Underestimated Roma

What is so dispiriting about Roma’s Serie A season is that, at least on paper, there is nothing that impressive in being second to Juventus, especially when the Scudetto champions have looked so dominant throughout. Competing with the Old Lady has no margin for error, making any runner-up look like an also-ran.

Read the rest on Football Italia 

Inter’s attitude and tactics have improved but their issues go deeper

Nerazzurri fans finally caught a break over the weekend when a reinvigorated Inter beat Lazio 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico under the tutelage of caretaker Stefano Vecchi. Unfortunately, there were plenty of reasons to worry, reasons that go beyond the fact that Lazio were coming off a Coppa Italia final loss to Juventus or Inter’s quest for Europe already being over.

Read the rest of the column on ESPN

Allegri the Underdog

Forced to give a straight answer, many Calcio fans would admit that they still don’t have a very positive opinion of Max Allegri.

Lurking in the back of their minds, Maxskepticism has many thinking that the former Rossoneri Coach is one mistake away from reverting to the blundering mess Silvio Berlusconi used to rail against, the Cavaliere once claiming at a political rally that Allegri “didn’t understand [expletive] all” about football.

Read more on Football Italia 

Whatever happened to Nicola Ventola?

It is a well-known fact that many talented prospects don’t turn out, with the mental and tactical rigours of modern football often too heavy a load to carry. It hurts far more, however, when a player has the brains, the technique and the guts to go far, only for it to become clear that his body – and his luck – were never cut out for a career in the pros.

Read the rest here

Five things Inter need in a new manager to accelerate rebuild

With Inter sacking Stefano Pioli ten days ago, fans of the Nerazzurri can expect another summer rife with rumours and speculation.

While it may be too early to talk about the numerous candidates set to replace him, it isn’t premature to discuss what Inter’s future manager will need to do to keep both the club (and his own reputation) afloat.

Here are five key issues that have to be addressed if the blue side of Milan is to have anything to celebrate next season.

Read them here on ESPN

On This Day: Lazio’s Perfect Storm (For Football Italia)

Lazio may not win many Scudetti (three), but when they do, they’re quite something.

Just as Tommaso Maestrelli had turned a divided squad of gun-toting eccentrics into surprise Scudetto winners in 1974, so Sven-Goran Eriksson finally took big spender Sergio Cragnotti to the Promised Land in 2000, but it wasn’t easy.

Read the rest of the article on Football Italia!

Is mentality really the problem with Inter?

Inter are coming off a nightmare run of games ahead of Sunday’s clash with Napoli, failing to win in over a month and somehow allowing half-time leads of 2-0 and 2-1 to turn into a 2-2 draw against AC Milan and a 5-4 defeat to Fiorentina.

In the endless post-mortems which followed the collapse in Florence, Inter were accused of lacking grit and a united mentality, but the squad is full of grinders. Gary Medel isn’t called The Pitbull for nothing, Danilo D’Ambrosio delivered an impassioned speech earlier in the season when things were going wrong, and even substitute Eder is a presence in the changing room.

Read more on my ESPN blog here: 

Roberto Mancini still the right man to lead Inter Milan

While Juventus fans got an early Christmas present in July with the arrival of striker Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli, the Inter faithful have been treated to a somewhat different summer. It began with a series of clever signings, but has since been spoiled by Napoli’s pursuit of Mauro Icardi, whose agent (and wife) Wanda Nara has rankled Inter supporters with recent comments via social media.

Things have arguably got worse since then, with speculation that coach Roberto Mancini would leave the San Siro if ownership didn’t satisfy his transfer requests, not to mention renew his existing deal, which expires next year.

Read the rest on ESPNFC HERE http://www.espnfc.co.uk/club/internazionale/110/blog/post/2920176/roberto-mancini-still-the-right-man-to-lead-inter-milan

Inter and Mancini need each other

Inter’s tour of the United States has hardly been a relaxing affair: as if speculation over a possible Mauro Icardi departure to Napoli wasn’t bad enough, the Italian sports press is awash with reports of Coach Roberto Mancini’s dissatisfaction with the club’s transfer policy, with some even indicating that the former Manchester City gaffer would leave if his demands were not met.

There is, however, something that isn’t quite convincing about Il Mancio’s supposed desire to leave.

Read the rest of the article on Football Italia here
http://www.football-italia.net/88438/inter-and-mancini-need-each-other

Lotito: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

It has not been a relaxing summer for Lazio fans. Fresh off a disappointing eighth place finish, their two big stars – Antonio Candreva and Lucas Biglia – reportedly want to leave, whilst flashy Coach Marcelo Bielsa jilted the club a mere 48 hours into the wedding.

The 5,000 fans who showed up to recent demonstrations against owner Claudio Lotito were proof that last season’s problems – when the Aquile went down against Roma in front of two empty ends – have only gotten worse, with a mere 11 supporters signing up for season tickets within 24 hours of their being made available.

Read the rest on http://www.football-italia.net/87683/lotito-good-bad-ugly

EURO 2016: France v Portugal PREDICTION! (FOR DK)

It’s finally here, ladies and gentlemen.

France play dark horses Portugal at the Parc des Princes on Sunday hoping to match Germany and win their third European Championship, their second at home.

They face a Portugal side that has come up short so often of late, racking up the semi-final appearances without ever managing to lift silverware.

Considering I got both semi-final results horribly wrong (WAL 1-0 POR, FRA 1-2 GER), you should DEFINITELY trust me to get it right this time!

But what did I go for? Check me out on Draft Kings TV with Andy Davies, Jamie Hinks and Tyrone Atkins. With thanks to El Jefe Wade McElwain!

EURO 2016: DraftKings Lineup, CLG

Here is my DraftKings lineup for the Euro 2016 semi-finals, which I stupidly forgot to post yesterday.

As you can see, my picks for the Wales-Portugal game were hardly stellar, though Gareth Bale acquitted himself well.

Of more relevance are the players I’ve picked for tonight’s France- Germany game.

Check out my picks here!

For a slightly longer explanation, here I am discussing them with the great Andy Davies, Jamie Hinks and Wade McElwain

 

And below are my Chooser, my Loser, and my Gem. Tommy Muller, I am so, so sorry. You’re a great player (and a bit of a squealer, but never mind that), but I just don’t see you shining tonight. Which’ll probably mean you’re going home with a hat-trick and Carla Bruni in your suitcase. Oh well.

CHECK OUT THAT FACE BY THE WAY. IT’LL LAUNCH 10.000 SHIPS ONE DAY LEMME TELL YA.