Fiorentina beat Inter 2-1 and are fourth. It was an important victory to keep alive our aspirations to achieve a Champions League position. It reflects the decline of Italian football and that we only now have 3 Champions League places in serie a.
Inter scored first, then Borja Valero equalised with a rare header and in the final minutes Babacar scored the winner. It was not a particularly good match in terms of football played. In the final minutes both sides lost their discipline with two red cards, one for Zarate our recent signing from West Ham. I never understand what gets into players’ heads. Okay if you have to commit a foul for the team to stop a goal that is one thing but when the action is on the touch line in the Inter half why get involved and lose a player for a forthcoming match? Yet it happens relatively often.
Coach Sousa was disappointed that more signings did not materialise in the Janaury window. However we got in 4 players to strengthen the squad and a lot of clubs more active than us do not use this window. It was a player who we did not buy, but developed over the years, Bernardeschi who did best. He is that rarity, a great dribbler with a telling pass and on the left side he was causing Inter all sorts of problems. Kalinic has not scored for ages but he works so hard for the team that he merits his place. As for Inter they have reportedly debts of €140m and if they do not get into the Champions League it’s hard to see how these will be reduced. The big match of the weekend was Juventus v Napoli which the Old Lady won 1-0 to go top. After a poor start they have gone on a lengthy unbeaten run and will take some stopping. This week they re-enact the Champions League final when they play Bayern Munich. We have a fascinating encounter with Spurs in the Europa league Thursday night. Last season we beat them in the same round but this time it won’t be so easy.
It’s easy to watch Skysports here and follow Premier League football. I have been impressed by the Spurs project of developing young talent like Alli and Kane. Nowadays players seem to move round like racehorses from one course to another with little loyalty so little surprise that the Spurs fans identify with Kane a Tottenham supporter as “one of their own” . This can be carried too far in the case of legends. I am sure Chelsea fans would love John Terry as manager, just as Newcastle fans wanted Alan Shearer and Liverpool fans Kenny Dalglish. This never seems to work out. In Italy we retire the shirt number and give such a player an ambassadorial role.
It was good weekend for the National Rust football department with all our 3 teams winning. I watched Fulham beat up QPR on SKY and like the commentator could not understand why Fulham are not challenging for promotion. Tom Cairney, two footed, excellent balance and good pass, caught my eye. I guess he is older than Dembele so that is why the latter is attracting more attention because of his youth and being out of contract but you never know how a young striker will develop in a more demanding league. Cairney however seems to have all the necessary attributes to flourish in any top European league. If Bernardeschi goes to Barcelona we could do worse than to acquire this talent.