Can AC Milan do it again?
Serie A is back this weekend!
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08/08/2022 At 2:31 PM
During the summer, the band in Pioli, certainly not reinforced, impressed. Its performers know each other by heart, with perfectly worked, integrated and assimilated automatisms. The feeling of power released is great. And everyone now knows they are capable of winning. “You can sign the best players in the world, but if you don’t have the spirit, the desire and the organization, it’s useless. I’m not afraid of the competition, we are stronger than last season“, warned Stefano Pioli The Gazzetta dello Sport last week. Second in 2020-2021, first in 2021-2022, 195 pts since the end of the first confinement: Milan is a train launched at full speed which does not intend to stop.
Is this the last season of Zlatan?
We tend to answer “yes”. As always, you will tell us. And you would probably be right. But this time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic could well make his final last stand on the lawns of Serie A. Operated on his knee at the end of the last exercise, the 40-year-old Swedish giant will not return until next January. Aware of his importance in the locker room, his managers agreed to extend his contract for a year on favorable terms. Probably for the last time. Returning in January 2020, Zlatan managed to fulfill his mission to bring AC Milan back to the top. Whatever happens, he can hang up his crampons with peace of mind at the end of the season.
Will Romelu Lukaku still make the difference?
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In the meantime, he has already found some automatisms with his friend and friend Lautaro Martinez, with whom he forms the famous “Lu-La”. These two can still make the difference, but it’s a whole frame of play that Inzaghi will have to rethink. The results of the friendly matches, against some high-level opponents, confirmed this quest for a new identity. After a complicated year with Chelsea, Lukaku is hungry for revenge: “I want to win the scudetto, no matter the individual results“His team are obviously among the favourites.
Can Juve reclaim the title?
We strongly wish it to Massimiliano Allegri. Criticized by a good part of the tifosi since his return last year, in particular because of a non-existent game and a still vague identity, the Tuscan coach is under pressure, even more when we know the details of his concrete contract ( a salary of 7 million euros until 2025). Its leaders believe they have done the job on the transfer window. If Giorgio Chiellini, Matthijs de Ligt, Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala have left, Bremer, Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria have arrived. Filip Kostic too, and Memphis Depay could even land by the end of the summer. Not to mention the arrival of Dusan Vlahovic last January for 80 million euros.
The wage bill has fallen considerably (about 21 million). On paper, the Old Lady has had a makeover and can win back the scudetto. After a white season, a first for a decade, this is the goal, like every summer. She has to aim for it. But Allegri still has work to do, as evidenced by the last slap suffered against Atlético de Madrid (0-4) in a friendly.
Dybala, Matic, Wijnaldum: Does Mourinho have the pressure?
You couldn’t miss it. Presented on July 26 at the Palace of Italian Civilization in Rome, Paulo Dybala was welcomed by thousands of crazy people, giving rise to totally crazy images. What sums up the summer of the tifosi of Roma, already on a cloud since the victory of the Europa League Conference last May. The Argentina international’s unexpected arrival has definitely sent them to heaven. Today, Roma have a formidable attacking force with an exceptional quartet made up of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Paulo Dybala, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Tammy Abraham. The transfer of Georginio Wijnaldum has also generated overwhelming enthusiasm in the Eternal City, while Nemanja Matic has also returned to strengthen the midfield. For many, all these arrivals would have been impossible without a certain José Mourinho, already sent to the Pantheon with his victory of the C4.
Paulo Dybala received a royal welcome from AS Roma supporters
Credit: Getty Images
Untouchable in Rome, the Special One however has the pressure. Officially, the Roman club is aiming for qualification for the next edition of the Champions League. But given the transfer window and the enthusiasm of a whole people, many observers believe that the title is a possible objective. The Giallorossi have been dreaming about it for over twenty years now (2001). But in Rome, a “scudetto is equal to ten in Milan“, likes to recall Fabio Capello, the last coach capable of winning the precious sesame, aware of the complexity of the club and of a city that lives on its emotions. This summer, she will have experienced unforgettable ones.
Are Napoli already out of the race?
Just over 200 kilometers north of Rome, the atmosphere is quite different. In Naples, the mood of the tifosi is indeed very gloomy. At the start of the transfer window, the much-maligned president Aurelio De Laurentiis had warned that the time was up for savings and a drastic drop in the wage bill. It’s done after the departures of Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens or David Ospina, four holders of Luciano Spalletti. Fabian Ruiz should follow.
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In the arrivals department, Napoli have great faith in Georgian international Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, recruited for around 10 million euros. The South Korean Kim Min-Jae is brought to take the heavy succession of “KK” in defense. Not easy. Disappointed, the tifosi boycotted a subscription campaign launched late, with only 5,000 positive responses. “ADL” is criticized for a lack of ambition, programming and ideas. The season starts badly and the title seems difficult to envisage. A place in the top 4 would probably already be a small victory.
Should Monza dream of Europe?
Probably not. Or not yet, at least. For its first historic season in the top flight, Silvio Berlusconi’s club will have the mission of maintaining itself. But as always, the Cavaliere and Adriano Galliani, his historic right arm, saw things big on the transfer window. In the arrivals department, we note in particular names such as Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Marlon (Shakhtar), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Warren Bondo (Nancy) or Gianluca Caprari ( Hellas). Andrea Petagna (Napoli) and Pablo Mari (Arsenal) have also just arrived. The Lombard club also dreams of Mauro Icardi and will probably make a last attempt during the last days of the transfer window so dear to the “Condor Galliani”. Given the eleven on paper, Giovanni Stroppa, the coach of the Lombard club, will have no room for error. Maintenance is the bare minimum.
What to expect from French players?
In total, there are no less than 31 in Serie A. France is the most represented foreign country there, ahead of Brazil (25) and Poland (19). Who says “francesi” necessarily says AC Milan, where there are no less than 6 (a record). Having started in the second half of last season, Pierre Kalulu is now indisputable in the central defense of the Italian champion club. The former Lyonnais forms a shock duo with Fikayo Tomori and Didier Deschamps could find in him a versatile piece for the Blues by taking a look at his performances. Theo Hernandez, already in stunning shape, still seems to be on another planet.
Olivier Giroud shows the scudetto during the friendly against Cologne
Credit: Getty Images
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