‘Serie A will be better this year’ – Dzeko praises new Roma signings

The striker believes that there will be more quality in Italy’s top flight but hinted that he still believes Juve are the team to beat

Following their penalty shoot-out loss to Juventus on Sunday, Edin Dzeko praised Roma’s moves in the transfer market, but it is uncertain whether the gap in Serie A has closed.

Roma to win Serie A – 9/1

Dzeko scored the equaliser against Juve at the International Champions Cup before voicing his support for the arrivals of Aleksandar Kolarov and Cengiz Under.

Former team-mates at Manchester City, Kolarov and Dzeko have particularly connected well, with the Serbian defender providing the assist for the Bosnian during the 1-1 draw in Foxborough.

“We know each other well,” Dzeko said afterwards. “He provided many assists for me in the Premier League.

“He is a very strong player, who helps this Roma and I’m glad he came here.”

Juve can’t expect Serie A breeze

On Cengiz, who netted his penalty in the 5-4 shoot-out loss, Dzeko believes he has raw talent and can eventually be a positive addition.

“He is very strong, and we have already seen that which is why Roma bought him,” he said. “He has a lot of quality, and he is still young, meaning he can learn and improve here.”

Despite taking last season’s title winners to penalties, the 31-year-old was noncommittal on Roma’s chances in challenging for 2017-18.

“It was a pre-season game, so I don’t know if you can take a lot out of it,” Dzeko said.

“Juve remains a strong team, and other teams have bought a lot of players, but I think Serie A will be better this year.

“We did well and we have trained very well in America. I think we are ready for the new season, but we still have 20 days to go.”


Roma 1 Juventus 1 (4-5 on penalties): Allegri’s side close out International Champions Cup with win

Mario Mandzukic’s goal was cancelled out by Edin Dzeko but Marco Tumminello missed the crucial penalty to allow Juventus to defeat Roma.

Juventus closed out the International Champions Cup with a penalty shoot-out win over Roma after a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

A first-half goal from Mario Mandzukic was cancelled out by Edin Dzeko with 16 minutes left of the encounter in Massachusetts in a match that offered a glimpse of a potentially engrossing Serie A title battle in the coming season.

Massimiliano Allegri and Eusebio Di Francesco named strong starting line-ups and clear-cut opportunities were scarce in a balanced and often combative encounter.

Mandzukic made the most of his lone chance in the first half with a clinical finish, but only the woodwork denied Kevin Strootman an equaliser early in the second period.

Roma’s pressure began to mount in the final half-hour as Juve sat deeper, and Dzeko capitalised on a rare piece of slack marking to tap in a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov.

The capital city club, who snatched an injury-time winner against Tottenham in their last outing, pushed for a second in the closing stages but youngster Marco Tumminello then missed the crucial spot-kick to hand Juve the win in the shoot-out.

Dzeko should have done more than shin the ball out for a goal kick when picked out in clear space in the Juve box, as Roma began the game looking the more threatening.

Juve began to assume control, with Miralem Pjanic rasping a shot inches wide from the edge of the area, and Mandzukic pounced with his first real opportunity on 29 minutes to give them the lead.

The Croatian raced onto Alex Sandro’s curled pass in behind the Roma defence, before rounding goalkeeper Alisson and slotting home, despite the best efforts of the covering Juan Jesus.

Roma responded well after the break, Strootman crashing a strike against the crossbar from 25 yards out before Dzeko forced Gianluigi Buffon into a save with a volley from Radja Nainggolan’s cross.

Juve missed a clear chance to double their lead just shy of the hour mark, though. Douglas Costa cut in from the right and drilled low towards the bottom-right corner, and although Alisson spilled the ball into Gonzalo Higuain’s path, the Argentina striker could not find a way past the goalkeeper.

Dzeko soon went into the referee’s notebook after catching Giorgio Chiellini in the face with his forearm – an incident that prompted a furious reaction from Strootman – before Chiellini himself was booked for hauling down Cengiz Under as the match became increasingly gritty.

But Roma’s persistence finally paid off with quarter of an hour to play. Kolarov found space to the left of the penalty area and fired the ball low into the six-yard box, where Dzeko arrived unchallenged to convert past substitute goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio.

Allegri introduced €40million signing Federico Bernardeschi for his debut but it was Roma who finished the strongest, although a Kolarov free-kick saved by Pinsoglio was the closest they came to another late winner.

Pinsoglio proved the hero as the match went to penalties, as he made a good save to deny 18-year-old Tumminello’s opening spot-kick before Costa eventually sealed the 5-4 win.


Who are Manchester City’s record signings? De Bruyne, Mendy and the club’s top 10

Sheikh Mansour’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium has led to a number of big-money deals being completed in recent years, in all areas of the pitch

Manchester City have been transformed into a global heavyweight since the arrival of Sheikh Mansour, with big-money being pumped into a squad that now has two Premier League titles to its name. Who, though, are the club’s most elaborate purchases? Goal takes a look at the top 10…


HD Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City

Snapped up from Wolfsburg in the summer of 2015 having rebuilt his career in Germany following a forgettable spell at Chelsea in which he was starved of regular first-team outings.

Returned to England as one of European football’s top creative talents and nobody provided more Premier League assists in 2016-17 than the 18 managed by City’s Belgium international.


Benjamin Mendy

After spending one season at Monaco Benjamin Mendy made the move to Pep Guardiola’s side, becoming the world’s most expensive defender.

The left-back is renowned for his crossing abilities, and helped Monaco to a Ligue 1 title and a place in the Champions League semi-finals in 2016-17. He has five caps for France. 

JOHN STONES – £47.5m

John Stones Manchester City Premier League

Considered to be the pick of an emerging crop of English defenders after breaking through at Barnsley and furthering his career at Everton.

Can often be accused of over-playing, which has remained an issue within his game since joining City in 2016, but still has plenty of scope for development as he gets more important minutes under his belt with club and country.


Kyle Walker GFX

Kyle Walker moved from London to Manchester for a record-fee for a full-back after eight seasons with Tottenham.

Capped 27 times by England, Walker will look to fill the void left by the departures of Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. 


HD Raheem Sterling Manchester City FA Cup

Completed a controversial switch to the Etihad Stadium in 2015 after making it clear to those at Liverpool that he no longer wished to be part of the long-term project at Anfield.

Has faced accusations of lacking in end product at times, but has reached double figures in terms of goals scored in four successive seasons and his electric pace makes the England international a handful for any opponent.


Bernardo Silva SQUARE graphic

Was unable to make the impact he had hoped for at boyhood club Benfica, but saw his potential unlocked in France with Monaco to earn himself a big-money move to England.

Only three players under the age of 23 provided more assists in the 2016-17 season , with his creative talents being added to an already well-stocked pool in that department at the Etihad Stadium.


Sergio Aguero Manchester City

Considered to be quite a coup for City as they flexed their financial muscles once more in 2011 to land one of the deadliest strikers on the planet.

The Argentina international settled immediately in new surroundings, netting twice on his debut, and has now found the target 169 times in just 253 appearances for the club – with the Blues eager to rubbish rumours suggesting that he could soon be heading to pastures new.


Leroy Sane Manchester City Premier League

Opted to join City after emerging as one of European football’s hottest prospects in his native Germany with Schalke.

Managed nine goals in his debut season in England, with his pace and trickery coming to the fore as he grew in confidence across the 2016-17 campaign.

EDERSON – £34.2m

Ederson Manchester City GFX SQUARE

Became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in the summer of 2017 as City sought further reinforcements in a key area of the field – with a gamble on Claudio Bravo failing to pay off.

Is yet to make a senior international appearance for Brazil, having previously graced their U23 side, but has time on his side at the age of 23 and will see Premier League and Champions League competition offer him a wider window to the world.

ROBINHO – £32.5m

Robinho, Manchester City

The first of City’s marquee signings, with a big-money switch from Real Madrid completed on the same day as Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group completed their purchase of the club.

Looked bright initially, but never really got to grips with the British game and weather and returned to former club Santos on loan in January 2010 after just 16 months at the Etihad Stadium.


AS Roma – Paris Saint-Germain Betting: Expect both teams to score

The North American leg of the pre-season tournament kick offs in Michigan with both attacks ready to blaze.

AS Roma take on Paris Saint-Germain in the 2017 edition of the International Champions Cup in the early hours of Thursday morning at Comerica Park, Detroit.

The Giallorossi ended their Serie A in second and while there was no real chance of threatening ultimate winners Juventus, accumulating 87 points from 38 games is a lot to feel happy about. The Italian capital club are (3.20) with LionsBet to win in Detroit.

PSG also finished second in Ligue 1, eight points behind champions Monaco. It was a disappointing season by their standards and will want to start the new campaign as strongly as possible. The same firm quotes the French capital outfit to win at odds of (2.00).

Edin Dzeko Mohamed Salah Roma Empoli Serie A

The last time these two sides met in a pre-season friendly was in 2010 and it ended in a 1-1 draw. Odds of (3.55) are on offer for a repeat outcome.

Despite pre-season results having very little importance other than players gaining match fitness, Roma and PSG have had solid performances during this period winning their last eight friendlies. They are priced at (1.55) and (1.25) respectively to avoid to defeat.

An average of three goals has been scored by either team within the aforementioned period. Goals shouldn’t be an issue in Detroit and we can thus expect to see such at (1.45).

One of the main strengths of either team is in attack as they boast of some of the most lethal forward men in the game. To that end, punters can back goal action at both ends of the pitch at (1.45) with LionsBet.

Edinson Cavani PSG Paris Saint-Germain

Edin Dzeko – who produced 39 goals in all competitions last season, is the Giallorossi favourite to score first at (4.45) and (1.75) anytime in the game.

For PSG, all eyes will be on Edinson Cavani to get into the goalscoring act. Bookies tip the Uruguayan international to open proceedings at Comerica Park at odds of (2.90) while he’s also (1.40) score anytime.