Saturday, 21 September 2013

News from around the Peninsula

It has been an ever eventful week in Serie A and it is time to look back at some talking points from the previous days in Italy.

One thing that has really shocked me since moving out to Italy and getting a closer look at each individual club is Juventus' decision to not start new Spanish striker Fernando Llorente. So much talk and hype followed Llorente in the time surrounding his Bosman move to Juve and even I got excited at the thought of him playing up front for the 'Old Lady'. Yet so far he has hardly made an appearence. I can't see how a pairing of Tevez and Llorente up top for Juve isn't the best option for them. They would complement one another perfectly, one big, one small and even Llorente, brought up near the Basque region of Spain, isn't your simple 6ft odd lumbering centre forward. He's got great feet and fantastic instinct when in the box, I just do not see at this stage how Conte can put Quagliarella or Vucinic ahead of him.

It is the Rome derby tomorrow between Roma and Lazio and what better news for Romanista fans around Italy then to hear that club legend Francesco Totti has signed a new 2 year deal for the club. This deal will amazingly take Totti's playing career to the verge of 40 and is credit to his desire to win more games and his love of Calcio and of his boyhood club. Totti is currently second on the list of all time Serie A scorers and although it is unlikely he is going to get close to Silvio Piola's record it would be fascinating to see how many more goals he can bang in. Roma have had a fantastic start to the season too, with an 100% record so far in Serie A after 3 games and this will give them great confidence heading into this weekend's fixture with their arch rivals. It is sure to be a fiery affair as it is every year between these two teams.

The only other team this season still to maintain an 100% record is Rafael Benitez's Napoli. In all honesty the Neapolitan side have been nothing short of spectacular so far this season playing fantastic football and getting good results. This was epitomised by a 2-1 victory over last year's Champions League finalists Dortmund earlier this week. Anyone who thought a hangover was probable from last year's 2nd position finish has been proven wrong so far. As have those who felt that Napoli would not have a hope in equaling that feat because of the loss of star striker Edison Cavani to PSG over the summer. Instead Benitez has gone about his business in his usual no nonsense manner and has signed some very useful players with the money he got in return for the Uruguayan. Higuain,Callejon and Albiol have all joined from Real Madrid whilst goalkeeper Pepe Reina has quite unbelievably come on loan for the season. One of the deals of the summer in Serie A. Napoli also managed to keep hold of star midfielder Marek Hamsik which is vital for the club knowing that Cavani was already going to be leaving.

Looking ahead to Sunday's fixtures and my predictions:

Sassuolo 0-2 Inter
Atalanta 1-2 Fiorentina
Bologna 1-0 Torino
Catania 0-0 Parma
Juventus 3-0 Verona
Roma 1-1 Lazio
Milan 2-2 Napoli

Matches played today: Cagliari 2-2 Sampdoria, Chievo 2-1 Udinese and Genoa L-L Livorno

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