Covid19 and The Title Race
This Italian football season was one of the best we had seen in the last couple of years. While there have been some fun title races over that time, there was just something different special and unique about this season. A really bad Juventus, Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan, Gasparini Atalanta, and Ciro immobile leading Lazio to the verge of glory. There was a lot to be excited about throughout the season. I think it’s fair to say that it was a three-team title race most of the year, but at different points, in time, Atlanta did seem to be on the doorstep. Down the stretch, they really look to be a battle between Juventus and Lazio, the League’s two best players going head-to-head with their respective teams on the line. Paulo Dybala or Ciro immobile was going to be the deciding factor in this year’s champion. All the momentum was driving it, especially after Dybala’s brilliant performance against Inter Milan that ultimately, for the most part, saw Antonio Conte’s side exit the title race. It was mono e mono between Lazio and Juventus the majority of the season. There was only one point separating the team when the tragedy occurred. Outside of that, it was a tremendous title race that was halted because of something affecting the rest of the world. The Coronavirus hit China at the beginning of the season, but near the end of the campaign, it started to hit the rest of the world. Italy, a country of an aged population, was the most harshly hit out of any country in Europe until recently. It ended up affecting the rest of the campaign, in what has been an incredibly strange season for football. League Play had to be stopped with 12 games remaining. There were questions of whether or not the season was going to end at all. There were discussions of possible playoffs as well as canceling the season as it stands, and even ripping up the entire season was discussed. After several months the season ended up resuming in July. They got to finish the season in an accelerated schedule as teams had to play every 3 or 4 days so that they could get through the entire calendar. I wouldn’t say the break benefited anyone in particular, but it certainly hurt Lazio and their ability to capture the league title for the first time since 2000. The team collapsed; they surrendered a two-goal lead in a come-from-behind victory for Atlanta. Then preceded to drop points against mid-table sides as well as losing to Juventus a match that very well could have changed the complexion of the season. Inter Milan also had a similar fate as they significantly struggled at the beginning of the restart as well as Roma well AC Milan was the team most benefiting from it. The season would end up finishing with Juventus winning the league title once again only by a mere point. Lazio collapse as Inter Milan stole second, and once again, Atalanta finished in a Champions League spot. Other things change as well beyond the League domestically. Europa League and Champions League campaigns were very different single-game elimination occurred as Bayern Munich and Sevilla will crowned as champions of Europe. The single-game format didn’t change Europe’s champions; those were the teams that were going to win it regardless, but it was just a lot different. They were even cooling brakes due to the hot temperature, especially in Italy, and then beyond that, teams were allowed five substitutions. Italy has cleared out a lot of the Coronavirus, but it could be coming back as we’ve seen a few more positive tests over the last couple of weeks. The League and the country will figure out a way to handle this, and I still do believe the League will start on time, but it’s been a crazy season that most of us haven’t been a part of because of this the challenges of the change of schedule will be affected of the next campaign. Next season will be back to normal what for the time being this is what not just Italy the entirety of Europe had to deal with an unforgettable season.
Lecce Go Down But Capture our Hearts
Lecce was promoted this last season to Italian football for the first time in a long time. It has been a battle for the club to get back to the big time when they got here they didn’t disappoint. Even though the final result may not have been what they wanted, it was a team that was fun. Like most people, I did not think they stood a chance of surviving an entire season. Ultimately I was right, but I shouldn’t have been. Their relegation this past season was harsh, as any I have seen in recent times. In the grand scheme of things, when you look at this season, they were not among the three worst teams. In terms of stats and numbers, they were, but in terms of actuality and what the teams represented, Genoa should have been relegated. I understand how much history is associated with that club, but they have been so bad for so long, but keeping on Surviving how they keep doing this is beyond me. Genoa deserves to stay up based on the number of points they were able to collect, but were the team we all wanted to see return for a second season. They probably would not have survived another campaign, but they deserved the opportunity to try. Lecce captured our hearts. Their ultimate faith is something they did not deserve; we were all cheering for them to stay up, but it turned out to be a losing battle they couldn’t win. It is somewhat uncommon for fans of Italy to have so much love and admiration for a club that had not been in the top flight for very long. it wasn’t just excellent manager Viviani who was such a character a big guy with a vast personality out often very animated on the sidelines. Summer really fantastic players like Marco Mancosu, Marco Calderoni, and other pieces to this team that made them such a sight to see this season. They’ve had some rough games where they were ripped apart; however, they had some genuinely Sensational games they beat Torino twice a team that finished in the top seven; they also did the double against Napoli the Coppa Italia winners. They seem to have a fighting Spirit about them; they never gave up regardless of what the scoreboard ultimately would say they fought; they gave everything, and they couldn’t survive only based on the amount of talent that that team had. This is a team that most Italian football will miss I wouldn’t go as far as it was heartbreaking. Still, it was sad not seeing then given what they deserve; they will not be out for long by the same time they have a lot of good players that will be poached. Viviani will be back next season as he’s reportedly a step away from joining Parma. Nonetheless, I will always remember them fondly for what they did this season. They couldn’t do enough against the lower teams is what really cost them against teams in the top half of the table they did as well as a newly-promoted team could have Hellas Verona may have overshadowed them but all things considered, Lecce will be missed in Italian football come back soon.
Last season Torino ended up in the press for all the right reasons. They went above and beyond what anyone expected for them to achieve last season. They had the best goalkeeper in the previous campaign. They were one of the underdogs of the Season finishing much higher than a previous couple of Seasons. Andrea Belotti was finding the mark and had help in many different areas. Meanwhile, Florentina, even though they did not have a high season last year, they came in with so much expectation for them to deliver on at least a much-improved campaign. Rocco commisso became majority owner of Fiorentina with that there was a lot of hope and exposure as Fiorentina took Roma’s spot in the US pre-season tour. Along with that came expectations with Rising Stars within the team like Vladovic, Castrovili Nikola Milinkovic, and as always be ever so explosive and dangerous Federico Chiesa even though they lost Luis Muriel to Atalanta they had more than enough to push themselves into a top 8 position. Both Torino and Fiorentina saw their expectations go up in Flames as they had were an utter disaster. They went through many manager changes throughout a Messy campaign. Neither team even remotely lived up to the expectations put on them at the start of the season. Torino, we’re nearly in a relegation battle for at least part of the season only residing a couple of points in front of it; meanwhile, Fiorentina had the same fate at least for most of the season they got things right during the restart and ended up finishing in the top 10. However, given the expectations surrounding with so many young players within the squad, they never truly lived up to it. They got into the top 10 by circumstance, not by ability. Without the restart, they probably don’t finish anywhere near there. In some way, they were benefited from it. Regardless of the expectations and their failure to deliver, one thing is abundantly clear after hope and admiration. It looks like two young teams on the rise; the polar opposite occurs the future is both these clubs will hang in the balance. Federico Chiesa will most likely be at Fiorentina next season. Still, only because of his price tag meanwhile, Torino could lose some of their best players neither team has a secure manager in place long story short no matter both sides fell flat on their face they were The Underachievers of Italian football.
Hellas Verona Best Promotion side This Decade
Is Hellas Verona The greatest promotion side this decade? This is a conversation that is plausible with Hellas Verona. They came into this season as almost the favorites to finish bottom of the table. Even though they’d finished second in Serie B last season, it didn’t make a difference. They had very little quality at least noticeable quality; there was nothing about them that would suggest that they could finish near the top half of the table. Looking back at what they were able to do, they certainly have the mentality and the quality to go through an incredible season. However, going into the campaign, no one even remotely thought they could do what they did. We would have to go back to remember a more Dynamic and successful promotion side in their first season in Italian football. Matteo Pessina Kumbula and others we’re just names on a paper. You can even add Fabio Borini in that they had some qualities there; was no denying that. The problem was I didn’t feel they had enough Firepower to get the appropriate amount of goals that would save them from relegation. There were a lot of question marks revolving around what it would take for them to survive. They were the overachievers this season. Hellas Verona is a club that Italian football is somewhat familiar with; they are what I would call a ping pong Club continually going up and down between the top of Italian football & Serie B. They’ve been around enough over the last couple of seasons to get a realistic take or expectation on what they could do. Usually, for teams being promoted, you need a couple of things a player can get ten goals minimum a decent that can show up in big moments and a manager that can deal with the circumstances of the season. Going into that campaign, it didn’t seem they had any of these, but it’s hard to judge a team, but given that they’ve been around, I thought it was an evident evaluation. Breccia and Lecce seem to have more key players then Hellas Verona; we knew about Mario Balotelli Sandro tonali and others. Verona ended up surprising everyone. They ended up having everything required to get the job done in this league. Whether they can do the next season is yet to be determined. However, this season they nearly got into Europe; there were times when they were in the top six. They had a rough schedule to end the year as they finished in 11th; however, their actuality was much higher than that this season. They got points against Inter Milan Juventus and others; they also took care of business against the Lesser teams. . I don’t remember a team coming up into the top of Italian football and doing this well. Don’t get me wrong they’re losing a lot of pieces, but that does not lessen what they did this season. Their manager was unbelievable that getting the best out of a team with a minimal talent to get them on the verge of Europa League Football was truly accomplished even if they didn’t qualify. Even if they finished just out of the top 10 they had the worst roster on paper among the team’s coming up from the second division. Still, it didn’t matter he’s gotten best out of his team, and even though they didn’t have a high goal scorer as a team together, they managed the best promotion season I’ve ever seen. Hellas Verona, we’re truly magical; they did what no one thought they could. One of the best stories this season it’s exciting to see what they do; next they will have to adapt considering what they’re going to lose, but given how last season’s fared my bet is they’ll be extending their stay at least for another season Hellas Verona was just something else this season.