You may have noticed some changes to the blog. This is because I am an idiot, fucked around with the settings, and have no idea how to fix it (I spent an entire night crying about it, it was awful). However, after a few kind words (especially from a lot of people I respect) I decided to keep it this way. But, um, with a different font (when I figure out how) due to overwhelming demand.
Anyway, while we’re on the subject of change, there are a few things going on here at 90 Minutes of Hopp and in the general life of Sonja Cori Missio. First, I started a new gig at Soccer Newsday. I now have a weekly column called Red Dawn Rising (RDR for short) and I would love if you read me; my inaugural column can be found here (oh boy!). I am still doing the occasional post for The Guardian (plug: my latest post!) and, of course, 90 Minutes of Hopp will still be going strong.
Except, with a little help.
So this week, instead of Sonja’s 90 Minutes of Hopp, you’ll be getting Enrico’s 90 Minutes of Wopp. He’s blogged for me before (see: The Doubtful Guest) and, despite his perverse choice in soccer teams, he’s not that bad of a
person writer. See for yourself below [Editor’s
Notes in red] and follow him on Twitter: @_EnricoS
Serie A Week 6 – Top Six Stories So Far
So we’re six weeks into the Serie A season – about one sixth complete – and so far there have been some great stories and a few surprises. Here’s my top six:
6. Sampdoria – Currently in fifth place, including a convincing opening win at the San Siro against Milan, this promoted Sampdoria side are making a little bit of noise to start the season. Their only loss came last week against Scudetto contenders Napoli, and their schedule for the next two months remains reasonable, aside from a mid week game at Inter at the end of October and a renewal of the Derby della Lanterna in Serie A versus crosstown rivals Genoa in mid November. I don’t think anyone believes they will pull off a repeat of their surprising, but deserved, Scudetto in 1991, but a great start can lead to building confidence, and they may able to finish in the top half of the table.
5. Torino – As a Juventus supporter [Editor’s Note: “supporter” would not have been my first word choice…], it’s hard to write about the good in the “other” Turin-based team, given the obvious rivalry, but after 3 years their return to Serie A is welcomed. For a newly promoted squad, Il Granata have had a fantastic start to the season, winning two, a 5-1 away win to Atalanta and a 3-0 win versus Pescara, and only having lost to Inter. Currently sitting tied for 6th in the table, Torino will be hard pressed to keep up their current form given a tricky upcoming schedule. The first of December also brings the return of the Derby della Mole, the first in the new Juventus Stadium. However a team with Torino’s history deserves to play in the top division, and hopefully, for Calcio as a whole, they can continue their strong play.
4. Cavani and Gilardino – Past and Present. Young and Old. Beauty and Beast. One striker coming into his own as one of the world’s best, the other scoring goals like he used to in the town of Parmigiano. Cavani, leading the league so far with 6 goals in 6 games, is establishing himself as a premier goal scorer, with a lethal touch around the goal. His impressive hat trick versus Lazio was his fifth in a Napoli shirt. Gilardino, having scored two braces so far this season, is having a renaissance, after a mediocre last season at Genoa. While Cavani scoring goals should surprise no one, his goal-a-game pace and emergence as a world class striker in the
filled streets of Napoli Stadio San Paolo is a pleasure to watch. Gilardino’s recent nose for goal is even
to mention his name with an Azzurri recall. Two goal scorers, both
currently firing on all cylinders: one, a modern days sports car, the other,
like a fully restored vintage muscle car. [Editor’s
Note: Notice how unbiased I am being by letting this point remain. If you don’t
know what I am talking about, I will wait while you Google the schedule for this upcoming weekend].
3. DiNatale & Guidolin Argument – Firstly, let me say this: I am treading very lightly on this subject [Editor’s Note: coward]. But the fact that the two biggest heroes currently in Udine have gotten into an argument, causing the captain to be left out of the game with Genoa, has sent most fans of the Friuli side to shake their heads. As if this season hadn’t started out with enough heart break (which I will refrain from rehashing for fear of being hurt) [Editor’s Note: coward x2], a row between its best player (ever?) and beloved coach could have been the last straw for the
ego’s of their supporters. If you’re
a regular reader of 90 Minutes of Hopp, you know how dear their fans hold these
two men in their hearts (here and here, for
example), so only a massive come back away win in Anfield could restore their
pride, and bring smiles back to the faces of the Udinese faithful [Editor’s Note: Friulanos never smile, we just look less
pained]. DiNatale’s comments
after the game would seem to indicate that that the problems have been
solved, but winning will always make things easier. This could be an interesting story to watch.
2. San Siro Curse – Install a brand new synthetic pitch in your stadium so you don’t have a messy field every time you play, and you would think that this would help your team. Well in nine home games played by both Inter and Milan (including Serie A, UEFA CL, and EL), they have only just won their first games each. What is most surprising is who these giants of Italian soccer have lost points to; Milan to Sampdoria (see above) and Atalanta, and a UCL tie to Anderlecht and Inter to Roma and Siena, drawing Vaslui and Rubin Kazan in UEL. Now, I can’t say that I don’t hope this string of poor results continues for the Milan sides, but this is definitely one of the biggest surprises to see Milan sitting in 11th position, and until the last two weeks, seeing Inter mid table as well.
1. Goals, Goals, Goals – Boring. Defensive. Catenaccio. If these are the words you use to describe Serie A, you
’re a moron really need to pay
more attention. Average goals per game
in La Liga - 2.8, in the Premiership - 2.8, in Serie A - 2.6. Big difference from the “high flying” leagues
of Europe, where only slow, defensive minded, tactical games are played. Fifteen games have been won by a two goal
margin, and nine by a three goal margin (compared with fifteen and two in
Spain, and twelve and seven in England).
Serie A continues to be a league of competitive teams, playing great
soccer, where, if you’re not a well prepared squad, you will get beat. Any team can win. Every team can compete. And this is far from boring a campionato.
The great story lines will continue…. As they always do in Serie A.
Hopefully you enjoyed this second guest post and will enjoy reading my future posts
more than as much as you do Sonja’s [Editor’s Note: dude, I’m standing right here!] By the
way, have I told you that you look great in that shirt?
Well, that’s about it from us right now (even though I didn’t really contribute), I’ll be at BMO tomorrow for the DC United game, come say hi and buy me a we-beat-Liverpool-in-Europa-so-buy-me-a-congratulatory-drink drink.
Post script: why do people keel writing about how I becomes emotional unstable during soccer games? Geez…