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.

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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

Napoli’s Biggest Needs in the Summer Transfer Window

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Napoli’s fans and players will definitely want to forget that this season happened, altogether. However, maybe this season was good because it highlighted lingering Napoli has had for some seasons. So, here are Napoli’s biggest needs in the Summer Transfer Window!

The Right-wing Position

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Jose Callejon was once an effective player for Napoli. However, it’s been obvious for a while, that isn’t the case anymore. He’s definitely past his prime and Napoli should get rid of him or buy a right-winger to take his place. Now, of course, there’s Hirving Lozano who Napoli bought in the Summer of 2019. But, he hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time over the course of this season and hasn’t proven he can be a consistent starter, yet. Napoli should at least keep him though, as he still has tons of potential. It’s pretty clear to me that Napoli has lacked a substantial attacking threat down the right side of the field and it’s something they need to address in the summer.

The Left-back Position

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Faouzi Ghoulam has definitely proven he’s more than capable of being a starter for Napoli. Unfortunately, his flaw is that he’s injury-prone. Now, I’m not trying to say Napoli should sell him, but they should at least buy a left-back that can at least compete for a starting place with him. Mario Rui has warranted a lot of criticism, in my opinion. He’s not the worst at contributing on the offensive end. However, defensively, he definitely leaves himself exposed multiple times over the course of each match. Therefore, I believe Napoli should look to sell him in the summer. Especially, if they’ve already bought another left-back.

Conclusion

Whichever needs you believe that Napoli has to address in the Summer Transfer Window, one thing is clear. That’s the fact that Napoli needs to improve next season, as this season they’ve performed way below expectations.

Thank you for reading this article! You can also find me on Twitter @calciofanblogs1, on Instagram @calciofanblogs as well as on my Facebook Page, which is called, Calcio Fan Blogs.

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

How Serie A Clubs Will Do in the Champions League Knockout Round

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Something remarkable has happened in the Champions League this season! That something, is the fact that there will be three Serie A clubs in the round of 16 this season in the Champions League. For Serie A fans, it’ll be more fun than usual to watch. So, here’s how far I think the Serie A clubs will do in the round of 16.

ATALANTA

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Earlier this week, Atalanta qualified for the Champions League in a triumphant fashion against Shakhtar Donetsk. It was absolutely amazing, to say the least! There were videos of Atalanta fans as well as players and staff celebrating this remarkable accomplishment. Now, they will be in the round of 16 for the first time in their history. They are coming in hot, as well. Based on the way they’re playing right now, many clubs should be scared to face them. However, I don’t think they’ll make it past the round of 16. I understand that they’re in pretty good form right now, however, I feel that their lack of experience in this type of situation is why they won’t advance past the round of 16. Sorry, La Dea fans!

NAPOLI

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There’s been a lot of drama surrounding Napoli lately. The players reportedly rebelled against Aurelio De Laurentiis and Carlo Ancelotti got sacked this week as well. So, it’s been an interesting few weeks for Napoli. However, fans will be happy that they went undefeated in the Champions League Group Stage and are now in the round of 16. Yes, Gattuso isn’t experienced as a manager at all with a club in the Champions League. However, based on how they’ve performed in the Champions League this season, no top club will want to face them. They’ll be a tough squad to beat, especially this season. That’s why I think they’ll make it through to the quarterfinals this time.

JUVENTUS

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If you didn’t know too much about Juventus and you based your knowledge off of what Bianconeri fans and pundits say, you’d think Juventus are doing terrible and they’re in a crisis. However, that’s not the case at all. Yes, they currently sit in second in Serie A and still have deficiencies in their Midfield, but, they went undefeated in the Champions League Group Stage. They also came in first in their group. Which, leads me to believe they’ll make it far in this competition. In my opinion, there’s no reason why Juve shouldn’t at least make the semifinals. I actually predict they’ll make the Champions League finals this season. Despite, their deficiencies in the midfield, I think they’ll continue to improve over the season under Sarri and should find themselves in Istanbul on May 30, 2020.

Here’s a video of Atalanta Fans Celebrating after they qualified to the round of 16! Video Credit: YouTube-Light Yagami