Just by looking at some of the incidents that took place last weekend, we can safely say that Italian football is up there with the best – well on its way to finding the form it was famous for in the 80s and 90s.
But of course this wouldn’t be Italy without a bit of Italian cheekiness on the side.
Trouble at the top?
After 12 games, three-year-running champions, Inter, are on course to add a fourth scudetto to their silverware cabinet; although next weekend could well affect their push for the title. At the moment Inter are the team to beat – well-organised under Jose Mourinho and with an on form striker in Ibrahimovic, (who bagged a brace against Palermo last weekend). Next weekend however, they come face to face with the Bianconeri (Juventus). And by taking a peek at JuveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s latest results (including the Champions League), they are looking like an equally unstoppable force after beating Spanish giants Real Madrid 2-0 and annihilating Genoa 4-1. Could we be in for a treat on Saturday night then? All signs point to yes.
AC Milan are breathing down the neck of Inter -Ã‚Â they’re only one point behind in second place. And this weekend theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re up against the less threatening Torino, who are 16th in the table and have only won three games this season. For all of their previous success, Milan arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t shaping up to be the force they once were, even with the summer additions Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re coming across to fans as more a team that is happy to score one goal and sit back for the rest of the game, rather than the dominant footballing force they once were.
In their last four games, AC have scored just one goal per game.
Could David BeckhamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arrival in January change things and help them pick up the pace? If so, it’s probable that Vice President, Adriano Galliani will consider extending BeckhamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 3 month loan, despite clear plans not to.
“I want to make clear that the club does not have any future projects for him [Beckham]. All we know is that he will come to Dubai [the winter break] and then he will return to Galaxy in March, besides that nothing else.”
Roma on the other hand, have had a horrendous season so far, finding themselves struggling against the lesser opposition. That said, they’ve recently regained some form with 4 points from their last two games.
After seeing off Lazio at the Roman derby with a header from Julio Baptista and with a win against Chelsea on the side, confidence has started to flow back to Luciano SpallettiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side as they lifted themselves out of the relegation zone last weekend, with the added bonus of a game in hand. They meet Lecce this weekend, who themselves have only won 2 games this season, but are still a point ahead of Roma.
Clever tactics or just juvenile mischief?
During SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clash between Catania and Torino, an incident occurred that has sparked off a little debate. As both teams were preparing themselves for a free-kick to the left of the penalty area, Gianvito Plasmati revealed his underpants to TorinoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s goalkeeper Matteo Sereni in the wall just before Mascara curled in a beautiful effort. Have a look for yourself here.
Whilst on the face of it, the incident is a just a bit of light-hearted gamesmanship, many have reacted angrily, and one notable reaction was that of refereeing legend, Pierluigi Collina. He claims that Plasmati was let off too easily.
“The [Catania] player’s behaviour is not addressed in the rules, but it nevertheless represents a lack of respect with regard to the opponent, so it needs to be dealt with.”
Following the incident, Catania coach Walter Zenga has promised that this type of behaviour would not happen again. But in many people’s eyes it influence football and the idea may well spread to other teamsÃ‚Â possibly ruining (in this case), the not-so-beautiful game, forever!