Roberto Di Matteo was an understated player. Through Chelsea’s resurgence in the 1990s, he was at the heart of it. But it is as a manager that he achieved true greatness, leading Chelsea to lift both the Champions League and FA Cup trophies in a few months, in what was possibly one of the greatest managerial turnarounds in modern Premier League history.
The Premier League is home to hundreds of overseas players, but go back twenty years or so and there were much fewer in the English top-flight than there is today. Foreign players were seen as exotic, flamboyant and simply different from what English football fans were used to. One player who was certainly different, but for all the right reasons, was Gianfranco Zola.
Udinese host Fiorentina in Serie A this weekend, as 13th play 14th. Luca Gotti’s Udinese sit a place and two points behind Giuseppe Iachini’s Fiorentina. They’re winless in six in the league and are fast falling towards the relegation zone – only seven five points separate Udinese from 18th-place Genoa. The Viola, on the other hand, are in a resurgent form.
SPAL make the short trip across the north of Italy to Parma this Sunday, as they look to move off the bottom of the Serie A table. Coach Luigi Di Biagio has overseen three games in charge of SPAL and has lost them all 2-1 – the last being at home to 2nd-place Juventus. His hopes of claiming anything at Parma will mostly lie with Andrea Petagna.
Having struggled for form throughout the first-half of the season, Milan have since turned their fortunes around having lost just one game in all competitions since New Year. The Rossoneri look a much more solid outfit under Stefano Pioli and will be looking at this game against Genoa as a banker in their push for a top-six spot.