For years now, Italian football has debated the wisdom of the traditional Christmas/New Year’s holiday, the two-week period when everyone packs up and goes home for pale plums, or its equivalent. Fans can enviously watch other leagues, particularly the English First Division /Major League with Boxing Day and New Year’s fixtures, wondering about the closure request.
AFTER OPENING CHRISTMAS / YEAR-END THIS YEAR
Having seen two full league fixtures and four Coppa Italia quarter-finals played on both sides daftar judi bola sbobet of Christmas and New Year’s Day, connoisseurs could be persuaded to conclude they’ve been right all along. It’s a change of year that underscores more than one serious case, as it happily and unbelievably coincides with the exact halfway point in the league calendar.
First, wins over both league days for leaders Napoli and second champions Juventus, just a point behind, saw the two clubs open a six-point gap between themselves and their closest pursuers. Both Inter and Roma dropped five points in an eight-day period which seems to conclude that the strongest team in the country is still Juventus, with Napoli only one possible threat to their crown.
Juve’s 1-0 loss to Roma two days before Christmas, a further 3-1 thrashing against Verona a week later and then the Turin Italian Cup quarter-finals, the derby win over Torino four days later all seemed to explain something all too familiar. . That is, the chat about the decline and decline of Juventus can be postponed, at least for the foreseeable future.
That Juventus were never more alive and well is just one of the decisions that came from an interesting holiday period. In the city of Milan, for example, we witnessed an extraordinary turn in the fortunes of cousins, Milan and Inter. For more than one big game this fall, Inter have been flying high, even though they have stayed top of the table for three days, as their great rivals seemed to go from crisis to crisis, drawing first with bottom side Benevento before going down 3-0 at home. away to second place came from under Verona, before going to a 2-0 loss at home to Atalanta.
Just then it looked as though new Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso could be on his way out the door, after just one month in charge, came the manna from heaven in the form of the Italian Cup quarter-finals, an extension in the 1-0 win over same cousins Inter . This latest loss, at the end of a sour and not-so-pretty battle, culminated in a sad climax for Inter who have picked up just two points in their last four Serie A matches, losing to Sassuolo and Udinese, and also drawing with Juventus and Lazio. Suddenly, the chatter regarding Inter’s title challenge could also be put on hold, returning at least for the foreseeable future.
We are all clear that nothing is more important in football than winning. All of a sudden, it was Inter, not Milan, who were “in crisis” despite the fact that third-placed Inter were still a full 16 points away from eleventh-placed Milan. Inter could well be able to get the show back on track, especially if people still suspect that they are relying too much on skills like the penalty area of Argentine Mauro Icardi.
In addition, it remains to be seen how much Milan coach Gattuso was able to build a huge ethical boost from the derby/Cup tie win. In their last outing last weekend, Milan were by no means insistent in their 1-1 draw at home to lively Fiorentina. It could be that, before long, their respective roles can be reversed again, with Inter having recovered and Milan fighting again.
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THIS HOLIDAY PERIOD IS ALSO A FITTING REMINDER THAT IF THERE IS ONE SIDE IN SERIE A YOU TAKE FOR GRANTED AT YOUR RISK
That is little Atalanta . Not only did they record a 2-0 loss to Milan at the aforementioned San Siro, but 10 days later they eliminated league leaders Napoli from the Italian Cup when beating them 2-1 at home in a match that was wrapped up in another inspirational piece. The finish comes from their Argentinian icon, “Papu” Gomez.
Currently ninth in Serie A, Atalanta are poised to add another giant killing act when they line up against Borussia Dortmund next month in their final “32” round of the Europa League. Meanwhile, their defeat to Napoli caused two clear considerations. First, the Napoli squad is not the right one, it has adequate capabilities in depth. Second, maybe we weren’t too wrong when we nominated Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini as coach this season last year.
Talk of squad ability reminds us that it’s another fitting year, that the January window is famous. Liverpool Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, Barcelona forward in France, Gerard Deulofeu, Bologna’s Simone Verdi, Manchester United’s Matteo Darmian and Bryan Cristante from Atalanta are just five of the many players who have been linked with moves that could involve such as Juventus, Inter , Rome and Naples. More comes from that, however, later in the month.