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 Top Four Favourite Italian Defenders of All-Time

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Over the years, there have been so many legendary Italian Defenders. Italy has probably produced the best defenders of all-time. However, that’s up for debate. Anyways, here are my top four favourite Italian Defenders of all-time!

 

4. Fabio Grosso 

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Fabio Grosso is probably one of the most underrated defenders that I’ve seen. Not only was his positioning great when he defended, but also his offensive prowess. He was a fast defender who could fling nice crosses into the opponent’s box while tracking back effectively. I’d say that his style is similar to modern fullbacks such as Alphonso Davies, Achraf Hakimi, and even Raphael Varane to a certain extent. Although, Varane is a Center back, not a full-back. Also, another huge reason he’s one of my favourite Italian Defenders of all-time was his performance in the 2006 World Cup. In that tournament, he scored a crucial goal against Germany in the Semifinals. However, his most notable moment was when he scored the winning penalty against France that gave them the World Cup Trophy. To this day, that is still my favourite Italian Soccer moment!

 

3. Fabio Cannavaro 

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At number three comes Fabio Cannavaro! Aside from him being a crucial part of Italy winning the 2006 World Cup, I admire his style of play. He was fairly short for a centre-back, as he’s 5’9″. Despite that, I admired his aggressiveness. If you were an attacker, it was very difficult to avoid getting tackled hard by Fabio Cannavaro. A big part of that was that he could read plays like the back of his hand and anticipate what would happen faster than the majority od defenders. I wouldn’t say he was spectacular going forward. But, what makes him one of my favourite Italian Soccer defenders was his fierceness. When he made his many tackles, opposing players could feel them. That’s one of the big reasons why even before the match, opposing attacking players were scared of facing Fabio Cannavaro. In my view, Giorgio Chiellini is the modern player that most resembles him, style-wise. However, Chiellini is significantly taller.

 

2. Alessandro Nesta

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Similar to Fabio Cannavaro, I admired Alessandro Nesta because of his aggressiveness. However, unlike Fabio Cannavaro he’s 6’2″. If you were an attacker in the box against Nesta, chances are you wouldn’t get many good chances. That’s demonstrated in the video above where Alessandro Nesta gives a hard tackle on Lionel Messi in the box. Messi thought he was going to score, but then Nesta made a good tackle to prevent that from happening! Not many players could beat Nesta in the box. His tackles were fierce, he was very strong and his aerial ability was next to none. At AC Milan, he was joined by the likes of Maldini, Zambrotta, Cafu and other legendary defenders. So, you could imagine how many opponents didn’t want to face the Rossoneri at that time! It’s tough to compare his style to any modern footballer. I guess Chiellini most replicates his style. Maybe, even Koulibaly as well.

 

1. Paolo Maldini

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There’s no question that Paolo Maldini is arguably the best defender of all-time. He’s also my favourite Italian Defender of all-time. I also wrote about him being one of my favourite Serie A players of all-time. I admired him for several reasons but above all, his leadership ability. He was AC Milan and Italy’s captain for several years. He was a born leader! Of course, his ability to defend was above basically any other in the history of soccer. But, his leadership ability was just as great, in my view. He’s also one of the most decorated Italian Players ever. Not only did he win seven scudetti, but he also led AC Milan to five Champions League trophies. It’s very tough to pinpoint a player who has won that. Not even Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi have won that many domestic titles and Champions League yet. Paolo Maldini was on a different level from every defender on the pitch. Hopefully, he leads AC Milan back to the glory days as the technical director.

There you have it, this is my article on my top four favourite Italian Defenders of all-time. Like always, thank you for reading this article! I really do appreciate it.

             

 

The Most Exciting Serie A Clubs to Watch Over the Course of the Season

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This season has been exciting for a number of reasons. We don’t know what’ll happen with the rest of it, but, nonetheless, here are the clubs that I think have been the most exciting ones to watch over the course of this season.

Lazio

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What else is there to say to about this squad? Not only have they overachieved, but they’ve also been very exciting to watch. Week in and week out they’ve dominated the opponents they’ve faced. Whether Luis Alberto is making some amazing plays or Ciro Immobile is scoring some great goals, this squad is definitely exciting to watch. It doesn’t matter who they face, either. They play the same style no matter how good their opponent is. In other words, it’s constantly fun to have watched them on a weekly basis this season. I’m just hoping that they can keep a lot of their core group of players together in the future.

Parma

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From reading some of my blog posts, it’s obvious that I’m a fan of Parma’s squad and their manager, Roberto D’aversa. Read this article, to see how much I’m a fan of D’aversa’s Parma squad. Not only is he a great manager, but his squad is also super exciting to watch! They defend well and their counterattack is fast as well as fun to see. Their fast attacking players make you feel as though they’ll create something out of nothing. That’s why I think their attack is so exciting to watch. With Kulusevski in the midfield throughout the season as well as Gervinho in the attack, there’s no reason not to smile when watching this club.

Atalanta

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Watching this club under Gasperini has been mesmerizing. Despite, selling a lot of players over the past several seasons, they’ve maintained a high-level of attacking play that makes you want to watch every one of their matches. In February, they even outscored Valencia in the Champions League. Every time I watch them, I feel like they can pretty much outscore anybody. Yes, they tend to leave themselves vulnerable at the back. But, their attack makes up for it, results-wise, and for my own personal excitement. This squad never fails to amuse me.

Lecce

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If the season ends tomorrow, which it literally could in these circumstances, Lecce would be relegated. However, their relegation battle has not provided a shortage of excitement. On the turn of a dime, they can score on you. Unfortunately, they haven’t done that consistently enough. But, either way, they’ve provided tons of excitement. They may not have many players that stand out, but despite that, they play a fun brand of football. They kind of remind me of Benevento in the 2017/2018. Of course, Benevento got relegated to Serie B the next season. But, them and Lecce are fun to watch. It would suck to see this Lecce side not be in Serie B next season, as they’re very fun to watch.

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