Resident Paisan: Want Exciting? Watch Serie A.
9/26/2005 4:49:00 PM
Anyone put off by the "boring" game being played over in England can take solace in the excitement of Italy's Serie A, says Goal.com's Resident Paisan, Clemente Lisi.
Serie A has become the most entertaining league in the world. And those of you who are snickering at that statement haven’t been watching the Italian game over the past month. While the overrated English Premiership gets all the love, Serie A has been putting on the most riveting soccer show on the planet.
Gone are the days of Eric Cantona, David Beckham and the attack-minded Manchester United teams of the 1990’s. Even the Arsenal side that won the Premiership two years ago -- so stylish and flamboyant that it instantly drew comparisons to the Brazil side that won the 1970 World Cup – only survives on highlight reels.
Now it seems that amid all the money and hype, the Prem has gone defensive – even more than Serie A ever did – with coaches afraid to lose their jobs (that would explain the 4-5-1 formations) and players shackled by tension. Watching paint dry can be more exciting that an EPL game.
Sure, Chelsea is a powerhouse, but they’re unbearable to watch and have made a mockery out of the EPL title race. Chelsea’s ability to win ugly is nothing new in the Prem. Remember the pre-Arsene Wenger Arsenal days? The Gunners played such an uninspired style just a decade ago that its fans used chant, “Boring, boring Arsenal” as if smothering opponents with a defensive style – and the occasional counterattack -- was a badge of honor.
But English tastes appear to have changed. The stands have been empty over the past few weeks. Premiership fans have abandoned their teams, opting to watch from the comfort of their living rooms. At least you can channel surf or turn off the TV (or is that the tele?) if the game is putting you to sleep! I’m sure Prem fans have done some of both this month.
Serie A is going in the opposite direction. Gone are the days of the catenaccio. Heck, not even Italy’s national team plays that boring style of calcio anymore. You know, the one that has gotten the Italians nowhere at the World Cup since they last won it in 1982.
Here are some numbers: over the first four matchdays, Serie A averaged about 2.6 goals per game. By contrast, the Premiership averaged a miserable 2.1 after four matchdays.
Want more proof? Look no further than the title race.
The Premiership is a one-team show. Chelsea has been crushing opponents (or are they putting them to sleep?) on its way to the top of the standings. Even last week’s 0-0 tie between Manchester United and Liverpool – expected to be a goalfest -- was a drab and defensive display. There isn’t much hope for the EPL if two of the leagues biggest title contenders can’t put on an exciting game.
Instead, the Scudetto race has become an engaging affair. Sure, Juventus sits atop the table and is gearing up for a repeat, but the clash also includes Palermo, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Udinese, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
Am I delighted that the EPL has gone bad? Not at all. Boring soccer – no matter where it is being played – hurts the game.
The implosion of the Premiership as an enjoyable product also hurts soccer in the United States. Americans regularly tune into EPL games (thanks to a full schedule each weekend beamed from across the pond and into our homes). If we are forced to watch dull games, then soccer’s reputation will suffer a blow.
I do have advice for fans bored with watching EPL games each Saturday. Set your alarm clocks for Sunday and watch a Serie A game. Trust me, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Actually, you may be surprised.
Plus the comments follwoing this r also great, its good to know that the world is full of intelligent beings, and not just EPL mama boys