Saturday September 19 2020
Serie A, where the drama never ends

There is nothing like the thought of a shiny new Serie A season kicking off and Giancarlo Rinaldi cannot wait to see what 2020-21 has in store...

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. There are times when Serie A can make you throw your hands up in despair - even if you are not a gesticulating Italian - and feel like turning your back on the game for good. But then, as if from nowhere, they come up with the plot lines that even the best box set in the business would kill for and you’re hooked for one more season. For me, anyway, it is an offer I just can’t ever quite manage to refuse.

On the surface, some might say, what is there to get so excited about? The Scudetto story has been a monochrome affair in Juventus’ black and white for nearly a decade now. The referees dish out penalties that are softer than gelato in the summer sun. And conspiracy theories spring up all over the place with the tiresome tenacity of garden weeds between the cracks in your patio. Only a mother, perhaps, could love this eccentric son.

However, those willing to pull back the blinds and peek into the Calcio kitchen will find some tasty fare on the stove. The stories simmering away on the gas rings of the game give off an aroma that is irresistible if you give it a chance. Take a seat, fill your glass, tuck in your napkin and prepare for another slap-up serving of soccer that would make your Nonna proud.

Without rivals on the domestic front for so long, Juventus have decided to spice things up by going all-in on another new Coach to try to deliver their Holy Grail - the Champions League. If Ancelotti-like eyebrows were raised last year when Maurizio Sarri was appointed, they just about disappeared clean off our foreheads when Andrea Pirlo was announced. If his management career is half as brilliant as his playing one, then the Bianconeri are in for a genuine treat. Only time will tell if we, unlike the man himself, will be impressed.

And then we have the tempestuous love affair between Antonio Conte and Inter, where the toys appear to be permanently strewn around this particular pram. The tortured partnership eventually agreed to stay together for the good of the team, but it seems a relationship that definitely needs a few more sessions of counselling. The only thing, perhaps, that could truly paper over the cracks would be to deliver a trophy - not impossible with the cast he has assembled.

On the other side of Milan, things seemed much less tense this summer with Zlatan Ibrahimovic staying, Sandro Tonali arriving and Stefano Pioli firmly in place. It is the kind of stability the Rossoneri have been crying out for and might just provide them with the sort of platform they need to have a campaign worthy of their history. Mind you, it would probably only take a few bad results to see that feelgood factor evaporate under the floodlights at San Siro.

Further south we have more questions than answers. Can Lazio recover the form they had before lockdown? Will his critics ever recognise the quality of Ciro Immobile? And who will win the battle of the Inzaghi boys when Benevento come to town? If Juve slow down a little and Inter implode, might the Biancocelesti be the ones to benefit? Only the next episode of the great Serie A drama will provide the responses we crave.

We have Atalanta looking to repeat an amazing season, Napoli seeking to return to the very upper echelons of the table under Rino Gattuso and Roma starting another era under new owners. There are Genoa derbies, Franck Ribery’s ongoing adventures at Fiorentina and - forgive me a little parochial Scottish smile - Aaron Hickey landing at Bologna. Add to that swashbuckling Sassuolo, a Toro team dreaming of resurgence and the intriguing new face of Spezia and there is plenty to look forward to. Apologies to the teams omitted, I still love you all.

There’s a beauty in Serie A’s return in a world still full of uncertainty. With a fixture book and pen in hand, we can map out the months ahead in the knowledge that there will rarely be a dull moment. Volcanic presidents will blow their tops, VAR decisions will be examined with a level of intricacy that even a lepidopterist would envy and there might be some half-decent goals along the way. We didn’t get Leo Messi, sadly, but there should still be plenty to keep us entertained.

There is still something special about an Italian footballing Sunday afternoon - even if it now stretches over most of the weekend. I have no idea how this 2020-21 vintage will taste, but I’m still looking forward to giving it a try. I suspect it will be intense, surprising and ultimately enjoyable, like so many of its predecessors. So, folks, let’s pull the cork on another bottle and savour whatever it may bring.

Giancarlo Rinaldi is the author of a number of books about Italian football. You can find out more about them here.

Have your say...
--And while I wrote all this about favouritism and inclination...

...Suarez the biter gets to receive Italian passport in less than 20 days, while other "normal" people must wait for over TWO years for their citizenship approval (even if their wives are Italian).
Not only that, they cheat & give Luis all the answers in advance. Nice.
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 7:25pm
I wrote so much about inclination because of Inter fans:

We have an amazing Inter-Juve battles in front of us. Both teams will have great rosters & huge hunger --It will be a spectacle!

I know you guys will watch every Inter game, ...but also every Juve game!
So please,
Create a table & write in game incidents.

Start now & be fair...

You'll see that for every weak Cristiano penalty, there will be a weak Lautaro penalty.

So please refrain from whining & LET'S ENJOY SCUDETTO SHOWDOWN.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 9:42pm
They say: "We will keep our best players."

--Kolarov, Dzeko, Under, Smalling leave! LOL

In march they say:
"We can't talk about market now as it is not open."
--When market openes:
"We can't talk about market now..."

They say: "Don't worry, there are still 15 games left so I'm confident we can overcome the 14 point deficit for 4th place. But we need help from fans. They need to come and buy tickets-- I mean --CHEER!" LOOOL

THEY ARE SCAMMERS! Someone should report Roma for frauding people! :)
on the 20th September, 2020 at 6:17pm
Otherwise, the drama has already started:

Yesterday SPINELESS Roma brought Dzeko to Verona to ...intimidate? Napoli.

What was the point?? When Roma didn't steamroll Verona as they anticipated & Dzeko had to be brought on, their bluff was obvious.
Bringing Edin only backfired!

Seriously, who is in charge at Roma? Some kid??
Because they act as if WE are also on a level of a child!!!
7glqWhen they try to manipulate us with their speech/ action it is offensive!
on the 20th September, 2020 at 5:52pm
Juve will be totally different from last year. Luckily they didn't stick with Sarri (who is a wrong coach to train egoistical Superstars!)
Players will fight for Pirlo; This being his first coaching job they can identify with his "new struggle".

Dzeko will shine --he can hold on to the ball like no other & can provide great passes to Dybala & CR7...
He's not the best at making "forward's runs" though. --You'd want Suarez for that.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 5:20pm
No matter the favouritism...

Inter & Juve have squads that are a lot better than the rest.
(Milan also has a great first 11 but five subs will be available again..!)

It will be an amazing fight for the top:

Inter clicked towards the end of season, they were very much anti-Conte & attacked even after being 1-0 up.
Conte will get the players he prefers.
Inter is hungry for Scudetto, you can feel it.

Group stage of CL will affect their Serie A as they'll face harder opponents than Juve...
on the 20th September, 2020 at 4:41pm
It is not cheating, just human inclination.

In the end, if you want to beat the Champion (a PROVEN brand), you need to perform "MUCH better than them". Being "as good as" or "slightly better" won't cut it.

You also wouldn't get a job if you are only as good as the worker the company already has. Why would they favour you instead of someone who already performed satisfactorily for years, if you're only "slightly better"??

It is still an unfair advantage though that is hard to accept :)
on the 20th September, 2020 at 4:24pm
Pretend a table of Serie A clubs will OBJECTIVELY chart in every incident; (soft penalty, different interpretation of handball, absurd free kick given, etc...)
--It will show which club "benefits" the most.

Now make an honest prediction.

Will Inter be in the top three of the most favoured clubs this season??
Will Juventus average the most benefits over the next five years??

If your answer is no, take a lie detector test & when its needle starts jumping have the questioner slap you!
on the 20th September, 2020 at 2:22pm
I fully expect Juve & Inter will again get the "James Harden" treatment in Serie A.

--No conspiracy, just perfectly normal & human "way of life".
It happens in every league, in every sport..,
...but also in doctor's office, police handlings, judiciary proceedings, etc.

This season the inclination will be even more evident; Refs will try to avoid soft penalties for which they were criticized, & that will only expand the favouritism gap between teams.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 1:01pm
Great blog, Giancarlo; I love your metaphors.
The first paragraph also seems dedicated to me :)

I already talked about "INCLINATION" in Susy's blog ""...
It ISN'T a "conspiracy". Successful/ rich/ beautiful/ powerful/ popular people will always be favoured.

"PRESSURE" is also real: Get a wrong call against Benevento & 30.000 people will talk about it for a week, the same against Juve & you'll be branded by millions FOR LIFE!
on the 20th September, 2020 at 1:01pm

"we all know you and your milan buddies will start your moaning session next month. "

Actually I think Milan will make it to CL this season, if they do, I'm satisfied. They have one of the youngest teams in Europe in top leagues. Granted they are nowhere near the prime 15 years ago however they will bounce back, as all great teams do and they have done it before. It all goes in cycles, just look at history.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 6:11am
juve pretty much dominated the decade to be honest unless ronaldo or dybala get a long term injury they will probably win the scudetto again. the substantial change has been napoli, roma and fiorentina dropping off and being replaced.

I can't get angry at juve it is not their fault that the rest of the teams in the league are run badly. Napoli are a prime example fighting for the tittle milik and mertens get injured ADL in the winer mercato screws up the deal for verdi than for politano.
on the 19th September, 2020 at 8:46pm
@Dimitri, we all know you and your milan buddies will start your moaning session next month. 
on the 19th September, 2020 at 6:49pm
Great article, especially he intro! Just how many of us truly feel that way! I for sure know that I DO! Almost more than 5 years, I've been saying that this league is a joke, mainly cuz of the corrupt refs, ridiculous decision that an't be seen anywhere else!
Yet, here we are, I've been preparing for over a week, cannot wait for the start, when the "new era" will begin, and we'll see great battles, with finally, Rubentus being put at their place - IN THE GUTTER!
on the 19th September, 2020 at 12:42pm
I can't help but think that it is going to take a slight bad result and the Inter-Conte relationship will break down totally. None of the promoted teams show me anything different to what's come up previously, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them all linger around the bottom half. Juventus have the safety net of CR7 and can use Pirlo as scapegoat if things go wrong so I'm expecting nothing spectacular from them. Milan will do poorly in Europe (I'm a Milan fan). Lazio will return to mediocrity.
on the 19th September, 2020 at 12:20pm
Italy used to be home of the best drama and the best players in the world

Now it only has one.

No huge improvements as of yet with the squads, so expect the same disappointments in Europe all over again.
on the 19th September, 2020 at 10:21am
Oh, please, Giancarlo, Italians love drama!

They want drama in every walk of their life - their women, their finances, their politics, their food, and finally their Calcio.

If this isn't true, how do you explain giving a pathetic trash showgirl like Wanda Nara a fulltime show to showcase her funbags whilst spouting nonsense? Who else would tolerate an utterly corrupt and equally despicable dinosaur like Berlusconi? Not to mention, allowing a farce like Farsopoli to happen after WC 2006?
on the 19th September, 2020 at 8:25am
I'm genuinely excited. I bought a years subscription to PS as a birthday present, so I can watch it all unfold. A lot of sides look stronger. I think Inter will push Juve, but other than Hakimi, they're transfer campaign so far has looked a bit limp! But Milan, Napoli, Roma + Fiorentina look more potent all of a sudden! Atalanta are just, great, Lazio, Parma + Torino look stronger or to have a plan + its good to see more Southern sides. Forza Sampdoria, but it should be a good season all round.
on the 19th September, 2020 at 7:27am
"Only a mother, perhaps, could love this eccentric son a.k.a idiotic inter fans." Hahahahaha....
on the 19th September, 2020 at 5:52am

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