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Sunday February 25 2018
Chievo Kings of Mediocrity

Once the doyens of Calcio neutrals, the Flying Donkeys now float along doing the bare minimum to survive in Serie A, writes Richard Hall. 

There is no state of flux in the Chievo camp, none at all. The Veronese club are experts when it comes to these situations, they have seen it all before. Most other clubs would have been up in arms, looking for the exit, looking for religion maybe, especially if they had just lost eight and drawn two of their last ten games.

Not the Flying Donkeys however, they scratched their heads and like a heavily evolved but useless creature, they beat Cagliari and went back to sleep. For over a decade now this team has simply played the same season over and over again with just some minor tweaks.

Some may refer to it as genius, others may simply despise the fact that every other week the Stadio Bentegodi endures Groundhog Day. Clubs come up from Serie B with small and large budgets and go straight back down. The Flying Donkeys, or perhaps ‘Floating Donkeys’ would be more accurate, simply give them a nod and retire into a slumber once again. Ever since their return to Serie A in 2008, they have been simply brilliant at repeating the same mediocrity.

Like the unambitious man in the average job who is content, why do people ask more of him? He is happy. Perhaps he looks up at those fools, like the Milan clubs, who haemorrhage money trying desperately to get into the Champions League. Idiots, they will give them and their fans heart attacks. In fact they do. Why not just hit the survival button and do the bare minimum to stay up? It is surely easier? Whilst this may seem harsh, it also is hard not to think it is accurate.

Since 2008 the Veronese outfit have ‘treated’ their few followers to finishing positions in this order: 16th, 14th, 11th, 10th, 12th, 16th, 14th, ninth, 14th and right now they sit in 15th. Let’s face it, they are going to survive again, it is what they do. When looking at their top scorers in this time, it is also incredible how they have stayed up as in order from 2008 it reads: Sergio Pellissier 14, 12, 11, eight, Cyril Thereau eight, Alberto Paloschi 15, nine, eight, Roberto Inglese 12 and so far this term nine.

The levels of consistency are frighteningly efficient and it’s almost like it is pre-planned. For instance, in 2015-16, when they finished ninth, Paloschi netted only eight times, the least in the last 10 years. However, when they finished their lowest, 16th in 2013-14, the same man netted a record ten-year high of 15 goals. Surely, they have a formula. Even now as they look like finishing around the 15th mark, Inglese is already up to 10.

What makes this even more remarkable is that Chievo are generally, utterly forgettable. This is perhaps a compliment as they normally defend well, do the basics and either win or lose by the odd goal. Yes, there may be the odd win by more than one goal (although not this season) and they may be on the end of a hammering every so often, like this term against Inter, Lazio and Milan, but otherwise results are steady. It would trouble even the most hardened Chievo fan to tell tales of the ‘great squad of 15-16‘and how tactically, creatively and defensively they were different to the squad of 2013-14.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t a slant as much as an observation. It is evolution in its finest form. To evolve can take moments or thousands of years and the Flying Donkeys are simply experts in their surroundings. They will not die and yet seem able to tweak minor areas to stay in the division.

Coach Rolando Maran spoke after the win at Cagliari and said they had ‘recovered their confidence’ after only picking up two points since November. That in itself is a measure of the mindset at the Bentegodi.

Maybe they are experts in mediocrity, but they are still here.

Have your say...
@ GIANCARLO C's Mom

Giaccherini was at his peak when excelling at the Confederations Cup years ago.

A good fair player, very useful in any squad.

But we must point out that Juventus has moved forward and already has a formidable pool of players.

Juve has moved on...........
on the 27th February, 2018 at 5:45am
Chievo is a team Juventus control. They have lost against Juve without a fight, since their first promotion to serie a, but when playing other top teams, they go all in.

In reward Chievo get to survive.

Empty stadium, unworthy football of serie a. I would like to see Chievo go serie d, the sooner, the better.
on the 26th February, 2018 at 11:08pm
Maran never gets close to the accolades as he should. EVery year a midtable team for the most part, with literally no players of any real relevance. No real strong academy, no real budge. BUT they have a sharp manager, who always gets the best out of his starting 11 every week. Chievo should be applauded.
on the 26th February, 2018 at 12:22am
2006-07 must have been quite the year for Chievo supporters. Following Calciopoli, Chievo "finished" in 4th place in the 2005-06 standings and therefore qualified for the UCL. After being knocked out by Levski Sofia, they dropped down to the UEFA Cup where they were knocked out by Braga. Then...to finish the season Chievo was relegated, goodness....
on the 25th February, 2018 at 9:29pm
You can't really expect them to shoot for the stars with the budget they operate on they have the third lowest wage bill in the league but for some reason the second oldest team. The summer is going to be huge for them they have the like pellisier rugoni cesar hetemaj dainelli all out of contract along with inglese tomavic giacherini loans expiring. It is hard to imagine chievo without pellisier the guy has been there since 2000. btw more articles like this please serie a isn't just the top 8.
on the 25th February, 2018 at 4:31pm
Brilliant writing.
on the 25th February, 2018 at 12:19pm
@ Carpe Diem

I still feel Juventus need Giaccherini or similar players to him, like Bonaventura for example. For me, Giaccherini is a very talented midfielder who can play as a winger or SS. Giach is A PROVEN MEZZALA in 3-5-2 formation. Napoli and Sarri are stupid to let him go with a non sense excuses: "He doesn't suit Napoli's quick pass style football". LOL

It's crazy because Giaccherini's style of play is similar to a world class Mezzala: Iniesta who plays for "tiki-taka" Barcelona.
on the 25th February, 2018 at 12:18pm
If you want to know whereabouts a team should finish, look at their revenue & wage bill compared to the other teams in the division. Chievo had the 16th highest revenue in Serie A during 2015/16 and so they 'should' finish 16th.

8 out of the last 10 season(including this season) they have finished above 16th place. So they have exceeded expectations and have never finished below expectations from a revenue/wage point of view.

How many players have left Chievo to go to a Champions League team? How many to a Europa league team? If they have one of the smallest revenues/wages in the league and none of the best players, comfortably avoiding relegation is a successful season for them.
on the 25th February, 2018 at 11:20am
Chievo pulled off a masterstroke when they bought flair player GIACCHERINI.
With him, the outfit has moved towards the start of rebuilding a more competitive first eleven.

With limited resources players of the calibre of Giaccherini are like gold dust. Clearly the aim of the Club is to remain in Serie A for as long as it is possible.

Their expertise in finding a prolific striker to spearhead their campaign each season is uncanny.

Maran is a coach in the Tony Pulis mould.
on the 25th February, 2018 at 8:09am

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