Serie A – Footy http://www.footy.to/ Your Daily Football NEws Source Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:45:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.15 Andrea Pirlo is the rookie boss installed to help Italian giants Juventus win 10th straight Serie A http://www.footy.to/2020/09/21/andrea-pirlo-is-the-rookie-boss-installed-to-help-italian-giants-juventus-win-10th-straight-serie-a/ http://www.footy.to/2020/09/21/andrea-pirlo-is-the-rookie-boss-installed-to-help-italian-giants-juventus-win-10th-straight-serie-a/#respond Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:43:27 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=25231

Italian giants Juventus are no longer the firm favourites to march towards a 10th consecutive Serie A title with Inter Milan having closed the gap.

Juventus took a risk by appointing rookie Andrea Pirlo as their new manager to replace Maurizio Sarri after underwhelming last season – getting knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage.

As well as Inter, the likes of Lazio and Atalanta will argue their case to battle it out for the Serie A crown as players from Italy’s top clubs look to stake their claim for a spot in the national team under Roberto Mancini.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the task awaiting Pirlo as they prepare for their Serie A opener on Sunday against Sampdoria, and who exactly will rival Juventus for the title….

Andrea Pirlo’s first Serie A game in charge of Juventus is against Sampdoria on Sunday night

THE PRESSURE FACING PIRLO IMMEDIATELY 

Juventus also chose Pirlo as manager because his £1.6million salary per year was the lowest among other names linked to the job at the Allianz Stadium following Sarri’s dismissal.

Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino were favourites but their requests of £8.2m per year scared off a club, who decided to take the internal path that consists of a fascinating and technical project.

Pirlo recently graduated with his coaching badges just six days before the Sampdoria clash, having a very broad philosophy based on ‘proactive, possession and attacking football’ – in which he obtained a score of 107/110, ranking second among the coaches.

From his thesis emerged a desire to inspire his new Juventus side to replicate Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona and above all, Louis Van Gaal’s Ajax side. In the 30 pages of his coaching philosophy, Pirlo also mentioned Antonio Conte’s Juventus outfit – his first team with the Italian midfielder on the pitch.

During Pirlo’s first few days as Juventus manager, Danilo commented to Tuttosport: ‘He trained with us, he communicates very well with the team and with every player of the club.’

This was a key missing ingredient from Sarri’s time at the club but it may not be enough to lead Juventus to a remarkable 10th consecutive Serie A title. 

Pirlo has very little experience at the top level of management and may have problems containing his emotions in his first season. Furthermore, he will have to try and overcome the skepticism of his more experienced Juventus colleagues.

Talking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Van Gaal expressed his doubts about Pirlo as a manager: ‘In Holland they say: ‘If you are a good horse, you are not a good jockey’. I doubt his qualities as a coach because he has never coached and has learned everything he knows as a footballer. 

‘Andrea Pirlo was the best in his role as a player, but I don’t know what his coaching career will be like. There are few good players who have become excellent technicians also because unfortunately in Latin culture, the common spirit often fades into the background and is not considered.’

There will be pressure on Pirlo to deliver from the off for the Italian giants this campaign

There will be pressure on Pirlo to deliver from the off for the Italian giants this campaign

INTER MILAN CAN STOP JUVE’S DOMINANCE

Antonio Conte, despite enduring a tough debut campaign, is the right coach to break Juventus’ nine-year dominance in the Italian top-flight.

Juventus’ real rival this coming season will be Inter, who are on the brink of signing Arturo Vidal and dream of bringing N’Golo Kante to the San Siro.

The former Chelsea manager will not change his tactics and will start the season with his trusted 3-5-2 formation, with the only difference being Achraf Hakimi at right back.

Inter will have plenty of experience, which will be a fundamental weapon in their pursuit of the Scudetto. 

Both Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez will be key once again for Conte’s side while Alessandro Bastoni will get increasing chances to play in the heart of defence after replacing Diego Godin in the space of 12 months. They had the best defensive record in the league last season.

Inter Milan under Antonio Conte will be a real force this season with Romelu Lukaku up top

Inter Milan under Antonio Conte will be a real force this season with Romelu Lukaku up top

ATALANTA WILL FIND IT TOUGH TO REPLICATE THEIR FORM

It will be difficult for Atalanta, coached by Gian Piero Gasperini, to repeat their extraordinary 2019-20 form, which saw them reach the Champions League quarter-finals. 

Atalanta forward Alejandro Darío Gomez isn’t getting any younger while Josip Ilicic will be going through rehabilitation after returning to Slovenia to overcome his battle with depression.

Furthermore, Gazzetta dello Sport report that Atalanta will have to solve the Aleksei Miranchuk problem. The club will not want to take any risks over his return to the pitch after suffering with muscle discomfort when he was playing for Lokomotiv Moscow. 

Miranchuk arrived to the club injured but Atalanta and Gasperini believe he can return to fitness in a month.

Atalanta exceeded expectations last season, reaching the Champions League quarter-finals

Atalanta exceeded expectations last season, reaching the Champions League quarter-finals

LAZIO WILL SETTLE FOR A CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SPOT

Lazio acquired the services of Vedat Muriqi from Fenerbahce this summer, become president Claudio Lotito’s most expensive signing over the last five years. However, there are still question marks over how the Kosovo striker will fare in Italy.

Lazio are currently not among the favourites to win the Serie A crown and they will instead continue to fight for a place in the Champions League.

The presence of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto will be a big advantage for Lazio but they still need to dip into the transfer window.

With their current squad, Lazio still appear to be behind the rest of the contenders for the Serie A title.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto will be key for Lazio this season in Italian top-flight

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto will be key for Lazio this season in Italian top-flight

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM PIRLO’S SIDE IN HIS FIRST MATCH?

Pirlo will have a team with an engine, with three certainties in his side: Wojciech Szczesny, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pirlo has already let it be known that he will start with a 3-5-2 formation, with Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro on the wings while Adrien Rabiot, Arthur Melo and Aaron Ramsey will sit in the middle of the park.

According to Tuttosport, Rodrigo Bentancur has a slight knock and will start the match against Sampdoria on the bench.

Prior to the complete recovery of Matthijs de Ligt, who will only be available again from the end of October, Pirlo will line up with experienced duo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini while he will opt for either Merih Demiral or Danilo on the right-hand side of the three centre backs.

Finally in attack, there are only two options, Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski, because Paulo Dybala – who starred last season – is recovering from a muscle problem.

Pirlo will be counting on Cristiano Ronaldo to provide the spark once again for Juventus

Pirlo will be counting on Cristiano Ronaldo to provide the spark once again for Juventus

KULUSEVSKI CAN GIVE JUVE A BOOST

Pirlo has already made it known that he will count on Dejan Kulusevski this season after Juventus fended off interest for his signature in a £39m deal in January.

The 20-year-old Swedish winger is among one of the most exciting talents around – he provided 11 assists in Serie A last season for Parma to become the player with the most assists in Europe under the age of 20. 

While playing for Parma, he amazed everyone with his strength and speed. At Juventus, he will be a revelation for Pirlo and can be used in any formation, such as 3-5-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3.

Dejan Kulusevski is an exciting talent that rookie boss Pirlo and Juventus have on their hands

Dejan Kulusevski is an exciting talent that rookie boss Pirlo and Juventus have on their hands

CANNAVARO BACKS PIRLO

Fabio Cannavaro, a former centre back for both Juventus and Real Madrid, recently gave an interview to Il Mattino, talking about the club’s chances of winning Serie A with Pirlo at the helm.

Cannavaro said: ‘He can give his serenity but he must understand that he must not exaggerate. 

‘Pirlo has great luck and must not underestimate it: he is in a strong team where even if he makes a mistake, there will be someone who will be able to fix his mistake. 

‘This is no small advantage for a young and inexperienced manager. Juventus have something more than the others but Inter have strengthened a lot. ‘ 

Fabio Cannavaro has given his opinion on how Pirlo will fare during his debut managerial term

Fabio Cannavaro has given his opinion on how Pirlo will fare during his debut managerial term

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Memphis Depay handed No 10 shirt by Lyon in hint he may stay amid Barcelona and AC Milan interest http://www.footy.to/2020/09/21/memphis-depay-handed-no-10-shirt-by-lyon-in-hint-he-may-stay-amid-barcelona-and-ac-milan-interest/ http://www.footy.to/2020/09/21/memphis-depay-handed-no-10-shirt-by-lyon-in-hint-he-may-stay-amid-barcelona-and-ac-milan-interest/#respond Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:37:31 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=25219

‘He wouldn’t take it if he was leaving’: Memphis Depay handed No 10 shirt by Lyon as fans interpret switch from No 11 as a hint he will STAY amid interest in £28m winger from Barcelona and AC Milan

  • Depay wore the new shirt number in Friday night’s goalless draw with Nimes
  • Lyon fans believe his switch from No 11 is a sign he will stay with the club
  • Barcelona and AC Milan have been linked with the Holland international winger
  • But Barca boss Ronald Koeman has been told players must be sold first 

Lyon fans are optimistic Barcelona and AC Milan target Memphis Depay will stay at the club after he was handed a new shirt number.

The Dutch forward wore the No 10 shirt for the first time on Friday night as Lyon’s poor start to the Ligue 1 season continued with a goalless draw at home to Nimes.

New arrival Tino Kadewere has been given Depay’s old No 11 shirt.

Lyon fans believe Memphis Depay will stay at the club after swapping shirt numbers to No 10

The Dutch winger wore the No 10 shirt for the first time as Lyon were held goalless by Nimes

The Dutch winger wore the No 10 shirt for the first time as Lyon were held goalless by Nimes

Lyon fans interpreted the switch as an indication Depay isn’t on the move, the logic being that he wouldn’t request a change of number if he was planning to leave.

The former Manchester United player, 26, has been linked with a move to Barcelona, where compatriot Ronald Koeman has taken over as manager.

But Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas claimed that his counterpart at Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, told him they can’t afford Depay’s £28million asking price.

Koeman has been told he must sell players to raise the funds to sign him.

Lyon value Depay at £28m and the winger has attracted interest from Barcelona and AC Milan

Lyon value Depay at £28m and the winger has attracted interest from Barcelona and AC Milan

Depay wore the No 11 shirt for Lyon until Friday night's game and fans now think he's staying

Depay wore the No 11 shirt for Lyon until Friday night’s game and fans now think he’s staying

Lyon fans reacted to the shirt number announcement with delight on Twitter

Lyon fans reacted to the shirt number announcement with delight on Twitter

And Spanish newspaper Diario AS reported that Milan have consequently overtaken Barcelona in the race for Depay.

Stefano Pioli’s side are interested in bringing Depay, who is in the last year of his deal, to the club in exchange for Lucas Paqueta.

Depay has no intent on extending his current deal which expires in July 2021, while Paqueta is currently under control until 2023.

However, the shirt number switch, which comes about with previous owner of the No 10 shirt Bertrand Traore on his way out, suggests Depay could see out the final year.



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Shamrock Rovers 0-2 AC Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu score http://www.footy.to/2020/09/21/shamrock-rovers-0-2-ac-milan-zlatan-ibrahimovic-and-hakan-calhanoglu-score/ http://www.footy.to/2020/09/21/shamrock-rovers-0-2-ac-milan-zlatan-ibrahimovic-and-hakan-calhanoglu-score/#respond Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:34:24 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=25210

A few weeks shy of his 39th birthday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t have many more football frontiers to explore. At this age, he could be excused for letting his poney-tail down, releasing a new single, and putting on a few kilos at the smorgasbord.

But like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he loves playing football and scoring goals.

On his Tallaght Stadium bow, the strapping Swede walked the walk as AC Milan muscled Rovers out of the Europa League qualifiers.

Hakan Calhanoglu killed Shamrock Rovers’ hopes by netting a second for AC Milan

AC Milan made sure there was no surprise in order during the Europa League qualifying round

AC Milan made sure there was no surprise in order during the Europa League qualifying round

Ibrahimovic gave Milan the lead in the 23rd minute against the Irish minnows on Thursday

Ibrahimovic gave Milan the lead in the 23rd minute against the Irish minnows on Thursday

Ibrahimovic's goal gave the Serie A outfit the perfect start at the Tallaght Stadium

Ibrahimovic’s goal gave the Serie A outfit the perfect start at the Tallaght Stadium 

Ibrahimovic not only scored his 486th club career goal in the 23rd minute with a rifling right-footer, but was involved in almost all of Milan’s attacking moves as he completed 90 minutes.

At times, he was impossible for Rovers to handle with his physique, touch, pace and awareness. In addition, he was willing to graft too.

For instance, moments after his goal, Ibrahimovic was back in his own box defending a corner, which was cleared.

Like the old David Coleman line about Alberto Juantorena opening his legs and showing his class, Zlatan then galloped upfield and picked out Samu Castillejo with a perfect pass.

Somehow Aaron McEneff hared back to effect a goal-line clearance. At another moment in the first half, Ibrahimovic was at half pace on the ball, when he played a one-two and exploded with a surge of pace into the Rovers box looking for the return.

He got there and whipped over a cross which almost delivered a goal.

While his goal was classic Zlatan.

If Roberto Lopes will chide himself at the way he lost the ball to the right of his penalty box, there is small consolation that he’d have got away with it on the home front. Not here.

Sensing weakness, Milan opened up Rovers with two quick passes, the second of which was a sleight of foot gem from Hakan Calhanoglu to find Ibrahimovic.

The 38-year-old slots home emphatically to give the visitors the early lead in Ireland

The 38-year-old slots home emphatically to give the visitors the early lead in Ireland

Ibrahimovic and Neil Farruga of Shamrock Rovers fist bump following the final whistle

Ibrahimovic and Neil Farruga of Shamrock Rovers fist bump following the final whistle

With his first touch, he opened up space, and with his second, he buried a 15-yard past Alan Mannus at pace to add Ireland to the many lands where he has scored.

Calhanoglu was a problem for Rovers for much of an open, entertaining, skirmish in Dublin 24.

Born in Mannheim, the Turkish international oozed class on the ball. He was a reminder of Mesut Ozil in his prime a few years back.

Calhanoglu’s ability to ghost into the box also caused Rovers problems.

Denied by the crossbar with a spectacular overhead, and by a stunning finger-tip save from Alan Mannus he claimed a deserved second midway through the second half after Rovers lost possession and were punished.

The Swedish veteran leaps high in the air during the early stages against Shamrock Rovers

The Swedish veteran leaps high in the air during the early stages against Shamrock Rovers

The towering Ivorian Franck Kessie carried the ball into the box, and when Alexis Saelemaekers laid it off into the path of Calhanoglu on the edge of the box, he leaned back and threaded a right-footer into the top corner.

A two-goal deficit was a bridge too far for Rovers to cross but the heads didn’t drop and they kept chipping away. Should they continue to play like this, the domestic rewards this season wil be considerable.

As expected, this was a challenge ‘up the levels’ as Stephen Bradley, the Rovers head coach predicted, with Milan fielding players of 10 different nationalities.

The SSE Airtricity League league leaders were far from disgraced as they pluckily took the fight to Milan whenever an opportunity presented itself.

Rovers had their moments as you’d expect from a team unbeaten in domestic competition and gunning for the double.

In front of Irish manager Stephen Kenny, there was much to admire from Jack Byrne’s accuracy of pass and vision. He doesn’t need to audition for Ireland any more and the case for bringing him to Slovakia next month is a strong one.

Graham Burke tackles AC Milan's Ismael Bennacer during the second half on Thursday night

Graham Burke tackles AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacer during the second half on Thursday night

Byrne’s silky 14th minute run into Milan territory and inch-perfect pass to Aaron Greene offered Rovers the chance to draw first blood, which they needed to do to rattle Milan’s cage.

While Greene’s left-footer was crisply struck, Gianluigi Donnaruma athletically stuck out a big left paw to deny the Hoops.

The industrious Greene, who bagged the coveted Zlatan jersey after the game, managed three shots on target but was denied each time by Donnaruma.

That he exposed gaps in the green Milanese line suggests the former kings of Europe are not as sturdy at the back as they need to be for the season ahead.

But at least they have Zlatan, who’s like a well-oiled Saab, with plenty of revs in his much-travelled engine.

Davide Calabria battles for the ball with Shamrock's Aaron Greene during the European match

Davide Calabria battles for the ball with Shamrock’s Aaron Greene during the European match

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