Week 2 Gazzetta Football Italiano

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Hello and welcome to the first Gazzetta Football Italiano of the new season. As with all the best Milanese bars, restaurants and offices, the Gazzetta returns at the end of August, having taken much of the holiday season off. A Milanese summer is not a typical Italian, holiday-like experience. During August, Milan is hot, humid and above all, empty. This is the month that for varying periods of time, from one week to five weeks, businesses close as the people flock to the many beautiful, sandy beaches of Italy, often joining up with other family members, in the same places they have holidayed for years on end. Having spent last August in the ‘ghost city’, I did not make the same mistake again, instead sampling some of the wonders of a “nonna’s” cooking under the bright sun of the South. As Milan begins to get back to its considerable business, the shock to the system is quite something.

The summer may have been spent either in quiet offices or in the sunny seas for most Italians, but the football club directors and officials have been working overtime, and the result is exciting. There is of course so much that can be said on the transfers of Serie A, and indeed we have covered them here on Football Italiano. However one thing that comes to mind when you look through the transfers, is how attacking Serie A has become this season. Strikers have been exchanged left, right and centre. New stars such as Samuel Eto’o, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, exciting prospects in the form of Rodrigo Palacio, big names who move on to bigger things like Fabio Quagliarella and Diego Milito, and lost souls who may have found home, in Hernan Crespo and Julio Cruz.

On Wednesday night massive Champions League ties were decided, and Italy’s representative Fiorentina produced a Jekyll and Hyde performance. The first half was poor for la Viola, with uninspiring, rigid play that never really threatened the Portuguese opposition. However, a half-time change by the rightly so highly-rated Coach Cesare Prandelli, turned the game on its head. Bringing on Stefan Jovetic – the extremely talented attacking midfielder – changed the whole style of play, as some excellent attacking, passing football was produced, with great interplay between Jovetic, Alberto Gilardino, and Adrian Mutu. The goal for the young Serb was just one of his moments of magic, but was an extremely valuable goal, one that qualified his side for the Champions League. Fiorentina this year look a solid side, with impressive signings Marco Marchionni on the right of midfield, and Juan Manuel Vargas on the right of defence. Jovetic will go from strength to strength this year, and supply the ammunition for Mutu and Gilardino to become what may be the best attacking partnership in Serie A this season.

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This weekend would have been exciting enough as we continue to watch debutants fit into their new sides, but we are also treated to two massive games. First the new look Diego-inspired Juventus play Roma, a tie that will take on extra interest after the Giallorossi’s 7-1 demolition of Kosice in the midweek Europa Cup tie. But the real headline act will be the Milan derby, a tie that is even bigger given Inter’s failure to beat newly promoted Bari last week, and the extremely positive, and slightly unexpected start of Milan against Siena. The new signings for Milan will be important, as Huntelaar and Thiago Silva look to make immediate impressions. However, for Milan it is two Brazilians that were there last year that pose the greatest threat with Ronaldinho showing signs of his excellent potential in recent games, and Alexandre Pato proving himself to be among the very best in Serie A, and the most dangerous player on the Rossoneri’s books. Inter meanwhile have to find the right balance in their squad, to play two great individual strikers like Eto’o and Milito, whilst also possibly giving a debut to new signing Wesley Sneijder from Real Madrid. On many levels this game is set to be a classic.

Week 2

Saturday August 29, 2009

Bari vs. Bologna – 17:00

Milan vs. Inter – 19:45 (Available on Omnisport TV )

Sunday August 30, 2009

Atalanta vs. Genoa – 19:45

Cagliari vs. Siena – 19:45

Chievo vs. Lazio – 19:45

Fiorentina vs. Palermo – 19:45

Napoli vs. Livorno – 19:45

Parma vs. Catania – 19:45

Roma vs. Juventus – 17:00

Sampdoria vs. Udinese – 19:45

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