Oct 16

Napoli’s perfect start continues after compelling Serie A weekend | Paolo Bandini

It was ‘Everyone Against Everyone’, as Gazzetta had billed it, but after a Juve shock and Mauro Icardi’s decisive hat-trick, Napoli remained out in frontSooner or later, the wheels had to come off. Napoli set an impossible pace through the first seven …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/oct/16/napoli-perfect-start-continues-compelling-serie-a-lazio-juventus-internazionale-milan

Oct 15

Internazionale 3-2 Milan: Serie A – as it happened

Mauro Icardi completed a stunning hat-trick with a controversial 90th-minute penalty to settle a thrilling Milan derby 9.41pm BST That was such an enjoyable game. Mauro Icardi produced two devastating finishes and then calmly scored a 90th-minute penal…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/oct/15/internazionale-v-milan-serie-a-live

Oct 14

Lazio shock Juventus while Hertha Berlin players ‘take a knee’

• Serie A champions lose 2-1 to Lazio in first home reverse since August 2015• Hertha show solidarity with NFL players before 2-0 defeat to SchalkeJuventus suffered their first home defeat in Serie A in more than two years after Ciro Immobile scored tw…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/14/bayern-munich-freiburg-hertha-berlin-bundesliga

Oct 10

The Italian goalkeepers who played for months without conceding a goal

Dino Zoff played for Italy for 1,142 minutes without conceding but to find truly impressive clean sheet records you have to delve into the Serie C history booksBy Craig McCracken for Beyond The Last Man, of the Guardian Sport NetworkFor much of the foo…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/beyond-the-last-man/2017/oct/10/italian-goalkeepers-goals-dino-zoff-italy-history

Oct 07

Glut of goals, fresh talent and unpredictability fuel Serie A revival | Paolo Bandini

Only a few seasons ago Italy’s top league was regarded as a defensive, Juventus-dominated turn-off but now it is game on

There was a time when Italians might have been insulted by the suggestion of theirs being the third-best football league in Europe. Serie A was always il campionato più bello del mondo – the most beautiful championship in the world. How else to describe a competition that produced 12 European Cup finalists between 1983 and 1998, a place where you could watch Diego Maradona take on Franco Baresi, or Zinedine Zidane battle Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or?

Nobody is blind, though, to the power shift since. Between TV deals and billionaire owners, Premier League clubs became able to offer wages the Italians could not match. Barcelona and Real Madrid kept pace by using the Champions League to solidify their status as global brands. Serie A’s most marketable teams were too busy squabbling over the Calciopoli scandal.

Related: Napoli have never looked more ready under Sarri to challenge for Serie A title | Paolo Bandini

Related: Genoa’s Pietro Pellegri sets Serie A record, sparking tears and transfer talk | Paolo Bandini

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/oct/07/serie-a-revival-juventus

Oct 02

Atalanta’s adaptation neuters Juventus and serves notice to Serie A | Paolo Bandini

Gian Piero Gasperini’s in-game tweaks are one reason his Atalanta side keep recovering from losing positions – and they did it again to draw with Juventus

It should have been all over. Within 25 minutes of Serie A’s Sunday night fixture, Juventus were two goals to the good. What opponent could overcome such a disastrous start against the champs: winners of six consecutive Serie A titles, as well as six consecutive games to begin this season? Who would even dare to fight back against the Old Lady of Turin?

Only the Goddess of Bergamo. Atalanta share their name with Greek mythology’s virgin huntress, and over the past 12 months they have embodied her combative spirit just as well.

Related: European roundup: Neymar double helps PSG breeze past Bordeaux

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/oct/02/atalanta-juventus-serie-a-paolo-bandini

Sep 26

Champions League: previews for the big matches this week

The form guide and team news for Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, Monaco v Porto, PSG v Bayern and Atlético v Chelsea

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

A regular Champions League fixture nowadays, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid go into Tuesday’s encounter under very different circumstances, despite both winning at the weekend. Dortmund are top of the Bundesliga, having scored 19 goals in six games, but they are still looking for their first point in the Champions League after their defeat to Tottenham at Wembley. Real Madrid are top of the Champions League group following a comfortable win against Apoel but they are sixth in La Liga, seven points behind Barcelona after just six games.

Related: Eden Hazard’s portrait of his ideal player: Terry’s leadership and Benteke’s heading

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/who-scored-blog/2017/sep/26/champions-league-dortmund-real-madrid-monaco-porto-psg-bayern-atletico-chelsea

Sep 25

Federico Chiesa a chip off the old block as Serie A youngsters flourish | Paolo Bandini

The son of Enrico Chiesa shone in Fiorentina’s draw with Atalanta to further justify optimism in Italy about the young talent emerging there

The bar has always been set high for Federico Chiesa. At 19 years old, he is a fixture of Fiorentina’s starting XI and has already played one unofficial friendly with the Italian national team. And yet, during an interview with La Repubblica, he suggested it may be some time before he considers himself a top-flight footballer. “My dad once told me: you become a Serie A player when you have made at least 300 appearances,” he observed.

An outrageous standard, albeit one founded on personal experience. Federico’s father Enrico played 380 games in the domestic top-flight, representing Fiorentina but also the likes of Sampdoria, Parma and Lazio. Along the way, he won 17 caps for the Azzurri and was named Serie A’s player of the year in 1995-96 by the magazine Guerin Sportivo.

Related: The 50 best young footballers in Italy

Related: Genoa’s Pietro Pellegri sets Serie A record, sparking tears and transfer talk | Paolo Bandini

Related: Golazos galore: the 25 best goals from the golden era of Serie A

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/25/federico-chiesa-a-chip-off-the-old-block-as-serie-a-youngsters-flourish

Sep 24

European roundup: Milan beaten by Sampdoria as Serie A struggles go on

• Duván Zapata and Ricky Álvarez condemn Milan to defeat
• Barcelona claim sixth win, Dortmund top Bundesliga

Milan’s problems with consistency continued as a poor performance saw it lose 2-0 at Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday. Milan didn’t even have a shot on target as late goals from Duván Zapata and substitute Ricky Álvarez condemned the Rossoneri to their second defeat of the season.

“Samp were superior to us and deserved the victory,” the Milan coach Vincenzo Montella said. “We didn’t perform. We were insufficient on a mental level and in our determination as well as technically. It’s a defeat which hurts us and we will have to understand why it happened. We’ll need to analyse everything without hiding ourselves.”

Related: Knowledge and nonsense – in the studio with Guardian Football Weekly

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/23/european-roundup-barcelona-la-liga-win

Sep 21

Napoli have never looked more ready under Sarri to challenge for Serie A title | Paolo Bandini

The brilliance of Napoli’s front three – Dries Mertens, José Callejón and Lorenzo Insigne – should not blind us to the quality running through the side

Maurizio Sarri did not feel anxious as he headed for the tunnel. His team was a goal down to an in-form Lazio, who had already beaten Juventus and thrashed Milan in the past six weeks. And yet, the Napoli manager told his players to change nothing. Just keep doing what you’re doing, lads, and things will turn out right in the end.

Or, at least, that’s the way he told it afterwards. Only those individuals present in the Stadio Olimpico’s away changing room can know whether Sarri’s team-talk truly was as zen as he claimed. What we can say is this: he was entitled to have faith in his team.

Related: Golazos galore: the 25 best goals from the golden era of Serie A

Related: Genoa’s Pietro Pellegri sets Serie A record, sparking tears and transfer talk | Paolo Bandini

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/21/napoli-have-never-looked-more-ready-under-sarri-to-challenge-for-serie-a-title