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U.S. Lecce 2.1 – Strikerless in Serie B

We asked Edward Bomb to write about his experiences in Football Manager as part of an addition to our analysis, with the only stipulation being that he managed somewhere in Italy. He settled on U.S Lecce. Welcome to part four of his story. (more…)

Roberto De Zerbi: A Coach with an Idea

DeZerbilandia. This is how Roberto De Zerbi made his name in Italy. With a certain style of play he turned Foggia, previously a mediocre team in the Lega Pro (third division) into one of the most entertaining teams in Italy. The beautiful football he implemented at Stadio Pino Zaccheria attracted the attention of clubs in higher divisions, however he turned down offers from Crotone and Ascoli to continue pursuing the dream with the Satanelli. Dramatically, the Lombard coach parted ways over disagreement with the club two weeks ago. (more…)

Sampdoria 2-1 Atalanta: Problems with Gasperini’s Man Marking Highlighted

Sampdoria welcomed Atalanta to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris for the second round of 2016-17 Serie A season fixtures on Sunday 28 August. The home side, coached by Marco Giampaolo, had won their first game of the campaign, defeating Empoli 1-0. However, the away side, coached by Gian Piero Gasperini, had lost a thrilling opener 4-3 to Lazio. (more…)

Pescara 2-2 Napoli: Penetrative Possession Almost Undoes Sarri’s Side

Newly promoted Pescara welcomed last season’s Serie A runners-up Napoli to the Stadio Adriatico on Sunday 21 August in the opening round of 2016-17 fixtures. The home side made a stunning start to their top-flight return, going 2-0 up in the first half thanks to goals from Ahmed Benali and Gianluca Caprari. However, they faded in the second half, with Dries Mertens scoring twice to earn Napoli a 2-2 draw. (more…)

An Analysis Of Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli

Napoli made a potentially historic decision last summer in hiring 57-year-old former banker Maurizio Sarri as head coach to fill the void left by Rafa Benitez, who departed for Real Madrid. Last season the club finished fifth in Serie A but currently they sit second, nine points behind reigning champions Juventus. For much of this season they looked capable of ending their long wait for a scudetto, which they have not won since 1990, though a recent loss of form appears to have put paid to that ambition. (more…)

Juventus 1-0 Napoli: Little To Separate Two Sound Defences

Juventus hosted Napoli last Saturday night in what amounted to a crucial clash of Scudetto contenders. Going into the match, Napoli topped Serie A on 56 points, while Juventus sat just below them on 54. The most important news in the lead-up to this game was that Giorgio Chiellini would be out through injury. The left-sided centre-back is not only vital to Juventus’ defensive line but also to their possession game. Hence, his absence was agonised over. (more…)

Koeman’s Challenge

It’s a fascinating yet daunting time for several of the Premier League’s brightest managerial minds. Mauricio Pochettino faces an uphill battle in kicking his prosaic Spurs side into shape, Brendan Rodgers is in a dogfight to extinguish the mediocrity of Liverpool’s season last year while Eddie Howe is acutely aware that he will need every last bit of nous in his reserves to keep Bournemouth’s fairy-tale alive. But perhaps the most compelling narrative is being constructed at Southampton, where Ronald Koeman must rise to the challenge of maintaining the Saints’ status as the league’s most fashionable outfit. (more…)