Champions League football will return on Tuesday evening and the round of 16 tie between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur will provide an opportunity for both clubs to claim bragging rights for their respective leagues.
So far in 2017/18, the Serie A teams have performed better in head-to-head clashes against their English Premier League counterparts in the European competitions, and the Bianconeri have an excellent chance to maintain that momentum for Italian football.
Napoli were defeated twice by Manchester City in their Group F clashes in the Champions League but Roma outperformed Chelsea in their group and Atalanta destroyed Everton in Group E of the Europa League.
The Partenopei have been prioritising the league in this campaign over exerting extra energy in European games so as great as the Citizens have been in both the Premier League and Champions League, they faced a team that does not have the same European aspirations.
If Napoli are focused on winning a historical third scudetto, Roma have surprisingly been able to balance Serie A fixtures with European games and they finished ahead of Chelsea in Group C. Although both teams finished level on 11 points, the Giallorossi were the better team in the head-to-head clashes.
In October the Lupi were 2-0 down against the Blues in London but came back to lead 3-2 before the home side made it 3-3. When they played each other a fortnight later in Rome, there was little doubt about who was in control as Roma emerged with a 3-0 victory.
Although the Giallorossi were convincing against Chelsea, Atalanta were far more comprehensive in their Europa League clashes with Everton, winning 3-0 on Italian soil before humiliating the Evertonians 5-1 at Goodison Park. To put things into greater perspective, the English club spent around €150 million on players in the summer of 2017 whereas La Dea have only spent that amount in a decade.
Despite experiencing an injury crisis of late, Juventus have continuously grinded out victories in Serie A and their squad is deep enough for Coach Massimiliano Allegri to trust his reserves to play the roles often performed by the more established stars.
Spurs will not be an easy opponent for La Vecchia Signora because they finished on top of Group H ahead of reigning champions Real Madrid and they have arguably the most in-form striker in Europe in Harry Kane. On Saturday afternoon Tottenham played Arsenal in the North London derby whereas Juventus faced Fiorentina on Friday evening so the Bianconeri should use that to their advantage.
While Mauricio Pochettino has improved the quality of the Spurs squad since he became their manager in 2014, he will be coaching against a pragmatic Allegri, who has more experience coaching in European competitions and he will find a way to nullify the English team’s offensive strengths.
There is no doubt that the English clubs have more money than the Italians and can acquire as many stars as they please but the Italian squads have been more efficient and smarter on the pitch. It is one thing to have great wealth but it is important to spend it wisely and the English clubs are throwing money away in comparison to their Italian rivals.
The English press often love to claim that their league is “the best in the world” but there is the old saying that actions speak louder than words and Serie A clubs in 2017/18 have let the football do the talking.
Juventus knocking Tottenham out of the Champions League would prove that Italian football is not as inferior as British pundits portray it to be and should make people think of how powerful Serie A could be with more investment into the league.