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Helenio Herrera: Underrated Moderniser

Helenio Herrera is regarded as one of the greatest managers in football history, but his name is also frequently tarnished by a perceived link to the most unfashionable system: catenaccio. The word catenaccio has come to mean something more than that which it originally described: negative, cynical, overly-defensive. It is used by many as a convenient insult to throw at Italian teams, even when their play has nothing to do with the tactic. Owing to his success at Inter in the 1960s, Herrera is often referred to as the man behind the system. (more…)

Gonzalo Higuain: Functional, Conventional And The World’s Best Number Nine

We live in a footballing epoch of false everything. The game’s progression has given rise to strikers, wingers and advanced playmakers who aren’t really just strikers, wingers and advanced playmakers. At the highest level, purity within an attacking position is increasingly rare as forward players become more intelligent in their movements and more organised in their defensive work. In these circumstances, the more conventional are often underappreciated. Perhaps that is why Gonzalo Higuain, a number nine so true as to be borderline unfashionable, has been disregarded in comparison to his more sophisticated peers. (more…)

Federico Bernardeschi: Fiorentina’s Inverted Wing-back

Fiorentina’s ascent in Serie A this season has been a surprise to many. Under the guidance of Paulo Sousa the club has reached new heights in their performance, winning nine of their opening 14 fixtures and playing some wonderful football along the way. (more…)

Fiorentina 1-2 Roma: Wingers Crucial To Roma Win

Fiorentina hosted Roma on Sunday, 25 October in what was considered a crucial match in the Scudetto race. Going into the game, Fiorentina sat top of Serie A on 18 points, while Roma were right behind them in second place on 17 points after eight rounds of fixtures. (more…)

Internazionale 1-4 Fiorentina: Interconnectivity And Inside Forwards

Last Sunday’s Serie A top-of-the-table clash between Inter Milan and Fiorentina was billed as ‘beauty and the beast’. Inter represented the beast with Roberto Mancini’s predilection for midfield bulwarks, physical strength and tight one-goal victories, while Paulo Sousa’s Fiorentina brought beauty in the form of high-tempo, fluid passing football. (more…)

Internazionale 1-0 AC Milan: Congested Inter Win A Tight Derby

The first Derby della Madonnina of the 2015/16 Serie A season offered up a riveting, close contest that was only decided in Inter’s favour by a Fredy Guarin strike in the 58th minute. Both teams decided to line up in a variation of the 4-3-1-2 system with diamond midfields. Inter have been using this system since the end of last season, while Milan only began using it at the start of this campaign under the stewardship of new head coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic. (more…)

The Players To Rejuvenate Antonio Conte’s Italy

Italy’s latest round of fixtures in the 2016 European Championship qualification process had a familiar outcome. The results were positive; the performances, not so much. 1-0 wins over both Malta and Bulgaria ensured the Azzurri extended their unbeaten run in qualifying matches to 48 games but, despite the consummate record, Antonio Conte’s side look far from the finished article. (more…)

Lazio 1-0 Leverkusen: Pressing Disrupts Lazio Without Stifling Them

Ahead of Lazio and Leverkusen’s Champions League play-off round second leg clash at the BayArena on Wednesday evening, we take a look at what happened in their first leg, which Lazio won 1-0 thanks to a Keita Balde strike. (more…)

2015/16 Scudetto Race: Lazio

In a summer of transition for many of Italy’s top clubs, Lazio have been inconspicuous. They were the surprise package of last season, with an eight-match winning run between February and April propelling them into contention for a top-three finish and Champions League football; something that was eventually secured with a stunning 4-2 away win over fellow hopefuls Napoli on the final day of the season. It was the least that Lazio deserved; outside of Juventus they had been Serie A’s form team of 2015 and, without spending extravagantly, had built a strong, organised team capable of competing with anyone on their day. (more…)

2015/16 Scudetto Race: Roma

The 2014/15 season promised much for Roma. Their main title rivals, Juventus, had lost Antonio Conte; the coach that steered them to three consecutive Scudetti, while they themselves had strengthened by bringing in experienced, high-calibre players in Ashley Cole and Seydou Keita as well as young talent in Kostas Manolas and Juan Iturbe. With Kevin Strootman also set to return from injury, there was optimism that Roma could seriously push Juventus, if not finally unseat the reigning champions. (more…)