Three Reasons Why Milan are Currently First in Serie A

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Milan haven’t lost a Serie A match since March 8th of this year and currently sit first in the league. There’s a good chance that they may not finish in first when it’s all said and done. However, here are three reasons why I think Milan currently sits in first in Serie A!

1. The Signing of Simon Kjaer

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When Milan announced the signing of Simon Kjaer in January of 2020, I never thought that he would be a huge part of Milan being undefeated since March. He’s a very talented defender. However, I never thought he’d make that much of a difference for Milan. Simon Kjaer previously played in Serie A for Palermo, Roma and Atalanta and came to Milan in January on a loan. In July, Milan made the move permanent only paying €3.5 million. So far, that looks like a steal. He has not only brought great defending to the club which was lacking at Milan for years, but he’s also provided leadership that you can’t teach. His style of defending has also provided balance to this Milan squad. He’s not a centre-back that lines to possess the ball and join in moving the ball into the opponent’s attacking half too often. However, he has eliminated the burden of defending that has plagued Milan for several seasons and has played solid. Many would probably argue that so far this season, he’s been Milan’s best defender and I’d have to agree. If the rossoneri end up winning the scudetto, the rest of the squad should pay for one of his meals, as he deserves it.

2. The Signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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When it was announced in December of 2019 that Milan would be signing the Swedish legend once again, I instantly thought that this was going to be a great signing for the squad and so far I’ve been right. Other than Zlatan’s salary, Milan didn’t have to pay any transfer fee for the lion. To say he’s been a great signing is a high understatement. So far, he’s been a world-class signing and a big reason why Milan is currently first in the league. It’s common knowledge that despite his age, Zlatan Ibrahimovic can still score. However, similar to Kjaer he had brought leadership and a winning mentality back to the club. It’s must be tough when a lot of players on the squad are over 10 years younger than you are, as the average age of the squad is 25, which is the youngest in Serie A. He has taken the lead for this squad, which like I just pointed out us not easy and leads them to currently sitting in first in the league. Currently, he’s injured. However, I guarantee that while he’s watching matches and training sessions he’s providing much-needed leadership off the field. When he does step back onto the field, I’m sure Milan’s squad will welcome that.

3. Stefano Pioli

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When Stefano Pioli was hired as Milan’s interim manager last season, it was clear he had a mountain of work to get done. However, slowly the squad starting playing to the tactics of his liking and now he’s turned them into a Scudetto challenger this season in what almost seems like he did overnight. That’s how fast time has flown by. Anyways, he’s made a huge impact with his tactics. A big reason for this in my view has been because he’s willing to play the members of his squad in their preferred positions, especially in the attack. Calhanoglu is now playing his preferred number 10 as a central attacking midfield role and has thrived. Countless other players have played their best under Padre Pioli. He’s also got the best out of the likes of Bennacer, Kessie and others in the midfield. There’s no doubt he’s made a huge difference in the attitude and tactics of the squad. Even if they don’t win the scudetto leading the club to qualify for the Champions League once again would be remarkable. Let’s see if he can continue to consistently get the best out of this squad for the rest of the season.

The Scudetto race is far from over. But, Milan has shown they have the potential to win the trophy for the first time since 2011.

You can reach out to me on Twitter  @calciofanblogs1, on Instagram @calciofanblogs, and my Facebook Page Calcio Fan Blogs. Additionally, if you’d like to reach out to me via email, my email address is calciofanblogs@gmail.com and/or connect with me on LinkedIn!

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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.

Thanks for reading this article! Be sure to spread the word about my blog to people you know that are interested in calcio or want to learn more about it. If you’d like to follow me further, my Twitter handle is @calciofanblogs1, my Instagram account is @calciofanblogs, and my Facebook Page is Calcio Fan Blogs. Additionally, if you’d like to reach out to me, email me at calciofanblogs@gmail.com and/or connect with me on LinkedIn!

My Serie A Top Four Predictions for the 2020-2021 Season

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The 2020-2021 Serie A season will kick off at 12 PM ET this upcoming Saturday, where Fiorentina will face Torino. One race that will be very fun to watch this season should be the Serie A top-four race. For me, there’s a clear top 3 heading into this season. However, I believe that the fourth spot should be a fight to the finish. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting my popcorn ready! Here are my predictions for the top four places in Serie A this upcoming season!

4. Milan

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For Milan, it seems as though everything has fallen into place for them this offseason. Not only were they able to keep Stefano Pioli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They also signed probably the most in-demand player in Italy, currently, Sandro Tonali. Add to that the possibility of Bakayoko returning Milan and the summer couldn’t have gone more perfect for the Rossoneri. Considering the mix of old and young talent in their squad and also considering Milan have solidified their central midfield, I think they’ll finally qualify for the Champions League in 2021. It should be a tight race to the end. However, I see them claiming that fourth spot. Their only issue in my view is at right-back. But, I don’t think that weakness will be enough from them accomplishing a top-four finish.

3. Napoli

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On paper, Lazio, Inter, Juve and possibly Atalanta have better starting lineups than Napoli. However, under Gattuso, they’ve shown that how their squad is on paper doesn’t matter. In saying that, they made some crucial signings. Their biggest need for the last couple of seasons has been buying a Striker that’s more clinical. Well, they addressed that issue by signing both Andrea Petagna and Victor Osimhen. That attack will be dangerous for any opposing defence. They’ve also added depth in the Centreback department by signing Amir Rrahmani from Hellas Verona. In my view, they still lack a proper right-winger and a left-back. However, given they have Gattuso as their manager and they finished way below par last season. Expect them coming into this season wanting revenge. As a result, I believe they’re a lock for third this upcoming season.

2. Juventus

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As a Juve fan myself, this prediction is very difficult to make, trust me. However, the fact that Pirlo was appointed as their manager and has no experience managing at this level influenced this prediction. Also, while there is still time left in the transfer window to address their weakness, particularly at right-back, as of now I think that’ll be their biggest Achilles’ heel. In saying that, bringing in Arthur, Kulusevski, and McKennie has resulted in them significantly upgrading their midfield, which is a big positive. Also, if Juve keeps Luca Pellegrini that’ll also be a positive and will lessen Alex Sandro’s load at left-back as well as giving him competition to ensure he consistently performs. Obviously, time will tell. But, as of now, Juve haven’t convinced me they’ll win the scudetto for the 10th time in a row this upcoming season.

1. Inter

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The Scudetto was already wrapped up for Juve last season with two matches to spare. However, Inter managed to only 1 point behind Juve. Fast-forward to currently and they’ve addressed pretty much all of their main issues in the Transfer Window, so far. At the left-wing back, they’ve signed formidable veteran, Alexsandar Kolarov. They’ve also signed top-class right-back Hakimi, which couldn’t be better for Inter. Also, consider that Nainggolan has come back from a loan at Cagliari and could very well feature in Inter’s plans for the upcoming season. It seems unlikely that’ll happen, but you never know. They’ve addressed their squad’s biggest needs so far and they possess a top-class manager in Antonio Conte who has a track record of success in Serie A and the EPL. His biggest flaw may be his stubbornness to make changes. But, now he has a squad that fits his style of play. Therefore, Inter should win the scudetto this upcoming season.

Honourable mentions should go to Lazio, Atalanta, and Roma, who I don’t think will finish in the for the top four. But, anything is possible and as I’ve reiterated throughout this article, there should be a tight race for that fourth spot.

Thanks for reading this article! Be sure to spread the word about my blog to people you know that are interested in calcio or want to learn more about it. If you’d like to follow me further, my Twitter handle is @calciofanblogs1, my Instagram account is @calciofanblogs, and my Facebook Page is Calcio Fan Blogs. Additionally, if you’d like to reach out to me, email me at calciofanblogs@gmail.com and/or connect with me on LinkedIn.

The Most Impressive Serie A Clubs Since the Current Season Resumed

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Several months ago, everything was up in the air and I didn’t know whether the current Serie A season would resume. However, flash-forward to now and there are matches scheduled for the majority of each week over close to the next two months. It’s also still early in the resumption of the season, but there have been a few clubs that have stood out. Here are the most impressive Serie A clubs since the current season resumed.

MILAN

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Ever since Pioli got hired, it’s been obvious that Milan has played significantly better. I think that’s pretty obvious. Clearly, they’ve continued their good form since the resumption of the season. Their first match back was against Lecce. In that match, they were up 1-0 at the half and it seemed as though things we’re going downhill, as Lecce equalized just after half. After that, I’m not sure what happened, but Milan exploded and scored three goals to secure a 4-1 victory. Yes, Lecce isn’t a great team. But, the win was impressive, nonetheless. Then, last Sunday they faced Roma. It was a tight game throughout. However, Milan continued got the job done late in the second half with two goals. This club continues to impress and it’s possible that the Rossoneri can make up for their bad start to the current season. With the form they’re in, it’s definitely possible.

ATALANTA

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Atalanta has impressed me so much over these last couple of seasons. Even once the season resumed, it’s like Atalanta never stopped playing. A lot of fans may complain that their club’s players are suffering from rust from not playing for so long. However, if you look at the way Atalanta has been playing since the restart of the season, those excuses look less valid. Not only did they beat Sassuolo by a good margin, but they also beat Lazio and even got a victory Udinese on the weekend. It doesn’t even seem real that they can come back after that long and score goals for fun. It’s amazing, to say the least! Obviously, defensively they’re a bit vulnerable. However, they’ve scored 80 goals in 28 matches this season so far, so I don’t think they’re afraid of sacrificing defensively to score. It’s amazing to still watch their highly-energetic attack. What’s even more impressive is it feels as though they can outscore almost any other club in Serie A.

NAPOLI

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For the first few matches under Gattuso, Napoli seemed to continue to struggle. However, since then they’ve played on a completely different level. If moving back to the top 6 wasn’t enough for some, winning the Coppa Italia might’ve been. A lot of squads would’ve lost focus for the rest of the season after winning a trophy like the Coppa Italia. However, not Napoli under Gattuso. Since they’ve resumed their season, they’ve beaten both Hellas Verona and SPAL. Now, the match against Hellas Verona seemed to be tough for them throughout. But, they defended well and were able to contain the beast that Hellas Verona has been this season. Then, they were able to capitalize on the Counter Attack. In both matches, the players stayed focused and calm and as a result, they’ve impressed. If they keep playing like this, who knows who they can surpass in the Serie A table.

JUVENTUS

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After Juve’s Coppa Italia performances, it would’ve been easy to write them and Maurizio Sarri off. However, so far Sarri has adjusted things and that has really helped. As a result of Alex Sandro’s injury in the Coppa Italia, he’s had to adjust. In the first match, he deployed De Sciglio as the left-back. Then, in the second match, he deployed Matuidi at left-back, which was odd because he typically plays as a central midfielder. But, they had no other choice and it seemed to work. The biggest difference in my view, though, was the attack. At right-wing, instead of starting Douglas Costa as Sarri did in their Coppa Italia matches, he opted to start Bernardeschi. That definitely paid off. Of course, Douglas Costa is a better player than Bernardeschi. But, the reason their attack has looked better in the last couple of games is one simple reason. Bernardeschi was willing to switch his position in order to allow more freedom for CR7 and Dybala. Costa, however, wasn’t as willing to switch play. As a result, Bernardeschi has surprisingly been better as a starter than Costa, since the season resumed. Time will tell if the front three of CR7, Dybala, and Berna will be truly effective. However, for now, it definitely is.

Thank you for reading this article! If you’re passionate about Serie A and want to constantly teach/learn about the league, you can reach out to me via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Additionally, you can also send me a message to my email address, which is calciofanblogs@gmail.com

Here’s Dybala’s impressive goal against Lecce on the weekend. Enjoy!

Video Via: Youtube- Netizen Indonesia Channel

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Previewing the Second Legs of the Coppa Italia Semifinal Ties

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I’m so excited because the Italian Soccer we’ve all been craving for months will return this Friday and Saturday! The Coppa Italia will return with the second leg of both the Coppa Italia semifinal matches. The first semifinal second leg will take place on Friday between Juve and AC Milan. The other semifinal second leg will take place on Saturday between Napoli and Inter. Here is my article, previewing the second legs of the Coppa Italia Semifinal Ties!

Juventus Vs. AC Milan

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In the first leg, Milan definitely outplayed Juve. However, due to Juve scoring a penalty in stoppage time of the second half, they’re at a bit of a disadvantage going into the second leg in Turin. Before this whole situation, AC Milan was beginning to find themselves once again and we’re challenging for a Europa League spot for next season. Indeed, it seemed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had brought much-needed leadership to the squad. However, he’ll be out of this match with a calf injury. So, it’ll be tough to get a result. Also, going to the Allianz Stadium is already tough to play in, nevermind getting a result. So, it’ll be very difficult to get a favourable result. But, anything is possible.

This season has been shaky so far this season for Juve. Sarri has had trouble implementing his preferred style of play because of Juve’s lack of creative midfielders. Even, in the first leg, Juve didn’t look at their best, whatsoever. They got outplayed for basically the whole match. As a Juve fan, it was definitely frustrating to watch. Despite that, they were able to get the job done and secure the advantage heading into the second leg. Having an advantage will definitely help to go into the second leg at home. However, with no crowd, the home advantage may not apply for Juve in this match.

Napoli Vs. Inter

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At the beginning of the current season, Inter were flying high and seemed like the Serie A contender many thought they should be before it started. However, as the season progressed, their performances began to decline. Even, in the first leg of this semifinal match against Napoli, they looked shaky. Although, they may have felt that they should’ve got a result. The match was also at the Stadio San Siro, so that was a big blow to them. Hopefully, Conte changes the squad’s formation going into the second leg, as they’ll play away at the Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli was flying high before. Gattuso was rapidly improving the squad and leading them to better results after performing below expectations for the first half of the season. Signing Lobotka in the winter definitely helped them as well. They even have a lead over Inter going into the second leg of their Coppa Italia tie. They’ll also be playing at home which may tremendously help them. The only issue will be the same as every other club in Serie A, which is they’ll be playing behind closed doors. We’ll see if they can replicate their usual form at home with no fans to cheer them on.

Thank you for reading this article! Let me know your predictions for these matches in the comments. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow me on Twitter @calciofanblogs1, on Instagram @calciofanblogs. Be sure to follow and like my Facebook Page, which is Calcio Fan Blogs. Additionally, if you would like to reach out to me via email, write to josephporco6@gmail.com or calciofanblogs@gmail.com.

Here’s Napoli’s goal against Inter in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal tie! Video Via: Youtube-Fon Tifunus

AC Milan’s Needs in the Summer Transfer Window

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Coming into the season, AC Milan had high hopes. However, it hasn’t turned out well for them, so far. This summer may revive the hopes of the club and fans. So, here is an article on AC Milan’s needs in the Summer Transfer Window.

 

A Leader On The Field

Ibrahimovic unable to

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When Zlatan Ibrahimovic came back to Milan in January, I pointed out in this article, that one of the reasons he’d help AC Milan is his leadership qualities. Obviously, he’s brought a ton of leadership to the squad so far this season. However, there’s a good chance he won’t re-sign with the Rossoneri in the summer. Therefore, I think that AC Milan will need to look elsewhere to find a proven leader on the field, considering how young a lot of their players are. It’s tough to say who AC Milan should go for in the summer.  This would be difficult, but I would suggest that AC Milan should go for Thiago Silva in the Summer. His contract expires on June 30th. Also, he has proven to be a leader on PSG and the Brazilian National squad.  Hence, why he was named PSG’s captain some seasons ago.

 

A Right-Back

Milan wants to sell Calabria – football.ua

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AC Milan definitely needs to address their backline in the summer. I’m sure a lot of fans would agree with that assessment. One position that I think needs to be addressed is at right-back. It’s no secret that Andrea Conti is injury-prone and unfortunately, that doesn’t make him a reliable right-back. Also, I personally believe that Davide Calabria is a good backup right-back. However, I don’t think he’s good enough to be playing the minutes he has. The question is, who can AC Milan sign to address this need. It’s tough to say because it’s very difficult to find a top right-back and at a cheap price. Also, consider some clubs have the better financial muscle and they need a right-back as well.

 

A Centre-Back

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When AC Milan bought Mateo Musacchio in 2017, there were many reasons to be excited. Indeed, he was a standout player for Villareal and they thought that maybe Romagnoli would finally get the help he deserved. However, signing him has been a disaster, to say the least.  Romagnoli has had to carry even more of the weight of the backline on his shoulders. Leo Duarte has been a decent partner for Romagnoli. However, I don’t believe he’s been good enough to not sign another centre-back in the summer. However, if AC Milan is somehow able to sign Thiago Silva in the summer, I believe he’ll address two of these issues. I’ll repeat it again, just in case AC Milan’s Upper-Management hasn’t seen it before. Please, try your best to sign Thiago Silva in the summer!

 

An Attacking-Oriented Central Midfielder

Official statement: giacomo bonaventura | AC Milan

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I definitely consider signing an attacking-oriented central midfielder a need for AC Milan. However, I think that other needs should be addressed first before this one. Notably, their backline. However, this is still a need, nonetheless.  It seems as though they are fine at the defensive midfield position, as they have Franck Kessie and Bennacer. Both have shown that they’re capable of being starters in that position for AC Milan, at least in my view. However, they lack central midfielders that can orchestrate attacking plays. Bonaventura is awesome, however, he tends to get injuries. I have nothing against his play on the field. But, I think that AC Milan should consider signing a more reliable midfielder with a similar playing style as him.

Indeed, it’s apparent from this article that AC Milan has a bunch of needs heading into the Summer Transfer Window. However, it may not be easy to address all these issues so fast. Thanks for reading this article on AC Milan’s needs in The Summer Transfer Window. If, you want to have your say, vote in the poll below!

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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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Will Stefano Pioli and Claudio Ranieri Work Out for AC Milan and Sampdoria?

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This week, two massive developments have taken place within the Serie A. The first was that Di Francesco got sacked from Sampdoria, then, not too many days after, Giampaolo got let go from AC Milan as well. Then, in the same week, Stefano Pioli got appointed to be the rossoneri’s new manager and Claudio Ranieri became Sampdoria’s new manager. So, here’s how I think they will do at their new clubs!

STEFANO PIOLI AT AC MILAN

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Immediately after Stefano Pioli was appointed as AC Milan’s manager, fans of the club started using the #pioliout on social media. While, I don’t think it’s right to dismiss a manager that quickly, I also don’t believe that by the end of the season he’ll work out for the club. Now, does that mean I don’t think he’ll improve the the club’s results by the end of the season? Of course, I believe he will! However, even if he leads Milan to qualify for the Europa League in fifth like Gattuso did last season, I still don’t believe they’ll want to keep him. AC Milan’s upper-management does not seem to have any patience at all in regards to managers, therefore, unfortunately I don’t see him working out with the rossoneri by the end of the season. However, I do hope it works out for the sake of the fans within the city.

CLAUDIO RANIERI AT SAMPDORIA

 

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One of the interesting parts of this appointment by Sampdoria is that it’s the second time in a row that Claudio Ranieri has been hired as a club’s manager right after Eusebio Di Francesco has been sacked at the same team. However, I do think that Ranieri appointment as Sampdoria’s manager will work out for the club. The reason I believe this is because the style he implements at clubs is usually a more defensive one, as opposed to a possession/heavy pressing one. I think that with Sampdoria’s current squad, that style will work the best. I know that under Giampaolo, they played very possession based football, however, a big part of that was banking on the fact that Quagliarella was on his game and constantly banging in goals. However, under Di Francesco, he tried to get them to play a very offensive style of play, but, unlike under Giampaolo, Quagliarella hasn’t been scoring enough so far this season. That lead to Di Francesco downfall at Sampdoria. Anyhow, I do believe Ranieri’s style will cause headaches for opponents, as they’ll be tougher to break down. This will lead to them improving significantly this season.