In the midst of the busy season, there are several good matches that initially pass under the radar due to the sheer number of fixtures. In this series, our authors analyse some of their favourite games from the 2015/2016 season.
After promotion to the Serie A in the summer of 2014, Maurizio Sarri’s side were considered one of the favourites for relegation straight back into the second division. However, through intelligent football and a particularly strong attacking game they were able to comfortably retain their top-flight status quite comfortably. The odds were further against their favour after a disastrous off-season in which they lost multiple key players and worst of all, the manager who was central to their success in the first place. Whilst Sarri would go on to instil a stark turnaround in playing style at Napoli, Empoli found their replacement in Serie C1’s with Cremonese’s Marco Giampaolo.
Massimiliano Allegri’s appointment in 2014 was expected to signal the downfall of Juventus. Allegri, however, has silenced the critics quickly.
Fiorentina hosted table topping Juventus in a tense derby game on Sunday evening. While Juventus were on the verge of winning the Scudetto once again, their bitter rivals were fighting to secure a top 4 position to avoid Europa League qualifiers ahead of next season.
This was a clash between a fallen giant trying to salvage any chance of Europa League qualification and a team very much at the top of their game, looking to push their lead at the top of Serie A to nine points, albeit temporarily.
On Sunday the 31st of May 2015 Napoli lost 4-2 at home to Lazio in their final game of the 2014-15 Serie A season. The result finally ended Napoli’s slim chances of qualifying for the Champions League in the next season as they finished 5th. To make matters worse (so it seemed) head coach Rafa Benitez was set to leave and take over at Real Madrid, and with Lazio’s emergence under Pioli, Napoli fans could be forgiven for feeling pessimistic. It was an all too familiar feeling of uncertainty for the Napoli faithful only two seasons after Mazzarri left for Inter after guiding them to their highest finish since their Scudetto winning campaign of 1989-90.
Luciano Spalletti’s Roma side continued their tradition of producing results against Lazio in the Derby della Capitale. An impressive Giallorossi’s display also cost Lazio coach Pioli’s job. The victory for Roma wasn’t a surprise and came after a derby in which both teams developed some interesting interactions.
Bologna have really exceeded expectations this season since former Azzurri head coach Roberto Donadoni took over the job last October.
Juventus recorded their 11th consecutive league win after Paulo Dybala scored the only goal against a Roma side who showed issues both with and without the ball.
Last night we saw a Coppa Italia match between two of the best-performing teams in the Serie A this season. Maurizio Sarri’s table-topping Napoli side played host to Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan in a game which was characterised by two weak possession games. It took until late in the 2nd half for Inter to break the deadlock which itself was a long-distance shot following a failed attempt by Napoli to move the ball into the centre of midfield.