7x7 | Daily rumours to understand Serie A
Among the various indicators, the internet is the one that most effectively underlines the lack of appeal suffered by the Italian league in the last few years. In fact, the Serie A is going through the most desparate criticisms, which are reflected in the name of Juventus FC, that since five years is dominating far and wide. But the reasons of that rancor come also from the italian press, that once more highlights the negative trend italian football is into, with the other european leagues sadly burying its reputation.
This quick and necessary introduction is written on the way of the one which seems, more than any other, the well-known and expected season. So I decided to gather everything that these first 7 rounds said about the race to the title: a mini-league, for who wish to start reading the book, by skipping the preface.
Between bar talks and media slams, here’s what is happening in Serie A.
I. What has changed?
Anything. Juventus makes its debut home by beating Fiorentina 2–1: Khedira opens the score, Kalinic equalizes, but then it’s Gonzalo Higuaín to help the bianconeri gain their first 3 points scoring the winning goal after just two minutes joining the field. Seems that no one has lost their habits.
The reaction is expected from Napoli, with the Azzurri forced to win as they are still considered the only other team that can strive for the title. However, the away game against the newly-promoted Pescara is really tough, and the first half report is speachless, with the home team leading 2–0. Two goals by Dries Mertens put things right, but not enough to avoid questionings and doubts about the value of a league that just started as it finished.
II. The new pipita
The Higuaín rumor has inflamed the Italian transfer market. The Argentine striker eventually chose Juventus, where he has already scored the first goal, despite bad talks about his fitness shown at his arrival at Juventus. Napoli then tacked on Arkadiusz Milik, young Polish great prospect already admired at the European games with his teammate Robert Lewandowski. After the disappointing draw in Pescara, Napoli faces Milan at San Paolo. The rossoneri are still buzzing after the winning debut, but this time is Napoli starting well, and after forty-five minutes the name of the new talent has already boomed twice near Fuorigrotta. Everything happened in a flash, to sweep away the shadow of the old pipita, beyond any logic and everyone’s most optimistic expectation. But those who use to follow Serie A know that the second half leading is, for Naples, like kryptonite. Having said that, and needed a 5-minute fire AC Milan to revive the Azzurri, now resting on its laurels: a great comeback for the 2–2. Finally, it’s Callejon to chase the ghosts away: another double for the 4–2 result at the final whistle.
In the meantime, Juve wins again (0–1 at Lazio), while Rome stops after the winning debut (2–2 at Cagliari). Who else is missing?
III. Milan do’s, Milan don’ts
That’s right. For a Milan that goes, there is a Milan that comes. Inter started in a bad way: one point in their first two games against Chievo and Palermo. Overall AC Milan seems to feel better, despite the defeat of Napoli. The Rossoneri now receive Udinese home, while the Nerazzurri are away in Pescara; suffice it to say that Inter, with a proud comeback at the end, succeed to catch the victory thanks to Icardi, after a performance anything but exhilarating. Yeah, this would be enough to make a prediction about what has happened in Milan: Udinese exceeds Milan 1–0, and once again in Milan rains with the sun.
IV. The beauty of football
Who can stop Juventus? Apparently no one: the newspapers speak of a decided league, even because the Bianconeri have had an amazing start in the first three days, dismissing Fiorentina, Lazio and Sassuolo. Then it’s Inter up to the fourth, back from the European humiliation suffered by Israeli Hapoel Beer-Sheva. However, the international criticism on De Boer’s team does not prevent fans crowding the grandstands home, even though the script always seems the same.
Juventus does not play very well either, but manage to score in the second half, just when the Nerazzurri were pushing the most. Of course the title of the paragraph would not be correct, except that Icardi takes two minutes to find the equalizer, and just five more takes Perisic to overturn the result. Inter wins 2–1 and newspapers go crazy: headings of a new league, Inter set to compete for the Scudetto, the weakness of Juventus and Allegri, Napoli to win and reach the top of the table: what a victory to have sold Higuaín.
V. Terminally ill
Juventus just fell under the shots of an overflowing Inter, Roma under those of Fiorentina. Napoli with three goals to Bologna finds himself at the top solo. The first midweek round of the season is a kind of psychological test for who occupies the upper floors, especially for the Azzurri playing at Genoa. The hosts have well-started the season, but the rough pitch of Marassi manage to stop the league leaders, which indeed provides a colorless performance, except for the goalkeeper Pepe Reina that saves it to 0–0 in a couple of times. Juventus scores four against Cagliari and after just three days they are back in the lead. Three points also for Rome and Milan, with the Rossoneri finally seem to have found a certain continuity of results.
VI. Rome do’s, Rome don’ts
Just like Milan, in Rome we breathe opposite feelings. The non-compelling season start of the Giallorossi has already produced some grumbling, while Lazio is in a surprising shape in terms of results and quality. After a summer quite troubled in key coach, the confirmation of Simone Inzaghi was perhaps the most adequate move for the Biancocelesti management. The sixth round delivery to AS Rome the second defeat of the season (3–1 at Torino), while Lazio exceeds Empoli (2–0), hooking the own cousins, busy at celebrating Francesco Totti’s 40th birthday.
Win and persuade versus win to persuade. There’s a widespread suspicion concerning two different meanings, relating to the two principal contenders to the title.
Napoli have won so far with confidence. Enchanting performances both in Italy and Europe, sparkling game and goals represent the very own trademark of the Sarri’s players, and despite two draws, they are now playing way better than the Bianconeri. Instead Juventus has to win to convince the media, as in Palermo, where the final 0–1 is just a cross from Dani Alves deflected into the goal by a defender of the Rosanero.
Here comes the international break, and the pre-stop round can then say a lot about the title race. Juve won easily at Empoli (0–3) and Napoli loses to Atalanta (1–0): the top spot is now four points away. Is this the end of the already announced league? Meanwhile, AS Roma beat Inter (2–1), Lazio passes in Udine (0–3), and AC Milan won with a stunning comeback against Sassuolo (4–3). Honorable mention, then, for Chievo, who won in Pescara (0–2) and reaches the three aforementioned third place, followed by Turin, Genoa and Inter.
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