Serie A Round 38

18 May

With the League title already decided, focus on the final day of the season in Italy turned elsewhere. In terms of importance, 3rd spot was still to be decided for the final Champions League place, whilst the final relegation place was also available for one unlucky winner/loser.

Aside from the harsh business of results and placings, there was also the feeling that Serie A had reached the end of an era. In all likelihood, Seedorf, Nesta, Inzaghi and Gattuso all played their final games for AC Milan (Seedorf to be confirmed) but the most emotional farewell was in Turin as Alessandro Del Piero played his final game at home for Juventus. And what a send off it was. And rightly so. He joined in 1993 from Padova, played 704 games, scored 289 goals and won a truckload of medals – Serie A, Serie B, Copa Italia, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, and the Champions League. He played alongside some of the all time Juve greats – Zidane, Davids, Vialli, Baggio, Nedved, Buffon and countless others. In short it’s been a great career. He signed off with a goal – not the trademark finish from the left of the area (the Del Piero Zone) into the far corner, but still a good hit with a bit of curl from his trusty right boot, into the near post. His goal can be seen by clicking here, but below is the send off he got. You’ll notice that the game was actually still being played as he completed his lap of honour:

He’s been a great player, and to see him leaving Juventus has been similar to seeing Raul leaving Madrid, Keane leaving Man United and Christian Vieri stay at a club for more than a season – it was sad to see. But this isn’t averageEmotions.com (I’m not sure if that exists, I wouldn’t recommend clicking on it), this is a football site looking at the big game players. And as so, despite him being one of my all time favourites, I have to check Del Piero’s record. And I’m afraid it’s not that good. Looking at the finals he’s played in, there’s not a lot of goals:

Five goals isn’t a great return from a player of his ability. Yes, he has scored in the Champions League Final, and to be fair, he didn’t start all of the above games, but you’d expect more from him. The one that sticks in the mind the most is the Final of Euro 2000 when he missed several good chances to wrap up the game for Italy. Redemption was found in the World Cup Semi Final in 2006 to an extent, but for Juventus, three of his five final goals came in the Super Cup/Intercontinental Cup which are no more than glorified friendlies. So in terms of the big game player stakes, he’s more Henry than Zidane, but he’s still been a great player.

Back to the present though, Del Piero’s goal helped Juve beat Atalanta 3-1 on the final day. This meant that they finished the season unbeaten. This is the first time in the history of Serie A that a team has acheived this over a 38 game season. In short, it’s a phenomenal achievement, in my eyes it’s better than Messi’s 50 league goals. Especially from the starting point. Juve finished 7th last year with a leaky defence. This year they’ve won the league by 4 points, have the best defence and have really done this all as a team. Their top scorer (Matri) has just 10 goals, but they have the highest number of different scorers with 21 (thanks to two more on the final day). I’ll be covering Juve’s achievement more in the coming weeks.

In terms of the outstanding issues, it was some what of a damp squib. Udinese started the day in 3rd. They won. Lecce started the day in 18th. They lost. There wasn’t really the drama that we’ve seen in the Premier League and La Liga. Among the Udinese goalscorers in a 2-0 win over 10th placed Catania was Di Natale. Despite being 34, he’s once again finished in the Top 5 scorers, this time with 23 goals. Whilst the goal against Catania improved his average, he’s still the Flat Track Bully of those with 10 goals or more with an average of 11.91. It’s slightly misleading in the sense that he has in fact scored against 5 Top 6 teams, it’s just the 10 against the Bottom 6 opponents that slightly skews it. He won’t care though, Champions League football is coming (providing he doesn’t retire as rumour has it).

The final scorers table based on opponent’s rankings at the time of playing shows that Fabrizio Miccoli is the Big Game Player in terms of Average (7.38) and goals against the Top 6 – with a decent offering of 9 hits. In terms of assists, i’ll be reviewing in the final season review, but he’s flying high there as well. A great season by the veteran Palermo forward.

Zlatman wins the golden boot with 28 goals and a decent averate of 10.93. Six goals against the best teams suggests he can be happy enough with his input this season. Milito scored again at the weekend in the 3-1 defeat to Lazio. That takes him into 2nd place on goals scored, and another goal against Top 6 teams. His average of 9.21 is the best of those with 20+ goals.

I’ll give a bit more detail in the season review, and also plan to compare Juventus’ unbeaten season with Arsenal’s in 2003-04 in the coming weeks.

Cheers,

Liam

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2 Responses to “Serie A Round 38”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Serie A Season Review: 2011-12 Part 1 « average opposition .com - June 17, 2012

    […] for the Flat Track Bullies. To see the big game players based on the ranking at the time of play, click here to read the Round 38 […]

  2. Top 50 Big Game Scorers – 30-21 « average opposition .com - August 20, 2012

    […] always been a feeling of Del Piero going missing in the big games (regular readers may remember these stats), but that’s only when taking his ability into account. The fact that he’s still 22nd […]

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