Italian football is once again leading the way to goal for Europe’s other leagues to follow. Not for the first time in recent seasons, Serie A is enjoying more goals than any of the continent’s other top leagues.
The change has been dramatic, but it has been the case for a number of years now. Serie A, formerly renowned for its incredible defending, is the home of goals.
Italy’s top flight is averaging 3.41 goals per game at the beginning of this 2020/21 season. Next in line is Germany’s Bundesliga, averaging 3.21 goals per game.
Trailing some way behind is La Liga, averaging 2.41 goals per game, a whole goal a game less than Serie A.
“The Italian league was always one of very few goals,” said Spanish coach Paco Jemez, as reported by MARCA. “A 1-0 was great, but that has changed. You just have to watch the game between Inter and Real Madrid [to see].”
In terms of high-scoring teams, a lot of fun is also being had in other countries. European champions Bayern Munich are dominant in Germany, averaging almost four goals per game at 3.85.
In Italy, though, there are as many as eight Serie A sides averaging more than two goals per game. There are no surprises that the leaders are Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta, despite their early-season domestic difficulties.
In Spain, there are less than half that number scoring more than two goals per game. Only Atletico Madrid (2.42), Real Sociedad (2.22) and Barcelona (2.14) average more than two goals in a match.
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Journalist Filippo Ricci, of La Gazzetta dello Sport, isn’t blind to what’s happening either.
In Italy, though, Ricci notices the opposite trend.
“We came from having very low numbers,” Ricci explained. “Goals depend on a number of changes within the values of the league. The cliche of having defensive teams has changed and there’s an effort to play more attractive football now.
“A lot of teams try to play from the back now. It’s not tiki-taka, but there’s been a cultural change. You can see it with Atalanta, Sassuolo or even Inter.
“There’s been an evolution in Italy, but an involution in Spain.”
“It’s a cycle that corresponds to more conservative teams. It happened in Italy too, where they spent 25 years like this,” Jose Antonio Martin added.
“Gasperini isn’t a child, but with Atalanta it’s now understood that his way of playing is more beautiful than it was once thought.”