Monday, 27 August 2007

Spotlight - Week 1: David the Goliath

Here's a round up of the winners and the losers from Week 1 of the Serie A season...


David Trezeguet (Juventus): In his last Serie A game he announced he was quitting Juve. Just over a year later he marked his comeback with a hat-trick in their 5-1 win over Livorno. The fans are thanking their lucky stars he decided to stay, as there are few strikers out there more prolific than Trezegol.

Alberto Aquilani (Roma): In the space of eight days he won the Italian Super Cup, graduated from Under-21 to senior Azzurri level and scored a stunning long-range strike in Roma’s 2-0 victory away to Palermo on his 100th official appearance in a Giallorossi jersey. Who can ask for more?

Tommaso Vailatti (Torino): The 20-year-old netted for his hometown club just minutes into his Serie A debut, earning his beloved Toro a point at the Stadio Olimpico. With the veteran forwards like Nicola Ventola misfiring, we may have witnessed the start of one of this season’s success stories.

Julio Cesar (Inter): Roberto Mancini insisted his team would not have been held by Udinese had they finished the game with all 11 players. The blame rests squarely at the feet – or rather the wandering hands – of the goalkeeper who saw red for handling outside the box. His face as he went to tip the ball off Gyan Asamoah’s head suggested he already knew what came next.

Silvio Baldini (Catania): It is fortunate Baldini – who was fired by Parma in 2004 – said he did not have revenge on his mind when he returned to the Tardini, as who knows what he could have done if he were angry!? In disgraceful scenes the Coach was sent off for dissent, then kicked colleague Mimmo Di Carlo in the backside as he was dragged away by members of his bench. A long ban awaits, but this terrible example has already been set.

Edy Reja (Napoli): He has been threatened with the axe ever since he took over at Napoli and the tactician has done himself no favours with a shock opening day home defeat to Cagliari. It was not the re-introduction to Serie A the club was hoping for and the team looked sluggish. As Genoa also learned to their cost this weekend, the top flight is a very different ball game.

Vincenzo Montella (Sampdoria):
L’Aeroplanino is back! Soon after coming on as a substitute, he exchanged passes with Sergio Volpi and smashed a splendid volley into the far top corner with his weaker right foot. The mouth waters thinking what he could do alongside Antonio Cassano.

Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina): The Under-21 international rarely scores a dull goal and this was no exception, spinning round Andrea Raggi to precisely lob the goalkeeper from a tight angle. Montolivo really is an artist of the sport.

Alessandro Rosina (Torino): Here is why they call him Rosinaldo. The Torino talent spotted Marco Ballotta off his line and disguised his sneaky chip to leave the veteran stranded at the Stadio Olimpico.

Home sweet home:
Not only have Napoli lost on their return to Serie A, but the 2-0 collapse against Cagliari was their first home defeat in all competitions for nearly three years. In fact, Reja had never lost at the San Paolo since taking over the team. Yet it was part of a trend, as in Week 1 there were four away victories compared to just two home wins. Only Napoli, Genoa and Palermo – all playing on their own turf – failed to find the net.

Mexes off the mark: Philippe Mexes scored the fastest goal of 2007-08, netting just three minutes into Roma’s 2-0 win at Palermo. He had one of only 10 ‘foreign’ strikes compared to 21 by Italian players and a single Ivan Cordoba own goal. Once again Serie A is proving to be prolific, with an average of over three goals per game in this first round.

Bete blanc et noir: Udinese are the taboo team for Inter, as last season they were the only side to remain undefeated against the Scudetto winners, holding out for 1-1 at San Siro and a goalless draw at the Friuli. The Nerazzurri had never before failed to win their opener in August and it is only their second Week 1 draw in the last seven years.

Source: Susy Campanale (C4 Football Italia)

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