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.