Lazio’s 3-1 win over Juventus was one of the more remarkable Serie A games I have seen recently. For the first hour Juve took the game to the hosts and were completely on top. The interchange of positions, crisp passing and fantastic movement were topped off by an excellent team goal to put the Bianconeri deservedly ahead. Then Rodrigo Bentancur got injured and Maurizio Sarri put on Emre Can in the Uruguayan’s plance. The game completely changed, Lazio got a foothold and crucially got the vital equalizer on the stroke of halftime. On resumption, Juve looked like a team of strangers and never threatened. Lazio deservedly won.
The question that Sarri has to ask as he ponders his first defeat as Juve boss, was whether he made the right choice in bringing Can on or was Bentancur so inspired that no other midfielder could match him on the day? That neither Miralem Pjanic nor Blaise Matuidi were able to shoulder responsibility will be cause for concern and the fact that the manager hasn’t yet been able to inspire Adrien Rabiot to reach standards that are expected at Juve is also troubling. I still think Juve made the right choice in appointing Sarri to develop a more progressive style of football. But why is it that after a brilliant month of aggressive football in October, Sarri’s team is starting to resemble Allegri’s version from last year? The key could be the pedestrain midfield. Without that base playing well, it’s going to be hard for Sarri’s revolution to take off.
As most of you know in the midst of last season, I launched a dream project that I have wanted to do for so long – my own football podcast! Launching in the middle of the season ensured that I had the liberty to try many different things with the podcast while enabling me to learn a lot about the processes of a podcast. I still have a lot to learn and by no means is the podcast perfect. However, with the launch of the new European season only a matter of days away, I am excited to resume the podcast. There is only one benchmark that I am going to use this season – consistency of releasing episodes. I want 2017/18 to be remembered not only for being a great football season, but also a campaign where the Football Podcast with Wasim Parkar provided great analysis and perspective that is genuinely unique and insightful.
With that being said, I have released a short tease of an episode for all of you, outlining my goals and vision for the podcast this season.
Mina Rzouki joins the podcast to talk about Juve’s successful season and look ahead to the big Champions League final in Cardiff. Mina and Wasim also reflect on the Serie A in general and revel in Crotone’s remarkable escape from relegation.