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

Julian De Martinis On April - 25 - 2011

Six Things We Learned This Weekend

Six things that the weekend taught us, including one player’s demise, one team’s redemption, and many giant question marks.

Maybe there’s something to the Vucinic rumors…

In news that most Romanisti don’t want to hear but surely must be thinking, Mirko Vucinic has looked rather off in recent weeks. ‘Big Game Mirko’ used to be the moniker of the Montenegrin as he scored goals against the likes of Real Madrid, Inter, and Milan with ease, although his record against the lower sides has always left something to be desired. However he’s looked a shadow of the player that carried Roma on his back last season, and another impotent weekend against Chievo has fans worried. Vucinic has now missed incredibly simple chances for two weeks in a row, and his game in general has been rather poor. It’s impossible to tell if it’s simply bad form or a case of body language foreshadowing an impending move away from his beloved capital club.

Edinson Cavani’s effectiveness depends upon the time at which he scores

Cavani scoring for Napoli is usually a good thing, with one exception: if the side scores early, they tend to drop points. Napoli have made a name for themselves this season for scoring last minute stunners, such as against against Lazio in Matchday 31 and at home to Palermo early in December. When the side score early, however, the team tends to not do as well. Michele Pazienza’s 24th minute strike against Inter proved futile in a 3-1 defeat; a 28th minute goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi against Liverpool in November ended with the same scoreline. This weekend Cavani notched a penalty in the second minute, which continued the trend and ended in a defeat for Napoli. What were once Scudetto dreams appear to now be mere illusions.

Sampdoria may have just saved themselves

Il Doria’s slide towards relegation looked totally unstoppable, like a boulder careening down a cliff with only a tiny tree in its way. Fortunately for Alberto Cavasin and his players, that tree turned out to be Bari. Serie A’s punching bag once again caved in under pressure and lost at home to give Sampdoria their first win in ten matchdays. The side are now out of the relegation zone and the confidence gained from such a victory may prove just enough to save themselves this season, but a player exodus nevertheless seems incredibly likely come this summer.

Nobody wants fourth place

Lazio, Udinese, and Roma are all within four points of fourth, a feat that is nothing short of astonishing. Each of the clubs could have been well clear in the position by now, but due to each losing at least two of their last five (high flying Udinese, once unbeaten in 2011, have lost three of their last four), the race is wide open. Lazio failed to capitalize on Julio Cesar’s sending off and lost away to Inter, whereas Udinese fell to big game Amauri’s double (Hey, maybe that’s what happened to Mirko…). Roma’s narrow victory over Chievo has pushed them back into what once was a two horse race, and Udinese and Lazio still have to face off in two weeks’ time…

Something is wrong with Juventus

This is hardly something learned this weekend, but something that was nevertheless reinforced. The Juventus of ten years ago- heck, arguably of a few years ago- would not have let a two goal lead vanish in the last ten minutes of the game. Full credit to Catania, whose “never say die” attitude was once a staple of the club they overcame, but Juventus’ problems are running seriously deep. Admittedly, the side were heavily punished by Calciopoli, but two summers of heavy investment has done almost nothing for improving league position. Now, serious questions must be surrounding manager Gigi Delneri and the possibility of another busy mercato. Finishing seventh would have been unthinkably embarrassing a decade ago but now merely seems fitting for a side that has fallen so far.

Oh, and the Scudetto race? It’s over

Milan sit eight points clear at the top after Robinho’s goal and Cristian Abbiati’s late save earned the side three points away to Brescia. With only twelve points left to play for, Milan simply need four more points to be mathematically sure of the title. Bologna, Roma, Cagliari, and Udinese stand in the way of a title, yet each team is surely doable based on current form. Nothing is set in stone, but barring a monumentally disastrous collapse, the side look well on their way to lifting a trophy by May.

    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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    • Ted

      Would I be wrong if I said Robinho’s been flying under the radar?

    • Ted

      I can’t believe Catania equalized…

    • Mhemmat

      On the Vucinic one, I think it’s more of bad form rather than leaving the club. At least hoping so…

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