Serie A 2012/13, match week 6 what is worth to see

Happiness

The next match week, the one which starts tomorrow is the most interesting so far and by far. First of all there is the mother of all the rivalry and of the arguments in the Serie A, the terrific Juventus – AS Roma.

09/29/12
Parma AC Milan 18:00
Juventus Roma 20:45
09/30/12
Inter Milan Fiorentina 20:45
Tomorrow there are two good matches, Parma is a team well-trained by Donadoni and AC Milan is still now in trouble, whatever its management says. The Parma’s manager, I’m sure, will put up a tough match for his former team (as a player), there is the question about the third match in 7 days and how a little club like Parma will face it, but that’s true for every team on the pitch. At 20,45 the big match, between two teams that really hate each other, Zeman during the 90s show at the world of football that Juventus were doping its players (Vialli, Ferrara, Del Piero, etc); that was a shock, later the magistrature found that the Juventus was up to no good, but at that time doping was not a serious crime and the prescription saved its management, still today Juventus is angry for that scandal, and obviously not with the former president, or the doctors, or every one else, no, with Zeman who make the scandal explode…that’s Italy.
Anyway Juventus is the favourite to get the 3 points tomorrow, but Roma is like his manager absolutely unpredictable and tomorrow could really happen anything.
Next day there is only one interesting match, the last one between Inter and Fiorentina, the Tuscany team has made since now a great championship, they’re a real surprise, good players and a good manager, but I think that on Sunday they’ll pay the effort to try to beat Juventus on Wednesday, so in my opinion Inter with a larger number of skilled players is the favourite.

Serie A, on match day 4 and match week 5 what is worth to see

Already 4 goals this season

Another glorious page of Italian football has been recently written by the volcanic Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino. He doesn’t own a stadium, he used to rent the one in Cagliari, then he had heavily criticised the local council that had failed to improve its structures, but he had failed to pay the rent…so he decided to move to the near city of Quartu Sant’Elena, but there they’ve failed since now to meet the security requirements thus they have to play without audience, but Cellino had the great idea to push his supporters to go to the stadium even though the local authorities had denied the authorization, to avoid riots or any incident, the match was put off, and now Cagliari has got this match lost 0-3 by decision of sportive justice in favour of AS Roma. Cellino is still crying that he’s been misunderstood, but there are a lot of news on his official website, and he’s attacking AS Roma because they got the match won. In a few words: it’s not his fault, it’s someone else fault. Meanwhile Cagliari is going to play the next matches at Quartu without audience or in the very far Trieste. In Serie A a tournament that has recently sold the right to broadcast its matches for over a billion of Euro, we’ve got teams without a pitch where to play. That’s inconceivable!

Anyway Juventus has got an astonishing start of season, winning against Chievo, a well organised team; SS Napoli and Lazio lost easy points; Inter and Milan have been going to the dogs. What really upsets me is that Stramaccioni, Internazionale’s manager, is so sad when he lost that you want to do something in order to cheer him up…but then you think how much he earns and stop worrying about it…Udinese has finally got a victory…and to make a slight deviation from the Italian football, I watched Bastia-PSG on Saturday, and I was really happy to acknowledge that Ancelotti is starting to get something from his team. PSG played well for the large part of the match, showing ideas and playing like a team. I am happy for the legendary Italian manager, go ahead Carletto!

The 5th match week has some really interesting match to see, remember that they’re playing tomorrow and not next week-end:

09/25/12
Fiorentina Juventus 20:45
09/26/12
Napoli Lazio 20:45
AC Milan Cagliari 20:45
Fiorentina-Juventus is a classical match, and both club hate each other, for historical reasons (Roberto Baggio move in the 90s) and for more recent one (the Berbatov affaire), moreover they play really well both, so for tomorrow keep yourself free. Napoli-Lazio is another big match, they’ve started the season well, but Mazzarri’s team has always the same problems when it needs to control a game and Lazio as soon as tries to make a little bit of turnover got a defeat, showing an unreliable Zarate, as usual. However it could be a great football match to see, I am also curious to see how Petkovic will face it. The last match I suggest to watch is because when you see a team in a crisis so deep like AC Milan you can never tell where it will end, the last match they lost 2-1 and got 2 red cards, this time without Allegri (disqualified) they play against Cagliari, a team that could have been deeply touched by the recent scandal of their match first put off and then lost for 0-3. So have a nice match day!

Uefa Champions League – Match day 1 – Italian teams short analysis and Europa League

De Jong

First of all none of my forecasts came true, but that’s something very usual, here in Italy we aren’t in a different position in confront of the last year tournament, a prestigious achievement (Chelsea-Juventus 2-2) has been described from the Italian press as the most valuable result of all times, they just drew and journalist are describing it like a victory.

That’s the new level of the Italian football, last year when AC Milan didn’t lose with Barça it was seen like a victory too, now and then all our media are talking of these teams as real pretenders for the final. Let’s be honest for a moment, just the fact that you’re describing a draw like a victory is something weird. What’s more in my opinion what we saw yesterday is that Juventus plays really well, but lacks of a true forward, with a champion to line up in its attack perhaps yesterday’s match could have been a victory. The attack will be a problem in the coming matches, this is my point of view, but anyway Juventus made a great match for what it can. By the way astonishing goal of Oscar, the second one is a masterpiece.

On the contrary AC Milan performed really badly, a 0-0 against Anderlecht at home is something to be ashamed of. Allegri is now seen as a lame duck, but Italy Herald had already revealed when he is having is last and definite chance to not be fired (the 7th October, click here to read). I thing the reasons of this situations lay in either the club and the manager, the second one used a lot of players in the wrong position (Emanuelson, Boateng) without a clear reason, and moreover let Boateng playing without exploit the fantasy of Bojan, why? I think because the former Roma’s player was bought without is opinion, and now he’s just another salary to pay with very few chances to play. With all the respect for the players, if you put on the pitch Flamini-De Jong-Nocerino in the middle, left Bojan and El Sharawy on the bench and put Emanuelson behind Pazzini (not Drogba, Pazzini…) how many successful passages did you expect? How many chances to score? Allegri has lost the pulse of the situation…The club has its own responsibilities, because has made up a team without a clear idea, not too young, not too old, with the same high expectation (too high) and buying players just for their low prices, instead of buying them basing on their skills (someone a little bit more talented in the middle, even if not a champion could have been useful).

That’s it for now. This evening starts the first true phase of the Europa League, unusually with big expectations from the Italian clubs, at least is what they’ve said, anyway for Lazio a really tough match against Tottenham, but they’re really focused and excited after the great start in the Serie A and VIllas-Boas could be another key advantage for Lazio this evening…Napoli, let me say it honestly, should easily win, too wide the difference between the two clubs, even if Mazzarri decides to use only substitutes. Udinese is facing a negative period, and I thing that unless a miracle this evening they should aim to draw, because in my opinion they’ll lose otherwise.

Uefa Champions League, match day 1

Ahhhhhhhhhhh

Another Champions League is going to start, this is definitely my favourite tournament, the best of the best, no other competition has its complexity or its spectacularly, just remember that no-one has won it twice in a row for more than 22 years! It’s extremely difficult to prevail in this tournament and that’s why I really like it.

Unfortunately there are only two Italian teams in the first round, in the last years we had scored very few points in the European competition, especially in the Europa League, with the result of losing the third place in the ranking that Uefa draw to decide which is the best league in Europe, using the result of the clubs in the last 5 years in all European competition. In this way we have only right to 3 teams in Champions league, but Udinese failed to get through against Sporting Braga and now we have just 2 teams Juventus and AC Milan.

The last one plays today against the Belgian team Anderlecht in Milan, that’s not exactly the biggest hurdle at all, but to get a smooth way to the qualification, AC Milan needs to win. Zenit has strongly improved their team and I think they can challenge the Rossoneri for the first place. So to avoid troubles in the next matches Allegri and his team needs to get 3 points tonight. They’re facing a very tough moment in the Serie A because they lost 2 matches over 3; not a great start…My forecast AC Milan-Andrelecht: 2-1.

Juventus has its work cut out, they are going to play in London against Chelsea. To be honest Chelsea has got a stronger team, with a lot of experience in Champions, while the Italians has not. Playing straight away in London could be even worse, just remember what happened to Napoli last year…But Juventus plays very well, and has got a well definite structure since over a year and that could be useful when playing against teams like Chelsea which are more talented. Hazard will be a problem for Juventus defenders. My forecast Chelsea-Juventus: 2-0.

Guide to Serie A, season 2012/13

Serie A 2012/13

Usually a guide is published before the start of something but, this is not the case. Modern football starts in the middle of August when the transfer market is still open, so I think it’s useless to write it before the end of the market.

Just few considerations, for the first time in years the Serie A championship has closed a summer transfer market with a positive balance, Italian clubs have earned 18 million of Euro more than they have spent (392 millions against 374 millions). Last time it happened was during the 2004/05 season, when the balance was positive for 52 millions. In Europe the trend is varied, the other Southern country with an important championship is Spain, where la Liga has closed with 53 millions of earnings; the countries of Northern Europe have behaved differently, Ligue 1 has closed with a loss of 55 millions (thanks to PSG which has spent 138 millions more than it has earned!), Bundesliga has got a negative balance for 98 millions (Bayern’s contributed for 69) and finally Premier League has got a negative balance for 336 millions of Euro.

If Berbatov didn’t sign for Juventus should haven’t come as a surprise with such context…

Let’s start with the top clubs:

Juventus FC, is the last winner of the Italian Serie A and is also the only owner of its stadium, their management are a little bit rude but seems to be effective on the pitch. They have to cope with the long absence of their coach Antonio Conte and with the pressure to be the favourite team other than to play the Uefa Champions League. They’ve bought very good players (Asamoah and Isla from Udinese, Giovinco from Parma and Bendter from Arsenal) but no-one of them is a champion. What’s more they’ve signed Lucio who since the last seasons has a tendency to concede too much to the opponent strikers. Anyway I think they managed to make their team bigger, with more players that could rotate and allow some of their key players to rest sometimes. They’ve kept the base of the team and they have a particular way of playing, so they might compensate the lack of real champions between their strikers with their way of playing as a unite team. Anyway I think they still lack some footballer able to score more than 20 goals in a season and maybe to solve difficult matches when the team could play under their usual value. In fact they’ve bought Bendtner who in his best season scored 15 goals (in 50 matches) and Giovinco who scored 16 (in 38), moreover they already own Matri (best season 13 goals in 39 matches), Quagliarella (21 in 48 in 2008/09 when he was playing in Udine) and Vucinic (22 in 31 during 2004/05 season when he played for Lecce ). Only Vucinic and Bendtner have already scored in the Uefa Champions League, 8 times the first one and 9 the second. We aren’t in front of a Berbatov, just to mention a name…
My judge on their team: 4/5; on their transfer market: 3/5; position at the end of the season: 2nd.

AC Milan, 2nd last season it seems like an old noble man who is slowly dying, yes they have signed Bojan, Pazzini, De Jong and Niang but let’s consider only the facts, the last one is a young player that I strongly doubt is a would-be champion, because I think he’d have been signed by another French team, there are a lot and he cost even few Euro, so why sing for another team abroad? Bojan is an unbelievable talent but he scores very few goals and is too much discontinuous, last season he only scored 7 goals, too few to be considered a champion; Pazzini is an honest footballer but he is not the man who will change this season, he could even score 15 goals by the next summer, but since he’s already scored 3 he has only another 12 goals to score left…De Jong is a waste of Man City even if he is a good player. Anyway it’s even too easy to forecast that most of the problems will come from the defence, last year the two central defenders were Nesta and Thiago Silva,  this year Yepes and Bonera, not exactly the same thing…My judge on their team: 3/5; on their transfer market: 1/5; position at the end of the season: 4th.

SSC Napoli, is a great team with a great management, except its coach, Mazzarri a man who seems only able to play counterattacks, he has got a great group of players, very skilled, very good, and the only thing that he wants to do is counterattack. It might even work but, only when you play against teams that leave you play, if they just aim to defend and make the same kind of play as Napoli (like almost all the medium-little teams) then a lot of draws or defeats happens. They’ve a team that could fight for the title, they’ve a lot of good young players: Insigne and Vargas over all, but they seem unable to make the last step to become a top team. However the team has been improved, the sold of Lavezzi hasn’t changed much and they could really aim at something important. My judge on their team: 3/5; on their transfer market: 4/5; position at the end of the season: 3rd.

FC Internazionale, another year without successes, at least is what I forecast, they’ve changed a lot, in a good way in my opinion, selling old expensive players and signing young cheaper ones, but they still seem to lack something. An extremely young manager with no experience in Serie A could be another crucial factor of the season. I don’t think they’ll fight for the title, if everything goes well this season they’ll build their future successes, otherwise there are all the factors to build another disastrous season (a lot of new players, few champions, a team that doesn’t play together). The great number of goals granted to their opponents since now is not a good sign. My judge on their team: 3/5; on their transfer market: 4/5; position at the end of the season: 5th.

AS Roma, they are going to be the real surprise of the 2012/13 Serie A, there are all the ingredients: a spectacular manager (Zeman), a charismatic captain (Totti) a bunch of young hungry players (Lamlea, Destro, Nico Lopez…), a management able to sustain its coach with no pressure. It’s difficult to manage so many young players and work in a city like Rome, where there is a lot of pressure from supporters and media, but Zeman is very likely the best Italian manager when we talk about young development and even if they won’t win the title is quite sure that they’ll have fun with their attacking style. They aren’t going to play European tournaments and this is another advantage, just think at the recent Internazionale – Roma 1 – 3, the first team played in Europa League and it had an influence on their performance at least at a psychological and stress level. Moreover I think they’ve got the strongest attack of the whole Serie A. I really hope they’ll be the surprise of the championship, we need young, funny players and even more important honest men to turn around our Serie A. My judge on their team: 4/5; on their transfer market: 5/5; position at the end of the season: 1st.

I’ll add the remaining teams later.

Uefa Champions League Draw

Uefa Champions League 2012/13 Draw

Uefa has just made the annual draw of the Uefa Champions League, the most exciting football competition in the world. This year only two Italian teams have reached the group stage, while Udinese lost its qualification match. That’s a very sad news but honestly Italian football cannot compete with the three big championships at the moment in Europe, Premier, Liga and Bundesliga, so we have to make do with that.

Juventus is in the Group E with Chelsea, in my opinion the strongest team in the group, and with insidious Ukrainian team Shakthar, while the Danish side shouldn’t be a big obstacle for the bianconeri. They face only two slight problems, they don’t play in Champions from quite a lot of time and maybe some of their key players lack the experience on that stage (Vidal, Bonucci, Matri, Quagliarella, etc.) and, that Conte will be disqualified for the whole group stage. While Shakthar that perhaps has less quality that Juventus, is used to play the Champions and at home could be a tough team to play against. Maybe Nordsjælland is not that bad but history says that Danish teams don’t go far in this competition…Chelsea is definitely the most improved team in Europe after the summer transfer market, in my opinion even more than PSG, they finally bought a man of pure fantasy like Hazard, the player they have lacked since Zola and they could really aim to win the Premier and to reach semi-finals of Champions, even if I think this is the strongest Chelsea since the Mourinho era no-one has won the major European tournament two times in a row since AC Milan in 1989-1990, thus I don’t think Chelsea will this year. My forecast: 1. Chelsea; 2. Juventus 65%-Shaktar 35%; 4. Nordsjælland.

AC Milan has been drawn in the group C, the revolutionised team has a difficult road to travel. Zenit is a consolidated team, it won twice the league in the last two years and it is now at the top of the league, what’s more this year the Russian championship follow the European calendar playing from autumn to spring and since they have an Italian coach I think they will benefice of the news already this year. They have a very good team with a strong base that play together since a while, and Mr. Spalletti is a very good coach, so be careful Milan, you’ve got a contender for the first place. Anderlecht like many times Belgian teams are very difficult to play with, they close every space and are very good at their home stadium, anyway I don’t thing they could go through the next stage. Malaga is a weakened team with an experienced coach, it’s difficult to say if they will be competitive because of their troubles with their owners, I think it will be very difficult for them to go through. AC Milan has faced a huge change recently and now is a totally different team from the one that classified 2nd in the last Serie A. I think that the transfer market hasn’t gone as it should and now they are definitely weaker than before. Bojan is a talented player but scores few goals, Pato is always being injured, Robinho scores 3 goals and misses 30, Pazzini is an honest player but not a champion, and behind them things are not very different. My forecast: 1. AC Milan 50% – Zenit 50%; 3. Malaga 50% – Anderlecht 50%.

Let’s we hope to have fun! Just another thing I’m really happy for Iniesta who has won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, he really deserves it!

Countdown has already begun for Allegri

Tough times if you work for AC Milan

That’s my forecast, Massimiliano Allegri AC Milan coach has his work cut out, with a transfer market that has changed his team from a good one to a mediocre one, to say the least, he has the impossible duty to compete for the title, or at least to fight for the 3rd place without be fired before the end of the season.

After the first match (0-1 for Sampdoria, a team just promoted from the Serie B), we could even point out what is his deadline, not the end of the season, not Christmas, not the end of the first half of the championship, but the 7th October, when the first derby will take place, by then AC Milan should be in the very first positions or the result of the derby will be crucial. For instance if Allegri’s team will make just another 2 wins, 2 ties and 1 defeat, with a calendar not exactly tough the match against Internazionale will decide his destiny. A defeat will be probably his last match and he will act as a scapegoat for the bad start, maybe for the whole season, a win could just make him gain a little more time, but I strongly doubt that Allegri will be the AC Milan coach in the next may.