Well, better late than never! Yes, Serie A is techinically 5 rounds into its season, but here we are with a preview nonetheless.
And what a bizarre 5 rounds they've been! If the season were to end today, Inter would win the title, which is not surprising at all, but they'd be joined in the Champions' League by Lazio, Chievo Verona, and Brescia. At the other end of the table, Lecce would be relegated, which may happen anyway, but AS Roma and Udinese would also take up residence in Serie B. Newly promoted Cesena, who haven't been in the top division in a couple of decades, have already drawn Roma and beaten AC Milan. Weirdness abounds.
The oddity that is this young season was perfectly encapsulated by the events that occurred late in the Brescia-Roma match on September 22nd. In the waning moments of the game, with Brescia leading 2-1, Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio threw himself into a reckless sliding tackle on Brescia's Panagiotis Kone. The Roma player ended up with a yellow card, and, more seriously, a dislocated and generally torn up ankle. However, Roma were already down a man due to an earlier red card, and had used up all their substitutions. And so poor old Julio Sergio was hastily taped up, and then forced to remain in goal, though obviously in extreme distress, until the end of the match. It was all rather... well, awkward and uncomfortable, actually, although probably not as uncomfortable as it was for Julio Sergio, who's expected to miss a month or so of action. Here's the whole sordid affair, set to piano music for some reason:
Early season weirdness, however, does tend to sort itself out, as injuries pile up, slow starters get themselves settled, and talent, or lack thereof, begins to tell, and the final table will probably look at least moderately familiar. The big four look to be in pretty good shape to take the Champions' spots, but the wizened seers see the title moving across Milan to reside with Berlusconi's boys, with a lingering chance that this occurs for reasons other than on-field performance. As for the relegation question, Lecce and Cesena appear weak, despite the latter's early season feats, and I just have a bad feeling about Bologna. Between those two extremes it's a hard to say. Economic crisis and a new, more equitable, TV deal, are in the process of bringing more parity to Serie A, even as Italian clubs slip back a little bit in comparison with their Spanish and English counterparts (the German and Dutch leagues have undergone the same process in recent seasons). Although the big clubs still have their noses in front, it's likely that this season and those to come will see more competition and excitement than there's been in Serie A for some time! Anyway, here's your predicted final table: