Italy Soccer Serie A

Italy Roundup: Napoli hands Juventus rare Serie A loss

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Napoli snapped a remarkable Juventus run and slowed the coronation cruise control displayed by The Old Lady with a 2-0 home win on Sunday.

Juve posted a remarkable 20W-2D-0L mark in its previous 22 matches, but Napoli came to play with a goal in each half and strong defending. Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens scored for Napoli, which is far off the title chase, though the Juve loss gives a modicum of hope to AS Roma. Carlos Tevez was not suspended for Juve, with Dani Osvaldo getting the slot in Tevez’s absence.

I Lupi scored a controversial win over Sassuolo, now in severe relegation trouble after goals from Mattia Destro and Michel Bastos paced Roma to a 2-0 win. Sassuolo was given a penalty kick in the first half, only to have the call shockingly reversed by official Nicola Rizzoli. Our own Kyle Bonn has a recap of that ordeal here.

Roma has a match-in-hand on Juve, though even that 11-point lead dropping to eight at mid-week wouldn’t be a major cause for concern. Juve still has to visit Stadio Olimpico on May 11, but a few more wins will make the third-consecutive Scudetto all but in the bag.

Fiorentina gave some leeway to Inter Milan in the race for fourth place by sleepwalking to a scoreless draw at 12th place Sampdoria. Despite a combined 36 shots between the two clubs, no one put one across the line. Inter tangles with Livorno on Monday. Both Livorno and Catania are searching for Monday points in their quest to escape the drop zone. A Livorno win would do the trick, though three points for Catania against Udinese would still find them three points from safety.

Elsewhere

  • AC Milan 3-0 Chievo — Chievo’s relegation troubles are real; Kaka’s two goals backed Mario Balotelli’s single tally as all goals were scored before the clock struck 54.
  • Bologna 0-2 Atalanta — Giuseppe De Luca and Marcelo Estigarribia struck twice in four first-half minutes to lift the visitors’ quest for Europe.
  • Verona 3-0 Genoa – 10-men? No problem for Hellas Verona, with a late brace from Luca Toni making the score line defy game play. Marco Donadel also scored for the hosts, who saw a second yellow given to Michelangelo Albertazzi just before half.
  • Torino 2-1 Cagliari – Road woes continue for Cagliari (0W-7D-8L away from home) as goals from Alessio Cerci and Omar El Kaddouri lead Torino to win.
  • Lazio 3-2 Parma– Plenty of drama in Rome, as Antonio Candreva’s stoppage-time winner offseat an own-goal equalizer to keep the hosts in European contention.
  • Udinese vs. Catania – Monday
  • Livorno vs. Inter Milan — Monday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 31 26 3 2 67 22 45 15-0-0 11-3-2 81
Roma 30 21 7 2 58 15 43 12-3-0 9-4-2 70
Napoli 31 19 7 5 59 32 27 10-4-2 9-3-3 64
Fiorentina 31 15 7 9 49 33 16 8-3-4 7-4-5 52
Inter Milan 30 12 12 6 47 31 16 7-7-2 5-5-4 48
Parma 30 12 11 7 49 37 12 6-7-2 6-4-5 47
Atalanta 31 14 4 13 37 39 -2 10-2-3 4-2-10 46
Lazio 31 12 9 10 40 40 0 8-4-3 4-5-7 45
Verona 31 13 4 14 46 52 -6 9-2-5 4-2-9 43
Torino 31 11 9 11 45 40 5 7-5-4 4-4-7 42
AC Milan 31 11 9 11 47 43 4 7-4-4 4-5-7 42
Sampdoria 31 11 8 12 40 43 -3 6-5-5 5-3-7 41
Genoa 31 10 9 12 34 39 -5 7-4-4 3-5-8 39
Udinese 30 10 5 15 33 42 -9 7-2-5 3-3-10 35
Cagliari 31 7 11 13 29 41 -12 7-4-5 0-7-8 32
Chievo 31 7 6 18 26 46 -20 5-2-8 2-4-10 27
Bologna 31 5 11 15 24 48 -24 3-7-6 2-4-9 26
Livorno 30 6 6 18 32 56 -24 4-4-7 2-2-11 24
Sassuolo 31 5 6 20 29 61 -32 4-1-11 1-5-9 21
Catania 30 4 8 18 23 54 -31 4-6-5 0-2-13 20

Winter on Allardyce corruption allegations: “Touch and go whether he survives”

England international soccer team manager Sam Allardyce, centre, his assistant Sammy Lee, left, and FA chief executive Martin Glenn, right, applaud during the launch event of UEFA Euro 2020 and the unveiling of the tournament brand and the London host city logo at City Hall, in London, Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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As details continue to unfold from the Telegraph’s sting operation that may’ve caught England manager Sam Allardyce in its grasp, the question of whether the ex-Sunderland man could be fired after just months on the job is moving to the forefront.

Allardyce, 61, is on tape talking about third party ownership of players — a big no-no for FIFA — and the words have some alleging that he is giving advice on how to buck the system.

[ MORE: Watford’s Deeney rages after loss]

Given that the manager has only overseen one match for the Three Lions and had been accused, but never charged, with accepting bribes from agents in 2006, some think he may not survive the issue.

Well-connected The Times of London writer Henry Winter says it’s possible.

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp pulls the rug out from armchair tacticians

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spent time on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football set for Burnley’s 2-0 win over Watford, and proffered some fascinating comments.

The ones that had us quite delighted were some dismissive comments aimed at people who like talk about, even lament, the Reds’ “false nines” — boiled to its bone, an advanced attacking mid that assumes the striker’s role.

[ MORE: Allardyce in hot water ]

After all, most times a 4-5-1 and a 4-1-4-1 are essentially the same thing (and perhaps dictated more by how a match plays out). And when Liverpool is using Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, or Divock Origi, it’s the player that matters as much as the formation (USMNT fans can consider how Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey rotated around the top of Jurgen Klinsmann’s formation at the Copa America despite having a traditional given position in the Starting XI).

“To be honest, I don’t think about us having now a false nine or no nine or whatever it is. These players are all responsible for being in the opposition box in all situations there can be. “

Right. If an attack is moving ahead with just one man sitting high, that most advanced attacker is a forward. It doesn’t matter if that attacker has drifted out left on defense, or checked deeper into the formation when the other team has the ball. He’s a striker.

“A lot of people have got different views on it. Where’s the difference between 4-1-4-1 and 4-5-1, I don’t see it really.

“4-3-3, it depends on the situation you are in. For example, if you play a 4-3-3 with real wingers, like Holland played a few years ago, then it is different.”

Presumably, Klopp is speaking of the 4-3-3 employed by Louis Van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Robin Van Persie forced defenses to stretch wide as well as long, and that is a genuine 4-3-3. It’s much different than an average formation graphic showing three players high and three players low. The spacing of the opposition and movement of the ball match demands that!

Tactics and techniques are a lot of fun to discuss and debate, but Klopp reminded us a fact that plays out in almost every match. Most times, when the ball is kicked in anger, it’s “about Jims and Joes, not X’s and O’s” as former University at Buffalo and current Canisius College men’s basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon liked to say.

England: Allardyce in hot water after controversial Telegraph report

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21:  England manager Sam Allardyce and his assistant Sammy Lee listen to speakers during the UEFA EURO 2020 launch event for London at City Hall on September 21, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images
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Sam Allardyce might be in a bit of trouble.

The England manager has been “caught” on tape by undercover Telegraph reporters in what’s being called a sting. Some of the banter is simply Allardyce being Allardyce — ripping on personalities he doesn’t like — and won’t affect much at all.

[ MORE: Watford’s Deeney rages after loss ]

Being outspoken isn’t a crime, after all. Other talk, though, could be quite damaging to the ex-Sunderland and Bolton boss. Allardyce reportedly flirted with getting big money to speak to a company that would be pitching third party ownership of players, which is strictly prohibited by FIFA.

From The Telegraph:

He agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassadorand explained to the “businessmen” how they could circumvent Football Association rules which prohibit third parties “owning” players.

Unbeknown to Allardyce, the businessmen were undercover reporters and he was being filmed as part of a 10-month Telegraph investigation that separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football.

The article is a part of an investigation the Telegraph claims will cause many problems for some big names in England over the coming days.

It could all come to nothing, though reports below show the Football Association will look into the Telegraph’s claims.

Watford’s Deeney raging after loss: “We got bullied to a man”

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Watford’s spirits have gone from the penthouse to outhouse in barely a week.

The Hornets hammered Manchester United last week only to look listless against Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday.

[ MATCH RECAP: Burnley 2-0 Watford ]

Outshone under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, Watford captain Troy Deeney is, in a word, angry.

From the BBC:

“Poor. I’ll have to watch my words or I’ll get in trouble. We got bullied to a man, Burnley stuck to their gameplan, fair play to them.

“We lost 2-0 on TV, we got run over and both goals could have been avoided. I’m very disappointed. You set high standards and if you don’t match them people will ask questions.”

With Bournemouth, Middlesbrough, Swansea City, and Hull City next on its Premier League docket, this is not a time for Watford to accept inconsistency.

To a man.