Thursday, 14.12.2017

Wins for Napoli, Celtic and Liverpool in the CL qualifiers

The Champions League returned in mid-week with the first legs of the final qualifying round on Tuesday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, the draws pitched together a number of strong teams that could have a big impact on the competition, who would now have to battle over two legs to reach the group stages. Fortunately, this gave PR, AL and JD interesting ties to analyse, and each author summarises the key aspects in the clash they watched.

Allegri’s adaptations win high class encounter

Allegri’s Juventus hosted Sarri’s Napoli in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final on Tuesday night. With both sides and coaches being amongst the strongest in Europe tactically, the clash was eagerly anticipated. What followed was a high class encounter, in keeping with the clashes between the teams over the last two seasons.

Sarri’s Napoli in rampant home victory

Napoli hosted Internazionale in Serie A’s first gameweek 15 fixture. With the stature of the two clubs this has often been a top of the table clash. However, the two sides came into this game in 7th and 8th spots respectively. Milik-less Napoli have struggled to utilise some of their usual offensive approach play, and have thus experienced an inconsistent attacking output in addition to a generous defence. Inter on the other hand have had inconsistent results from the start, with highs such as a home victory over Juventus marred by defeats to the likes of Cagliari.

Inter steal point despite dominating Milan derby

Stefano Pioli took charge of his first game for Inter on Sunday night. Having taken over from Frank de Boer less than two weeks prior, his first game was none other than the Milan derby. With Milan sitting unexpectedly near the top of the table – a testament to the work Vincenzo Montella has done in Italy’s second city – the task was to be a formidable one.

Juventus edge Napoli in intense encounter

Napoli travelled to the home of the champions for the eagerly anticipated clash with rivals Juventus on Saturday evening. While adjusting to life without Milik the Neapolitan side experienced a wobble but have since begun to stabilise with consecutive wins over Crotone and Empoli. As for Juventus a strong start to the season was slightly punctured by defeat to Milan last week, but a midweek win over Sampdoria ensured their 2 point cushion at the summit.