The best way to sum up the action this past weekend is more of the same. The top 4 remain the top 4 (with one switch) and those looking in danger of relegation still look in danger of relegation. However, a few major lessons were learned this week on (and off) the pitch.
Racism is Sadly Alive in Serie A
With reportsthat Juventus midfielder Mohamed Sissoko was the target of racist chants this past weekend and the Italian player’s union is already calling for a possible match stoppagethis weekend in the Juventus/Inter match, racism is unfortunately very much a part of Italian soccer right now. Of course the sport is still marred by last season’s Balotelli controversy in Turin. But the problem is a respect issue – while black players are a target of abuse, all players are subject to offensive taunts (such as the famous Napoli-Vesuvius taunts). Maybe Serie A needs its own EPL Respect Campaign for fans?
i Giallorossi are Making Their Move
A 2-1 comeback victory over Atalanta ran Roma’s unbeaten streak to five matches and moves them up to ninth in the standings. They now sit only 3 points behind fourth-place Sampdoria and are active in the transfer-speculation market: ESPNhas them negotiating with Spurs striker Roman Pavlyuchenko over a January transfer and the Luca Toni rumors persist (although his agent has denied them). While a scudetto this season is unattainable, a top four finish and Champions League berth is not.
Who is Fired First: Mourinho, Ferrara, or Ballardini
One man’s team is sitting firmly atop the table with a 1-0 victory over Fiorentina this weekend, but could be eliminated from the Champions League group stage, which is a problem when a major goal was competing for a Champions League title. The second manager’s team could advance in the Champions League, but after a 2-0 loss to Cagliari this weekend, has seen their chance of finishing first in Serie A greatly diminished despite great talent. The third reportedly has two matches to turn his club around, and his replacement has already been selected. The managerial intrigue of Serie A is one of its endearing qualities (unless you are a manager).
Stay in Front of Your TV Next Weekend
This past weekend’s Juventus and Sampdoria losses sets up a great weekend for soccer: #3 Juventus v. #1 Inter, #2 Milan v. #4 Sampdoria, and #6 Genoa at #5 Parma. The big winners this weekend (if they also win) are the clubs sitting at positions #7-11 in the table, who have a chance to move up in the standings depending on how the marque matches shape up.
Last Chance for Siena, Catania to Survive
There is still time for both Siena and Catania to avoid relegation this season, but that time is increasingly short. Siena’s 2-1 loss to Bari and Catania’s 2-0 loss to Milan have left the clubs with 6 and 9 points, respectively. They face each other at Stadio Artemio Franchi this Sunday. Both are odds-on favorites to be relegated, especially Siena who is on its third manager this season, but the victor will receive three points and a small boost that could eventually propel them out of them bottom three. Think of it as the inverse Inter/Juve match.
Robert is a Serie A fan in the United States who is a contributor to this site.