PLEASE READ BEFORE VOTING: voting should be based on player performances in Serie A/Coppa Italia from the 90/91 season to 99/00. Performances outside this timeframe or other competitions do not count. TEAM 2MUFC0/INVICTUS VS TEAM MOBY/PAT_MUSTARD 2MUFC0/INVICTUS TACTICS Player Profiles Spoiler: Stefano Tacconi (Juve/Genoa 1900-1995) Standing 6’ 2 (1.88m), and supremely athletic – particularly for the era in which he played – Tacconi cut an imposing figure for opposing strikers, often panicking them into making mistakes which then allowed him to make comfortable saves. He would concede 29 goals in his first season, winning the Scudetto, but it would be in European action where he truly made the difference, starting a trend that would continue throughout his time with the club. More info here. Spoiler: Jocelyn Angloma (Torino/Inter 1994-1997) Strong, quick athletic fullback able to defend and attack, Serie A peak with Inter in 1996-97 ESM team of the year, consistently one of the better right backs during his time in Serie A. Spoiler: Pietro Vierchowod (Sampdoria/Juventus/Milan 1990-1997) Nicknamed lo Zar, Vierchowod was a tenacious and physical left-footed centre-back, who possessed great pace; regarded as one of Italy's best ever defenders, during his career, he was considered one of the fastest defenders in the world, and one of the toughest Serie A defenders of the 1980s and the 1990s, due to his immense strength, tight marking of opponents, and hard tackling style of play. More here. Spoiler: Igor Tudor (Juventus 1998-2000) Tudor was considered one of Croatia's best defenders in the period between the late 1990s and mid-2000s. Tudor was a large, hard-working, strong and imposing defender who excelled in the air, making him a dangerous goal threat during set pieces. He was also a tight man-marker and a hard tackling defender, with great tactical intelligence. More here Spoiler: Robert Jarni (Bari/Torino 1991-1994) Complimenting Angloma we have Robert Jarni known for his work up and down the flank, like Angloma able to man the flank in attack aswell as defence. Spoiler: Christian Karembeu (Sampdoria 1995-1997) Energetic, strong and technical midfielder who played for Sampdoria in the mid 90's. Karembeu had taken to Serie A with aplomb, becoming one of the league’s most accomplished players. “I had never seen anyone with a greater work capacity,” admitted Eriksson in his 2013 book Sven: My Story. “When he ran intervals in training, nobody could keep up.” As intimidated as they were by his athletic prowess, however, Karembeu ingratiated himself immediately, and not just because of his commensurate technical gifts. Respectful and learned, it was no surprise when his teammates donned t-shirts protesting the French government’s nuclear testing on New Caledonian territory in 1995. On and off the field, he became one of the team’s most important references. More here. Spoiler: Marel Desailly (Milan 1993-1998) "Nicknamed "The Rock", due to his consistency, strength, and hard-tackling playing style, Desailly is considered one of the most accomplished players of his generation, and one of the finest French defenders ever, who stood out for his leadership and ability to break down opposition plays throughout his career. A quick, hard-working, tenacious, and powerful player, who excelled in the air and at anticipating his opponentts, he combined his aggression, stamina, and ability to read the game, as well as his physical, mental, and defensive skills, with a notable confidence on the ball, which also allowed him to play in the midfield throughout his career; indeed, after moving to Milan, although he initially started out playing as a centre-back or sweeper, and occasionally even as a full-back, he was later deployed as a defensive midfielder, a position in which he also excelled, successfully filling the void left by the departure of Frank Rijkaard due his ball-winning abilities and capacity to start attacking plays after obtaining winning back possession. In addition to his defensive skills, he was also capable of contributing to his team's offensive plays with goals by making attacking runs into the box." Spoiler: Zvonimir Boban (Milan 1991-2000) Nicknamed Zorro, Boban was a talented and creative yet tenacious player, known for his use of feints to beat opponents. He was gifted with excellent vision, passing range, dribbling skills, technical ability, and an eye for the final ball; he mixed these attributes with a unique tactical versatility and intelligence, which enabled him to be deployed in several midfield and offensive positions throughout his career. In addition to his preferred playmaking role behind the forwards as an attacking midfielder, he was also capable of playing on the wing, as a central midfielder, or even as a supporting striker, due to his powerful and accurate bending shots from distance; he was also effective from set-pieces. Throughout his career, he also became known for his vocal presence, determination and aggression on the pitch, as well as his strong character. More here. Spoiler: Zinedine Zidane (Juventus 1996-2000) The man doesn't need any introduction, one of the best players in the draft and most consider his best club football was played at Juve. The heart of the team. Wiki page. Spoiler: Fabrizio Ravanelli (Reggiana/Juventus 1990-1996) Ravanelli was a quick, dynamic, physically strong, and hardworking left-footed striker, with notable temperament, who was known for his eye for goal, as well as his energy and defensive contribution off the ball, which often saw him drop back into deeper possessions in order to help his team win back possession. Although he was initially not the most naturally talented or skilful player, he was able to improve his technique and movement significantly during his time with Juventus, where he established himself as a top striker. A prolific goalscorer, who was good in the air, and who possessed a powerful and accurate shot, in addition to his ability to score goals, Ravanelli was also capable of playing off of his team-mates, due to his link-up play, which, combined with his other skills, made him a complete forward; this also enabled him to play in a supporting role, as a second striker or even as a winger, positions in which he often utilised his ability in the air to get on the end of high balls and create chances for other strikers by providing them with headed assists from knockdowns. Giuseppe Signori A player that rarely gets mentioned or used in drafts so we thought it would be good opportunity to showcase this magnificent striker especially in the context of this draft. Playing in one of the toughest and defensive leagues during the 90's it's quite the feat that Signori was Serie A top scorer in 92, 93 and 95 and Copa Italia top scorer in 92 and 97. In this period he scored 151 goals in 260 Serie A games, there is no doubt he is the best goalscorer in this draft. However he wasn't just a goal scorer or poacher he possessed fantastic pace and was a very good dribbler allowing him to create chances for himself and his team mates. He was often deployed as an inside left forward which also allowed him to work the channel to great effect and pick up the ball from deeper positions. He was also a great penalty and free kick taker, being only 1 of two players in Serie A history to score a hat trick from free kicks. A short overview of his career at this link. Tactics After the reinforcement fiasco we haven't significantly changed our system, Ravanelli comes in for Bierhoff. Our best player Zidane remains in his favoured inside- left attacking midfield position and the team has been built around him. Karembeu and Desailly will be behind him creating a strong base to build from, while Boban will supplement our creative play from midfield, he will also drift wide right supporting Angloma in attack. The formation is flexible and the team can change fluidly according to match situations. We will also utilise Boban's fantastic engine which allows him to tuck back into midfield when defending. Also with bringing Desailly into the team we have a proven partnership with Boban, both winning 4 Serie A titles and Desailly 2 together. To provide width we have Jarni and Angloma who can dart down the wings, with Signori linking up with Jarni on the left and Boban with Angloma on the right. With service from wide areas and Zidane in central areas, Signori/Ravanelli will have plenty of chances to score and in his Serie A form he is at the peak of his powers. We have two of the best goalscorers available in this draft, who guarantee goals. In defence, Vierchowod and Tudor will be at the heart, Vierchowod is one of the best Serie A defenders of all time and Tudor was one of Juve's best CB's during that period. Both are pure defenders, physical, intelligent and great in the air, they will be extremely tough to break down. Jarni and Angloma are the full backs, both defensively solid. In front of the defenders is Desailly, perhaps the best midfield destroyer of all time, the team has a very strong defensive spine. In goal Tacconi will provide that last line of defence, considered to be in the top 5 Italian keepers of all time. MOBY/PAT_MUSTARD TACTICS Formation: 3-4-1-2 A classic Serie A formation, and a familiar one for our era-defining centre forward Gabriel Batistuta, who tore up Serie A for most of the decade and played a similar setup for Fiorentina. We've bolstered our team with the all-time great stopper Jurgen Kohler, who was at the peak of his considerable powers during his four seasons at Juventus. Goalkeeper: Luca Marchegiani. Boasting both an impressive peak and top-notch longevity, Marchegiani was a first-choice GK for the entire decade in Serie A, first at Torino and later at Lazio. Defence: Two top-quality stoppers in Cannavaro and Kohler flank our sweeper Luca Fusi. Fusi played much of his career as a midfielder before dropping back to play as a sweeper with distinction during his final two seasons with Torino. Torino boasted the fifth and sixth best defensive records respectively in those two Serie A seasons, and Fusi was ranked by Dbscalcio.it as their first and second best player respectively. His intelligent reading of the game and good distribution will kickstart our transitions here, and in the defensive phase he’s amply protected by two monstrous defenders in Cannavaro and Kohler. Kohler was the mainstay of a miserly Juve defence , while Cannavaro’s credentials as one of the all-time great Italian defenders speak for themselves. At wing back, Alberto Di Chiari will run our left flank. An industrious and creative converted winger, he impressed for an excellent Parma team in the same role. At RWB is the legendary Cafu, entering his athletic peak during this time-frame aged 27-30. Midfield: The voracious ball-winner Matias Almeyda reprises his Serie A winning partnership with Juan Sebastian Veron. Almeyda won a Guerin d'Oro for his performances with Lazio, and his positional nous, tireless running and strong tackling make him an ideal man for the job of hustling the opposition's classy AM pairing of Boban and Zidane. Beside him, Veron is one of the finest all-around midfielders in the pool, and probably possesses the best playmaking skills of that elite crop. We're not aiming to dominate possession here, but Veron will allow us to establish the requisite level of fluency and control here. Trequartista: Roberto Mancini takes centre stage here in the role that he revered sufficiently to write a Masters Thesis on it. If the increasingly pervasive Sacchi 4-4-2 orthodoxy led to him playing much of his career in a two-man attacking line, his skill-set and instincts mark him as a classic trequartista. A wonderfully creative talisman who book-ended a decade at the cutting edge of Serie A with a Scudetto win at either side, he was at his zenith during Sampdoria’s 1990-91 triumph. Here, as with Sampdoria, he’ll be at home playing on the counter, and he’ll be in his element supplying two prolific goalscorers. Attack: Batistuta’s credentials bear comparison with any forward in the draft: 151 goals in 243 Serie A games across the decade, all of them playing outside of the traditional powerhouse clubs for Fiorentina, with a high-water mark of 26 goals in 32 games in 1994-95. He’s in a familiar system here, and he’ll thrive off the creativity of Mancini and his dynamic, hard-running partner Enrico Chiesa, a consistently good performer across the decade who hit an astonishing peak in 1995-96 (playing with one Roberto Mancini at Sampdoria) of 22 goals in 27 Serie A appearances. A scorer of great goals as well as a great goalscorer, Chiesa had an incredible knack for the spectacular from long-range – videos to follow in the match thread. Why We Will Win: The opposition have a rich seam of creativty through the centre with Zidane and Boban, and an undeniable goal threat with Signori and Bierhoff. That said: 1) Bierhoff doesn't look a particularly good fit for Zidane and more generally for a team that looks more set up for an intricate passing game rather than putting in crosses. Jarni was a good specialist width-provider, but he faces a torrid individual assignment versus Cafu. 2) Our CBs were brilliant in the air and relished the physical battle, mitigating against Bierhoff's particular skillset. 3) By far the biggest weak area on the pitch is the left-side of the opposition defence. Jarni was a fine attacking presence in his pomp, but he was fairly vulnerable defensively in general and his Serie A credentials specifically aren't particularly good in this company. A mediocre season for a Bari side on their way to relegation, a better season for Torino, followed by his inability to make an impression when he made the step up to Juventus, starting only 9 matches, and coming off the bench 6 times. A poor fit against the pace and dynamism of Chiesa even at his best, Igor Tudor's credentials are by far the weakest on the pitch, never establishing himself as a starter for Juve and receiving poor ratings even when he did play. 1998-99: Squad: 31, Starting eleven: 18, Substituted in: 5, On the bench: 8, Suspended: 0, Injured: 0, 1999-00: Squad: 24, Starting eleven: 7, Substituted in: 10, On the bench: 7, Suspended: 0, Injured: 0 Both teams can score here, but with our more robust defence and no comparable weak points, we'll score more.