taken the pressure off the starting striker to score and that has benefited them significantly.

The Amount of Goals They Conceded Has Reduced

   During 2018 World Cup Qualifying, Italy conceded 9 goals in total. Whereas, in this campaign, they’ve only conceded three goals, which is a significant difference. Although, it could change. But, on the surface you’d wonder why this has happened, as Italy has played a more offensive style, which leaves them more exposed at the back, right? Well, think again. By pressing so high up the pitch when they don’t have possession, they’ve slowed down the flow of their opponents offensively. Also, as a result of an improved central midfield, it’s now way more difficult for opponents to enter Italy’s half, which makes it harder for the opposition to be in good attacking positions. I hope this continues, as it’ll be important should they qualify for the 2020 Euros next summer.

Previewing Inter Milan vs. Lecce

Every other Serie A club will play on both Saturday and Sunday except for Inter Milan and Lecce. However, this match should be intriguing like the rest and is worth previewing. So, here is the preview of this Monday’s match for both clubs.

    Inter 

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       Image Credit: sempreinter.com

     Over the last couple of months, Inter has vastly transformed itself in terms of their manager, as well as some of their players. Before the summer transfer window, Inter hired the always animated, Antonio Conte, to be their man behind the bench. For many, this marks a change from Inter’s recent years, as Conte expects the best out of his players and doesn’t take any nonsense. Also, Inter have vastly transformed their player personnel on the field, too. First off, they’ve sold a key player in Radja Nainggolan and loaned out Ivan Perisic to Bayern Munich. They’ve also given Mauro Icardi, who was their star striker for many seasons, the number 7 to wear. Inter have signed some good players in Diego Godin, Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, and Romelu Lukaku over the course of the summer, as well. As a result of these changes, many within the nerazzuri fan base expect them to compete for the scudetto this season. Monday at the Stadio San Siro against Lecce will be a good test for them to begin to see if they’re capable of winning Italy’s coveted prize this season.

                                                                             Lecce 

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        For Lecce’s fans and people who work for the club, this upcoming season may be very memorable. The club has been through trouble, as they’ve had to win promotion from Serie C (Italy’s third division) to Serie B (Italy’s second division) in the 2017-2018 season. Then, they finally got promoted to Serie A for this season. It will be very exciting for this club to be in Italy’s top flight once again, considering the struggle they’ve went through in recent years. However, they haven’t been very active in the summer transfer market. But, that is understandable considering they’re a newly promoted side.  Their first match will see them travel to Milan to face an Inter side that could challenge for this season’s scudetto. It’ll be a very steep test for this newly promoted club. However, they don’t have much expectations coming into this season, so they could very well catch Inter off guard. There is no doubt that they cannot miss a beat on Monday, if they’re going to get something out of it. However, sometimes low expectations can help clubs more than they hurt them.

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