This other-big-four column after a really long time is brought to you by Aswin. A fellow Man Utd and Azzurri supporter. A man who has been through the full boom and bust cycle of the Serie A and prefers walking in the Rajasthan desert in the afternoon with winter clothes on to Liverpool’s football. Seriously!
Last weekend’s results between the erstwhile BIG FOUR in Italy were exactly what a neutral Italian football fan did not want even if the football on display was good(and not mind numbingly boring as most of the media would have you believe) . Any hopes of a rejuvenated league were quashed and Inter are gonna run away with it yet again. Also it seems like one of the bigger teams might miss out on the Champions League.
Juventus lost to Roma in Turin to an injury time winner by Riise. With this result Claudio ”I’ve been sacked everywhere” Ranieri got his revenge on Juventus. Juve are paying the price for appointing a toddler for a manager and rightly so. They were ahead in the game and were in decent shape till Taddei pulled a Gerrard on Grosso (DEFN-To pull a Gerrard: I felt the touch of a butterfly farting on me, I’ll make sure the ref sees it). Amongst other things, Buffon got sent off, Sissokho & Perotta fought like fourth graders and Vucinic made me think he was conceived in an offside position (pun intended). For Juve it doesn’t get any worse than this. It’s no use having a manager who doesn’t know how to use your best player.
Milan has problems of their own too. They were not able to break down a 10-man Inter team for the best part of the match, and when they partially did, they finished poorly. It was again a case of men against, well much older men. Their habit of buying players with tummies bigger than their reputation and experience put together has come back to bite them. Their youngsters (by that I mean the likes of Flamini , Huntelaar) are not really suited for their style of play .They have goodfernothin Goldenballs (don’t gimme the crossing, set pieces , right foot shite again) starting in their front three, which pretty much sums it all up .People say Ronaldinho is getting back to his old self but I doubt it very much. While he is certainly better at the moment than what he was last season, I believe Milan need much more than that.
Coming back to the points I made in the beginning. When I said neutral fan, I was talking about myself. I used to like Inter but it is not the case now, because of someone with a big mouth. Why the results upset me? To begin with, Inter will run away with the scudetto yet again. So their season will be a success regardless of whether they make a proper champions league challenge, and they ll have less motivation to strengthen as the competition is weak. Also, Roma are third now, which makes Ranieri a success for now, a disaster which I don’t think needs any explanation .Besides, I don’t see an Italian team making great progress in the champions league. Plainly because ALL the teams have of rejects/failures/past it bargain buys from other leagues and they lack the famed Italian tactical discipline as all their best coaches ply their trade outside the league. Inter might have the potential to make progress though, but they are up against a mean Chelsea side and were unconvincing in the group stages.
Say whatever you like about Napoli’s promise and Fiorentina’s success in the champions league this season. I would rather see the Italian big four compete in the later stages of the Champions League.