It’s been a busy week and I apologize not getting to do an adequate Serie A round-up. I’m hoping that the international break will allow me to catch-up.
This is an excellent Guardian recap of last week’s action in Italy. Definitely read it in full. Here’s an excerpt regarding Napoli:
“Many were ready to write them off following the 3-0 defeat to Milan last month, yet there has been a fresh upturn in fortunes since Ezequiel Lavezzi’s return from a three-game ban. The Partenopei collected four points from three games in his absence, but have won both games since. Lavezzi’s energy and clever runs are essential to Napoli’s rapid counter-attacking style”
I couldn’t agree more. Lavezzi’s absolutely gorgeous ball that set-up Marak Hamsik’s goal in the second leg of their Europa League showdown with Villarreal was one of the plays of the season in European football, in my opinion. Lavezzi’s technique and workrate seem more impressive by the match and are certainly crucial to Napoli’s scudetto challenge, as the Guardian rightly points out.
A couple of other quick pull aways from the piece:
– Edinson Cavani’s 22 goals on the season are tied for the best in Napoli’s history. What’s even more surprising to me is that he isn’t sharing that record (which he’ll surely break) with Diego Maradona–but with Antonio Vojak, who notched 22 goals in the 1932-33 campaign.
-Udinese has collected 33 points (!) from their last 13 matches. What a run!
I watched the Palermo v. AC Milan match and Paul Visca (who’s Twitter feed is an excellent source of Serie A news) kept saying that some around the Milan camp were tired of hearing that they were “Ibra dependent,” but I’m not sure what other conclusions can be drawn from their recent struggles. I’m sure it must bruise the egos of players like Pato and Robinho, but without Ibra they were unable to seriously challenge a porous Palermo defense that had recently conceded 7 goals to Udinese. The Milan attack was punchless and unorganized. Gattuso seemed to allude directly to this when he told Gazzetta dello Sport that “it angered me that in Palermo every time we put balls in the box there was nobody to stick them in.” All of a sudden the Rossoneri look extremely ordinary and vulnerable.
It’s never too early (I guess) for transfer gossip. Is it?
– There are some vague rumblings of Nani potentially leaving the Premier League for the Serie A
We are even contemplating tackling the MLS season!