Posted: 2/12/2018 1:36:57 PM
Loose, pardon my 'short-sightedness', havent looked at these matchups/lines/opponents due to that little "distraction" tmrw.
heres my thoughts from what I have regarding the Serie A teams/knowledge (irrespective of their first round opponent):
unlike the CL, i think it's important for the capper to understand a clubs motivation/perspectives towards this. and unlike the CL, I pay closer attention to a teams current standing in the domestic tables. dont want to paint this with a broad brush as it doesnt apply to all but some are fighting for titles, or a COVETED CL slot for next year; and this is important to understand. and on the flip side of that, some clubs have no chance at league titles (aka, Arsenal, Bilbao, Milan, Leip/Dort) and they might go for it here.
Atalanta - first of all, the players/club really looking forward to this competition; they are super-tough at home fyi. Gasperini played Lyon with a FULL squad just a few days before their date with Juve back in October & played with a full lineup just to clinch 1st place in the final match of group stages. that should answer ones concerns regarding their motivation. i think theyve scored in every roadie this year too, which, to me, is impressive.
Milan - uve probably seen me mention this several times already, but Gattuso has lit a fire under these guys. this is a different team nowadays, throw away that sh*t-show we saw at start of season. and everything ive read is that theyre 'going for it' here. chance for hardware and definitely have the skill-sets to do it.
Napoli - avoid them. or at least WAIT till lineups. The Scudetto.... is front & center of their universe. with that being said, they DO have the talent to make it to the finals, and they get Millik back soon. dont pay attention to the 'lip-service' in the media this week regarding their match.... again.... Scudetto Scudetto Scudetto. it would not suprise me if Sarri RESTS players for the Serie A. he was heavily critisized by his bosses for NOT resting players vs ManC in CL for godsakes , what ya think Europa means for the higher ups?
Lazio - hard to get a 'read' on them. sitting in 5th and in a dogfight for CL spot and are in a real bad mess right now. Felipe in the doghouse and its creating a BIG distraction within the team. they were just THUMPED over the wknd by Napoli and are winless in 4 straight & now have Milan, Atalanta & Torino breathing down their a**es. dunno their opponent but whomever they are playing probably offers decent value.
IMO any Portuguese/Spanish side is worth taking a look at simply cuz those countries just seem to always take this seriously.
Duece' - those eastern euros & russians still on break. any noticeable angles with it being their first competitive match in months?