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.

Reasons Why This Season Has Been a Success for Atalanta

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To say this has been a good season for Atalanta is an understatement. It’s been a great season! From currently being in a top-four spot in Serie A to qualifying for the Champions League Quarterfinals, it’s been spectacular. So, here the reasons why this season has been a success for Atalanta!

1. Gasperini’s Squad Management

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There are so many articles where I clearly admire Gasperini. See this article and others for reference! One particular aspect from him that I’ve really enjoyed this season, particularly, is how he’s been able to manage the squad. Many people like me, thought that Atalanta didn’t have the depth to compete in three competitions. However, Gasperini has rotated the squad so well that it’s hard to notice their depth issues. He’s been rotating his players particularly well at the attacking positions. But, in saying that, it helps when you have the likes of Papu Gomez, Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel, Josip Ilicic and a few others to lead your attack. If this season does in fact continue, the only question will be whether they can sustain this level of attacking prowess. But, either way, it’s been another successful season for them.

2. Atalanta’s Market Value Increase

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According to Transfermarkt, Atalanta’s current Market value as of April 1st is $364.76 million USD. On April lst 2019, their market value was $213.35 million USD. That’s approximately a 71% increase in market value. That’s remarkable! Their market value was eighth highest in Serie A on April 1st of 2019. But, on April 1st of 2020, their market value moved up to being seventh-highest in Serie A. This also demonstrates that when clubs get results on the field, results off the field tend to follow. I’m sure Atalanta’s owner, Antonio Percassi, as well as other stakeholders within the club, are enjoying that increase. I mean, who wouldn’t? Let’s hope their market value keeps increasing!

3. Atalanta’s Attack

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I’m no soccer analytics person. However, this season has seen plenty of goals from this la dea side. Once again this season, they’ve scored the most goals in Serie A. They’ve got 70 goals in 25 matches, so far. Last season the squad scored 77 goals in 38 Serie A matches. That’s amazing! Papu Gomez, Josip Ilicic, Luis Muriel, and Duvan Zapata have combined for 45 goals. That’s very impressive and consider the likes of Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel were injured for several matches during this season. This squad has made goalscoring look like an art form. When opponents face this club, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll concede a goal. If their attackers are on top of their game, it’s scary for any opponent to face.

Previewing the Derby d’Italia

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It was officially announced yesterday, that the Derby d’Italia will be played behind closed doors on Sunday, March 8th at 3:45 pm Eastern Time. This means that there will be no fans attending the match. However, despite that, it’s still going to be such a crucial match. So, here’s my article previewing the Derby d’Italia!

Inter Milan

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The season is mostly finished and Inter has definitely looked better than the last several seasons. However, recently their form has dipped. In their last five Serie A matches, they’ve won two matches, they’ve lose two matches and drew a match. That form has led them to go down in the table. Currently, they sit third in Serie A. If Inter are to win this match, I’d advise Conte to not play the 3-5-2. Unfortunately, their wingbacks are vulnerable defensively, which will make this formation very tough to implement. Especially, against a side such as Juve. I’d also advise Conte to start Christian Eriksen in this match.

Juventus

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Juve fans like myself will find it tough to complement Juve’s season so far. They’ve looked a bit shaky. However, in Serie A, they’ve had a pretty good season through the majority of it. They’re one point clear at the top of the table. Their form hasn’t been superb in the league lately, as they’ve won three out of their last five matches. If I were to give advise to Maurizio Sarri, it’d be to implement the 4-3-1-2 for this match. Unfortunately, Juve doesn’t seem to have good enough wingers going forward to play the 4-3-3. In my opinion, I think the 4-3-1-2 works for them, as they’ve looked more fluid going forward.

Match Prediction

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Based on this match being played behind closed doors, the Derby d’Italia will definitely be different this time around. Juve won’t be about to feed off the energy of the crowd, as they do with most matches they play at the Allianz Stadium. Just because of that, I think it’ll be a 1-1 draw. Whatever the result, get ready for the popcorn. It should be awesome!

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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Three Things Napoli Should Do to Turn Things Around This Season

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It’s no secret that Napoli hasn’t been stellar so far this season. Before the season started, I predicted that they’d be Juve’s number one title challenger this season. I was wrong and now for Napoli to qualify for the Champions League next season it’s next to impossible. As a result of this disastrous season for Napoli, I’m doing an article on three ways they can improve. So, get ready for me to be an armchair manager and armchair member of Napoli’s upper-management.

1. TRY TO SIGN A STRIKER IN THE WINTER TRANSFER WINDOW

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Like most things, this is way easier said than done. However, Napoli urgently needs a striker. Last summer and even the one before that, Napoli fans have been wanting their club to sign a proven striker. However, now that Mertens is out, it’s been even more noticeable. Milk has done pretty well and scored 7 goals in 10 game of action so far this season. But, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon, and Hirving Lozano have only combined for 8 goals in total, so far this season. For players who play as either wingers or strikers, that’s absolutely pathetic! They’re also tied for 8th most goals scored this season as a team with 28 goals, which highlights their problems even more. Listen, there are only close to two weeks left until the January Transfer Window is done, but Napoli’s upper-management should make buying a striker a priority this month.

2. BENCH LORENZO INSIGNE OR REMOVE HIM AS CAPTAIN

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Don’t get me wrong, I’ve admired Lorenzo Insigne as a player throughout his career. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. In this case, it holds true, as Insigne clearly hasn’t been near his best this season and maybe benching him will give him the motivation he needs to perform better. With only 4 goals and 3 assists so far this season, it’s obvious just how below par he’s performing. Also, by benching him and starting someone such as Hirving Lozano, it could improve their frontline and turn things around for them. One other thing that Napoli should consider is stripping his captaincy from him. Now, I’m not fully for this move, as it’s really drastic. But, ever since Hamsik left Napoli and the captain’s armband was given to Lorenzo Insigne, they haven’t performed how they should. There’s some food for thought for Gennaro Gattuso and other members of Napoli’s management.

3. PUT DI LORENZO BACK AT RIGHT-BACK

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Ever since 2020 began, Gattuso decided it’d be a good idea to place Giovanni Di Lorenzo at centre-back, instead of at right-back, where he seemed to be performing well. I understand that Koulibaly is injured. But, it’d be better to place Di Lorenzo at the position he was at before because he doesn’t look comfortable as a central defender. It’s only been a small sample size of two games, but Napoli clearly needs to string together some good results and this would definitely help. Luperto or Tonelli aren’t ideal options to replace injured Koulibaly for the time being. However, it’d be better to place players in that position that are used to playing as central defenders. If Gattuso implements this change, they may actually get the results they want and might actually move up in the Serie A table. Let’s hope Gattuso thinks about this before Napoli’s next match against Fiorentina

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