BLOG ITALIA
Tuesday January 24 2012
A Scudetto for seven sisters

How would a League table look which was based on the results of just the top seven sides in Serie A? Antonio Labbate reveals all.

There is a school of thought in Italian football that you lift the championship by disposing of the so-called minnows. “I’ve always said that you win the Scudetto by defeating the small clubs,” Roma idol Francesco Totti once famously remarked. Juve legend Beppe Furino mirrored that view earlier this season when he said: “You win the title in the provinces.”

There is some truth in such a theory. After all, you need to keep the three points ticking over if you have serious ambitions of ending the campaign at the top of the pile. Yet, it would be naïve to mistake cliché for fact. It would also be wrong to ignore the counter-argument that if there are so-called relegation six-pointers at the bottom of the table, then there has to be Scudetto six-pointers at the top.

Games against your direct rivals are clearly an opportunity to not only gain points for yourself, but to deny points to your opponents. Added to that is the reality that a superior head-to-head record at the end of the season, rather than goal difference, could also decide League placings in the peninsula. Are three points against a team like Novara really more important than three against a side such as Milan?

Whatever your view, the results from the first half of this season make for some interesting reading when you manipulate them to focus on just the games involving the top seven clubs at the halfway stage – Juventus, Milan, Udinese, Inter, Lazio, Roma and Napoli.

The Old Lady, crowned Winter Champions on Saturday night, would be top of a hypothetical League table involving these modern day Seven Sisters. They amassed 12 points from their six games, consisting of wins against Milan, Inter and Lazio. But what is even more impressive from that set of games is that five of them came away from home. They’ll only have to visit the Rossoneri in the second half of the campaign.

Sitting just behind the Bianconeri in this mini-table are, perhaps surprisingly, Napoli. Currently struggling in seventh place and a massive 12 points behind the leaders, the Azzurri have collected three wins, two draws and just one loss – to Roma. Their problems domestically this term have come against the other 12 sides in the Division [yes, the smaller ones…] and in light of their and Coach Walter Mazzarri’s inexperience of juggling Serie A with Champions League commitments.

Udinese have also performed well in the big games. Francesco Guidolin’s boys collected triumphs against Roma and Inter, draws with Juventus, Milan and Lazio, while they suffered their only defeat at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples. Nevertheless, they should be content with nine points from a possible 18 when you consider that they are punching above their traditional weight.

While Roma’s record of picking up only five points is perhaps to be expected given their initial struggles under Luis Enrique, it’s the statistics of the Milan clubs in these fixtures which stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Reigning champions Milan may be widely considered as the most technically gifted in the land, but they’ve struggled badly to impose themselves against sides who are around their level. They amassed just five points from their six ties and their only win came against Roma. Nevertheless, one has to treat the Rossoneri’s results with some caution.

Milan’s problems at the start of the campaign were evident. They had injuries, out of form players and they were a shadow of the side who won the Serie A title last term. It was during their period of unwanted abstinence that four of their first five League games of the campaign came against Lazio, Napoli, Udinese and Juventus. Those ties yielded two points.

The reading doesn’t get much better across the San Siro divide. Inter may have beaten the Rossoneri in Week 18, but games against Roma, Napoli, Juventus and Udinese before that had delivered just a single point. Only Sunday’s unconvincing win over Lazio saw their points tally in this engineered table rise to a respectable seven.

Worryingly though for the Nerazzurri is the fact they’ll face five away games between now and the end of the championship, while their ‘home’ tie will not hold as big an advantage as it usually would when they entertain Milan at their shared Stadio Meazza. That tie will take place in May during the penultimate round of the campaign, a game whose three points could just prove to be the biggest of the season.

Club P W D L PH PA Pts % of total pts
Juventus 6 3 3 0 1 5 12 29.30%
Napoli 6 3 2 1 5 1 11 37.90%
Udinese 6 2 3 1 3 3 9 23.70%
Inter 6 2 1 3 5 1 7 20%
Lazio 6 1 3 2 3 3 6 18.20%
Milan 6 1 2 3 3 3 5 12.50%
Roma 6 1 2 3 3 3 5 16.7% *

PH – Matches played at home

PA – Matches played away

*Roma’s total points come from 18 games after their abandoned match at Catania

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Have your say...
Had Napoli not BLOWN the 3-1 lead with 20 minutes remaining against Juventus, AND suffered the defeat they CLEARLY SHOULD HAVE WON against Roma, not only would they be sitting top of this table by 4 points...but they'd also be only 6 points out of first...and fighting for next seasons Champions League.
on the 28th January, 2012 at 7:36pm
Forza milan! Forza Ibraaaaaaaaa! Ibra has scored against inter, roma, juve, barca, real madrid, arsnal, lazio n many more.. How can u say he only scores against minnows? U must be dizzy!
on the 28th January, 2012 at 4:01am
Well to be frankly honest, Napoli was given 3 points by Rossi when they met Inter earlier this autumn.
on the 25th January, 2012 at 6:52pm
Well said Onofrio Sanfilippo. Juve needs a "goal poacher" who can sink small teams.

Ibrahimovic is a classical example of a goal poacher, while he was at Inter he never scored against the big guns but always scored against minnows.
on the 25th January, 2012 at 12:23pm
good stats ,but you have to beat the rest of the teams in the league just as importantly,forza juve !!!!
on the 25th January, 2012 at 9:30am
this mini table will be counted if the all round final table say the same
on the 25th January, 2012 at 4:06am
Juve need to invest in a striker that's going to get them 20+ goals, a player that will kill off stubborn provincial sides to make the scudetto a certainty. If they had a recognised goalscorer they would be well clear by now.
on the 25th January, 2012 at 1:13am
don't you have anything better to think about...
on the 25th January, 2012 at 12:00am
An alarming statistic -- for Juve fans. Juve really need to beat the "small" teams, like Milan and Inter have been doing lately, to win lo Scudetto. Let's not forget that last season too Juve were top of such a table (between the "top" teams), but placed a miserable 7th place in Serie A, because of terrible performances against the Bolonga's and Bari's of Serie A.
on the 24th January, 2012 at 9:44pm
Interesting, however, none of thesee games are six pointers that put space between the top teams at critical points in the season.
on the 24th January, 2012 at 6:40pm
very interesting #s antonio. but there was a juventus collapse around this time the last two seasons (mostly against smaller teams). ultimately you have to amass maximum points against smaller teams so that head-to-head games don't matter much. if those bigger teams have stumbled at any moment against smaller teams, then it will effect their final placement. here, i have some #s for you. 13x2=26. 26x3=78. 78pts is a lot and can probably guarantee a top 4 finish.
on the 24th January, 2012 at 5:09pm
I love stats like this. Can't believe the Napoli stat. Had they beaten Roma at home then they would have collected 14 pts from a possible 18!!!
on the 24th January, 2012 at 2:56pm
Interesting.... was there ever a team in Serie A that won the league yet finished bottom of this so called 7 sisters mini league ?

The big games will always be there for praise or disapointment but the main mission is to collect 3 points from weaker opposition.
on the 24th January, 2012 at 2:48pm
hey Rahul, I'm a Milanisti and to be honest I wouldn't mind if we're at the bottom of this table as long as we won the scudetto!

they won't deserve the title either if they can't get points from another 13 teams!!!!!
on the 24th January, 2012 at 12:24pm
Wow! Very interesting table. Allegri should see this. The most alarming bit is the 12.5% for Milan in the '% of total pts'. I am a die-hard Milan fan and if Milan end my winning the scudetto in May with such a shabby H2H record against the seven sisters, then they wouldn't have deserved it.
on the 24th January, 2012 at 11:25am

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