It briefly looked like there would be one more “boob” for me to include in your weekly dose of Serie A but, in a move so typical of Italian football right now it appears that Fiorentina and Juventus wasted enough time battling each other to allow Dimitar Berbatov to likely sign for Fulham instead.
Just another example of Italian on Italian crime.
Now I am obviously biased, and Fulham did shock the Turin giants a few years back in the Europa League, but who in their right mind would choose Fulham over Juventus?
EPL mid-table over Serie A Champions?
Cold nights at stoke over Champions League football?
Fucking Fulham over one of the most decorated clubs in soccer history?
And what better place to launch your line of designer mittens than Italy? This guy really is a boob.
So Juve appear to have settled for Nicky “Pinkboots” Bendtner instead, while La Viola continue to scramble for a suitable partner for Stevan Jovetic (or someone to replace him when he inevitably leaves).
The transfer market closes in Italy today, so pay attention to the continued comings, goings, and chicanery that always accompanies the calciomercato and join me after the jump for your weekly Serie A tour.
Notable Results from Round 1
Defending champions Juventus, along with Inter and Napoli, all scored fairly comfortable, expected wins, while Lazio labored a bit more to have a 17th minute strike from Hernanes hold up against a steady Atalanta side.
Fiorentina, who should be on the rebound this season, came from behind to win 2-1 against Udinese who had a rough week or so capped off by crashing out of the Champions League on penalties at home to Braga on Tuesday.
Roma had to come back twice just to draw Catania, with the final equalizer coming in the 90th minute. Some of Giallorossi manager Zdenek Zeman’s trademark attacking style was on display, but at the expense of the Roman defense which saw its high line compromised repeatedly.
The biggest shock that really isn’t though came at the San Siro where Milan were unceremoniously defeated by newly promoted Sampdoria. Milan took twice as many shots as the visitors and were twice denied by the goalpost, but to argue vociferously that they deserved a drawagainst Samp would be a sign that my expectations have gotten extremely low (they haven’t, yet).
What to Watch in Round 2
I will of course be looking for a solid response from Milan to really get this campaign rolling against Bologna, but the more neutral fan may want to check out Torino v. Pescara. Both newly promoted, these sides will both see their first chance to gain an invaluable 3 points as there for the taking. Pescara in particular play an attractive brand of calcio, as inspired by the aforementioned Zeman who led them to last year’s Serie B title.
Both of those matches are on Saturday, while Sunday offers some more heavyweight clashes.
Udinese take on Juventus in a battle of bianconeri while Napoli host Fiorentina in what could amount to a high-scoring affair.
The best match on the slate though should be Inter in their home opener against Roma. Both of these clubs have real designs on returning to the Champions League next year and will want to reassert their authority early on in the season.
Keep an Eye on…
Ciro Immobile – Last year’s Serie B capocannoniere (top scorer) with 28 goals, Immobile made the jump from Pescara to Genoa (who had previously co-owned him with Juve) and has already opened his account in Serie A with an unstoppable 25-yard against Cagliari.
Born at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius, the 22-year old erupted on the scene in Serie B last year after a few aimless seasons on loan from Juve, and is the kind of mercurial talent reminiscent of a young Cassano. He had an extremely promising youth career in Turin but only time will tell if he has rediscovered that form and can maintain it in the top flight.
The Coaching Carousel – I know what you’re thinking. Surely it’s far to early to be discussing this?
Not in Italy. In a league that saw 17 managerial changes last year (not counting the baker’s dozen that occurred before the campaign even began) it’s never to early to check out who’s on the hot seat.
Top of that list has to be Milan’s Max Allegri, who obviously lost a ton of talent, but also serves a man and a club that always expect to win and win in style. I personally think he has done at least a fair job in his Milan tenure so far (he won a scudetto for God’s sake) but if things go downhill quickly for the Rossoneri, he will find himself a victim of Berlusconi’s wrath.
The other coach to keep an eye on is Udinese’s Francesco Guidolin. A real gentleman of the game, he took Udinese’s second straight elimination in the final qualifying stage for the Champion’s League particularly hard, and already tried to walk away once last year.
I always find myself slightly hoping for a more stable Serie A, but where’s the fun in that right?