Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Julian De Martinis On March - 15 - 2011

Northern Lights Matchday 29: Udinese Soar But Everyone Else…

This new weekly feature may be titled “Northern Lights”, due to the fact that these Serie A clubs hail from the north of Italy, but based on league form it would be more propos to entitle it “Lower End Teams, So Low That Most of Them Are Fighting Relegation.” Only one of these teams is truly shining.

The Contender: Udinese

Udinese continue to play sparkling football and have been duly rewarded, reaching the height of fourth place for the first time this season. Captain Antonio Di Natale led his side to a 4-0 victory over Cagliari away, notching a brace and ending the day four clear of his closest Capocannoniere rival, Napoli’s Edinson Cavani. Alex Sanchez and Mehdi Benatia chipped in as well, the former scoring a goal so delightful that Udinese may regret it in the long run: surely a big club will come knocking this summer after scoring from a darting run, beginning in his own half, ending with a dribble beating two defenders and a goalie. Francesco Guidolin’s side continues to soar, with Sanchez and Di Natale leading the side to dizzying heights.

The Mediocre: Chievo and Bologna

Chievo lie in thirteenth place in Serie A, which is perhaps remarkable given that the side have lost four of their last five and have not won in seven matchdays. Matchday 29 saw the side fall at home to a resurgent Fiorentina. Crucially, the Mussi Volanti are a mere four points away from the drop, and a further decline could see them overtaken by the likes of Catania. However, for now, Chievo are mired in mid-table mediocrity, and a few wins should keep them clear of relegation worries. What a better way to start, then, but against bottom side Bari next weekend?

Bologna are faring much better, comfortably in eleventh with ten points out of their last fifteen. A weekend win against Lecce, thanks to Gaston Ramirez’s lone strike, has added a victory to a rather mediocre away side that only had three away wins all season. Relegation is looking highly unlikely for the Rossoblu, as is any chance for European competition: Bologna lay ten points off seventeenth and an equal distance from sixth.

The Rest: Parma, Brescia, Cesena

It would be stunning if none of these sides were relegated this season. Brescia are the worst of a bad bunch, lying in nineteenth place. They managed a miraculous draw against Inter which easily could have been a win, had Andrea Caracciolo not missed a last minute penalty. With four draws in their last five games, the Rondinelle are gaining points, just not very many. Away against Juventus next weekend will test the side’s ability to repeat a big game performance as well as their capability of bouncing back after narrowly missing out on victory.

Cesena lie seventeenth in the table, a mere point above the drop. Drawing two-two against Juventus, however, after going down by two goals at home, should do wonders to boost the side’s confidence.  Luis Jimenez scored a penalty after Alessandro Matri’s double. Marco Motta received his second yellow in the forty-third, leaving Cesena a man up for the entire second half. Their hard work payed off with an equalizer in the eightieth from Marco Parolo, following Brescia’s example of performing well against a big side.

Parma follow no such example. It is remarkable that a side featuring Antonio Mirante, Cristian Zaccardo, Antonio Candreva, Sebastian Giovinco, Daniele Galloppa, Amauri, Raffaele Palladino, and Hernan Crespo lie tied with Cesena on points. After Palladino’s opening goal at home against Napoli over the weekend, it looked as if i ducali would get its first win in ten games. Marek Hamsik, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and Christain Maggio all thought otherwise, however, and each scored. Daniele Galloppa was sent off with a half hour to go and now misses Parma’s game next week against Sampdoria, perhaps the only other side in Serie A this season that can match their underachievement.

Julian De Martinis

Calcio, Azzurri, and Roma tifosi. Blogger, correspondent, podcast host (@LaMagicast). Lover of books, movies, wordplay, family, and a good cappuccino.

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