Saturday, September 30, 2006

Povero Toro!

I would freely admit I have a soft spot for Torino. Maybe it is their dislike of Juve, maybe it is their tragic history (Superga, Gigi Meroni etc) or maybe it is just the colour of their strips. Whatever it is, it never seems like a proper Serie A season without them.

But, boy oh boy, did they take one hell of a beating on Saturday night. 4-0 going on 8-0 by Lazio. They held on reasonably for a half but once they went behind, the floodgates opened. Maybe their President, Mr Urbano Cairo, will be having a few regrets about sacking the Coach who got them promoted a few days before the season started to bring in Alberto Zaccheroni. If you too thought that Zac's day was done it was proved in spades in front of the long-suffering Granata support.

The team clearly don't want to play for him because, although they are bad, they are not that bad. They desperately need a striker and a way to get the best out of undoubtedly talented players like Rosina and Fiore. Otherwise, they might pass Juve coming up as they head straight back down to Serie B.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We are not alone...

So, we stood and took it for most of the summer about how we were the most corrupt league in the world, the shame of our top teams, the scandal that was Serie A. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for a little payback.

Tune yourselves in to Panorama tonight and find out how many Premiership managers like a bung. That is to say, a little sweetener of cash for their pocket to clinch major transfer deals. It appears we are not talking, as in Italy, the simple use of influence but rather the more grubby subject of cold, hard notes. The results of a full inquiry are expected out early next month.

What can we expect? Managers banned, teams relegated, points deductions? Probably not. More likely the sound of the old carpet being lifted and a judicious bit of sweeping...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some surprises - and Inter...

In the end it was only Inter who let down Italy in Europe in the Champs League. I made the mistake of watching their clash with Sporting Lisbon not Roma's impressive 4-0 victory over Donetsk. It was drab, dull and uninspiring as Inter have often treated us to in Europe. The Giallorossi, by all accounts, took their time to break down their opponents but when they did - they did it in some style.

As for Milan, they looked pretty good and I was particularly impressed by Gourcuff or however it is spelled. Oliveira looked less stellar but luckily for the Rossoneri old Pippo was in full swing.

Now bring on the UEFA!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Champions apprehension

I dont think I ever approached the Champs League with a greater sense of concern. I really struggle to see Italian teams making any impact this year.

Roma struggled last season with the double burden of league and UEFA Cup so don't look to have a squad ready for the top competition. Milan will be totally focussed on getting their points back in Serie A. And Inter, well Inter just always let us down.

With Chievo gone already and our UEFA contingent looking modest too, I fear there are a couple of lean years ahead. Or am I just too pessimistic?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bring it on

Well, it hardly seems like yesterday we were beating France to win the World Cup and it is back into action against the old enemy on Wednesday night. There has been a lot of nonsense spouted about the game but I think most of it has been sour grapes on the French front. I hope that Italy don't rise to that particular bait and just concentrate on playing football.

I was actually happy enough with the Lithuania game - apart from the result. I thought there was some good enterprise shown and Cassano was outstanding. Also Gattuso, Pirlo and Cannavaro have grown even more in stature with the World Cup win. However, there were a few worrying gaps at the back and I think we might be better advised to bring Zambro back against France and maybe consider a more prudent 4-4-2 (with Cassano behind front two if we want to be adventurous).

Anyway, here's hoping we beat them fair and square (again) and stop them crying into their chardonnay...