My Three Favourite Serie A Players of All-Time

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There have been many players that have caught my eyes in Italian Soccer over the years. Even now, there are still tons of players that I like watching on a weekly basis within the league. However, there are three players that stood out for me over all these years of watching Serie A. So, here are my three favourite Serie A players of all-time.

3. Francesco Totti

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The king of Rome was an outright legend and Roma fans worship him like a God. Indeed, he was everything that encapsulates a legend. He was a great captain that won multiple trophies with the Giallorossi. He’s also my third favourite Serie A player of all-time. Similar to other legends I’m going to mention in this article, I liked him for more than just his skill with the ball. He not only had the hunger and mental strength to deliver in clutch moments for the club, but he was also a true leader. By just watching him on TV, you could tell that everyone one of his teammates respected him. You could also tell that he was a leader on that pitch. I’d compare him to a general. That’s why he’s my third favourite Serie A player of all-time.

2. Paolo Maldini

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Paolo Maldini is arguably the greatest football defender of all-time. He narrowed defending down to a science. For the most part, he didn’t have to make tackles. He read the game so well that for the most part, he was able to strip opponents of the ball without being rough. When he was on AC Milan it must’ve been tough for opposing managers to figure out his vulnerabilities, as they were nearly impossible to find. In Maldini’s case, I admired him purely because of his intelligence for the game. Of course, you need certain skills to be as great of a defender as he was. But, the reason why I liked him so much and why I think he’s an all-time great is because it was almost as if he was four steps ahead of his opponents every play. He was able to anticipate opposing player’s movements as well as what they’d do in advance, faster than everyone else. That’s why I loved him as a player so much.

1. Alessandro Del Piero

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I’ve explicitly mentioned multiple times, that Del Piero is my favourite soccer player of all time. I even wrote on article about how I became a Juve fan and watching him was a big part of that. Here’s the article on how I became a Juve fan , just for reference. Anyways, I became a Juve fan because of Alessandro Del Piero. He always been one of the few inspirational athletes for me. Like with Totti, I really admired his mental strength. It didn’t matter how mighty the opponent was, he was never afraid of dribbling past multiple defenders to pass or to score. He’s scored many great goals against formidable opponents. Among my favourites are his clutch free-kick goal against Inter in 2006, his amazing goal at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2008 that made fans give him a standing ovation, as well his goal against Germany in the 2006 World Cup. Sometimes, I wish he’d come out of retirement for just one match, that’s how much I admired him as a player.

Two Reasons Why Napoli Needs to Beat Juve

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Today, two Italian football giants will face off with each other at the Stadio San Paolo, which is Naples. However, if there’s any club that needs to win this more, it’s definitely Napoli. So, here are two reasons why they desperately need to win this game.

1. To Move Up in the Serie A Table

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Something that is obvious that Napoli needs to do is move up in the Serie A table. What better way to do that than beat your rivals, Juve, at your home stadium? They need the points and beating Juve could possibly move them up in the Serie A table. If they do win this match they could possibly overtake Fiorentina, who is above them in 12th. It’s definitely obvious for many Serie A and Napoli fans that the Azzuri (one of Napoli’s nicknames), is way below what they’re supposed to be this season. Of course, as I just said above moving up in the standings is a reason why they need to beat Juve.

2. To Boost the Morale of the Squad

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One thing that seems to be a problem with this Napoli squad is their morale. They’ve gotten a result here and there, however, based on the talent of the squad their morale seems low based on results this season. A win against Juve may only be a one-off. However, a win in this match could also significantly boost their morale and may kickstart a turning point to their season. Beating the reigning Serie A champions could change their season for the better and in the end, they could qualify for European competition for next season. It’ll be interesting to see if Napoli can get a result in this massive game.

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Previewing the Derby Della Capitale

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It’s only the first month of 2020 and there’s already a weekend with some great rivalry matches taking place. The Rome Derby is the first one, then, the Juve and Napoli match will be the second one. Both matches take place on Sunday. However, fans of Serie A will be spoiled for choice. So, let’s take a dive into the first match between Lazio and Roma. Here’s the preview!

ROMA

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Coming into this match, Roma has won 3 of their last 5 Serie A matches. They have a Champions League spot in their site for next season, as a result. Indeed, they’re currently fighting with Atalanta for that final Champions League spot. Unfortunately, for Roma, they’re missing such a key player that would be crucial in any match, especially for this match. That player is Nicolo Zaniolo. He got injured against Juve and will probably miss the rest of the season. However, with the way Roma has been playing, they shouldn’t be worried about this match. If they play their typical 4-2-3-1 against Lazio I believe it’ll definitely help them. Veretout and Diawara have shown that they’re very capable of shutting down opponent’s midfield as defensive midfielders. Also, by playing this formation, Roma is adding an extra dimension to their attack, which would help them against their rivals.

LAZIO

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If you would’ve told Simone Inzaghi that his club would’ve been in third at this point of the season and possibly challenging for the scudetto, I’m sure he would’ve taken that 100 % of the time. Lazio has definitely been in superb form, as they’ve now won all 5 of their last Serie A matches. That’s tremendous. It seems that everything is clicking for this squad. Francesco Acerbi has been a rock at the back for them. Their midfield has been superb, led by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. However, the thing that’s stood out the most has been their frontline. Immobile can’t stop scoring and is Serie A’s leading scorer so far with 23 goals. Even, Joaquin Correa has looked solid with him. However, derbies such as this tend to be more difficult to win and Simone Inzaghi will definitely meet his match in Paulo Fonseca. It’ll be interesting to see who’ll win tactically. If their match in September is similar to this one, it’ll be very exciting to watch.

What to Make of Inter’s New Signing, Ashley Young

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I have to admit that when I first heard the news that Inter would sign Ashley Young, I didn’t agree with it. However, as I started thinking about it, I realized he’s actually a decent signing for Inter. So, this may actually work out in Inter’s favour in the end. Here’s why signing Ashley Young may be beneficial for Inter this season.

WHY WILL ASHLEY YOUNG FIT INTO INTER’s SYSTEM OF PLAY?

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Like many, I thought that Inter signing Ashley Young would be ridiculous, considering his age. However, he has way more to offer than that. Right now under Antonio Conte, Interplays very tight and for the most part, their defenders lack speed and the ability to create in open play. Fortunately, Ashley Young can do that. He’ll provide an extra bit of creativity to Inter when they’re trying to create offence from the back. Ashley Young is fairly fast and is also a decent crosser of the ball, so, he’ll provide that extra boost inter needs going forward. That provides balance to this Inter side that doesn’t have many players at the back who can go forward with the ball as he can. There’s no doubt, Inter being tight at the back has worked for the most part under Antonio Conte. However, in modern calcio, a club needs defenders who can provide decent service going forward. The only drawback of Ashley Young other than his age is his vulnerability defensively. However, if he buys into Antonio Conte’s system, he should enjoy his time at Inter Milan.

WILL SIGNING ASHLEY YOUNG INCREASE INTER’s CHANCES OF WINNING THE SCUDETTO?

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I’m sure the biggest question that many Serie A fans are asking is whether Ashley Young can help Inter win the scudetto. I definitely think that if Ashley Young buys into Conte’s system, he’ll be of great assistance to Inter. The question here though is whether Ashley Young’s signing will actually increase their chances of winning the scudetto. Personally, I don’t think he’ll increase Inter’s chances of winning Italy’s most coveted prize. I believe he’s a good player, however, I don’t believe he’s a gamechanger. Maybe, ManU or even Inter fans will read this article and think that I’m completely wrong, which may be true. However, in my opinion, he’s not the calibre of play to instantly increase Inter’s chances of winning the Scudetto. He may provide balance to their very tactical squad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll make the ultimate difference for them. However, I’m curious to see whether he makes a bigger impact on Inter than I think he will. We’ll begin to see the scope of his impact tomorrow at 9 am Eastern Time, when Inter squares off with Lecce.

Previewing Roma Vs Juventus

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There have been some massive matches this season in Serie A so far, such as last week’s game between Napoli and Inter. However, not many matches get bigger than the one that’ll be played today at the Stadio Olimpico between Roma and Juventus at 2:45 pm Eastern Time. So, here’s my preview of this match for both clubs.

ROMA

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Paulo Fonseca has led Roma to heights that a lot of people have been surprised about. Coming into this match, they are in decent form, by winning their last 3 matches, losing a match, and drawing one. They do have a few injuries coming into this match, however, that shouldn’t faze them, based on their recent form. They will have a massive test against Juventus, who are currently competing with Inter for the scudetto. It’s possible, though, that being at the San Siro against this other Italian giant may inspire them to victory. However, a victory for them in this match for Roma would depend on how well they can contain Juve’s attack. That will be a monumental task for them, but maybe, Paulo Fonseca has something up his sleeve.

JUVENTUS

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So far this season, Juve has had a huge challenge trying to win Serie A’s biggest prize, once again. Inter has been challenging them for the title throughout the season and this match against Roma just adds to the tough season. However, coming into this match Juve should be motivated to win, as this will probably be one of Juve’s toughest matches over the whole season. Juve will have to be on their game if they want to get a result in the Eternal City. The key to the game for Juventus is being clinical and converting their chances. There’s a good chance they will get a lot of chances in this match, so being clinical would give them the edge. This will prove to be a big test for this Juve squad.

MATCH PREDICTION

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This match should be a very close one. I don’t see either club blowing out the other. As much as Roma is in decent form and are really coming into their own under Paulo Fonseca, I see Juve winning this match 2-1. Just because upfront, they’re on a roll and I don’t see how Roma can contain their frontline.

Ways Serie A Clubs Can Increase Their Attendance at Stadiums

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Serie A is a very attractive league to watch. However, in regards to attendance numbers at stadiums, it’s still behind other top football leagues such as the EPL (England Premier League) and the Bundesliga. So, I decided that it’d be a good idea to compare the EPL’s average attendance numbers to Serie A’s numbers. Also, I want to write about ways Serie A clubs can increase their attendance at stadiums. So, let’s get it done!

EPL’s AVERAGE STADIUM CAPACITY AND ATTENDANCE NUMBERS THIS SEASON

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To start off, I got each individual club’s stats from https://www.soccerstats.com in order to write this article. Then, added the numbers from each club. After that, once I got the total numbers from each league, I divided it up by the number of clubs that are in each league. That’s how I was able to get the average attendance, stadium capacity, and the average percentage of seats being filled from both leagues. From my calculations, so far this season, the average number of fans that are attending EPL matches this season is approximately 39,295. The average capacity of English Premier League stadiums close to 40, 546 people. Finally, the average percentage of each stadium in England’s top-flight that has been filled this season is 96.6%.

SERIE A’s AVERAGE STADIUM CAPACITY AND ATTENDANCE NUMBERS THIS SEASON

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To calculate Serie As average attendance and stadium capacity numbers, I used the same method as I did above. Serie As average numbers in these categories are lower, which means they need to improve. So, here are the numbers. Based on what I calculated from the https://www.soccerstats.com website, Serie As average stadium capacity is approximately 39, 331 people. Also, Serie A’s average attendance so far this season is about 26, 641 attendees. To cap off Serie A’s average attendance and capacity numbers, approximately, 71.7% of the league’s stadium capacities have been filled.

SO HOW CAN SERIE A CLUBS INCREASE THEIR ATTENDANCE NUMBERS?

1. BUILD NEWER STADIUMS/RENOVATE OLDER ONES

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This solution is a very difficult one to implement, as it would have to go through a lot of political barriers as well as major planning. Also, some club owners would be hesitant just because there are a lot of costs associated with this. Permits, building costs, and more would be part of those costs. However, in the long-term, I believe that it would attract more fans to attend Serie A stadiums each week. Personally, if I were to go to any Serie A stadium, it’d be a dream. However, some fans would love to go to stadiums that are newer and aren’t crumbling apart. One of the big factors as to why Stadiums in the EPL have a high number of fans attending their matches each week is because of a lot of stadiums being newly built or renovated.

2. ELIMINATE THREATS OF VIOLENT AND DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOUR WITHIN THE STADIUMS

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Unfortunately, sometimes Serie A gets a bad reputation because of some people within the stadium who look to cause physical violence as well as displaying discriminatory behaviour towards fans as well as players. Serie A needs to crackdown on people who display this type of behaviour in the stadium because first of all, it’s wrong and shouldn’t be tolerated at all. We are all human beings who shouldn’t be threatened by violence or discriminated against in any shape or form. Second of all, if fans feel that they’re in danger by going to a stadium and watching their team play, it’ll result in them not wanting to go. Therefore, Serie A needs to crack down on these types of actions within stadiums.

References:

https://www.soccerstats.com/attendance.asp?league=italy

https://www.soccerstats.com/attendance.asp?league=england

The Most Disappointing Serie A Clubs So Far This Season

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Last week, I published an article of who I thought were the most impressive Serie A clubs so far this season. However, in this article I will be writing about who I think have been Serie A’s biggest disappointments this season. So, here they are! Enjoy!

SAMPDORIA

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Sampdoria’s start to the season was worst than I think anyone could’ve imagined. They had only won 2 matches in their first 8 under Di Francesco. After that horrible run of form, Eusebio Di Francesco got sacked and in came Claudio Ranieri. Ranieri has only earned two wins so far as Sampdoria’s managers. However, they’re steadily improving. Their place in the standings is not where they should be at all, despite their improvement. They currently sit one point above the relegation zone in 17th, which is disappointing, considering at the beginning of the season, I thought they’d be able to challenge for a spot in a European competition. It could still very well happen, however with Quagliarella not scoring like last season, I don’t see anyone bailing them out enough for that to be possible.

UDINESE

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For me, at least, coming into this season I would’ve thought Udinese would fight for a midtable place in the Serie A. However, fast-forward to their current situation and they sit in 16th, only being 4 points from relegation. Their current position is very surprising, considering, some of the talent they have. For example, a player like Rodrigo De Paul is very underrated, in my opinion and may very well leave Udinese soon if they are this low in the standings down the road. However, there are rumors linking him with a January move to Inter. I’m hoping that this iconic club stays up. But, if they continue to play the way they are, I don’t see it. Indeed, they’ve developed some great players such as Dino Zoff, Alex Meret, Antonio Di Natale, etc. It’d definitely be a tragedy if they were to go down to Serie B.

AC MILAN

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At the start of this season, many thought that while AC Milan was going through a rebuild, they’d Challenge for a Champions League spot. However, as of now, they are in 10th place and their performances this season have been consistently underwhelming. Yes, they seem to be improving under Stefano Pioli, however, they’re still not performing as expected. Gennaro Gattuso may have said why he resigned as the rossoneri’s manager last summer. But, now many are starting to realize what he said about the players was true. There’s still a long way to go before the season is done and dusted, however, they need to improve immensely before the end of the season. A signing of a certain someone in January may help them. That someone would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

NAPOLI

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If you were to look at Napoli’s results in the Champions League this season, you’d think they’d be scudetto contenders. However, it’s not been like that at all. They’ve been very disappointing this season. So much so that they fired Carlo Ancelotti earlier this week and replaced him with Gennaro Gattuso. There are many reasons people think as to why this has been a disastrous season for Napoli, so far. A big portion of the blame is going to some of the core players that have been underperforming. There are also several other reasons why they’re underperforming. However, if Napoli want to be scudetto contenders this season, they’ll have to improve immensely. With the squad that the club has, there’s no excuse not to finish in the top 3, in my opinion.

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2 Reasons Why Roma Is Surprising Serie A Fans

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So far, Roma seems to be impressing many Serie A fans. Before the season started, I predicted that Roma would qualify for the Champions League next season. However, it’s still early. Here are two reasons why I believe Roma is surprising calcio fans, thus far!

1. Paulo Fonseca’s Brilliance

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Despite the fact that Roma upgraded their backline over the summer, it still seemed very suspect on paper. However, it seems as though Fonseca has gotten the best out this backline, so far. In the last couple of seasons, Roma’s defence has looked vulnerable, but Fonseca has improved that backline. It also seems as though Roma’s midfield has been improving under Fonseca. Veretout and Mancini are very underrated and have been doing well in the midfield. Under Fonseca, they’ve improved in several different ways. If Fonseca keeps this up with this group of players, their potential is endless. Time will tell.

2. Roma’s Improvements on Defence

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When Roma signed Chris Smalling and Leonardo Spinazzola in the summer, I thought that they’d definitely be upgrades to Roma’s vulnerable backline. However, I didn’t anticipate that they’d be as good as they’ve been during this season. At Manchester United, Chris Smalling was used as a scapegoat for their recent lack of success. However, at Roma he’s definitely proved his doubters wrong. Even, Spinazzola has been superb, thus far. As a Juve fan, it’s still mind-boggling that they decided to sell him to Roma. He is very underrated and has looked better than he ever has been. This backline has proved many critics wrong and it’ll be interesting to see whether they can continue to do that.

Previewing the Turin Derby

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Derbies in Italy are amazing. However, this one should be extra good. Torino will face Juve in the famous Turin derby this Saturday at 3:45 pm Eastern Time. It should be exciting! So, here’s my preview of this match for both clubs!

JUVENTUS

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So far, despite having to adjust to a new system and different style of play Under Sarri, Juve still remains the club to beat. As of now, they’re in a tight scudetto race with Inter. But, heading into the Derby Della Mole, Juve look good. They may not be winning by multiple goals consistently, but they’re getting the job done and that’s what is the most important thing. The one issue Juve has right now is injuries. Douglas Costa is still injured, also, Chiellini being out definitely makes their backline look a bit more vulnerable than it should be. They’ll have to watch their defensive line, as Torino’s Belotti is in decent form and can be very tough to stop.

TORINO

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So far this season, Torino hasn’t looked close to the way they did last season. Last season, they conceded the least amount of goals in Serie A. However, their defense does not look remotely close to how it did last season. Yes, they have a lot of the same players leading that backline, but there seems to be something missing. However, I can’t seem to point to the main issue with them. As of right now, they are 13th in Serie A. It’ll be a huge challenge for them to beat Juve, despite the fact that they’re at their home stadium. We’ll see if they can rise to the occasion.

Previewing Lazio vs. Atalanta

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Heading into this weekend of Serie A action, there will be some exciting matches taking place. For me, the most exciting match will be between Lazio and Atalanta. Both clubs will be heading into this match, having scored tons of goals, early on. Atalanta has scored 18 goals so far and Lazio has scored 13 goals. So, it should be a very exciting and high scoring match! Here’s my preview of this match for both clubs!

LAZIO

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There definitely hasn’t a been a shortage of goals from Lazio so far this season, as I mentioned earlier. However, the thing that is plaguing this club early in the season is what has plagued them over the past several seasons. That thing is being inconsistent in terms of their results. Even, in the Europa League, they’ve been inconsistent, as they won one match and lost another, so far. Their backline is definitely vulnerable. However, the inconsistency of results from them should be something to worry about especially, if they want to push for a top 4 spot in the Serie A this season. Against Atalanta, they’ll be at the Stadio Olimpico, which should help. However, we’ll see whether or not their inconsistency will hinder them against this tough Atalanta squad.

ATALANTA

 

Image result for de roon atalanta

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In Atalanta’s last 5 Serie A matches, they haven’t lost a match. Indeed, they don’t look much different from last season when they finished third. However, it’s still early. They haven’t performed how they’d like in the Champions League, as they’ve lost both their matches in the competition, thus far. However, they look red hot in Italy. They’ll definitely have a tough test against Lazio, especially considering they are playing away. This club continues to impress and prove the doubters wrong, though. One concern they’ll have going into this match is the fact that whilst on international duty for Colombia, Duvan Zapata picked up an injury. He’ll be out for at least three week. However, I do believe that their other attackers can get the job done.

MY PREDICTION

The first prediction I’ll make is that it’ll be a highscoring match, as both clubs can put the ball in the back of the net. Despite, Atalanta’s good Serie A form lately, I see this match ending in a 2-2 tie. This is because, whilst Lazio is inconsistent, I believe they’ll be motivated to step up and get a good result against a tough opponent at home.