Napoli win the Scudetto

Napoli team celebrate winning the scudetto.

A resilient Napoli had to fight tooth and nail to claim the elusive Scudetto they last tasted when Diego Maradona was still playing for the club 33 years ago. The line-up announcer, Daniele Bellini, nicknamed ‘the Decibel,’ was only six years old when he last experienced the feeling of winning the Serie A title. He had to grow up, attend hundreds of matches, secure a job as a line-up announcer, and work for several years before finally tasting the trophy again. While reading Napoli’s line-up, he broke down when he realized how close they were to win the trophy. Napoli’s journey towards winning their 12th Scudetto screams one word; patience. 

The Coveted but elusive piece of silverware

For the past eight seasons, Napoli had only been seeing the Promised Land from a short distance. Finishing 2nd on four occasions is enough proof that Napoli has been a force to reckon with in Serie A. The trophy was elusive even when the Uruguayan beast, Edinson Cavani, banged goals for the club during his prime years. Even a front three of the speedy Dries Mertens, the dribbling Jose Callejon, and the exciting left-footed Lorenzo Insigne could only manage a second-spot finish. Kalidou Koulibaly came to be considered one of the best defenders in the world while at Napoli, but the Senegalese wall had to depart from the club before tasting the Serie A.

The comeback

Juventus have been the most dominant Serie A side in the past decade and took the biggest share of the Scudetto. Inter Milan and AC Milan have also struggled to make a comeback to the scene by winning a scudetto each. Napoli has decided to make the league even more interesting by taking a different approach. Finally, this has paid off, with the coveted silverware returning to Naples. History has been made at the club, with the names of these heroes set to be engraved in the hearts of the Napoli fans for centuries to come.

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Spalletti does it where the Greats failed.

Napoli fans celebrate following their historical win of the Scudetto.
Napoli fans celebrate following their historical win of the Scudetto. Photo Credits: Napoli Official

When Luciano Spalletti took over the squad from Genaro Gattuso on the 1st of July 2021, few would have guessed that he would be the man to break the jinx and bring the title back to the football-loving community of Naples. The community had been craving this piece of silverware and had to always hold on to the Diego Maradona era for solace while their rivals were fighting for the titles. Respected European football managers like Mazzarri, Benitez, Sarri, and Ancelotti had all tried but unfortunately failed to live up to the dream. Like a code that is hard to crack, Napoli winning the Serie A proved to be an uphill task.

A new look Napoli; the key arrivals and departures

Spalletti took in the challenge with several star players having left and more still joining other clubs. Some key departures included Koulibaly, Fabian Ruiz, Arkadiusz Milik, Ounas, Ospina, Mertens, and former captain Lorenzo Insigne. This was a breed of exciting players who only managed a 2nd place finish. The arrivals included little-known players like Victor Osimhen, Kim Min Jae, Zambo Anguissa, Khvicha Khvaratskhelia, and Raspadori. Spalletti has made the players rise from grace to the top of the world by offering performances that have seen them rated among the top 5 best European clubs this season.

Kim-Min-Jae, nicknamed ‘the Monster’ celebrates alongside Napoli fans following them winning the Scudetto. The player has been a wall at the back for the Scudetto winners. Photo Credits: Napoli Official

How brilliant individual performances helped Napoli win the Scudetto

Individually some key player performances have stood out this season. These players have been more outstanding than the others and have posted beautiful statistics. Kim Min Jae has won the most number of duels in the league. With goalkeeper Meret also playing his role, they have amassed 16 Serie A clean sheets. Midfielder Zielinski has contributed massively to the goals by scoring three and assisting seven. Forward Khvicha, from the little-known Dinamo Batumi, has scored ten goals and assisted 12 in an impressive campaign. Nigerian attacker Victor Osimhen has also shown prowess and scored 22 goals for the club while leading the Serie A golden boot race. 

All these performances have contributed to a satisfying season for Napoli, who aim to go for the Champions League next season. The Naples will buzz with energy as they now believe again that they can make themselves the footballing powerhouse they once were. Naples is breathing fine football, and rightfully so.

The scramble for top four spots in Serie A

Napoli players celebrating a past win in Serie A

The Serie A top four race is taking shape as Napoli are carving themselves out as the clear favorites to win the league. With the league being considered a done assignment by Napoli who are having an impressive 75 points lead. 6 other top clubs are fighting for the coveted champions league spots. Maurizio Sarri’s side Lazio have been impressive this season and have maintained the second spot for the past few weeks. They have amassed 61 points from 31 games.

Lazio have beaten all odds and have played their cards well as they aim to make a comeback to the champions league where they last appeared seasons ago. Juventus are in third spot after their initially deducted points were granted back to them. Juventus had been deducted 15 points after breaking some key Serie A rules but recently they have been granted back the points that have pushed them back to 3rd position. They currently have 59 points.

AC Milan or Roma, who misses out?

Rafael Leao celebrating his goal for AC Milan. Photo Credits: Serie A

AC Milan complete the fourth spot with 56 points gained, same as Roma who have an inferior goal difference and who have taken position five. AS Roma lost the chance of joining the top 4 after losing to Atalanta 3-1 during the last game week. Atalanta are now in 6th position, 4 points off the top. Inter Milan are in 5th position after securing three points away at Empoli over the weekend.

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Juventus would have taken the second position but unfortunately lost their home game to Napoli courtesy of a late Raspadori strike. Lazio also lost at home to Torino and failed to consolidate their second place.

The top four race in Serie A is still open with  five clubs fighting to join the lethal Napoli side in next season’s competition. The clubs whose cards will be played well will be the winners of the day. Seven more game weeks will determine the top four. Who will taste Champions League football next season?

Weekend Fixtures today in Europe’s Top Leagues

The Tables

Premier League friday fixtures
Weekend Premier League fixtures: Photo credits: FlashScore

Title races in the top leagues of Europe are heating up, bearing in mind upcoming weekend fixtures. Most of the top clubs are fighting for the top spot as the half-season approaches. In England, the English Premier League Liverpool is leading the race for the most coveted trophy with 32 points. They are closely followed by Manchester United with 30 points, Leicester City with 29 points, and Everton with 29 points.

Saturday Premier League fixtures
Saturday weekend fixtures: Photo credits FlashScore

In La Liga, Atletico Madrid is leading the race with 32 points. Real Madrid closely follows them with 32 points, albeit with an inferior goal difference. Real Sociedad 26, Sevilla 26, and Villareal 26 complete the table. Barcelona is in the sixth position despite being one of the title favorites at the beginning of the season.

LaLiga fixtures this weekend.
LaLiga fixtures this weekend. Photo credit: FlashScore

In Italy, AC Milan is still leading the table with 34 points. Inter Milan closely follows them with 33 points, Roma 27 points, and Sassuolo with 26 points. Defending champions Juventus are sixth with 24 points. With the tables changing after every game week, the weekend matches will be treated with utmost importance.

Serie A is back. Here are the fixtures this weekend.
Serie A resumes from the break. Photo Credits: FlashScore

The Weekend Ahead

The weekend ahead will be one to look forward to. Moreover, the competition is stiff, and no team is ready to lose points. The premier league weekend fixtures will kick off on Friday night with a host of crunch clashes. Everton will be facing West Ham United as they aim to maintain their top-four status. Manchester United are then set to duel with Aston Villa. Both clubs are in good form, making the match even more anticipated. The 7th placed Tottenham Hotspurs will have to face Leeds United on Saturday to enter the top four.

Sunday Premier League action.
Sunday soccer matches in EPL

On Sunday, Newcastle will battle it out with third-placed Leicester City. Chelsea and Manchester City will undoubtedly be the match of the weekend. Both clubs are tied with 26 points and can join the top four with a win.

Top six teams in the Premier League this far
Premier League standings so far. Photo Credits: EPL

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La Liga resumes on Saturday. Villareal will be taking on Levante as Unai aims back at the top four. Sevilla faces a tough test at Betis, with Real Madrid taking on Celta Vigo. On Sunday, Atletico Madrid takes on Alaves as Barcelona face Huesca.

Serie A will resume on Sunday. Inter Milan face Crotone in the early kickoff match. As Roma will face Sampdoria as AC Milan and Benevento square out. Sassuolo will visit Atalanta for yet another weekend crunch clash. Juventus will try to reignite their top form when Udinese comes calling.

Serie A table standings this far.
Seria table standings. Photo credits: FlashScore

The tables might yet again change after the weekend matches because the competitions have become stiffer, with most clubs out to prove a point.

LaLiga is back on your screens. This is the current table standings in LaLiga
LaLiga Table standings. Photo credit: LiveScore

Race for the Italian Golden boot between Ronaldo and Immobile continues.

Race for the Italian Golden boot

With only 3 matches left for both, it is quite hard to tell who will win the Italian golden boot this season, Immobile or Ronaldo. Cristiano Ronaldo and Ciro Immobile have been on a tight race for the top scorer glory. Moreover, both have been consistent in goal scoring. Ciro Immobile is currently leading the table with a 31 goal tally as Cristiano follows with 30 goals. The two were tied at thirty until last night. Immobile scored a winning goal against Cagliari in a 2-1 victory.

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They’ve both been prolific forwards to their respective clubs this season. Furthermore, they have both scored 12 penalties as part of their goal tally. The two players have quite the history in being league top scorers. This makes it more interesting. Lazio will be facing Hellas Verona, Brescia and Napoli in that order. It is evident the club will not bench their top scorer. On the other hand, the league champions, Juventus, will be facing Sampdoria, Cagliari and Roma. Christiano Ronaldo, their main man upfront, is expected to start in all matches. Immobile has a good history with regards to the Italian golden boot. The Serie A Season will be ending on 12th August.

Photo Credits: Getty Images

Juventus clinch 9th Serie A title

Juventus clinch 9th Serie A title

Juventus clinched the Serie A title last night. This comes after a 2-0 victory against Sampdoria. Moreover, this win extended their Serie A title wins to 9 in a row.

Pjanic’s free-kick ensured Ronaldo scored the first goal in the first half. Afterwards, Bernardeschi sealed the win in the second half. Besides that, Ronaldo hopes to get closer to Immobile’s goal tally of 34. Especially, with only two games remaining. Ronaldo has scored 31 league goals. 

“Delighted for the second consecutive championship and to continue building the history of this great and splendid club,” said Cristiano Ronaldo on Instagram.

“This title is dedicated to all Juventus fans, in particular to those who have suffered and are suffering from the pandemic that has taken us all by surprise by overturning the world.”

“It was not easy. Your courage, your attitude and your determination were the strength we needed to face this tight final of the championship and fight to the end for this title that belongs to all of Italy.”

“A big hug to you all.”

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The Serie A giants are the first in Europe’s top 5 leagues to win nine league titles in a row. This title win is an achievement for Maurizio Sarri. Sarri replaced Allegri in June 2019. This Serie A title win is his first in a 30-year coaching career.

After winning the Serie A title, Juventus’ focus is now on the Champions League which resumes in August. Furthermore, Sarri’s performance in Juventus will be rated high if he wins the Champions League in his first season at the club.

Photo Credit: Juventus Official Website