Archive for January, 2008

Siamo Chiusi!

January 30, 2008 12:10 am

(We’re closed!)

Alright. I’m going away for a few days. It’s not a vacation… well… not totally. It’s one of those half pleasure, half business deals… and no, it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl… that’s for damn sure.

In any event, I’m going to be out until about halfway through next week.

Until I return, enjoy Gattuso smacking people around:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Grazie, Udinese!

January 27, 2008 4:23 pm

Udinese 0 -0 The Great Zaltan and his Argentine Minions

Hey – it might not be a Nerazzurri loss, but the rest of Serie A will take it, as Roma now close the gap by two points, leaving only five between the Giallorossi and ArgentInter.

So thanks, Udinese!

Looking at ArgentInter’s form as of late, the words “turning point” come to mind; two draws (granted, against worthy opponents) preceded by a shaky victory against a side that sits at the bottom half of the table do not exactly inspire confidence. If we weren’t talking about the league-leading Nerazzurri here, you can bet your behind that the word “crisis” would be tossed around by the Italian media for sure. Of course, Mancini believes the cards are stacked against him, but the rest of us are just muttering “welcome to the club.”

After the next Coppa Italia fixture against Juventus, things will get a bit easier on Inter, as they face Empoli, Catania and Livorno in succession. When that’s over, however, that’s when things get interesting. ArgentInter will have to travel to Anfield where they face a rabid ‘Pool (a contest that’s sure to wear them down like no other) and then return home and square off against Sampdoria, and three days later… Roma.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Rolando Bianchi was on the field for all of five minutes before being booked and subsequently sent off in Lazio’s draw with Torino.

The Duck bagged his first brace for the Rossoneri, as Ancelotti lined him up in front of Seedorf in Milan’s win over Genoa. With Seedorf going buck-wild for Milan as of late, one wonders if Ka-Pa-Ro shouldn’t be shelved in place of See-Ka-Pa. (Yeah, my head hurts from that too.) Oh… and FatRon’s hurt again. [sarcasm]What a great investment![/sarcasm]

Cagliari showed that they’re more desperate than Napoli, in what I’m going to call a slight upset, though Napoli’s Hamsik definitely deserves honorable mention for his third goal in two matches. Oddly enough, Cagliari started out without Foggia again, bringing him on for Acquafresca in the 56th minute. Something’s going on behind the scenes there, although I’m not sure what; chances are, it’s related to chair throwing enforcers. Anyway, congratulations to Cagliari for their first three-pointer since freaking September.

Juve e Lazio Crescere

January 25, 2008 2:49 am

(Juve and Lazio Grow)

By now hopefully everyone has heard that Manchester City is loaning striker Rolando Bianchi to Lazio.  Don’t worry though – I’m not writing about it to inform you of the move.  Instead, I’d like to point out that this is the first step forward Lazio have taken since they went friggin’ mental after crashing out of the Champion’s League.    Sure, they managed to pick up a match here and there, most notably today against Fiorentina, but behind the scenes, things could’ve been better with their two best players: loseWeight Exercise him.”>Pandev and Rocchi.  Now… Lazio are in such bad shape that you’d think they’d be promising the world to their two best guys while simultaneously tacking on a few acquisitions to fight off the relegation ghosts, but there they sit in 14th place, moving on nothing. Nobody. Zero. Niente.

Enter Bianchi.  Finally, they’re taking some action, but he’s one guy.  Hey Lazio… borrowing Bianchi is just a warm-up, right?

Up north, Juventus have shed Criscito and Olivera, but it sounds like they’re about to bring on Sissoko, the used-to-be-amazing controlling midfielder whose form (according to a Liverpool-loving friend of mine) has been very so-so as of late.  Actually,  until further notice, let’s call him so-so-Sissoko.  Today, another midfielder from the ‘Pool is yapping about Juve, leading me to speculate regarding his motives.  Why Juve?  Why not that other place where all of the Argentine dudes follow the Swede Piper?  Is this guy buddies with so-so?

Alright. Now, I have something totally unrelated for you… but I mean that in the best possible way.  Some of you might remember that just before Christmas, I posted a incomprehensibly stupid video about English dudes who voluntarily allowed Wayne Rooney – who I think looks like a Cabbage Patch Kid, and who Marco tells us is one ugly dude – to freakin’ blast shots right them.

Well, apparently they let Italy’s own Rino Gattuso have a go, and although I’m not sure if he shells these clowns as thoroughly as Rooney, I was amused by the concept of Gattuso training with a pit bull.  Anyway, here you go:

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(In case you’re wondering, there are two other renditions of this stupidity, one with Malouda and the other with Frings. Both are on YouTube.)

Totti: “L’Inter sarà solo seconda”

January 22, 2008 11:33 pm

(Totti: “Inter will only be second.”)

It’s a good thing I’m a Roma fan, otherwise I’d call Il Capitano overconfident for making a claim like this.  Since I am a Roma fan, however, I’ll call him ballsy and quietly hope that Inter don’t use his words as motivation.  Here’s my best translation of Er Pupone’s words, taken from here:

Interviewer: “You win playing beautiful football, but Inter runs…”

Totti: “I believe that for the Scudetto, there’s now an Inter-Roma dual, with all respect to the others…”

Interviewer: “Totti, but who will win the tri-color?”

Totti: “Of course, Roma. Inter will only be second.” 

Il Capitano also answered a bizarre question about the Pope, of whom he apparently has a very high opinion, as well as one about fan violence, which he (of course) condemned.  The latter question was a follow-on to incidents taking place at Sunday’s Roma-Catania match in which three Catania supporters were stabbed. (None of the wounds were serious, thankfully.  Actually, if I had to guess, I’d wager to say that they were stabs to the ass.  Yes, I’m serious.  Maybe somebody in the know can back me up on that.)

Alright.  That’s all for today.  (Life outside serieAmerica calls.) Remember though, tomorrow Coppa Italia continues, and of course, if you’re on this side of the pond you may find yourself scrambling for an alternate means of viewing the matches.  That said, ESPN360 claims to cover Coppa Italia, although I haven’t tried to use it yet.  If anybody tries it, post a comment!

Fortuna sorride su Inter. Ancora.

January 21, 2008 5:27 am

(Luck smiles on Inter. Again.)

First off, let me say that I’m conscious of the fact that I bitch about Inter a lot, but contrary to what my actions may suggest, I don’t want to make this a “look at what ArgentInter did this week” blog, and I don’t enjoy writing about them… especially when they’re pulling wins out of their collective ass, as was the case this week. Unfortunately, as it turns out, it just seems like they’re always doing something morbidly newsworthy, whether it’s fielding a team of players from everywhere but Italy, or rolling through Italy’s best at the feet of Zaltan The Great (a.k.a. Calcio’s JarJar), or sneaking by more win-worthy squads on the wings of luck. One way or another, they’re attention getters.

This week, it was so bad that their own coach admits that they got off easy, something I haven’t seen him do for a while… if ever. Anyway, you can judge for yourself. Maybe you’ll do a better job than me of spotting the “penalty” at the end:

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The good news is, if Inter are going to play like that, hilarity is sure to ensue when they face Juventus on 1/23 and 1/30 (Coppa Italia), and Udinese on 1/27. Three consecutive tough matches might be a bit much for Lady Luck to handle, yes?

Ah… Udinese. Some uncharacteristically poor finishing up front cost them (and handed Milan) three points this week, so hopefully they’ll be raring to go come InterTime, although Udinese will have to contend with Catania this week (Coppa Italia again) as well. (What a brilliant backheel by Kaka on that assist!)

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Edit: Siena upset Palermo this weekend, 3-2. (Back in October, I said that Siena could be friggin’ nasty, and it looks like it’s still true. Here’s to hoping they don’t get relegated.)

The following video has highlights from two matches: Palermo-Siena and Reggina-Cagliari

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Regarding Reggina-Cagliari, you know things are bad when you make Reggina look awesome. Where the hell was Foggia? I’d hate to write a team off halfway through the season, but folks… let’s just say I think one of our relegation spots is definitely spoken for.

Del Piero mi dà mal di testa.

January 19, 2008 6:02 am

(Del Piero gives me a headache.)

Would somebody please tell Alex Del Piero that silence is golden… please? First he makes presumptuous demands of the nazionale, then he’s calling out his goals Babe Ruth-style, and now… now he’s pointing the finger (while saying he’s not pointing the finger, of course) and making some stupidly obvious statements.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this doesn’t sound like a very leader-like way to talk, does it?

Maybe some players have given more than others.

What? Sorry, but I don’t think any professional should ever say anything of the sort, no matter how true.

And how about this? Can you say Captain Obvious?

Inter are stronger than the other sides in Italy. They have a deep squad and they have consolidated the players that they have.

I guess that explains how Inter got to the top of the table, right? They’re stronger? Also, having Hernan freakin’ Crespo as a backup is a slight bonus, right?

Perhaps Alex is preparing the Juve faithful for a crash-out against Inter in the Coppa Italia, now that both sides are through. Who knows. If Juve are going to give Inter a hard time, I’d rather see them do it during the Scudetto hunt.

Oh yeah… about that whole Scudetto hunt thing – The most interesting matches this weekend are Inter – Parma (on the outside chance that Lucarelli comes in at some point, though it’s highly improbable Update: Parma’s coach isn’t ruling the big man out! LINK), Roma – Catania (because Roma have a pretty thin back line at the moment, though the last time Catania visited Stadio Olimpico, the Giallorossi put on a show), and Milan – Udinese (because of the versatile “Di Natagliarella” attack facing off against the Ka-Pa-Ro samba trident).

Regarding that last one, as much as I’d love to see Milan crank it up a notch and climb into a Champions League spot eventually, I am not crazy (in case you haven’t guessed) about their current Brazilian obsession. In contrast, I really like both Quagliarella and Di Natale, and I’d like to see them open it up against someone… anyone (except Roma).

About Milan’s strikers: You might remember that two posts ago, I said that Gila needed to look for another job. Well, although Gila’s agent denies it, it’s probably true. Gazzetta dello Sport say that Gila wants to either play or bounce, and Corriere dello Sport are saying that a Milan-Fiorentina (Gila-Frye) swap is in the works, although I’ve heard something else debunking that one.

Non è tempo di parlare di questo.

January 15, 2008 11:57 pm

(It’s not time to talk about this.)

I’m referring to the World Cup 2010 qualification fixtures, of course! They were announced today, but in my opinion, it’s really too early to discuss a set of matches beginning in September when there’s the little matter of the Euro 2008 tournament between now and then. (By the way, Euro 2008 is just 143 days away, in case you’re wondering. Yes, I agree that it sure as $*!# is soon.) Since it is too friggin’ early to really get into it, I’ll just list the fixtures. If you really want to go nuts analyzing, you can refer back to my post-draw… um… post.

September 6, 2008 – Cyprus (Away)
September 10, 2008 – Georgia
(Home)
October 11, 2008 – Bulgaria
(Away)
October 15, 2008 – Montenegro
(Home)
March 28, 2009 – Montenegro
(Away)
April 1, 2009 – Republic of Ireland
(Home)
September 5, 2009 – Georgia
(Away)
September 9, 2009 – Bulgaria
(Home)
October 10, 2009 – Republic of Ireland
(Away)
October 14, 2009 – Cyprus
(Home)

OK. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the events that are a bit more current.

First of all, Maniche is now at Inter, and Lucarelli is finally at Parma. Done. Finito. I’m not discussing it anymore until they play.

Other than that, it’s all about Coppa Italia, as we’ve started the second leg of the Round of 16. Here are the standings (leaders in green):

  1st Leg Agg. 2nd Leg
Torino 3-1 - - Roma
Cagliari 1-0 - - Sampdoria
Udinese 0-0 - - Palermo
Milan 1-2 - - Catania
Lazio 2-1 - - Napoli
Ascoli 1-1 - - Fiorentina
Empoli 2-1 5-6 3-5 Juventus
Reggina 1-4 - - Inter

Udinese – Palermo and Fiorentina – Ascoli are pretty straightforward. Win the second leg, and you’re through.

Udine probably has a tougher test than Fiorentina though, as Palermo are probably still licking their wounds from this past weekend’s Sampdoria match, and will therefore be extra motivated. Compare that to Fiorentina, who face a side currently sitting in 11th place… in Serie B. Um… yeah.

As for Milan – Catania, I see Milan pulling through. Ancelotti says he’s playing resting some of his 37 Brazilians, which means that Gilardino has a chance to show that he can hang.

Reggina – Inter. [sarcasm]Gosh. I wonder![/sarcasm] To be honest, Inter got lucky this weekend, and it’s possible that they might eek through on good fortune again, but even if Reggina manage to upset Inter in this leg, it’s not like they’ll upset them by a four-goal margin. If they do, I promise a nice, big Reggina tribute post.

Looking at Torino – Roma… man, what a cr@p situation for Roma! Torino will be looking to get their act together after this weekend’s loss to Livorno, and they hold the advantage. Not that Spalletti ever rotates the squad anyway, but I don’t think Roma will rest anybody; I’m expecting Totti-Perrotta-Aquilani-De Rossi to light it up in front of a home crowd.

As for Cagliari – Sampdoria, who the hell knows? On one side, you have a head case who storms off the pitch while cursing out his teammates and balling his eyes out, and on the other side, you have a guy that rolls with chair-throwing henchmen. Damnit, I love calcio.

Lazio – Napoli. This is the official Battle of the Troubled Teams, I think. Lazio just can’t seem to get anything right this season, while Napoli have had to endure piles of trash and Samba-dancing trident attacks. I wouldn’t touch this one with a 10-foot pole. (Hey UK readers – Do you guys use that expression?)

Of course, Empoli – Juventus is over, and Juve came away with the victory (though Raineri is understandably not a happy camper), which means they’ll probably end up facing Inter next round.