Today was a reality check for many clubs in Serie A.
Palermo continue to climb the table steadily into 5th, but of course drawing today would find not Zamparini complaining for a penalty, but Delio Rossi claiming there should have been a penalty. A goalless draw with a defensively formidable Chievo side that showed their resilience really isn't a result to be down on. The goal for Palermo has always been Top 4 and they are most definitely on pace to doing just that.
Fiorentina completed an incredible comeback against Brescia today. Gilardino actually showed up after all this speculation of him leaving the club is finally put to rest. Ljajic and Santana lending their hands for the rally. The sad thing here is that Fiorentina should be a far better club than they are performing as to-date. Mihaljovic is unfortunately working without Jovetic who has been sought after by Real Madrid and Bayern Munchen before his injury. If Fiorentina can maintain top half then next season under the official Mihaljovic project with close to 11 more Serbians sure to sign with the time he will have Fiorentina in the top 7. *Recently signed Neto, Brazilian national keeper at just 21*.
Bologna had suffered their (-1) deduction to their total points, but seem to have used that to fuel their season. They have been playing solid defense before the break and have taken that into the new year with a solid 2-0 win over a very disappointing Bari side. Albin Ekdal netting a goal today (the Juve prospect).
Just when we all were excited that Catania had the late lead on Inter it would be Catania's own undoing that let Inter back into the game. A double from Cambiasso put Inter in front late and saved them from embarrassment. Leonardo might have just rejuvenated a club that seemed to be just a little bit passed it's day this season. Or maybe that was the Rafa Benitez effect? We will have to interview some Merseysiders.
Lazio dropped 3 points today and fell into third place as they were dealt a huge emotional blow by Lecce. Edy Reja expressed his disgust and disappoint after Lecce handed Lazio defeat. Stefano Mauri's goal was a clear offside, but even that couldn't save them from later blushes.
The Stinger--- Juventini, Giovinco is still scoring and a wonderful one at that today. Parma may have lost to Cagliari, but we saw a glimpse of what was exactly needed today on the field against Napoli. Robert Acquafresca needs to stay in Cagliari because the fire that he displays with Cagliari is unlike anything I have ever seen. The Isolani are a club filled with up and coming talents like Cossu, Acquafresca, Astori, Ariaudo, and Lazzari.
Cesena and Genoa played out to a dry draw. Nothing much to add to this except somehow Davide Ballardini so a positive Genoa side. A team with such high hopes and one of the biggest Serie A spenders are playing some unjustifiable calcio.
Laugh of the Day:
Roma-Sampdoria. Juan single-handedly won the game for the Blucerchiati. Almost made you wonder what jersey he was wearing. He left his compatriot Cristiano Doni out to dry for both goals. The penalty by Nicola Pozzi and the late-winner by Stefano Guberti saw a chance for Roma to break the Top 3 flush away. Too bad as Mirko Vucinic scored a wondestrike to actually give Roma the lead.
Game of the Day:
Milan-Udinese. All game it seemed like we were destined to be watching a classic. It was a back and forth tussle between the heavyweights, Milan and the formidable Udinese. Di Natale and Alexis Sanchez were out there to leave their mark on the big stage that is the San Siro and they did just that. Sanchez scored a beautiful goal as did Di Natale. Alexis Sanchez could be on his way to Inter sooner than later and he showed off just what he can do to the league's best defense in Milan. At 3-1 it was thought to be over with just 10 minutes left to play. Pato kept clinging Milan to hope that they can get into the game. After Medhi Benatia scored an own-goal to give Milan a bit of hope we saw Pato do it again and tie the game. Shortly after Sanchez sets up Denis for an 89th minute goal. At this point we see a 4-3 Udinese lead slip away with seconds left to play as none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic cradle a pass from Cassano to his foot and break passed an onsliding Maurizio Domizzi when he then slid the ball passed Handanovic. The game would finish 4-4.
Performance of the Day:
Napoli over Juve and there is no questioning what was seen on the field. Cavani scored his hat-trick, but that was not the only bright spot. The defense shut down the towering Juve attackers. Lavezzi was showing so much of his ability today. He has improved so much for the team whereas when he first started at Napoli he would try to do everything himself. What Donadoni and Reja couldn't get out of Lavezzi is the opposite for Mazzarri as he has found Lavezzi's true ability.