Straight from the dark heart of Italy
We might have known that it wouldn’t take long for Jose Mourinho to return to haunt one half of Milan.
The Special One will back at the San Siro when Real Madrid face AC Milan in the Champions League.
will be something of the evil twin of Ricky Kaka who slipped out of the
city without a ciao, ciao - and had to wait until Real played the
Rossoneri in Europe to thank everyone for helping him for a leg-up in
Subsequent events have suggested that his time in
Italy is probably as good as it will get for the Brazilian but who knows
if last season will turn out to be a similar football-epithet for the
One thing is certain when Real pitch up at their hotel
they will be mobbed by Inter fans who can’t wait for such a special
The draw set the pulse racing to varying degrees for each of Italy’s group stage representatives.
defending champions, who also swept the awards from goalkeeper to
striker at the Champions League draw ceremony, will be content to have
pulled Tottenham, Werder Bremen and FC Twente out of the pot – little
travelling, excellent stadiums and teams that play in a straightforward
Milan have less to be satisfied with – and as it was last
season it will not be the double-header with Real that settles the
outcome of the group but the matches against Ajax and AJ Auxerre.
Rossoneri came away with a win at the Bernabeu last year and then
followed that up with a draw at home only undo all their good work with a
home defeat to FC Zurich and a draw against Marseille which left them
facing Manchester United in the round of the last sixteen as group
AS Roma will have similar concerns when they take on
FC Basel and CFR Cluj, having lost to both opponents in last year’s
Europa League, however, the stand-out games will be against Bayern
Munich and the Giallorossi should be looking to top the group.
Champions League will remain an inciting side-dish for a few weeks yet
and amongst all the headlines on whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic will join
Milan and why no one wants to move to Juventus, the new season starts
Inter won’t be in action until Monday evening at
Bologna so for once we will have a new name at the top of the table – or
more than likely a long line of team on three points.
get their campaign off to a winning start at home against Cesena who
are back in the top flight for the first time since 1991 – and will no
doubt approach the game with the mentality of a Serie B side playing an
Italian Cup tie at the Olympic stadium.
Another new arrival, Lecce
might fancy their chances, however, at Milan who have lost to
newly-promoted sides at home on the opening day in the past.
third new boy, Brescia would also expect to take something from their
trip to Parma although Sebastian Giovinco could finally start to blossom
in the more relaxed atmosphere of Emilia-Romagna.
However, the games of the first round will be Fiorentina at home to Napoli and Bari welcoming Juventus.
four teams will be worth watching – for differing reasons. How will the
Viola fair under Sinisa Mihajlovic, can Napoli do a Sampdoria and make
the breakthrough into the top four and will Bari follow their 10th-place
finish with a year battling against relegation?
However, all eyes will be on the Old Lady as she desperately searches for a new identity under Gigi Del Neri.
has been moved on and by the time you read this Fabio Quagliarella
should have arrived on loan from Napoli but the sum of the parts may not
add up to a top-four chasing whole.
There are certainly enough
teams pushing for European places, such as Genoa who are home to an
Udinese side lifted by Antonio Di Natale’s snub of Juve. Sampdoria need
to put their Champions League exit behind them when they meet Lazio who
could just as easily explode or implode.
Watch out for Palermo who
finished two points off fourth place last term. The Sicilians have
cashed in on Edinson Cavani and Simon Kjaer but have kept potentially
the player of the year: Javier Pastore. Much will depend on tightening
up a defence that conceded 47 times last year.
So, putting the Serie Aaaaargh! head on the block, here comes the predictions for the 2010-11 Serie A season.
1. AS Roma
Italian Cup winners
More from Serie Aaaaargh!
It wasn't a great draw for the Italians in either the CL or the Europa. Still, I would expect most, if not all, to qualify. Milan are probably in the most danger of getting knocked out, and it wouldn't be any loss if they did.
Roma and Inter should go through. As for Juve, I don't see any point buying the likes of Krasic if they then offload Diego. Quagliarella is an ok player, but Juve have serious problems up front this season if some signings are not made soon. I would'nt be surprised to see Pazzini arrive before the deadline.
ricardo, id love to see as roma finally raise the scudetto after so many close calls, but i feel like it will come down to inter vs milan (if they land ibra of course). the italian teams should play with a purpose this european season as they cannot let themselves get overtaken by the germans on coefficient!
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