BT Sport’s James Richardson and James Horncastle talk Serie A
European football experts James Richardson and James Horncastle spoke to Forza Italian Football about the standing of Serie A and whether its clubs can dominate Europe once more.
ForzaItalianFootball.com sat down with two of BT Sport’s footballing experts James Richardson and James Horncastle to discuss the current state of Serie A.
The title race has been thrown wide open after reigning champions Juventus’ slump at the the start of the season and with just six points separating first a fifth place there is a certain air of unpredictability, something which Horncastle believes is making the league much more enjoyable.
“I think that this has been the most exciting season since ‘the golden’ days,” Horncastle, who was speaking ahead of the European Football show on BT Sport, told ForzaItalianFootball.com.
“Since 2006 and the Calciopoli scandal we have seen little variety in the league. Over the years it has just been Inter and most recently Juventus dominating.
“This year, Juventus have been forced into change after having lost Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal and have simply lost their aura, allowing teams to realise that they’re not immortal.
“Both the Milan clubs have said ‘enough is enough’ and have returned to investing in their teams, whilst others like Roma and Napoli have stepped up considerably. The baseline of quality in Serie A has actually improved.
“There’s a lot of teams in contention for the title now,” Richardson added, “Fiorentina, Napoli, Roma, Inter and even Juventus are back in the race so what’s happening with the league is brilliant, it’s really open.”
However, Richardson is certain that the league has a while to go before it reaches the standards of 20 years ago, a time in which the peninsula boasted stars such as Gabriel Batistuta, Ronaldo and Paul Gascoigne.
“I wouldn’t quite say it’s a return to the golden era though,” Richardson continued. “Things are just as, if not more, exciting than they were back in the 90s even in a time that hosted Fabio Capello’s AC Milan, but the league is nowhere near the powerhouse that it used to be.
“There are massive infrastructural problems in Italian football and even if they were to take the fourth Champions League spot from England then there would still be a huge gap in terms of money within the leagues.
“Italian clubs are so far behind in terms of spending power and have fallen to Germany, Spain and England in merchandising, which is perhaps why they have started to take the Europa League more seriously.
Continuing with the topic of Italian clubs in Europe, Richardson believes the country’s elite can make a real push: “Napoli look like the in-form team in Europe this season, they have really impressed me so far.
“Juventus are also pulling themselves together and I can see them making the quarter or even semi-finals again this season.”
ForzaItalianFootball.com and other accompanying journalists were then treated to a behind the scenes tour of the BT Sport studios, which is one of the largest LED-lit studios in the world.
The European Football Show is live on BT Sport every Sunday, where James Richardson and guests offer an expert insight on Europe’s top leagues, including Serie A.
Watch Sevilla v Juventus in the UEFA Champions League live and exclusive on BT Sport Extra 2 from 7:30pm on Tuesday 8 December.
Watch Roma v BATE Borisov in the UEFA Champions League live and exclusive on BT Sport Extra 4 from 7:30pm on Wednesday 9 December.
Watch Fiorentina v Belenenses in the UEFA Europa League live and exclusive on BT Sport Extra 2 from 8pm on Thursday 10 December.