Lessons Learned from Giornata 25
This weekend’s action has a wealth of subplots, controversy, and exciting soccer play. But the main story line out of this weekend is the standings. Right now, the top four spots in the Serie A standings are occupied by the clubs most thought would occupy them in some order: Inter Milan, AS Roma, AC Milan, and Juventus. And with fourteen weeks to go, the title race in again in doubt as the top clubs drew closer together.
AC Milan showed it is a championship club
Viewers of the AC Milan/Bari match saw a clinic put on by the Rossoneri. The 2-0 scoreline was deceiving; Milan dominated the action pretty much from beginning to end. Ronaldinho was once again magnificent with the ball, setting up both Milan goals. And Milan’s defense was good, with Abbiati denying some good scoring opportunities for the home club. This is the club Milan fans thought they would see all year, and a Wednesday win over Fiorentina will move Milan into second.
Inter goes shorthanded again – during and after the match
Much like the Milan derby this year, Inter again had players sent off in the course of their match against Sampdoria. But instead of pulling out a win like they did against Milan, Inter could only muster a scoreless draw. To describe the play as chippy would be an understatement; the match featured multiple fights and some overly aggressive tackles. Not only were two Inter players eventually sent off, but so was Sampdoria’s star Pazzini. And of course it would not be an Inter match without a Jose Mourinho subplot – the Inter manager was suspended three Serie A matches for the “disrespectful” gesture seen above.
AS Roma moves closer to Inter
Another weekend, another Roma victory. This weekend the victim was Catania, when Roma scored an early goal and held on for the victory. The goal was Mirko Vucinic’s fifth in Serie A this season. They now sit five points behind Inter Milan, and travel to Napoli next week before their major home match against Milan.
Napoli slips a little more while Siena shows progress
Napoli failed to score a goal against last place Siena and has now gone four matches without a victory. The match leaves them in fifth place, one point behind Juventus for the final Champions League spot. The problem seems to be their offense – this was their third goalless draw in the current winless streak. On the flip side, Siena has now gone two games without a loss. A bit of momentum, but it may be too little too late as they sit seven points from seventeenth place.
Seven words you can’t say on a soccer pitch
Basketball officials call them “the magic words” – those obscenities that are grounds for an automatic technical foul. Udinese defender Christian Zapata said his own magic words on the pitch in Saturday’s and was immediately given a yellow card under FIGC’s new anti-swearing rules. It was yellow card number two, and Udinese had to play ten men down the rest of the match. A warning to all footballers – watch your tongue.