Whisper it. Napoli could be champions. It could be their year. Finally, after half a decade of Juventus dominance in Serie A, a team has emerged that could legitimately challenge for the title. Not just because Juve has stumbled, but because Napoli is a legitimately fantastic team. Along with Manchester City, Maurizio Sarri’s men are playing the best football in the world right now. Could it be enough to take them to the top?
A Mauro Icardi hat trick inspired Inter Milan to a 3-2 victory over AC Milan in the Milan derby on Sunday at the San Siro. The two Serie A Derby della Madonnina matchups last year ended in 2-2 draws and it appeared Sunday’s would as well after Milan scored a late equalizer, but Icardi scored his third goal with a penalty shot in the 90th minute.
We here at The18 have never really given much thought to Francesco Guidolin. The former Swansea City, Monaco and Palermo manager just never crossed our minds in a way that was interesting. Until now. It has been reported that in 2006, when Guidolin was managing at Palermo, he used a very, um, explosive prop in a team talk.
In a professional career that began back in 1994 with a Lazio debut as a 17-year-old and lasted until as recently as 2014 with Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League, Italian defender Alessandro Nesta spent over 20 seasons defining the center half position.
The 2017-18 season is young, but dribbling is a young man’s game. According to WhoScored.com, these are the 10 players that, on average, are completing the most dribbles per game (minimum of five league matches). While you’ll find many of the usual suspects off to a flying start with regards to ending defenders’ careers, there are also some of the hottest young prospects in the world here.
Ahead of the weekend, the most eye-catchingest of matches was undoubtedly AC Milan versus Roma at San Siro on Sunday. It was one of those neat and tidy matches, games which allow us to check in with two teams who are competing with the same aim: finish in the top four, possibly threaten a title challenge.
Edin Dzeko is . . . pretty good, I guess? The Roma forward is a pretty good striker in a league filled with pretty good strikers. Dzeko shares Serie A with Gonzalo Higuain, Ciro Immobile, Mauro Icardi, Dries Mertens and Andrea Belotti. That would make it hard for anybody to stand out.
But let's look a little closer at the Bosnian international. Here's a fun stat:
It’s time to talk about Paulo Dybala. Actually, it was probably time to talk about Dybala two months ago, when he was rightly titillating the interest of the Barcelona board, possibly plugging a recently-emerged Neymar-sized hole in their starting XI. But even since then, Dybala has gone to a whole new level. Is it time to start talking about Dybala as being one of the very best in the world?