Tag Archives: Serie A

Derbys rarely live up to hype, Derby della Capitale no different

Francesco Totti scored two goals over the weekend to break his scoreless streak against Roma's city rivals Lazio. (Courtesy Ryu Voelke)

By Jonathan Gold

A lot of complete trash gets written about rivalry games. See if any of this sounds familiar: “Oh, the form book goes out the window when these two teams meet!” “You’d have to say it would pretty much make their season to beat these hated rivals!” “It’s always a tempestuous affair when these two teams meet!”

Ugh. What a great way to ruin a game as brilliant as the recent Rome derby. Nevertheless.

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Cavani helps Napoli keep pace in a wild weekend in Serie A

By Jonathan Gold

Edinson Cavani is probably the actual father of your children. There, I said it. It’s out in the open. I know, it was kind of a shock, but the way your kid scored seven goals in his last three youth league games probably should have been a dead giveaway.

But of course, I’m exaggerating for effect. Edinson Cavani has only scored eight in his last six and is only leading Serie A’s scoring charts by two goals. Ho-hum. His brace against Roma last Sunday started with a comic penalty that managed to ping-pong off both posts (though it clearly crossed the line) and went from the ridiculous to the sublime when Cavani raided the gap between Cassetti and Rosi to stick home a cross from Paolo Cannavaro.

It was great cross from Cannavaro, no doubt, but it was topped by the one Juventus’ Frederic Sorenson, who swept imperially onto the head of Allesandro Matri, who, as they say, made no mistake. If you haven’t seen that one, find it immediately; just a beautiful, twisting scimitar of a cross.

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Notes from a spaced-out soccer fan, January edition

By Jonathan Gold

SPAIN

It doesn’t speak particularly highly of Emanuel Adebayor’s progress as a player since joining City a couple seasons ago that they could only even hope to get 15 million pounds out of Real Madrid, a club not known for its fiduciary restraint. And they probably won’t even get that, of course, given that the extent of The Special One’s ambitions in his boardroom battle with Jorge Valdano are just to get an extra striker for the rest of the season.

Why on earth would Madrid want to exercise that option, anyway? Who wants a fifteen-million-pound overgrown baby and noted malcontent in a locker room that already includes Cristiano Ronaldo?

Elsewhere, Valencia won a truly wacky contest against Malaga 4-3, and Real Madrid and Barca are close to a completely unexpected meeting in the finals of the Copa del Rey after both teams won the first legs of their semi-final matches.

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Edinson Cavani piggybacking on World Cup success

By Kevin Koczwara

Edinson Cavani didn’t set the world on fire when he played for Uruguay at the World Cup. In fact, he didn’t get much of a chance to show everyone just what he is made of because he had play third fiddle to the World Cup’s best player, Diego Forlan, and an attacking wing-man with world-class, Luis Suarez. But when Cavani got his chance to show everyone his attacking prowess, he made the best of it, scoring one goal and assisting on another in his six starts.

Cavani’s broke out onto the world’s big stage last season playing for Palermo. The 23-year-old helped Palermo work its way into a much prized UEFA Cup spot in the standings with his 13 goals in 34 appearance (31 starts), which shouldn’t have come as a surprise because he stepped up his game the season (08/09) before with 14 goals in 35 appearances.

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Serie A Thoughts: Inter Milan pushing for sixth straight Scudetto while Di Natalie keeps scoring for Udinese

Leonardo has resurrected an Inter Milan squad that looked dead in the water under Rafa Benitez. If Inter can win the game it has in hand over league leaders AC Milan then the club will be just three points a weary looking Milan side.

By Kevin Koczwara

Life looks a whole lot better for Internazionale fans since Leonardo took over and Rafa Benitez let the San Siro door smack him in the rear. The Brazilian has lead Inter Milan to four consecutive league wins, helping the club jump from sixth to fourth in the table today after a 3-2 win over Cesena.

Inter Milan’s defense hasn’t been stalwart since Leonardo arrived — the club has yet to keep a clean sheet under the Brazilian — but he has injected a new life into an attack struggling to find an identity under Benitez. The Nerazzurri managed a meager 20 goals in 15 games under the Spaniard. Compared with Leonardo’s rejuvenated Inter Milan, which hasn’t scored less than two goals under Leonardo in his five games in charge, and one can see just how much stress has lifted from the squad. In fact, Inter has scored two goals once, three goals three times, and four goals once — an impressive run for a team that looked flat for much of the Serie A season.

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A fool's guide to an unpredictable weekend across Europe (except for Spain)

By Jonathan Gold

Manchester United’s completely unpredictable 1-0 win over Liverpool – sorry Kevin – and Spurs’ similarly shocking triumph over mighty Charlton were FA Cup fixtures reminding us of how dire the competition can be, but there were a couple of real surprises this weekend in the oldest cup tournament in the world.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Leeds United

While it’s not, you know, outside the realm of possibility for Arsenal to be stumped by lower-level opposition who outwork it and close down aggressively, the Gunners have been on a roll of late, after an important win over Chelsea and a disappointing draw with Manchester City that they nonetheless dominated utterly. However, Leeds led for much of the second half and were denied the win only by a very late penalty from Fabregas.

Manchester City 2 – 2 Leicester City

Anytime the lower-league club pulls it out over a top-flight competitor – particularly one whose team cost approximately 963 times more than the opposition – it’s fun to watch. And, somewhat surprisingly for a game involving Manchester City, it actually was a good one to watch, as Leicester leapt on City’s pallid defense, scoring in the first minute and pulling level again midway through the second half. For a team full of wildly expensive defenders and defensive midfielders, City really was shocking at the back and could easily have lost.

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Leonardo takes over for Benitez at Internazionale

Inter Milan will look to a former rival to turn things around as the team's manager. Leonardo spent 13 years with AC Milan as a player, scout and manager, now he will lead Milan's hated rivals. (Courtesy Wikicommons/????? ????????)

By Kevin Koczwara

Inter Milan sacked Rafa Benitez and hired a manager who use to play, scout and manager its fiercest rival, AC Milan. Leonardo was unveiled last week as Inter’s manager, despite being a feared and hated rival during his playing days with the Rossoneri.

“I thank Milan for 13 years together, and I will never forget them but now I start a new adventure. I am a free man,” Leonardo told The Guardian during his press conference earlier this week.

Leonardo left his post as AC Milan’s manager in May. He was unable to impress Milan’s owners during his first season as the club’s manager. Oddly enough, after 13 years with Milan, the Brazilian takes over an Inter Milan side 13 points behind his former club in the table. Inter does have two games in hand, but the team will have to work hard the second half of the season to claim its seventh straight Serie A title.

“I still believe in the scudetto. I know 13 points is a lot but the championship still has a long way to run,” said Leonardo. The 41-year old wan unable to lead AC Milan to a title last season, but he did secure a third-place with an aging squad and limited resources.

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Benitez's Bold Statements Cost Him His Job at Inter Milan

Rafa Benitez spent just six months in charge of Inter Milan before being relieved of his duties. (Courtesy DJDannyP)

By Kevin Koczwara

Oh, Rafa Benitez, you wily, old man. You’ve worn out your welcome at the San Siro with Inter Milan already. It didn’t take long. Massimo Moaratti will be pleased to rid his hair of the negative Benitez before his players become disenchanted like Yossi Benayoun and Albert Reira did at Liverpool, among others. It took just six months.

It took a lot longer for the former Valencia boss to do the same at Liverpool – demanding transfer funds and saying he has no support from his bosses. Eventually, the board there had enough of the managers antics,and Benitez found himself unemployed. Now, speaking out again about transfer money and poor league form cost Rafa another job, his second in less than a year.

Inter Milan needed a new manager when Jose Mourinho bolted for Real Madrid after securing an unprecedented treble and winning the club’s first UEFA Champions League trophy since 1964. Benitez made improvements at Liverpool during his time there one – cannot forget he did lead the team to glory in the 2005 Champions League.

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Bundesliga Bringing the Boom

Young German starts Philip Lahm (left), Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira defend a free kick in the World Cup this summer against Argentina. (Photo Courtesy sdhansay)

By Jonathan Gold

Quick, no thinking allowed: What’s the most entertaining soccer league in Europe? I guarantee you just got that wrong.

The Prem? Overpaid, overexposed, overcapitalized.

La Liga? If you’re not a fan of the endless financial pissing contest between Barca and Real, then you’re out of luck.

Serie A? Corrupt, slow, predictable.

Ligue 1? Sorry, too many racist shithead fans (at some clubs), the national apparatus is in utter disarray and all the talent goes to one of those other three leagues about 0.00145 seconds after it gets discovered.

Why didn’t you say the Bundesliga? Vas ist deine probleme? (Apologies, I’m 99 percent sure that doesn’t mean “What’s your problem?”)

All that aside, you should be watching German soccer. Yes, you. Particularly since the Revs season is over.

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Derbys Not Bringing the Excitement Promised

Manchester City and Manchester United weren't the onyl teams playing an important local derby last week. Roma beat Lazio, 2-0, on Sunday, keeping their cross-town rivals from staying at the top of Serie A. (Courtesy wikicommons)

By Kevin Koczwara

Manchester United and Manchester City played to a 0-0 draw in what was hyped as one of the biggest games of the year because of the two teams close proximity and since City’s recent – and seemingly endless – spending spree. Not to mention, Sir Alex Ferguson and his club don’t care much for their “noisy neighbors.”

Roberto Mancini sends his City side out with seven defensive-minded players – four defenders and three holding midfielders– behind the ball and only three – more like two-and-a-half because James Milner is not a pure force on the wing – attacking players with the hopes that Carlos Tevez would be able to wreak havoc on the United defense with his skilled link-up play and ability to win the ball at any time on the field. The substitution of Tevez in the injury time for Emmanuel Adebayor was ludicrous. The £25 million striker was once one of the English Premier League’s most feared strikers when he was leading the charge for Arsenal, now he is a late substitution for Mancini to waste time in a derby he does not want to lose.

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