Serie A – My Unpopular Opinion
I’m guilty of not writing enough blog posts for this site, I must admit. In my defence, most of my previews are long enough to be considered blog posts, and those poor souls that are members can testify how many of those I churn out per week! Still, I’ve always wanted to post more in the blog without having had the time to do so. As fortune would have it, I will have more time for the next month or two, so I’ll endeavour to post more of my ramblings here.
This particular post is, rather unsurprisingly, about Italy’s Serie A. It’s a league that was lauded in the 90’s for its quality and entertainment but has been much maligned since, particularly by my fellow countrymen, for being ‘slow’ and ‘boring. Football moves in cycles, though, and the current trend in Italy actually makes me think the complete opposite. Yes, as heralded as the Premier League and Primera Liga are for being the ‘best leagues in Europe’, my unpopular opinion at the moment is that Serie A is. It has been dominated by Juventus for some time now, and they’re a ruthless beast of a club that always does things magnificently, on and off the pitch. Even they are starting to struggle though, thanks to the intense competition that now exists.
I think the era of Spanish teams is over, at least for now. I’m sure they’ll be back with a cycle of their own in due course, but as far as I am concerned, Spanish football has become too ‘English’, and there are now way too many teams competing in the Primera Liga that fear defeat instead of trying to win games. Primera Liga football has become like Italian football was a decade ago – but nobody is talking about that. Nobody is talking about how Real Madrid and Barcelona CF have seriously dropped off in terms of quality, and the transfer activity of both clubs has been questionable, to say the least.
Additionally, although Liverpool deserve a boatload of credit for the way they’ve handled the Premier League for the last two seasons, it’s not been a good Premier League. It’s been a time when only Liverpool and Manchester City have actually looked any good, and they’ve generally been ‘found out’ in Europe at a time when even the European teams haven’t been particularly impressive in the UEFA Champions League. You can only beat what is put in front of you, and Liverpool in particular have done that excellently, but I fear we’ll never truly know how good the team is when compared to teams of previous years because they’ve only had one team competing with them. English football, much like Spanish football, is significantly overrated at the moment because of its past glory.
For me, the reality is that Italy’s Serie A, now littered with good attacking teams like Atalanta Bergamo, SS Lazio, Juventus, and Sassuolo, is the most entertaining of the ‘big’ European leagues. SSC Napoli and AS Roma can join them with a couple more signings but the desire is there. I think the German Bundesliga is just behind them but they’re certainly in the equation because every team in that league wants to win games; they don’t fear losing. I think we’re starting to see a shift in power because of it, and I expect for the next few years to come that Italian and German teams will start winning more European trophies because it feels like it’s their ‘turn’, if you will. English and Spanish football is both undergoing some serious transitioning, and it’ll take a few years at the minimum before they can truly call themselves the best leagues in Europe once more, no matter what big individuals they can proudly point to as being a member of their division.
So, to my fellow Brits that still think Italian football is boring – it’s not. Yes, you’ll probably be bored if you watch Lecce host SPAL, but I expect you would be if you watched Norwich City host Southampton, or Leganes CF host Deportivo Alaves. The average Italian game piques my interest more than games from other big leagues at the moment though, and if you give it chance, I suspect you’ll finish watching such games with a much-improved opinion of an arising Serie A football style.