As Christmas draws near and Calcio prepares for it’s winter break. Some clubs, like Fiorentina and Juventus will congratulate themselves on a successful season thus far, and look forward to the New Year. Other sides, like Genoa and Palermo will scratching their heads wondering what to do next(not to mention a few slightly nervous coaches).
The aforementioned Juventus picked up their second successive “Winter Championship”, and despite the title having no real merit, it is a telling award. In fact, the last side to not to be lifting the Scudetto after coming top at the break was Milan in 2003 nine years ago.
And if the league title was awarded at Christmas few would oppose the Bianconeri securing a consecutive Scudetto, especially after their demolition display against Atalanta. Mirko Vucinic reaffirmed his decision to don the number nine with a brilliant performance, combining excellently on regular occasions with Sebastian Giovinco, who is starting to make a genuine claim for the vacant #10 jersey. The first half rout was capped off with a wonderful Andrea Pirlo free kick, who was at his magical best.
It was just the game the returning Antonio Conte wanted to see, his Juventus side now sit 7 points ahead of Inter in second and it’s difficult seeing the Scudetto draped in any other colour but black and white next May.
The Old Lady’s iron grip on the peninsula has been compounded by the fact that there has been no real antithesis to the league leaders. Inter faltered yet again after losing at the death to Lazio, Miroslav Klose securing the points for Lazio once again. From being the side that seemed the most ready to form a challenge to Juventus since Esteban Cambiasso declared they are aiming for the title after the Nerazzurri’s stunning win against their Turin rivals over a month ago. In a tense game that where both were nearly identical in possession and chance creation, it came down to who had the most clinical forward, and there are few better than Klose. Inter once again will look back at what could have been and face a seven point deficit that should be much lower.
Napoli threw away the chance to gain on the leaders after a five goal thriller saw them lose at home against lowly Bologna. Despite dominating the game, securing 60% possession and twice as many shots on target, the Partonpei allowed the Rossublu back in the game to thwart them thanks to a last gasp winner from Daniele Portanova. Consistency is once again what Napoli seem to lack, and now face a mountainous task if they are to sit atop of Serie A.
Milan had a good weekend, beating seemingly doomed Pescara 4-1 thanks to goals from Nocerino, El Shaarawy and two own goals from a Delfini that seemed intent on gifting the Rossoneri the win. The scoreline flattered a Milan side that were dull going forward despite controlling the game. When Pescara pulled one back at 2-1 there was genuine fear that Max Allegri’s side weren’t going to win out, but a quickfire passage of play that saw Milan score twice in two minutes secured the win. Milan now sit in 7th, just two points behind Roma they meet next week. Maybe the season isn’t so irrecoverable after all.
Fiorentina beat Siena 4-1 in a game that cost Serse Cosmi his job in charge of the Tuscan side. Quite why the expensively dressed tactician will be facing Christmas unemployed is not known – the former Palermo boss was doing a decent job with a side facing a 6 point deduction. without which they’d be 14th. For Fiorentina, it is another wonderful performance that has typified their transformation this season, and they can face a New Year full of promise.
Sampdoria also waved goodbye to Ciro Ferrarra after losing to Catania 1-0, who sit in 14th. Considering that they got re-promoted this season, Ciro can consider himself unlucky to have faced the sack; especially when one considers the youth-centred approach he took at Sampdoria that by and large paid off. Delio Rossi takes his place, the former Rosanero boss looking to straighten out the ship.
Roma 0 – 1 Chievo
Genoa 1 -1 Torino
Parma 4 -1 Cagliari
Udinese 1 -1 Palermo