Serie A Round 31

9 Apr

Amauri counts his goals this season

After just one win in their last eight games, there seemed to be absolutely no chance for 17th placed Fiorentina travelling to an in form AC Milan team. Well, it’s a funny old game because the Viola won 2-1 at the San Siro. It looked as though business as usual as I Am Zlatan opened the scoring from the penalty spot for his 23rd goal of the season (average opposition per goal 11.39). He’s reached this total in just 25 games, and is just two goals short of his best league total of 25 which he reached in his last season with Inter. It was the Swedish striker’s 30th goal in all competitions. But this isn’t about Z-Vic, this is about Fiorentina’s turn around in form, and the title race. Stevan Jovetic equalised with his 13th goal of the season (9.23), in what was his first goal in 6 games. He now has 4 goals against Top 6 opponents. Jovetic then turned provider in the 88th minute as he tee’d up Brazilian/Italian Amauri for the winning goal, and his first for Fiorentina in ten games. The big striker did of course used to play for Juventus, but hilariously, he absolutely hates them after broken promises, and some poor performances from him (see more here). He has a funny way of showing it.

That defeat for AC Milan opened up the chance for draw specialists Juventus to regain top spot for the first time since round 23. Juve remain the only unbeaten team in all of the major European Leagues, and whilst they have drawn almost half of their games (14 of 31), they have hit form at the right time. Having won the previous three games, confidence was high for Conte’s men, but they were facing a tricky task away at Palermo, who had the 4th best home record going into the fixture. Not a problem. Goals from Quagliarella and Bonucci gave Juve their 4th win in a row, at an aggregate score of 12-0. Their top scorer (Matri) only has 10 league goals, but the rest of the squad are now chipping in, to help out. Juve now have a two point lead at the top of the table, and with just seven games left, it could go either way. The good news for AC Milan, and football in general was that Antonio Cassano made his comeback after a minor stroke earlier in the season. He could prove very important to the run in.

In the battle for the third and final Champions League spot, it appears to be advantage Lazio after they beat 5th placed Napoli 3-1 in the showpiece game of the weekend. Napoli have now gone four games without a win, as the hangover from the Champions League knockout by Chelsea looms over them. That, and the fact that they’ve had a tough run of fixtures. Their last four games have been against an average ranked opposition of 4.5 – Udinese, Catania, Juventus, and now Lazio. Also in the hunt for a top three spot were Udinese and Roma. Luis Enrique’s team were given a footballing lesson as they lost 4-2 away at 18th placed Lecce. A brace by David Di Michele and another two from Udinese owned Luis Muriel proved the difference. Muriel’s two goals were impressively taken, and will help his parent club. Strangely, he’s one of 13 players on loan at the club. Udinese remain just 3 points behind Lazio after ending a poor run of form with a 3-1 win over Parma (16th). Di Natale scored his 150th Serie A goal, and 20th of the season (12.2).

It was no surprise that Di Natale scored against Parma – he’s scored almost half of his goals this season against teams in the Bottom 6. He shares the worst average opponent per goal with Roma’s Osvaldo, who gets the Flat Track Bully tag as he only has two goals vs Top 6 opponents, compared to Di Natale’s rather more respectable four. Ibrahimovic’s goal against Fiorentina, means that his 11.39 is now the third lowest of the leading scorers.

On the flipside, Fabrizio Miccoli looks like he’s going to be the Big Game player for the season, with both the highest average ranked opponent per goal with 6.17 and also the most goals against the Top 6 teams, with nine. Di Michele’s double against 6th placed Roma means he makes the list, and with a decent average of 8.80, the former West Ham forward can be classed as a big game player (4 goals against Top 6 teams for the season). Genoa’s Rodrigo Palacio continued his good scoring season with his third goal in as many games – his 17th overall.

Comedy club, Inter Milan have had their honey moon period under new manager Stramaccioni ended after one win. They drew 2-2 away at 12th placed Cagliari. Carrying on the trend from last week, it was an all Argentinian affair as Esteban Cambiasso got in on the act, as well as regular scorer Diego Milito (10.61). This was Inter’s 10th league goal in a row scored by Argentinians, and 15th in a row by South American players. You have to go back to January for an Italian scorer (Pazzini).

There’s another round of fixtures this midweek which could have a large impact at the top of the table. AC Milan travel to 9th placed Chiveo, whilst Juventus face a tricky game at home to 3rd placed Lazio. Hoping Lazio will slip up are Roma vs Udinese who meet in Rome on Wednesday. At the bottom of the table, bottom team Cesena face 17th placed Genoa, whilst 16th Parma host 19th Novara. All to play for. What’s that? You want me to put my neck on the line and make predictions based on the stats? Well okay then….

  1. Alessandro Matri is Juve’s leading scorer and has 4 goals against Top 6 teams. He’s started te last two games on the bench, but is due a goal after scoring against AC Milan back in February.
  2. For Lazio, they’ll be hoping that Miroslav Klose makes a speedy recovery after missing the last three games. If he’s fit, he’s a big game player (5 vs Top 6 teams), and is most likely to score. If not fit, then Lazio have faced team in the Top 6 on 12 occasions this season and have 6 wins, 4 draws and 2 defeats. Playing away, the record is Played 7, Won 4, Drawn 2, Lost 1. So that’s clear then? A draw, as they’re playing unbeatable Juventus.
  3. Ibrahimovic to score against 9th placed Chievo. He specialises against mid table opponents.
  4. Genoa hot shot Palacio to score against Cesena.

Cheers,

Liam

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