Lessons Learned from Giornata 23
This weekend’s action saw a movement in the top four and in the bottom four. While one Roman club continued its climb up the standings, one continued its slide downward. The next Roma-Lazio match should prove quite an interesting contrast.
Roma makes a move into second place…
Roma’s away record prior to this weekend – 3-5-3. With most of their major matches on the road to finish the year, it was important that they get points in their visit to Florence. A Mirko Vucinic goal in the 82nd minute got them three points and the second spot in the standings, despite statistical dominance by the Viola. It also ran their unbeaten streak to 12 matches.
… while Inter seemingly solidifies their place in first
An AC Milan draw plus an Inter 3-0 thrashing of Cagliari means the Nerazzurri are eight points clear of Roma. For all of the discussion of Inter’s struggles in the Champions League and the future of Jose Mourinho, they are in the driver’s seat for another scudetto. After traveling to Parma, they have critical matches against Napoli and Sampdoria that could help secure their title long before their March 28 match at Roma.
AC Milan slips up against Bologna
Despite 18 shots (four on goal) and having possession for 70% of the match, Milan couldn’t get their needed three points to remain fairly close to Inter. Instead, they hit the bar twice and had to settle for one point. This continues their recent woes after the Milan derby disaster as Bologna is the second bottom-half club they failed to defeat. Is this a cold streak or a sign of a faulty foundation?
Lazio falls into the relegation zone
Serie A may only have one club in Rome next season if the current standings hold. In a must-win match for both clubs, Catania edged Lazio on a 63rd minute goal by recent signing Maxi Lopez. The win moves Catania one point ahead of Lazio for the last relegation spot. I’ve written it before but it bears repeating – this is the club that defeated Inter in China this off-season in the Italian Super Cup. Relegation will be especially painful this season – the creation of an independent Serie A will be a financial windfall for top flight clubs and those that are relegated will miss out on it.