Club Features, Features, Roundtable

Juvefc Roundtable 2017/18 Season Preview Part 1

September 7, 2017 - 4:03 pm

With new campaign still in it’s infancy and a long and challenging title race ahead, the Juvefc writers sat down for the first inaugural roundtable to preview what the season has in store for Juventus.

To kick off our first ever collaboration, we discussed 5 key questions that relate to new season – What our our objectives for the season ahead, Who do we rate as Juve’s biggest rival for the Scudetto, our own ideal starting XI and formation, which new signing and current player will have the biggest impact and finally, what are our biggest worries for the season. Part one is below while part two will follow shortly…..enjoy, and as always, we welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions. Feel free to answer the same questions in the comments section at the foot of the article.

What are your objectives for the season ahead?

Enrico

The goal is of course to win the historic seventh Scudetto in a row: finishing second is always a disappointment for Juventus and this year is no different. Maybe we could accept it if, after two finals in three season, we won the damn Champions League. This is the ultimate goal, but you can not really plan to achieve that because a lot of luck goes into it: the 180-minute matches from the Round of 16 on could be decided by random elements, impossible to foresee as of right now.

Dave

Our joint objective is to defend the Scudetto, to maintain our dominance over the rest of Serie A is paramount given the apparent resurgence of the Milanese and the sustained challenge of Roma and Napoli. The Coppa is an added bonus and I’d gladly sacrifice it for 3 points in the league or winning a Champions League tie, I think we all would.

That brings me on to the Champions League itself; in my opinion this is just shading the Scudetto as our number one priority. We have made massive strides in the competition over the last 3 or 4 years. To prove we’re not a fluke we have to reach the semi final, minimum. We certainly have the quality to do so, much depends on the luck of the draw, but we certainly didn’t do it the easy way last season. An early season test against Barca will demonstrate how far we have progressed and a sustained and successful Champions League campaign will prove how the new signings have strengthened our squad depth.

I would like to see a more ruthless side to our game, too often last season we failed to kill off games and chose to sit back and see the game out. By going for the win early and decisively we’ll be able to relax as the game progresses.

Finally I would also like to see a much needed boost the entertainment department. I have previously described the majority of our performances last season, especially early on, as ‘workmanlike’. This was maybe partly due to the personnel at Allegri’s disposal, but a flair based, attacking game, where permitted, would be a very nice addition. The signings of Bernardeschi, Costa and Cuadrado will help this. Matuidi will also help as he will give Pjanic more licence to influence the attack.

Travis

I think it goes without being said that at this point in Juve’s current dynasty, we should accept nothing less than the quarters, if not the semis in the Champions League. Dropping the Scudetto or the Italian cup could be forgiven for a UCL trophy by many Juventino. Although, I think the treble is how we should mean to go on. Especially considering the trailing pack of Serie A contenders failure to make an impact in Europe, it is nearly imperative to continue to assert our dominance in Italy. Double imperative, but a treble would be the real cherry on top.

TGP

The same as they have been for the last few years and should be every year – win the scudetto, coppa italia and make a damn good showing in the Champions League. I suppose I could add to the default –

– Integrate Rugani, Bernardeschi, Costa, Howedes and Marchisio/Matuidi into the starting XI.

– The departure of Bonucci is detrimental to more than merely the central defence, for he operated in a hybrid sweeper position regularly, was involved in many attacking team moves; often directly assisting a goal with superb long passing and was also capable of taking the ball forward and offering a threat at the top end, weighing in with some important strikes. Strengthening the central spine of the team is essential. We required this even before Leo left.

– It is also imperative that Wojciech Szczęsny is bedded into the squad well enough to forge a connection with his team-mates beyond the training pitch. We need to see how he fares in tough games, not just in coppa italia matches. For presently, the Pole is set to take over from Santo Buffon next term…

– Finally…give Bentancur and De Sciglio the chance to shine.

Rav

The Scudetto is a priority for me, along with significant progress in Europe. Granted, in previous seasons, we’ve either won Serie A at a canter or been chased close home by the likes of Napoli and Roma. This season, the competition is all the more intense, given the summer that Milan have had and the understated mercato that Inter conducted, we have two revitalised teams from Milano to throw into the mix, alongside the more traditional rivals of recent seasons.

The Champions League would be fantastic, a vindication of sorts for the management and their policies which have come under intense scrutiny this summer. That said, I’ve absolutely no expectations whatsoever about Europe this year. I really believe that Cardiff was our best chance in some time, and we let ourselves down. Rather than dwell on it, i’ve learned, as a Juventino, to accept it and not place too much hope in us lifting the trophy. As Enrico said, luck plays a big factor in the competition at times so I’m calm and collected for now, hoping that we just give a good account of ourselves.

I’d also go along with TGP – There is an inevitable shift in the approach and the style of play with the departure of Bonucci. I’d like to see us more organised and disciplined at the back as the first few competitive games of the season have shown some worrying signs, defensively speaking. The integration of Daniele Rugani is a must – A bonus would be to see more playing time for Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Bernardeschi.

 

 

Who do you rate as the biggest threat to our Scudetto ambitions?

Enrico

Milan had a busy summer and Inter added a very capable coach in Luciano Spalletti: they will be in the mix but I think that the stability and the continuity at Napoli make them the biggest threat. They are peaking while other teams are still searching for the best in-house solutions after many changes in the summer. The pressure to win is arguably more on Napoli than on Juventus. I am a little down on Roma, Patrik Schick is a weird replacement for Mohamed Salah and they might need time to adjust to Eusebio Di Francesco’s schemes.

Dave

I have rounded it down to two, Roma and Napoli. They have proved they can last a title race and were the best teams we faced domestically last year. They’re both in the Champions League groups which will help them compete with the best teams on a more consistent basis.

I said at the time of our Coppa Semi final against Napoli that they would win the Scudetto within the next few years. I have a little jealousy of their playing style as it is very aesthetically pleasing, only their management can hold them back as at times I have found them to be both crass and unprofessional.

Roma pushed us all the way last year and with some greater consistency they may well have won it all. Now the Totti pantomime is over I see them moving forward to greater things, if they can keep hold of their better players they too will challenge mightily for the Scudetto soon.

Outside of those I guess the Milanese should be mentioned too. In my opinion they have bought some players (with a horribly cheap and nasty ‘fantasy football’ feel about it), they have absolutely not crafted a squad. That is the difference. Winning a league title in England or France may be easy enough for the oil rich, but even they took a couple of seasons to fully rise to the top. Neither Milan club has that winning mentality, yet.

Travis

A bit of a dark horse, and it pains me to say this since it is my younger brothers favorite team, but Inter Milan. They’ve looked sharp thus far this year and have been developing well the last few seasons. I think Luciano Spalletti is arguably their greatest addition this summer. If he can steady the ship, communicate his brand of football effectively, and get the best out of his players, than they’re a team t be watched for certain. After them, Roma and Napoli, because really, who else?

TGP

Napoli – They have kept the core of a team which plays by far the most beautiful football in Serie A. Sarri is a wily character and will realise that entertainment and gorgeous football do not always equate to the success they have been lacking. If they are to lessen the flair and poetry a little and add discipline they will be a major force this campaign. Their momentum, cohesion and recovery of Milik make them our most obvious rivals domestically.

Rav

Like Travis, I’m reluctant to say it, but i think there’s a quiet understated efficiency to Inter this season. Their best summer buy was Spalletti, who is exactly the kind of Coach they need at present and the lack of European competition will aid their preparation for Serie A matches. Their city rivals have done well in terms of creating lots of fanfare and attention, but it might take a while before AC Milan are actual title contenders. Roma seem a weakened side to me – Losing Salah cost them some pace and trickery and i think he and Dzeko were a great pairing of sorts and I’m not entirely convinced that Di Francesco is at the level that they need to compete for the title. Napoli have done really well, keeping hold of the players they have and they look the next best after Inter to chase us home.

 

 

What would be your starting XI and the formation?

Enrico

If it was up to me, it would be:

4-2-3-1 Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Marchisio, Pjanic; Bernardeschi, Dybala, Costa; Higuain.

I reckon Mandzukic and Mattia De Sciglio will start most of the times.

Dave

I would like to see Allegri play an actual defensive midfielder, not only do we have one now, possibly two with Marchisio, but Bonucci’s sweeper/defensive midfield qualities will be missed. A 4-1-3-2 or 4-1-4-1 formation would be preferable. The starting line up picks itself really and I don’t see any of my fellow scribes deviating much from this.

Buffon; Lichtsteiner/Chiellini/Rugani/Sandro; Matuidi; Bernardeschi/Pjanic/Costa; Higuain/Dybala

Simply substitute one of the front two for Khedira or Marchisio where necessary to make up the 4-1-4-1. There is also the possibility of Howedes replacing Lichtsteiner, depending on the form of both.

Travis

Having the squad we do, this is a question welcoming hours of debate. We can deploy so many systems effectively with the personnel we have. It’s hard to choose just one. I say, stay the course with the 4-2-3-1 at least until we see how the new signings integrate. With the attacking focus from the market, there has got to be reason to believe that we’ll continue with this now that we have the capability of filling that formation successfully/appropriately with the players we have.

Starting 11 in the 4-2-3-1: Buffon, Sandro, Chiellini, Rugani, De Sciglio, Marchisio/Matuidi, Pjanic, Costa, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuaín.

TGP

Buffon; Howedes, Rugani, Chiellini, Sandro; Pjanic Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Dybala, Costa; Higuain

Rav

I’ll temper this by saying i’ve yet to see how some of the new players are going to adapt to the 4-2-3-1 and playing under Allegri. Bernardeschi is yet to play, as is Howedes, but both were encouraging signings and I have high hopes for the duo. I suspect the 4-2-3-1 is here to stay for the time being, so i’d base my formation on that with a starting XI that reads:

Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Howedes, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Dybala, Bernardeschi; Higuain

 

 

Part 2 to follow soon….

You Might Also Like

  • Avatar
    Moderator September 7, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Really enjoyed doing this – I hope it will be the first of many with the new crew of writers where we can all share different opinions and encourage the site users to share their views as well. Part 2 will be out tomorrow with a more sobering look at our concerns for the season ahead. A huge thank you to Travis who inspired this in the first place – He’s been a great addition to the site, full of ideas, articles and perfectly crafted words. Grazie amico mio !

  • Avatar
    Dave Long September 7, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Well done, chaps. Nice to see agreement on pretty much everything. Can we have ‘opposition player you’d most like to repeatedly punch in the face’ as a question next time?!

    • Avatar
      Travis Gallardo September 7, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      Brilliant idea in regards to the punching in the face, Dave!

      • Avatar
        Dave Long September 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm

        …i was half joking!

        • Avatar
          Moderator September 7, 2017 at 7:45 pm

          i don’t think there’s much contest mate…..for me, it’d be Ronaldo. Perhaps Bonucci if we restricted it to Serie A !

        • Avatar
          Travis Gallardo September 7, 2017 at 9:21 pm

          That doesn’t make it any less fun to think about. I’d like to slug Mauro Icardi. For all his quality on the pitch, the guy is an absolute snake.

          • Avatar
            Dave Long September 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm

            Okay I’ll chip in with Nainggolan! There aren’t enough swear words in the world to describe my dislike of him!

        • Avatar
          BelgianJuventino September 8, 2017 at 2:36 pm

          we’ll ignore that, you meant if for real with the other half! I would like to nominate Icardi too, that guy deserves a daily punch in the face. With a brick.

  • Avatar
    Travis Gallardo September 7, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Well done to all! Great thoughts and contributions! For those of you who read this website regularly, this is the perfect opportunity for you to chime in with your ideas as well! That’s the purpose of the round table discussion. To develop dialogue in our community.

  • Avatar
    Mixalis Neskis September 7, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Question 1:
    Win Serie A and have a good outing in CL and play attacking flowing footbal as we should (no more back offs Mr. Allegri, we have the means to destroy every team lined up against us, and I would like to see them used.).

    Question 2:
    Our biggest threat to our Scudeto ambitions is our lack of cohesion. We have 2+3 new first team regulars and until the get to gel with each other we might drop some points. I guess that is the reason way Allegri opts for Cuadrado, Licht and Madzu…He knows what to expect from them…

    Question 3:
    I like Daves idea about the 4-1-3-2. Fortifies the middle of the pitch with a DM now that we have one and push Dybala closer to the final third. Plus Pjanic will be a lot better on an advanced MC role than as a Regista.

    Opposition player you d most like to punch in the face:
    Icardi(no reasons needed)
    D. Alves (I hope we get them at some point in CL )
    A. Conte (Not a player I know, but still. A punch in the face and a kick out of the CL if we get them, just for the money related comments he made back then.).

    • Avatar
      Travis Gallardo September 8, 2017 at 1:02 am

      Really great thoughts! Thank you for sharing them!

  • Avatar
    Cory September 8, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Question 1: I know it may be foolish but i NEED to see Juve win the CL. Put our best eggs in that basket until it comes to fruition. We have the roster to do it, plain and simple. As long as we qualify automatically for next season i can live with not wining serie A.

    Question 2: I feel the biggest threat this season in Napoli, they are the only team in Italy i get nervous about when we match up, their quality and cohesion can cause us real problems.

    Question 3: Based on our current formation—Buffon,Howedes, Rugani, Chiellini, Sandro, Pjanic, Matuidi(assuming Marchisio remains injury prone) Mario, Costa, Dybala, Gonzalo.

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino September 8, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Travis, shoot your bro man, it’s a lost cause ;p

    • Avatar
      Travis Gallardo September 8, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      Ah, man, I love my little brother, I could never. He’s a man, he must live with the consequences of his own poor decisions though. Haha

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino September 8, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        I know what you mean man, my own little brother doesnt like football at all. When I pressed a little to see if I couldn’t get him into it, he picked Bayern. I graciously accepted defeat at that point!

        • Avatar
          Travis Gallardo September 8, 2017 at 10:30 pm

          That’s hilarious.

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino September 8, 2017 at 10:14 am

    And to throw in my own idea’s on the questions:

    Q1: Treble. Simple as that, I see no reason to drop any objective. We have a damn strong team and better quality on the bench than last season and barring the finals in Doha and Cardiff, had a perfect season. Aiming high, but you don’t get anywhere by aiming low.

    Q2: The biggest rival is Napoli for me too. They have an enormous hunger to win and hardly changed, which gives them consistency on and off the pitch. I would rate Inter higher than Roma though. They have the better players and changed only a bit, but have a capable coach to make them connect. Roma and Milan have changed too much for me to rate them as Scudetto rivals at this point in time. Unless they gel well before Christmas, I don’t expect them to really go for the title.

    Q3: Ideal formation seems tough for me. I like 4-2-3-1 but at the same time, we’ve seen how fragile the double pivot is. I would prefer a third CM to start. Maybe a Christmas tree formation 4-3-2-1/ 4-3-1-2 with either Dybala or Costa in the hole
    Buffon
    Sandro Rugani Chiellini MDS/Howedes
    Matuidi Marchisio Pjanic
    Costa Dybala
    Higuain

    It’s just an idea, but I like it better on paper. Definitely want to incorporate Berny here, but as the season goes, i’m sure he’ll get to play much too

    Q4: Biggest impact of player we already had: Dybala. Giving him the 10 did him well so far and seen how much more focus we had this summer on improving the attack, I expect him to be far more deadly than last season. Score more and concede more in general is what I expect.
    Biggest impact of new arrival: Costa, for pretty much the same reasons as Dybala. He is the biggest star to arrive and will surely play a lot after he kicks Cuadrado out of the starting line-up. Personally hope Matuidi will be the surprise arrival though, but given that the attack tends to take the spotlights, I think the question is best answered with Costa.

    Q5:My biggest worry would be the defense and the amount of players we have on the squad that are either on the wrong side of 30 years old or injury prone, often both for the same players. For this season I assume we will be fine, but I’m not sure how Juve will do once the 30+ guys are gone. Thinking of Buffon, Barzagli, Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Marchisio, Benatia… One or both of the worries listed applies to them. Beppe and Allegri really need to sort out the future; which youngsters are coming to stay for good and which are used as makeweights?

    PS: Plenty of reason to be optimistic too concerning young players, but I would hate to see Juve go to shit like Milan after the core of champions is gone.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet September 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Thats the formation I would have stuck in…albeit with Matuidi on the left. I like to play the strongest players, then work out the system, and Marchisio and Matuidi are in there, with that idea in mind…I like the idea of a 4-3-2-1. Costa and Dybala roaming behind and across and beyond Higuain. This also gives more chance for Rodrigo to get games!

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino September 8, 2017 at 10:22 pm

        It is with Matuidi on the left! I did type it oddly though, sorry for the confusion comrade!

        Glad you are of a similar mind, I think it is a strong formation that gets the best from our starters. And a second line-up would also look good in it, I think.

        Looking forward to see Bentancur and Bernardeschi, as the quality is evident, but they face a tough fight for game time each

  • Avatar
    Dar Black September 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Honestly, with 6 in a row I could not give a monkey’s about the scudetto. Why? Because we have set a record that will almost certainly never be broken, and does #7 mean anything more? Other than it is +1… it just takes us and Serie A a step closer to being like the Scottish premier league where the winners are a choice between Celtic and nobody.

    No for me there is only one focus, one priority: UCL. It is an open wound, an issue or annoyance that needs resolving – and soon. We need to not be desperate about it, but understand the longer the wait the harder it will become to achieve it and the greater the gap and gulf financial and symbolically that will widen between us and the usual suspects that will be winning it.

    It is and should be our key objective if we want to ascend to the next level of success.

    • Avatar
      BelgianJuventino September 8, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Don’t shoot me, but I do want that 7th title 😛 If it was as easy as trading Scudetto for a CL trophy then yes, in a heartbeat. But it isn’t and the Scudetto also gives us the ‘privilege’ of a spot in pot 1 for the UCL.

      Though the point you make with the Scottish league is true as well, it makes the league look like shit when the same team wins it over and over.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet September 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Wisest words on this page, mate…Finally back here in my garden in Melbourne, have been up for 36 hours, maybe more, a glorious reunion with the hellhound and now seeking to bask in the glow of drunkenness and revelling in the still warm memories of my heart nourished in the motherland…hope all is splendid in your realm.

      • Avatar
        Dar Black September 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

        Dogs are great aren’t they. I once saw a book of dog ownership, it said humans should always be worthy of their dogs love for them. It’s so true too.

        Good to hear the visit home was inspiring. My own 2 weeks off work coming to an end soon. I was in London yesterday on a day out visiting the Albert Hall and the Pink Floyd exhibition at V&A museum. All wonderful symbols of the country. Then trotted off to Greenwich to visit a quaint old pub by the river in the last remaining industrial part of the Thames. Pub called Anchor & Hope.. rotting wood jetties and a muddy river bank side by side with shining Canary Wharf banking towers.

    • Avatar
      Moderator September 8, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      Totally understand where you’re coming from amico…..and yet Serie A always matters to me ! I can;t explain it entirely….perhaps it stems from the idea of our main opposition, our traditional rivals, being in the same league. We have Inter, toro, Roma, Napoli now Milan…..i love beating them, i always have! The CL is absolutely the measure of our development, but after the disappointment of Cardiff, i’m not sure i can bring myself to get excited enough to believe we can win it. What will be, will be. I hope, instead, that we win another 3 in Serie A and crush the league while developing on and off the pitch. I see more competition in Serie A than in some time and i want to beat all the pretenders to the throne!

  • Avatar
    BartWos September 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    What are your objectives for the season ahead?
    UEFA Champions League. It sounds funny after two failures in three years, but… Champions League. Seventh Scudetto? It doesn’t impress me now, not in this league.

    Who do you rate as the biggest threat to our Scudetto ambitions?
    I wish it will be Milan.

    What would be your starting XI and the formation?
    In my Football Manager 2018?
    4-2-2-2 with Wing Backs, Inside Forwards, Deep Lying Forward (Dybala), Complete Forward (Higuain) Buffon; Sandro, Chiellini, Rugani, Lichtsteiner; Pjanic, Marchisio; Costa, Bernardeschi; Dybala, Higuain
    But real? 4-2-3-1 Buffon; Sandro, Chiellini, Rugani, Lichtsteiner; Pjanic, Marchisio/Matuidi; Costa, Dybala, Bernardeschi; Higuain

    Damn, the same 😛

  • Avatar
    Travis Gallardo September 8, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Since we have 4 CL places for seria next year, would that rule still apply, or would we end up like the PL this year with 5 teams?

    • Avatar
      Dar Black September 8, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      I read 4 teams only for those with 4 teams through coefficient. But the rules are getting very complex! I could be wrong.

      • Avatar
        Travis Gallardo September 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm

        It makes sense if that’s the rule. I believe you could be right. It’s definitely a mad house in trying to understand all the CL rules and regulations these days for coefficient, qualifying, seeding, etc.

  • Avatar
    Carlos D.FrancoCalvo September 8, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    1. I consider the principal objective is to win the UCL;

    2. The biggest threat is Inter and secondly Milan, both well reforced teams
    with good managers, Inter have the advantage of not having European
    competition but have a short
    team and Milan needs to make a team from good players, Napoli will pass its CL
    group and that will make them lose points and I agree with Rav Roma has been weekend;

    3. My Starting XI: 4 2 3 1: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Rugani, Sandro; Khedira,
    Marchisio; Dybala, Pjanic, Bernardeschi; Higuain

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino September 8, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Haha, true that! CL is the grand trophy, I think nobody will deny that..

    Definitely a score to settle with Leo eh, after all that happened. Still find it difficult to dislike him though, after cheering him on for so long.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black September 9, 2017 at 1:39 am

      Yes difficult, but not impossible after that deliberate shot he fired at Juve about never having seen a CL winners medal before. Totally unnecessary.

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino September 9, 2017 at 9:36 am

        He actually did that? Thought it was something a Milan fan came up with.

        That makes hating him easier already

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet September 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I was swift in my answers as reaching the end of my holiday in Europe…and would have expanded further on the ideal formation question had I more time, which I now have –

    I generally lean towards trying to find a system which allows for the finest talents to be on the field at the same time. In our case, the central midfield has been an issue for many moons. I am long past considering Khedira as the strongest option to play in any position which demands defensive as well as offensive duties. Partly it is his lack of pace, yet mainly its his lack of guile defensively. He remains useful in the final third, yet is not mobile enough for a pure box to box role.

    Pjanic has to play as he is our most creative central midfielder. Next to him in the 4-2-3-1 Matuidi is probably the best bet though I suspect a fit marchisio could prove more expansive. Ideally I would like to see all three play together. With Matuidi on the left, Marchisio in the middle and Pjanic on the right. This would of course mean one less further up, though Dybala and Costa could happily roam behind Higuain with support coming on the flanks through Sandro and Howedes or even Lichsteiner. 4-3-2-1.

    Yet given what I mentioned, I would wish to include the following players –

    Higuain, DYbala, Costa, Sandro, Bernardeschi, Matuidi, Marchisio, Pjanic…It isnt really possible, other than with a back three.

    Higuain
    Costa DYbala Bernardeschi
    Matuidi Marchisio Pjanic
    Chiellini Barzagli Howedes

    Which removes Sandro, who for me, has been one of the most consistent performers of the last season or so.

    Maybe we will transition to include a midfield trio. I would like to believe so for it leads to Bentancur finding more opportunity. With a midfield 2 his chances are very limited, other than when a game is won and we move to a 3 to consolidate. yet I see too much of this, Max drops back and defends when we should be pushing for more goals. Which is why it is rare for us to win my big margins, when we could easily crush teams if he stayed going for the jugular when we are on top.

    Interesting to see some noting Inter as a direct rival for the scudetto. As superb a manager as I feel Spalletti most definitely is, it would take a series of master strokes to move them from abject and haphazard to serious contenders. Also cannot see AC building enough steam to challenge. Roma have Di Francesco, who may well have made the step up too quickly. Which leaves Napoli…

    One thing about Matuidi to mention is that I have seen him more box2box than sitting deep. I may have merely not seen him in that role, but remain assuming potentially, a fit Marchisio is the strongest fulcrum of the side.