Monday, July 13, 2009

So, How Did We Do?: Part 2

Back again, and looking at how we picked Serie A over the last season! Here's the chart:

Ye Olde Scrying CauldronReality
2AC Milan2Juventus
3Fiorentina3AC Milan
16Chievo Verona16Chievo Verona

Well, then, kudos to the Seers for a) correctly picking the champion, and b) correctly picking one of the relegated teams (poor, poor, Reggina). And hey, we succesfully nailed the final positions of three teams (Inter, Lazio, and Chievo Verona), one better than we did in England! Beyond that, there were some real shocks, as a number of teams were well away from where we'd picked them.

Genoa versus Juventus back in April. Genoa (in red and blue) won 3-2.

First of all, the good. The big story of the season was Genoa, who amazingly came within a lick of overhauling Fiorentina for the last Champions' League spot. Tiny Siena, whom we'd picked to finish dead last, not only survived but for once did so comfortably. And, even though they finished only three spots above where we'd picked them, Juventus had a far better year than I foresaw.

And now, that bad. I would think that the season's biggest disappointment had to be Napoli, who started very brightly, and then basically stopped getting results around Christmas-time. Of their final 21 games, Napoli won 3, although one of them was a fine victory over Inter, and so a club that maybe had an outside shot at the Champions' League won't be playing in Europe next season at all. Bologna, as well, didn't live up to expections. We mentioned them in the prediction article, saying something like "keep an eye on Bologna," and keep an eye on them we did. We watched as they strolled into Milan on opening day and beat AC, and we felt very smart. And then we watched as they nearly got relegated, and we didn't feel so smart anymore! Torino somehow managed not to avoid relegation. And finally, Genoa fans had two reasons to celebrate, as their cross-city rivals Sampdoria had a dreadful season, and finished well in the bottom half.

Yeah, it was kind of like that for Napoli in 2009

It's going to be very interesting to watch Serie A in the next few seasons. At this point, for the first time in decades, the big talent is flowing out of Italian club soccer, not into it. This has also been happening in German soccer recently, and the result this year was that the Bundesliga had a first-time champion in VFB Wolfsburg. It's also been a feature of Dutch soccer for about the last ten years, and there too we are seeing lesser-known clubs (AZ Alkmaar, this year's champion, for example) mounting serious challenges to the big boys. So, it is just possible that we may see the big four in Italy coming back to the field a little bit, which would actually be rather fun!

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