Lessons Learned From Giornata 19
We have reached the halfway point of the season, and it seems like the race for the scudetto is over (whether it is or not you can debate). The big story from this past weekend was Milan’s thumping of Juventus but of course there are numerous subplots and stories that have come out of the weekend:
Where is the line in the sand for Ciro Ferrara?
The story on ESPN today is that Ferrara has said a loss in this week’s Italian Cup could be his last match as Juventus manager. It seems to this soccer fan that a win in the Italian Cup is a poor goal for this Juventus club. As we have seen in pictures every week the fans are restless about Juventus; lighting seats on fire is not a positive sign. Granted, the club is injured, but this scudetto race, while not wide open, is at least attainable with an Inter club that has seemed mortal. But they have been surpassed by AC Milan with Napoli and Roma nipping at their heels. What does Ferrara need to do to lose his job?
The Inter match was a sign of Inter’s strength
At first glance, Inter’s almost loss to last-place Siena would seem to show Inter’s vulnerability this season. I think it is quite the opposite – good teams from time to time face overmatched opponents who catch lightning in a bottle and play like they champions. Siena brought their A+ game, and Inter Milan’s comeback showed guts, a key element to any championship run. So while the final line was ugly, the result should be encouraging for Inter fans.
Napoli is a legitimate threat for a top 2 finish
We won’t see them play until March 21, but is Napoli positioning themselves to challenge Milan for a top 2 run? They sit four points behind Beckham’s boys and are tied with Juventus for third. This could be a moot point however if they are unable to put away Palermo next week, who sits only 3 points behind.
Gillet/Frey is the best keeper matchup in Serie A
This weekend’s 2-1 Fiorentina victory over Bari showcased the two best keepers in Serie A. While Sebastien Frey’s Viola got the victory, both he and Jean Francois Gillet showed their incredible skills in making some fantastic saves. The match was odd as it was obvious that Fiorentina was the better club on the pitch, but Bari had better chances and (arguably) should have won the match if they could have converted some of their excellent chances.
The transfer period has been boring
The big transfers have been Beckham to AC Milan, Viera out of Inter Milan, and Toni to Roma. Other than that….not much. I would like to see some of the contenders make a few bold moves to shore up their clubs. I suspect any of the top 11 could, in a smart transfer or signing, seal their trip to the CHampions League.