Serie A Round 30

3 Apr

There’s only one place to start this week, and that’s at the San Siro. Andrea Stramaccioni took control of his first game for Inter Milan after the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. Despite every man and his dog being linked with the job, owner Moratti insists that this is not a temporary appointment and that the 36 year old (younger than Zanetti) has the job. He’s never managed at senior level before, but is fresh from winning the Next Gen Series (think of a Champions League for Under 19s). In what appears to be an attempt to copy the Guardiola model at Barcelona (but without the history and connection to the club), the young manager was introduced to the media, only for Mad Mario Balotelli to turn up at the press conference – as you do.

Inter Milan + Argentinians = Happiness

Needless to say, the new manager effect kicked in and Inter put behind them a run of 1 win in 10 to over come 14th placed Genoa. But that’s only half the story. The final score was 5-4! It’s clear that the Inter defence needs a lot of work on it. They’ve let in 42 goals – which is the 7th worst in the league. Although it was a new manager, it was an old tradition of the club that shone through – all of their five goals were scored by Argentinians. Part of the reason the club was founded was to create an International club for all nationalities. Argentina have certainly featured heavily in the club’s history from legendary manager Herrara to the current squad of players.

On this occasion, Diego Milito (10.53) did what he does best and scored against mid table opposition. That’s 13 of his 17 goals that have been scored against the middle 8 teams – thanks to a hat trick against Genoa. After a very disappointing 2010-11 season in which he only scored 5 league goals, the 32 year old striker now has returned to the sort of form that he showed on the way to the treble in 2010. Also in on the act was and Mauro Zarate, who’s season can be firmly described as disappointing. This was just his first goal in the league, in his 17th apperance. The other goal was scored by Walter Samuel who was obviously too busy attacking to worry about defending. Add in Cambiasso, Zanetti, and Ricardo Alvarez, and there’s a pretty strong Argentinian contingent at the club.

And South Americans scoring in Serie A this weekend seemed to be a theme. Other South American scorers this weekend were Cagliari’s Pinilla (Chile), Lazio’s Scaloni (Argentinian), Roma’s Osvaldo (Argentinian born), Genoa’s Palacio (Argentinian), Roma’s Marquinho (Brazil) and Hernandez (Uruguay), Vidal Pardo (Chile) of Juventus, and AC Milan’s Robinho (Brazil). You probably get the idea by now. Plenty of South American Stars do well in Italy.

In the race for the title, Juventus continued their unbeaten season, and recent good form with a 3-0 win over Napoli (4th). What’s more impressive is that Napoli are currently second in the form table over the last eight games (Behind only AC Milan). Mirko Vucinic, Vidal Prado and Quagliarella were on the scoresheet against the Top 6 opposition. That’s now 3 wins in a row for the Turin giants, and coupled with AC Milan’s 1-1 draw against 7th placed Catania – courtesy of goals from Robinho and Catania’s Spolli. This leaves just 2 points at the top of the table, and AC Milan have to face Inter in their penultimate game.

Elsewhere, a couple of teams who certainly aren’t anywhere near the top of the form table are Fiorentina and Udinese. Fiorentina have just one win in eight games, and are freefalling towards the relegation places. They now sit just one place above the relegation zone. At the other end of the table, but in even worse form are Udinese. They’ve gone one worse than Fiorentina, and have just one win in nine games. Are they starting to miss Alexis Sanchez? The Barcelona winger scored 12 league goals for Udinese last year, as they finished in the Champions League places. The current form has seen them drop from 3rd to 5th.

In terms of the Average Opposition ranking, it’s pretty much as we were at the top. Fabrizio Miccoli remains the big game player with both the best average (6.17) and the most goals against Top 6 teams, with 9. He’s also the clear leader in the assists table with 12 (against good opponents again). He’s without doubt the big game player in Serie A, and all done with a very mid table Palermo (9th). Bologna’s Marco Di Vaio has done well with an average opponent of 7.80, with four goals against Top 6 teams, though has one more than Miccoli against the Bottom 6 with…..one. Not bad.

At the other end, Roma’s Osvaldo is the flat track bully with an average ranked opponent of 12.20 per goal. He was on the score sheet against Novara in a cracking 5-2 win for Luis Enrique’s team. The fact that Novara were ranked in 19th at the start of play certainly didn’t help the Argentinian Italian.

That’s all for now, AC Milan have just been knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, but Nocerino continued his best goal scoring season with the Italian club’s goal in a 3-1 defeat. It’s been quite the improvement in front of goal from the former Palermo man, who has now reached double figures in all competitions for the first time in his career. And scoring away at the Nou Camp/Camp Nou (remove as applicable) is always classed as a big game.

Cheers,

Liam

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