Serie A Rounds 33 & 34

26 Apr

After the sad death of Piermario Morosini last weekend, Serie A returned to business as usual, which means something crazy would probably happen. And it did. Relegation threatened Genoa were being so outplayed at home to 13th placed Siena that the Ultras (the hardcore/mental fans) decided that they’d seen enough. To cut a long story short, they invaded the pitch and demanded the players take off the shirts as they didn’t deserve to wear them. I think you’ll agree, crazy. For more on that strange story, click here.

You can’t blame them for getting a bit frustrated though, the 4-1 home defeat was their eleventh game without a win, a run that’s seen them fall into a relegation scrap – with them currently sitting just one point ahead of 18th placed Lecce. But it wasn’t always like this. They started the season brilliantly, with a draw against Atalanta (now 11th) and wins against Lazio (now 3rd) and Catania (now 8th) – carrying on the good form from the tail end of last season’s 4 wins in 6 as they finished 10th. Unfortunately for them, the first three games were the highlight of the season as they haven’t won back to back games since. As a result, former Manager Luigi De Canio has been put in charge to fight off relegation – something he didn’t quite manage back in 2004 with them. And it hasn’t been a great start with a 1-0 defeat away at AC Milan yesterday.

Back to the Top of the Table, and Juventus’ charge towards the title continued at the weekend after they made it six wins in a row. This time, the lambs to the slaughter were 5th placed Roma. They conceded four without reply as the Old Lady showed Roma’s young upstarts how it’s done. Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal Prado scored a brace to make it four goals in six games in his debut season for Juve and six in total. Whilst Juventus don’t have an outstanding goalscorer in the team, the run of six consecutive wins has seen the squad effort really magnified with ten different scorers in this short time. And after struggling to score goals earlier in the season (leading to a lot of drawn games), they’re now banging in the goals with 18 in the 6 wins. The teams they’ve beaten have included Lazio (3rd), Napoli (4th) and now Roma (5th) – proving they’re doing it against the best. Last night they faced bottom team Cesena. Surprisingly, they only scored the one goal through Marco Boriello’s first goal for Juventus. The journeyman striker is on loan from Roma and his goal not only relegated Cesena, it also damaged his former club AC Milan’s title ambitions.

Because the gap at the top is 3 points after Milan dropped points at home 12th Bologna. In fitting with his average, Ibrahimovic scored his 24th goal of the season in the last minute to keep the gap within reach. This was followed up with a 1-0 win against 17th placed Genoa earlier today courtesy of Prince Boateng’s 5th league goal of the season. Two home games against relgation battlers should have seen maximum points and a lot more goals but the last five games have seen just one goal a game, and only two wins, as they’ve had a Champions League hangover – similar to Napoli. With four games to go, it could still go either way.

In terms of the average opposition rankings Ibrahimovic’s top scoring 24 goals have been against a relatively lowly opposition of 11.42. He specialises in scoring against mid to lower table teams as shown by just the 4 goals against the big guns. He has none against Juventus, Inter Milan, Udinese or Napoli this season. Another prolific scorer is Edinson Cavani. Like Zlatanho he also specialises against the mid-lower teams, with an even lower average ranked opponent per goal of 11.57. He only has the 2 goals against the decent teams this year. Di Natale has the lowest ranking with 12.20 for his 20 goals, meaning he’s the official flat track bully, but he does have the 4 against Top 6 teams – or 20% of his goals against the top 30% of the teams.

The big game player continues to be Fabrizio Miccoli with 6.17, though he’s less of a prolifc scorer than the mean above him. Giovinco’s return to goalscoring ways hasseen him score against both Novara (19th) and Cagliari (14th) in recent weeks – pushing down his once leading average to a still decent 8.83. Sneaking in at the bottom of the list after hitting double figures is Siena’s Mattia Destro. The 21 year old is on loan from Genoa in what looks like a poor piece of business – as his parent club have Palacio on 17 goals, and then no one on more than 5. Destro’s latest goal was in the 1-1 draw at 12th placed Bologna, and made it five in their last six games for the young forward. His 10 goals have been worth 6 points, and with only one strike against the bottom 6, he’s far from a flat track bully. Goals against Udinese (5th) and Lazio (then 4th) would back this up.

With the title being a two horse race, the other main prize on offer is the third and final Champions League spot. Although it appears as though no one wants it. In the last two games, Lazio, Udinese and Roma have manged 2 points between them with four defeats. Rubbing their hands in glee were Napoli who are back to winning ways against Novara (19th) and Lecce (18th) after three straight defeats, with former Napoli man Mascara, scored the winning goal against Lazio last night. The gap is now just 3 points between 3rd placed Lazio and 6th placed Inter. Inter?! Whaaaaat? That’s right, whilst Roma have been messing about with three defeats in four games, Inter Milan have quietly sneaked into 6th place with 11 points from 15 on offer. Stramaccioni’s men drew 0-0 at Fiorentina at the weekend in a clean sheet scandal, before Wesley Sneijder inspired them to a 3-1 win over 4th placed Udinese last night. It’s about time he did something, and nice of the Europeans to finally help out the Argentinians.

With just 4 games to go, it’s all to play for at the top, whilst at the bottom, it looks like a straight out fight between Genoa and Lecce to avoid joining Cesena and surely Novara in Serie B next season. Followers of the great Fiorentina team of the 90s with Batistuta and Rui Costa will be glad to see that they’re now 6 points clear of the drop after some great recent displays. The last 4 games have included wins against Milan (2nd) and Roma (then 6th) (both thanks to Jovetic), and a draw against then 7th placed Inter Milan.

Cheers,

Liam

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