Previewing Serie A Clubs for the Rest of the Season (Part Three)

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Just in case you didn’t know, the Serie A season is only two days from resuming once again! It’s going down to the wire! So, here’s my article previewing Serie A clubs for the rest of the season (part three).

Bologna

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Not too long ago, I said that Bologna is one of my top four underrated clubs for the rest of the season. One thing that is persistent among clubs around midtable is their inconsistency in terms of results and that’s no different than Bologna this season. Of course, they’ve done decently given the squad at their disposal. Their attack has become one of the most deadly in the league with Palacio and Orsolini headlining it. Of course, on their day, backlines dislike facing them. However, defensively they need to improve if they want to move up in the table. Sinisa Mihajlovic has done a great job managing them this season, though.

Parma

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My admiration for Parma and their manager, Roberto D’aversa is clear. However, they’ve backed that up with results this season. As I’ve mentioned, their counterattack is one of the deadliest in the league. They also defend well. Unfortunately, their brightest player this season, Dejan Kulusevski, probably won’t play for them next season, as Juve signed him in January and loaned back to Parma for the rest of this season. However, Parma should definitely take advantage of the time he still has with the club. Beware of them!

Hellas Verona

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I never expected Hellas Verona to be this good at the beginning of the season. I thought that for sure they’d be relegated at the end of this season. However, they’ve impressed so many calcio fans. Veloso and Amrabat have been rocks in the middle of the park, Kumbulla and Faraoni have been solid at the back as well. Even upfront, they’ve played well. The majority of the credit has to go to Ivan Juric. He’s done a stellar job with the squad so far and I can’t wait to watch them for the rest of the season!

AC Milan

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At the start of this season, things seemed like they were going up for Milan. They hired Giampaolo, who seemed like a great coach for the rossoneri. However, at the beginning of the season, they got off to a horrendous start and Giampaolo got sacked. Stefano Piolo got hired for the job and so far, he’s done a good job with them. I’m sure the squad and fans aren’t satisfied with their current place in the table, which is 9th. However, if they keep improving for the rest of the season, anything can happen. They may even qualify for the Europa League next season, who knows?

Napoli

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To say this has been a disappointing season for Napoli is completely right! They went from competing for the scudetto in previous seasons to competing for a spot in European competition this season. Although, ever since Gattuso took the reins of the squad, they’ve improved immensely. They even re-signed Dries Mertens, which may give the whole club a boost for the rest of the season. If they keep playing this way under Gattuso, they could possibly end up in the Champions League next season. They’re 9 points away from catching Atalanta for the final Champions League spot. But, anything can happen.

The Four Most Underrated Clubs for the Rest of the Season

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Just before the current Serie A season began, I wrote an article on the four most underrated clubs heading into it. Of course, like any season things have changed like crazy since then. So, here are the four most underrated clubs for the rest of the season.

 

4. Parma

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If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you’d know how much I admire Parma’s Manager, Roberto D’Aversa! I also admire this squad. in general. Kulusevski has been a great addition and the squad seems to have improved throughout the season. Gervinho was supposed to leave in January, but the move fell through. That was probably a huge boost for this squad. Even, their backline has looked very tough to breakdown. Also, as I’ve mentioned in various articles, their counterattack is a threat to any opponent. Clubs such as Napoli, AC Milan, and Hellas Verona will have a tough time fighting this club off for Europa League spots. Parma definitely seems prepared for the fight,  that’s for sure!

 

3. Bologna 

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Near the beginning of this season, Bologna’s manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic, was diagnosed with leukemia. That seemed to give the club tons of motivation. Last season, he came in and the club went from battling relegation. This season, they’ve stayed in a midtable spot. However, this is a club that when on their game can stun the best of clubs. With the likes of veteran, Rodrigo Palacio and young star, Riccardo Orsolini in their lineup, they can be a handful to face. Even their backline with the likes of Ibrahima Mbaye and Mattia Bani can be formidable. Although, their backline has been inconsistent at times. This is definitely a club to watch out for during the rest of the season. They have a manager in Mihajlovic who can pull many unexpected tricks. So, other Serie A clubs beware!

 

2. Cagliari

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At the beginning of the season, Cagliari was challenging for a Champions League place. However, their form dipped and currently, they sit in 12th place. But, there’s no reason to write them off for a second. This season, they have some of the most underrated players in the league. Joao Pedro has been superb at leading the attack, Roma loanee, Robin Olsen, has been crucial for them in the net. Also, I know Inter fans may not want to hear this, but Radja Nainggolan has been a rock in the middle for Cagliari, this season. The squad hasn’t found consistent results since the beginning of the season. However, make no mistake, this squad is definitely capable of pulling together consistent results as well as surprising many fans and pundits.

 

1. Hellas Verona 

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Since Ivan Juric has taken over this Hellas Verona side, they’ve definitely looked different, to say the least! They’re current in 8th, challenging for a Europa League, which is definitely surprising. This squad is full of underrated players. Maybe, that’s motivated them to play at such a high-level. Also, it’s impressive to see the results they’ve gotten, considering they got promoted from Serie B last season. It’s their first season back in Serie A since 2017-2018. Clearly, that one season in Serie B motivated to come back stronger and they have! Davide Faraoni, Kumbulla, Miguel Veloso and others have just been so underrated and have been quietly leading the club to great results! Who knows what will happen to the squad in the next transfer window? Either way, I’m sure that fans and employees of the club are not thinking about that and enjoying this cinderella story. I’m not even a Hellas Verona fan and I’m enjoying this!

 My four most underrated clubs have changed completely since the beginning of the season. But, that’s just the nature of what happens over any season in sports. Either way, I can’t wait to watch it! There you have it, this is my article on the four most underrated clubs for the rest of the season!

 

My Five Serie A Manager of the Year Nominees

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This Serie A season may or may not be continuing after this tough time. However, in any case, the majority of the season has happened already. So, I’ve decided to nominate five managers of the year candidates. Here they are!

5. Paulo Fonseca

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Coming into this season, I expected Roma to barely get a place within the Serie A top 4. However, as of now, they aren’t. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster type of season for the giallorossi. But, they currently sit in fifth. A big reason for that has been the work of Paulo Fonseca. Roma’s backline is still suspect. But, it has definitely improved under Fonseca. Last season they scored a total of 66 goals, which was fourth-best in Serie A. This season they’ve scored 50 goals in 26 matches. So, they’ve definitely improved in that aspect. Their midfield has also stood out, as offensively the speed of their track has improved. Also, without the ball, the midfield looks better this season. Fonseca has elevated Roma this season. We’ll see what he does in the future for them.

4. Roberto D’aversa

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Roberto D’aversa’s Parma side hasn’t been talked about much this season. However, they’re definitely proving to be a formidable force within the league. Last season, Parma was only three points from relegation and ended up in 14th. This season, they’re way past being in the relegation zone. They currently sit in ninth. They’ve proved to be a difficult opponent for any club that faces them. Roberto D’aversa has made them tough to break down at the back. Also, they’re dangerous for any backline to face, as their counter-attack has lots of speed to it. Their biggest flaw is they don’t have a top goalscorer. But, other than that, Roberto D’aversa has gotten the best out of this group.

3. Gian Piero Gasperini

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Based on last season’s spectacular season from Atalanta, many people, including myself didn’t think Atalanta would be able to maintain this level of play because of being in the Champions League this season. Fast-forward to this season and they’ve somehow been able to continue staying in the Serie A top four. They also made it past the Champions League round of 16. They do have issues at the back, but they’re able to outscore most clubs. This should be credited to Gasperini’s work. The likes of Duvan Zapata, Josip Ilicic, and others weren’t big names. But, under Gasperini, they’ve become household names in Italy and around Europe, they’re starting to get the recognition they deserve.

2. Ivan Juric

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The biggest Cinderella story in Serie A has to be Hellas Verona. I expected Hellas Verona to be relegated this season. But, they’ve surpassed my expectations by far. Who would’ve predicted that they’d possibly be challenging for a Europa League spot for next season? I certainly didn’t. Ivan Juric has elevated this squad beyond levels that I could’ve ever imagined this season. They may not qualify for the Europa League, at the end of the season. But, I’d consider it successful for Ivan Juric. Ivan Juric has earned the right to be a top nominee for the Serie A manager of the season, in my view.

1. Simone Inzaghi

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If you would’ve told Lazio fans that they’d be contending for the scudetto at the beginning of the season, I think they would’ve taken it. This season has been beyond anyone’s imagination for Lazio. Like I’ve reiterated in several other articles, over the past several seasons Lazio hasn’t had issues creating chances and scoring goals. However, this season their backline has immensely improved. A massive amount of credit should go to Simone Inzaghi for that. This Lazio project has been a work in progress. But, it seems like they’ve figured out the issues they’ve had and fixed them. Whatever happens, I’m sure this will be a season to remember for fans of the club. Simone Inzaghi has been a big part of making this dream season happen.

The Most Impressive Clubs So Far This Season in Serie A

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Like every season, there’s been several surprises so far. However, it seems as though there has been more surprisingly overachieving clubs than usual, this season. Here’s who I think have been the most impressive Serie A clubs, so far this season.

HELLAS VERONA

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Many Serie A fans would’ve thought that coming into this season, Hellas Verona would battle relegation throughout. However, they’ve proved so many wrong and may challenge for a spot in a European competition if they continue like this. They currently sit in ninth in the standings. The interesting part of Hellas Verona is the fact that they don’t possess any notable players. But, they’re getting the job done and that’s what matters the most. Well see if they can avoid a relegation battle throughout the rest of this season.

CAGLIARI

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When Nainggolan was loaned to Cagliari, it seemed as if his biggest motivation was to prove Inter wrong. So far, him and Cagliari are doing just that. Yes, Cagliari sold their star player last season, Nicolo Barella. However, they’re boasting players such as Joao Pedro, Giovanni Simeone, and of course Radja Nainggolan, who are taking the league by storm. Also, they boast some decent veterans such as Ragnar Klavan and Luca Cigarini as well. All in all, they’re a very underrated squad and at this rate, they have a good chance of being in the Europa League next season. They’re also challenging for the Champions League, so watch out for this squad.

LAZIO

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So far, Lazio looks like a very tough club to face. Ciro Immobile has scored the most goals out of all players in Europe’s top 5 leagues, this season. Once again, he is feeling it. They also sit 3rd in the Serie A table and are an exciting club to watch. They play a very offensive style. Also, unlike past seasons, it seems they’ve found a defender who can be a rock for them at the back. Right now, that’s Francesco Acerbi. They also possess Joaquin Correa who plays as a forward. Him and Immobile seem to complement each other’s games. They also a boast a midfield that has the highly touted? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, as well as Luis Alberto, who is massively underrated. It’ll be tough, however if they can keep being this consistent, we’ll see them in the Champions League next season.

INTER

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Inter has a very good manager in Antonio Conte at their disposal. However, despite that, I predicted they’d finish in third before the season started. But, Inter is definitely proving me wrong by a wide-margin. Antonio Conte has gotten this squad to play how he wants them to already. Also, although Barella and Sensi are currently injured, they’ve been a massive part of this midfield that has dominated many other Serie A sides. Upfront, with Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, they’ve been pretty good, as well. That midfield is a big part of it, in my opinion. Not to take away either from Martinez or Lukaku, but the service that midfield has provided to those two is a big part of why they’re playing tremendously right now. As for their backline, nothing needs to be said. Many expected that backline to be a wall and it has lived up to that, so far. We’ll see if they’re able to get enough points to win Serie A’s iron throne this season. One thing is for sure, it’ll be a tough fight, but one they’re winning as of now.