Today is the Day after Tomorrow. Woke up early this morning to watch the descent of polar vortex on NYC. I am expecting real time freeze of Hudson River anytime. While waiting Serie A(after 18 games):
MVP: Vidal(Juve). Not much to say here. Spain, Netherlands and Chile group will be fun this summer.
il Bidone di Dingo: Amauri(Parma). Juve paid 23m euros for him 5 years ago. haha.
Team of First Half:
DF-Lucarelli(Parma) Benatia(Roma) Rodriguez(Fiorentina)
MF-Parolo(Parma) Valero(Fiorentina) Vidal(Juve) Cambiasso(Inter)
Fwd- Tevez(Juve) Rossi(Fiorentina) Palacio(Inter)
Commentary: Benatia deserves special mention. He is the best defender in Europe for 2nd year in a row-uless someone bests (161.5) in Spain or Germany(unlikely). Most other Roma players have been struggling after a fantastic start and Garcia does not look like a genius anymore.
Si Country for Old Men: Lucarelli is 36 , Cambiasso 33 and Buffon 35 year old. Luca Toni who barely missed the honors is 36 as well. That’s why I love Serie A; makes me feel young. On the other end of the age spectrum 20y/Pogba(125.3) is not only superb but also fun to watch.
New Faces: Thanks to the French teams who bankrolled Serie A this year; there has been some decent transfers this year. Italian scouting is alive and kicking when money is there to spend. Mertens(149.7) has been amazing for Napoli and should play more. Other PSV boy Strootman(124.8) is also performing well for Roma. Benatia was the steal of the transfer window, and fro those teams looking for the next Mehdi, Heurtaux(146.3) also from Udinese is the best bet.
Old Faces: Di Natale(Udinese) announced he will retire at the end of the year. He was a top 5 player in Serie A for so long but finally hisage got better of him this year(93.1). Maicon(Roma) came back to Serie Abut perhaps should have stayed away(78.1). Another returnee Kaka has been much more productive for Milan.(121.4).
Top: It would be a huge surprise if Juve does not win the Scudetto again. Of the players who played 10 or more games only Marchisio(91.3) is below average. Napoli has the attacking quality(Hamsik-140.7, Callejon-120.6, Higuain-116) to match them but are defensively weak, especially fullbacks Armero(83.5) and Maggio(76.9). I suspect third place for CL will be a 3 way race between Roma, Fiorentina (despite Rossi(124.2)’s injury I am counting on Mario Gomez) and Inter(Nagatamo-128!?!?!) only if they can avoid draws.
Surprises: Hellas Verona is the most surprising team; perhaps in all of elite Europe. Newly promoted team is 5th in Serie A. Other than Toni; other stars are Brazilians. GK Rafael(114.6), and midfielders 22y/o Jorginho(121.8) and 26 y/o Romulo(124.1). On the other end of the surprise spectrum we have Milan which finished the league very strong last year on the back of its young superstars Balotelli and El Shaarawy . This year, El Shaarawy has either been injured or unused, and Balotelli went through one of his funks.(150.4 to 89.7) There is still hope for them though as Balotelli can pick himself up close to the World Cup and new transfers Rami and Honda might help.
Bottom: Bologna which Dingo supports in Serie A are in big trouble. Lack of money is one problem, but more problematic is the their(and almost everyone else’s- except few in stats community) belief that Diamanti(87.0) is the star of the team. Their only hope is he moves somewhere this winter and they use the proceeds to buy some average player. (If you have a team full of average players you won’t get relegated). Catania got Lodi back who was very good for them last year from Genoa. And he performed right away against Bologna yesterday. Overall we think Bologna, Chievo and Sassuolo will go down.