Zdenek Zeman's desire to see more goals upon taking the reigns at Roma has proven prophetic, but for all the wrong reasons.
Round 10 wrap
This round, played on Thursday morning (AEDT), has confirmed a few truths about Italy's top competition.
Juventus is by far the strongest team, and would probably be at the top of the ladder even without the plentiful assistance its received from referees.
In Europe however, where referees are less kind to the bianconeri, it's a different story. Inter Milan is the only credible opposition, while Napoli is already six points behind, mainly because its squad is a joke.
How anybody can consider Lazio a viable contender for the title escapes me. While it has a good coach, it also has a weak squad and mediocre first-team regulars.
The pleasant surprises are Fiorentina, Parma and Cagliari.
However, despite Fiorentina’s good performances, Vincenzo Montella’s men are already 13 points behind Juventus.
I don't agree, in general terms, with coaches' sacking, replacement and so on during the season. However, since Cagliari replaced Massimo Ficcadenti with Ivo Polga the club has won four consecutive matches. I suppose, in this case, points are more convincing than football theories.
One of the biggest disappointments, after only 10 matches, is Zdenek Zeman's Roma, beaten again, this time by Parma. One has to wonder how much longer Zeman will be in charge.
At the bottom of the table there are no surprises. Pescara is learning that enthusiasm alone is not enough to survive in Serie A. Siena and Bologna are where they belong and the same can be said about Palermo and Genoa.
Their position reflects the policy of their respective chairmen: ignoring supporters' legitimate aspirations, selling their best players and blaming their coach if things do not go well. Good luck to them. They'll need it.
Works both ways
Italian referees enjoy an excellent reputation. Outside of Italy. At home they are just not as good, as shown in last weekend's matches. "Too much pressure", I hear the do-gooders among you saying.
So I invite you to reflect. Have you ever seen a controversial decision favouring a medium-to-small team against the top ones? So, off you go with criticism about this column. But I am ready to apologise, as soon as a decision will finally go against the likes of Juventus.
Word of mouth
Football all over the world offers moments of passion, rage, exhilaration and joy. Not to mention subtle irony. Take the statement by Andrea Agnelli, the Juventus chairman, after the win stolen in Catania. "I found an attitude and a behaviour of hostility towards Juventus before, during and after the match," he said. Maybe he suffered some trauma in his childhood.
Here’s an interesting proposal from Norway: if a team is leading by four goals, then its opponent can bring on an extra player. It's interesting that this suggestion surfaced just a few hours before Arsenal went from 0-4 to 7-5 in the League Cup match with Reading. And no need of the extra player.
Here we go again. But let's stick to facts. In the Catania v Juventus match, Catania was disallowed a perfectly regular goal. And Juventus's goal was irregular and should have been disallowed. The net result was three points to Juventus, which it would not have been awarded if the referee had not robbed Catania. And all the teams are chasing the bianconeri in Serie A.
"I chose Roma, because I wanted to see many goals scored," said Zdenek Zeman upon his arrival in the Italian capital. At the time, nobody asked "whose goals?". Now we know. Two home defeats against Bologna and Udinese, and six goals conceded. In the wrong goal, perhaps?
By the way, are you interested in investing your family fortunes in AS Roma? Maybe you’ll want to think twice. Losses for last season amount to over $60 million. Similar losses are expected for the current season. What a bargain.
First time for everything
I'm concerned. For the first time in my life I agree with Lazio Chairman Claudio Lotito who, after being robbed in Florence, has come out in favour of television technology being used during matches. Not many owners agree with him, but there is no doubt that this would be the best solution for avoiding mistakes. Which begs the question: why would you want to change when the current system allows referees to favour your team and get away with it?
Mino Raiola versus the world
Well, only part of it. The former pizza-maker has become one of the most powerful player agents in the world. Among his protégées are Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marek Hamsik and Mario Balotelli.
Just in case you doubt my words, Raiola has launched a fiery attack against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini in an interview with the Swedish daily Sport-Expressen.
According to Raiola, Blatter suffers from dementia and Platini is incompetent. Raiola says FIFA and UEFA should be more transparent and make their accounts public.
He also says the most important awards, such as the Balon d'Or, are rigged. Otherwise Ibrahimovic would win hands (and, presumably feet) down. He has a point.
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