Saturday, 29 September 2012

Conte vs Zeman Round 2

After we move past the debate on the formation; 3-5-2 (Conte) vs 4-3-3 (Zeman) that I blogged and debated in my last post, this battle becomes a little more personal.

This really is a feud between Zdnek Zeman and Juventus, but since Antonio Conte, who spent 13 of his 19 years as a player at Juventus, is now the head coach of Juventus and last season led the Zebras back to its winning ways, he is the person who represents the Bianconeri at the moment, therefore is the object of Zeman's verbal attacks.

Antonio was the Captain of Juventus in the early 2000s

Zdnek Zeman in recent years has been a lot more vocal about his displeasures with the Bianconeri organization, like when he recently said that Juve should really only celebrate 22 or 23 scudetti because 5 or 6 of them were stolen. He also spoke on Conte's current 10-month touchline ban, "I can sleep well at night, Juve can't", Zeman addded that Conte got off easy because he believes Conte should not even be allowed to train the team.

top: Zeman you say that Juve should not claim to have won more than 20 scudetti?
bottom: Please tell me all about your scudetti!

Conte who was in the midst of his appeal process to the controversial ban, reacted to Zeman's comments with a "we will respond on the field", but a few days after Juventus' supercup win Conte added that current Juve BENCH Boss and rookie Head Coach Massimo Carrera has already won more than Zeman ever has in his career only after one game.

Marotta always has his coaches back.

Juventus General Manager Beppe Marotta really took the fight back to Zeman. He first said that since Zeman himself had admitted to not reading all the details on the Conte-FIGC battle, he should not even concern or comment on things he does not know. Beppe then asked what Zeman knew or was hiding since he was the coach of the team the FIGC penalized the most; Lecce. Marotta specifically called into question a controversial game from 2005 between Lecce and Parma that ended 3-3, in which Zeman was on the Lecce bench as head coach, but left for no apparent reason in the 80th minute.

The feud ironically began in 98, when Juventus was in the mid stage of its late 90s dynasty that involved 4 consecutive Champions League finals appearances, & many Italian titles and Zdenek Zeman was for the first time the Head Coach of Roma. Juventus was linked to a doctor who had been indicted by the International Sports Commitee, although nothing was ever proven. Zeman from the beginning voiced his opinion that all the Juventus players at the time (including soccer Legends like Zidane, Inzaghi, Vieri, Vialli, Conte and Del Piero) were on drugs because they were not that good of a team.....let that sink in for a little. 

Del Piero, Peruzzi, Deschamps, Zidane, Inzaghi...surely without drugs they could never have won anything in their careers
(said in my sarcastic voice)

He later would make many accusations towards Juventus implying that they were corrupt and were the reason he never coached a "big club" .......not because his 4-3-3 tactic is very stale. He also claimed to feel vindicated when Juventus was sent down to Serie B during the Calciopoli scandal......makes me wonder if Zeman suffers from a god-complex.

Zeman should really quit that bad habit at his age...

Former Juventus Legend and 1982 Azzuri Hero Paolo Rossi said it best, Zeman talks too much, and always has. 
Zeman has never ever won a top flight trophy, and this season is more than likely his last chance to do so. Every excuse he has ever used to why he has never been able to do so in his over 20 years of coaching in Italy is irrelevant. Roma spent a lot of money this summer and has a team that many experts considered the only competition to Juventus for the scudetto. Its now or never for the Czech. Meanwhile Antonio Conte has already won the scudetto and is predicted to win a few more titles with Juve in the next few years.

Round 1 in my opinion was won by Conte, seeing that many teams are beginning to prefer the 3-5-2 to Zeman's 4-3-3 because it defends better. Also using the 3-5-2 Juventus has remain undefeated in 45 league competition games, while Roma using Zeman's 4-3-3 has already suffered defeat in the new season.

Round 2 will be disputed today at 245 as the two teams meet for the first time this season. All the talk means nothing, both Juventus and Roma will really want to win todays game. Although Conte will not be on the bench, we know he will be in the stands. If Zeman can finally beat his self proclaimed nemesis on the field then it will create a very interesting title run for the remainder of the season. If Conte's men get the better of the Volpe, Zeman may be inquiring about an early retirement.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Analyzing Perfection

Yes we are only three games into the Serie A season, but I do find it quite interesting which teams have started their season win three consecutive wins. Juventus, Napoli, Lazio, and Sampdoria  have yet to leave any points on the table through the first three match days of the Serie A. 

Juventus is not really a surprise here, Parma, Udinese, and Genoa have been their first three opponents thus far, so they were all very winnable games for the reigning Italian Champs. But we are seeing more of the same from last year with Juventus, which is a team effort on offense and defense. Goals continue to come from everywhere, and so far the Bianconeri have been able to quiet the critics who said they needed a top striker. The criticism I do have though is from this past weekend, the squad struggled with some of the starters being given a chance to rest up for the upcoming Champions League match this weekend against Chelsea. Until coach Massimo Carrera decided to bring in Asamoah and Vucinic the squad was showing no signs of picking up the three points. This will be one thing to watch as the season goes on and the games start to pile up. 

Marek Hamsik: The key to Napoli
Napoli are another team that are not much of a surprise, at least not for me. This team improved with the sale of Ezequiel Lavezzi. A more balanced, and deeper squad than last year, this Napoli team in my eyes poses the biggest challenge for Juventus. They have dominated all three of their games thus far, and look like a far more mature team than the one we saw in the Supercoppa Italiana. Their biggest test thus far was Fiorentina but even in that game they led by two goals for most of the ninety minutes. I really do not have much to criticize of the team to this point as they have not had much trouble with their first three games. It will be interesting to see how they handle Europa League as the season goes on, because as we saw last year they were not deep enough to compete in both Champions League and Serie A. Right now it feels as though Marek Hamsik is the man who runs this offense an injury to him would be devastating for the Patrenopei. They will most likely keep their focus on the Serie A, especially in the early going.

Hernanes and Klose have Lazio looking like title contenders
Unlike Juventus and Napoli, I am very surprised at what Lazio has been able to do. Maybe it is because they fell so hard last year after losing Miroslav Klose to injury, but they look stronger than ever right now. Winning each of their first three games with ease, Lazio looks like they can really challenge for a title let alone a top three position. While Roma has had a rollercoaster ride to start their season, Lazio have overshadowed their biggest rivals with goals aplenty and strength in defense. Hernanes has been incredible thus far, and if he can keep this up throughout the season, he may wind up being tagged as the best midfielder in Serie A, and what more can you say about Klose? He's just incredible in front of goal, and does not miss too many chances when they are given to him, one of the best Prima Punta's of this generation, he is a pleasure to watch. It's hard to find criticism's in a team where they have won each of their first three games by at least two goals. Again its early in the season, when the games start to pile up we will learn a lot more about these teams, but right now I do not see Lazio going away. 

Maxi Lopez 3 Games - 3 Goals can he keep it up for Sampdoria?
The biggest surprise of all is newly promoted Sampdoria. How can you not be impressed with these guys? I think anyone who follows the Serie A wanted to see Sampdoria come back up from Serie B and succeed, but no one was expecting this level of success. The team has had an incredible transfer season bringing in affordable veterans to go along with a nice young core of players. Enzo Maresca is a nice addition to this squad, he is a hard worker and will be a great veteran presence for youngsters Poli, and Obiang. Maxi Lopez is an awesome finisher, and if he keeps up his early season success, he will contend for Capocannoniere. Sampdoria are most likely to struggle at some point this season, but Ciro Ferrara has this team paying strong defense and that alone will keep them in a lot of games, and allow them to steal points against the big teams. With Milan, and Roma struggling to start their season, and struggling to keep the ball out of their own net, Sampdoria could sneak in a Europa League position when this season is all set and done. 

Comments, and tweets are always welcome @SerieACanada