Welcome to the latest instalment of The Serpents Kiss. If you are viewing for the first time you might want to start at the beginning of my journey with Internazionale if this is the case you can click on the following text: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five. So you are up to speed with the story so far with us topping the Serie A table at the halfway stage of season 2. We had also qualified for the Champions League knockout stage of which we had been given a tasty draw against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The January transfer window also saw one of our central defenders Milan Skriniar join FC Barcelona for a fee of £35.5m which opened the door for our two young Belgian defender’s Vanheusden and Van Den eynden to battle it out with our promising Italian Davide Bettella for a first team place. I did enter the transfer window to bring Filippo Melegoni in to the club from Atalanta for a fee rising up to £14m which I feel is a reasonable price to pay for the talented youngster.
We resumed our Serie A campaign with a resounding 5-1 win in the Meazza against Cagliari with the highlight of the performance the form of our 2 frontmen Florinel Coman who bagged an hat-trick along with Simone Mazzocchi who also netted along with 2 assists from the newly crowned European Golden Boy. Roberto Gagliardini got our other goal.
Coppa Italia action next so I picked a rotational side for the visit of Bassano and the return to the Meazza for our very own promising forward Davide Merola who we have loaned to our visitors but it was our other young forwards Pinamonti scoring twice and Bonazolli netting our other goal in a 3-1 win.
Back to league action and an away trip to Udinese produced an entertaining game which ended in a 2-2 draw with our man of the moment Mazzocchi grabbing both our goals in the first half. It was that man again this time with a 2nd half double that earned us a 2-1 win at home to Fiorentina. Simone Mazzocchi is really turning in to my best ever FM purchase costing just £2.2m from Atalanta last season the 20 year old is playing out of his skin. Another Mazzocchi goal helped us to a 2-0 against Roma, but it was the performance of Marcelo Brozovic in our midfield that stole the show.
A short journey to Bergamo to face Atalanta brought us crashing back down to earth when the boys from Bergamo beat us 3-1 in a game that I would have to say is the worst performance under my reign at the club. We managed to get back to winning ways when Torino visited our city. A 2-1 win coming thanks to the goals of Candreva and Mazzocchi. It was now time to visit England for our much anticipated Champions League last 16 game against Manchester City. “Blue moon You saw me standing alone Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own” rang out around a 55’000 expectant Manchester crowed. City responded well to their supporters and smashed us 0-3. We were totally outplayed and need a miracle in the 2nd leg. We responded well to the defeat and put together a run of 4 wins against Empoli (4-1), Roma (5-3) and Carpi (5-0) in the league and a solid 3-0 win in the Coppa Italia Semi Final 1st leg against Atalanta.
The Champions League 2nd leg against Manchester City saw us come so very close to turning a first leg deficit around. In an epic of a game we raced in to a 3-0 first half lead and then thought we had completed the 0-3 turnaround when Florinel Coman put us 4-0 up with just 6 minutes remaining but for whatever reason City grabbed a priceless away goal to send us tumbling out of the competition with just 2 minutes of normal time remaining meaning that it was both the best and worst experience in any 4-1 win that I have experienced.
Just like the first game against Manchester City we continued our excellent form in the league with wins against Sampdoria (3-2) and Milan (4-3) to cement our position at the top of the table which I now recognise is in our grasp. It would be fantastic for me to get the club over the line and give our fans the title. You know you always have to keep your feet on the ground though until the job is done because we then go and lose back to back league games against both Benevento (0-1) and Napoli (1-3).
This game knows how to keep me on my toes but I am very pleased when we reach the Coppa Italia final with a 2-1 2nd leg win against Atalanta that sets a final up against Juventus. We then get back to trying to win the league with a narrow 1-0 win against Bologna followed by another 3 points against Palermo 3-1 which sets up a vital 6 pointer against Juventus.
Over 80,000 turn out for the game against Juventus knowing that a win for us would put us just 1 point away from securing the title. We had no worries with injuries ahead of the game after Andrija Zivkovic passed a late fitness test meaning we would be at full strength for the arrival of the current champions from Turin. The script was written with Simone Mazzocchi scoring a first half brace to give us a 2-1 win that put us on the cusp of the title with us needing just 1 point from the last 4 games. The party was underway.
FC Crotone hosted us in the game which clinched the title with us running out 4-1 winners to secure the Serie A Title. Campione D’Italia we had done it with our young frontline we are the champions of Italy and what a season it turned out to be. We finished our league fixtures off with 1 defeat against Lazio (0-2), a draw against Sassuolo (2-2) and a win on the final day against Genoa (5-1).
We had the chance to do the double with the Coppa Italia Final against Juventus and it was another one of our youngsters Felice D’Amico who wrote the headlines with a 94th minute winner that gave us the double which crowned a superb season.
You cant help but notice the 50 goals that came from our two young forwards Mazzocchi and Coman.
Strange how Ivan Perisic did not make the team of the season after the highest average rating and 21 assists, oh and 12 goals ?
A new contract rewards me for our excellent double winning season.
I have decided to start a save in England after being heavily influenced by @FM_Laudrup save with Glasgow Rangers. I initially was going to blog about a save I did at the start of FM18 with Notts County however after reading the above mentioned blog I have an idea that I know I am going to enjoy.
And finally I announced last week that Michael aka thewideplaymaker returns to the blogging scene on fmcatenaccio.com, I have received his blog posts of which I am going to schedule for release in the very near future.