Spalletti’s Inter revolution in full swing

spalletti-inter

Inter take on Cagliari this Saturday, knowing a win would send them top of Serie A if Napoli trip up against Udinese. From the impenetrable performances of Milan Skriniar at the back to Mauro Icardi’s prolific form at the other end, however, the man behind the Nerazzurri’s road back to the top is Coach Luciano Spalletti.

What makes Spalletti’s start at Inter all the more impressive is how he achieved it. The 58-year-old had just guided Roma to a runners-up finish in the Italian top flight but nonetheless abandoned ship for the Beneamata, who were in complete disarray after a campaign that saw them make three coaching changes and fail to qualify for European competition.

 

Despite his appointment, expectations were low in comparison to those of arch-rivals Milan. Not only did Inter take their time in the transfer market, but their business was also overshadowed by what was happening across town, with the Diavolo having splashed out more than €200m on 11 new players, among them former Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci.

Inter were more reserved with their spending, recruiting eight personnel a cost of €72m, but while their neighbours could be accused of a scattergun approach in the market, Spalletti’s targets seemed to be calculated. Two new full-backs, a central defender, two midfielders and a quick forward were explicitly demanded by the Coach – and duly delivered in part by ex-Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini.

With Dalbert and Joao Cancelo adding much-needed depth out wide, Skriniar proving a revelation, Matias Vecino and Borja Valero injecting intelligence and composure, plus Yann Karamoh considered an exciting prospect up top, Inter’s squad has been revitalised, and it’s no wonder that they sit second in Serie A and already lead Milan by 14 points.

Unlike his Roma teams, which were famed for their tactical innovations and attractive football, Spalletti’s Inter line up in a 4-3-3 formation and are underpinned by a watertight defence, which has conceded just nine goals all season. With no designated No 10, the Beneamata’s midfield trio are instructed to play out wide or find Mauro Icardi – in the form of his life, with 13 goals in as many matches.

Cagliari won’t be pushovers on Saturday. Granted, Inter have beaten the Sardinians just twice in nine previous meetings, while the latter have regained their mojo under new boss Diego Lopez after three wins in their last five outings. Yet the Nerazzurri can’t afford to drop points in games like these if they are to mount a serious title challenge this term.

Juventus: From signing Higuain for 90m to Conte’s Evolution

In Part III of our interview with Rav Gopal we continue to focus on Juventus. Rav was gracious enough to make ample time to engage in our extended Q&A covering all things Juve. His valuable knowledge goes beyond being an ardent fan of Serie A, specifically Juve, to the founding of JuveFC.com. Rav has dedicated years to the upkeep and growth of the popular site covering his beloved club.

Q1) Juve built a reputation of signing players for free, or for a bargain fee. Who do you see as Juve’s next bargain signing? 

I would hope it is someone like Leon Goretzka or Emre Can. Both are decent midfielders and either one can serve as good replacement moving from from Sami Khedira.

Higuain

Q2) Would you say Gonzalo Higuain is worth the 90m fee paid to secure his move from Napoli?

I do not think any player is worth 90m, but Higuain was what Juve were missing for quite some time, maybe since David Trezeguet left: A consistent striker who guarantees 20 goals a season. Carlos Tevez offered that to a certain extent, but he also played deeper – Higuain is the fox in the box that we lacked in the team. Considering the crazy money spent this summer, perhaps 90m is not so bad after all.

Q3) One team you would like Juve to avoid meeting in the knock-out stages of the Champions League (before the Final)? 

Real Madrid- despite the poor start to the Spanish League, they are still a ruthless side as Juve fans know all too well.

Q4) One team you would prefer Juve avoid playing in the Champions League final (if they make it)? 

Barcelona- I suspect they will only improve as the season goes on and with Lionel Messi on the pitch, anything is possible.

FBL-FRA-LCUP-PARIS-SAINT-ETIENNE

Q5) We have seen or heard about Edinson Cavani & Neymar having that infamous dispute over who takes a penalty-kick… if you had a choice, would you pick Cavani or Neymar for Juve? 

Cavani, simply because I cannot tolerate Neymar. For all his talent, Neymar is a diver and a poor example as a footballer. Everything from his antics to the way his transfer was conducted, I find abhorrent. People may think I am being too dramatic, but I think the game has changed for the worse over the course of the last few years and Neymar is an example of how it has changed to the worse.

Q6) How about former Juve boss Antonio Conte. How good is he? He won the English Premier League title at first try but do you consider him to be tactically savvy? Is he superior to Max Allegri? 

Conte has improved a great deal during his time with the Italian national team. There were aspects of his character that I disliked at Juve from acting petulant at times to the way he was so guarded and aloof at times, particularly with the press. He seems to have mellowed slightly and has become a little more self-deprecating. He has a specific system that he prefers to use and it does work well, but he has his limitations as well as we saw at Juve. I do not think he has surpassed Allegri yet, because Max is still able to adapt to almost any situation. He can think outside of the box to win games while Conte can be set in his ways.

Do not forget to play the most popular Fantasy Serie A www.fantasyseriea.com and check out the Mobile App by clicking here.

You can follow our Podcast @eurofantasypod and keep in touch with Rav and stay informed about all things Juventus @juvefcdotcom

Top Five Fantasy Football Strikers – Serie A – Round 21

rsz_dzeko-rigore-goal-3-roma-lazio-1024x683
Up until last week, it seemed like Juventus would run away with the league title for yet another season. However, Fiorentina threw a new life in the battle for the league title by defeating the Old Lady 2-1 last weekend. Continue reading