Monday November 19 2012
Florence and the Goal Machine

It was another controversial weekend as Fiorentina did their talking on the pitch and Inter off it. Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up Week 13.

The throaty roar from the Curva Fiesole was unmistakable despite its lengthy absence. A huge cheer as Adem Ljajic took a throw-in meant word had reached the Stadio Artemio Franchi that Inter had slipped behind at home to Cagliari. The Florentine faithful had lifted the lid on a simmering pot of excitement that club officials are vigorously trying to keep under control.

In the end, the Nerazzurri would clamber back for a draw but that still saw Vincenzo Montella’s men make progress up the table. With Juventus, Napoli and Lazio joining Andrea Stramaccioni’s side in gathering just a single point at the weekend, the Viola were the only side to take advantage. A rousing chorus of Chi non salta e’ bianconero – whoever is not jumping is black and white – left no doubt that the Tuscan side’s supporters have their eyes on the top of the table.

Ironically, the boys from the banks of the Arno have turned on the afterburners since their top player’s jets have cooled. A side supposedly Stevan Jovetic-dependent has delivered a defeat to Milan in the San Siro and a comprehensive dismantling of an in-form Atalanta without their Montenegrin talisman. No wonder Andrea Della Valle was doing some of his best embarrassing-dad dancing in celebration in the stands.

An early lead through Gonzalo Rodriguez was cancelled out by an opportunist strike from the growing-in-stature Jack Bonaventura which was probably marginally offside. But what impressed most about these purple players was that they simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with putting things right. Two goals from Alberto Aquilani – his first Serie A double – and an assist from the ex-Liverpool man for Luca Toni put the game to bed. The only fly in the ointment was a booking for David Pizarro which means he misses next week’s trip to Torino.

“A title-worthy Fiorentina? Let’s not get carried away,” said Coach Montella. “It is nice for the fans to dream but we need to keep improving like we have so far. We can have ambition but we need to keep our feet on the ground.”

The result which caused so much joy in Florence, that Inter home draw with Cagliari, sparked the latest round of controversy. With Juventus – without their lock-picker-in-chief Andrea Pirlo – having been held to a goalless draw by Lazio on Saturday, the Nerazzurri had a golden opportunity to narrow the gap. When they failed to do so, Massimo Moratti exploded in a tirade played out almost every week by one club or another.

“I have been through all this before and I don’t want to go back those times of years ago,” he lamented, in a none-too-subtle hint at the Calciopoli scandal. “For three games in a row – and luckily we won one of them – we have suffered refereeing injustices or attitudes which have stopped us getting a result. I can’t keep quiet. I don’t like to find myself in situations like those of the past. Our penalty today was as clear as day, let’s not even joke about it.”

At least he stopped short of claiming some grand conspiracy against Inter, instead putting it down to a lack of ability on the part of referees. But, if he wanted, he could look back this season and find more than one instance where the match officials have helped his club. He is not alone in Italian football in this amnesic analysis of the game but it really does get tiresome to hear these moans week in, week out.

Instead, he failed to give credit to a couple of little sides – Atalanta last week and Cagliari this – who actually had the courage to have a go at Inter. Marco Sau is fast confirming his goal-form last year with Juve Stabia was no fluke and is a symbol of a Sardinian side built around homeland talent. Moratti could have had the good grace to recognise that fact. It took an own goal for his team to grab a point on Sunday, but that kind of information is always conveniently forgotten.

A much more precious point – or at least it must have felt that way – was snatched by Milan in the San Paolo. If anyone is keeping Max Allegri in his job, it is surely Stephan El Shaarawy, with another double to deny Napoli a much-needed win for their Scudetto challenge. If the Rossoneri want a bright side to the departure of kung-fu killer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it surely has to be the emergence of the young Italian forward who is getting a prolonged run in the side.

The weekend of many draws drew to a close – with the exception of Monday’s Roma versus Torino goals-guaranteed showdown – with derby action at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa. Earlier results contrived to make it a virtual bottom of the table clash between Grifoni and Blucerchiati in search of a long-lost win. It felt like somebody had switched the lights out on the Derby della Lanterna.

There were security fears for a clash between two teams about as friendly as the two AntoniosConte and Cassano – but in the end the game was not moved from its evening kick-off slot. It turned out to be an intense and exciting affair which went Sampdoria’s way, thanks, in particular, to young Argentinine talent Mauro Icardi who grabbed a goal and was a constant thorn in Genoa’s side. On this performance it looked like Italy missed out when he decided not to accept their Under 19 call-up earlier this year and opted for the land of his birth instead.

The derby win was enough to save Ciro Ferrara’s job, unlike Giovanni Stroppa earlier in the day. The Pescara boss desperately needed a victory over Siena but, when it did not materialise, he stepped down. A similar pressure was building on Gigi Del Neri in Genoa. Who knows how long he can fight it off?

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Have your say...
As a life-long viola fan (with a tattoo to prove it) to see this improvement is wonderful to watch...

... And if (BIG if) we can score the scudetto...

I will be taking a week off work and flying out to Florence for the celebrations!
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 10:27pm
Referee Orsato is one of the worst in Serie A, always making tons of mistakes and tend to crack when under enormous pressure from home fans !
Just couldn't believe Genoa lost to Samp 1-3, I wonder what Del Neri was thinking prior to the game. If he lose again this week, chances are he'll get sack pretty soon.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 7:28pm
I Believe Fiorentina will get trough UCL this season, we have completely skilled MF's, for this January Market we should by on pure striker. So, it would be easy for us keep the UCL position locked.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 6:44am
It pains me as a Nerazzurri to see Moratti & co blame the refs for these dropped points. I hope its just a pressure tactic on the refs, which for some strange reason seems to work in Serie A.

Inter dropped points in the last two games because we didn't play well enough to win. Against Cagliari, Starma got his formation completely wrong. We cannot continue to play 3 CB's and 3 strikers, it kills our midfield.
on the 20th November, 2012 at 12:32pm
@Interista23 What Napoli did after the Super Coppa was wrong. I'm a Napoli fan for sure, but I'm not responsable for the acts of the team or our president. I'm not criticising you Inter fans either. I'm criticising Moratti.
on the 20th November, 2012 at 11:48am
@Tomce, I'd have Balotelli over Pato. Pato has great ability, no doubt, but I find him lazy, with no determination, and then there is his fragility. Sure you could level some of these faults at Balotelli, but he is no way near as delicate as the Brazilian. His form for Italy also shows that there is a hunger within him. With Pato, you cannot have any continuity, or long-term plans, because he just too injury prone.
on the 20th November, 2012 at 11:35am
It's normal to think that milan don't have champions league hopes but i tell u by february y'all gonna see us almost there.
on the 20th November, 2012 at 10:41am

Believe me... I love ACM more then anything SPECIALLY Pato. However, when was the last time u saw him play a good game? Hes injury throne is just to heavy burden. Ronaldo as a youngster, 20-22 was the same for man u. THey build him stronger and more muscles. it worked for him, milan should do the same. Balo is an amazing player so is pato. To me nether has showed there are champions yet.
Both are very young.
on the 20th November, 2012 at 9:59am
Good to see Montella working wonders at Fiorentina and how about Sampdoria's derby win? It's all about the Doria-style!

BTW, hopefully Aquilani has a good season. He has been so injury-prone during his career and it would be good if he can have a season with consistent performances.

Moratti shouldn't blame the referees for the fact that Inter couldn't beat Atalanta and Cagliari. If it wasn't for Astori, i sardi would have won.
on the 20th November, 2012 at 9:35am
Does Riccardo Montolivo regret his choice that had left to San Siro?
Viola's central midfilers, David Pizzaro, Borja Valero and Alberto Aquillani, their triangle midfilders' black hole is so strong that juve's midline couldn't beat it.

e.... my English abillity is so poor.. but I love Italian Football!
on the 20th November, 2012 at 9:09am
@VIktor,honestly if you think balotelli is better than pato ,there is something not right ,balotelli is much over hyped and pato has shown that he is a champion
on the 20th November, 2012 at 3:47am
Does Giancarlo Rinaldi listening to Florence and the Machine while writing this article??
on the 19th November, 2012 at 7:07pm

Well Matri never was an adult when he was in Milan. He was in the youth academy...Not sure but I think he was there during that time. So hard to say if he had potential or not. But defiantly huntelaar.. List goes on..

Dream scenario would be if Milan gives away pato to city with money and get balo.

Balo/SES top

behind u have bojan then midfield with de jong, monty, Urby as winger and then someone on the right.. Wish noccerino could fit there.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 4:19pm
stef 53, I am simply a viewer of this article, I do not have the obligation of delivering a neutral opinion. What I am simply stating is that for an article to be credible, bias should be avoided.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 3:18pm
@Cavani07, Napoli to finish 2nd? I would love it if they did, but I just cannot see it happening whilst Mazzarri is in charge. Napoli, in my opinion have done well over the past couple of years because of the astute signings of ADL, and the individual quality of their players. I do not rate Mazzarri tactically, neither do I not like his anti-youth ethos, his disrespect for the EUROPA League & worst of all his constant moaning and threats to quit.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 3:04pm
Inter fan - yes, you are correct. I was totally wrong. No, honest. I'm not being sarcastic. Honest, I'm not. I'm not, truthfully. I swear. Just to be clear, I retract my comment. I wouldn't want to upset a neutral "poster" like you. After all, I have no idea which team you support.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 3:00pm
No way are Napoli getting 2nd, half theyr squad are average when the going gets tough, hence they ALWAYS flop come the end. I know its easy to bandwagon but I can see Fiorentina making top 3. Also, NAPOLI FANS, take a look back at your team's antics at the super copa before you criticise Moratti or anyone else for that matter for moaning at the pathetic excuse for a ref.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 2:50pm
stef 53, When writing such a piece, credibility through being neutral is of vital importance. @ cavani 07, I will not bother to answer to your primitive comment, it is quite clear that through just one sentence you manage to show that you have a degrading level when it comes to conversation skills
on the 19th November, 2012 at 2:10pm
Whatever others say, my pick for top 5 should be Juve, Napoli, Inter, Florentina, Lazio/Roma.
Juve have a squad which is far better than other squads in Italy.
Closely following them is Napoli if the are able to keep their players next summer.
Inter will be welcomed back to CL but they have more to offer this season by going all the way in Europa League to get the much coveted 4th CL spot which should go to Florentina instead of Lazio because of their squad depth.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 2:01pm
Inter fan proves that all inter related people have no brain... its a blog not a news article. Fiorentina deserve top 5 finish this year. Juve.napoli.inter.lazio.fiorentina.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 12:54pm
Inter fan. Rinaldi is expressing his opinion. A bit like when you decided to refer to him as a "writer"... I love these blogs too.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 12:31pm
Rinaldi is perfcetly right in criticising Moratti for his pathetic anger towards the refs. If anything we just need video evidence now. Moratti should fight for that instead of figthing the refs who're trying to succeed at an impossible task. The conservatism paired with the endless moaning only fuels conspiracies.

The presidents, lead by Moratti, cry wolf so often that they wouldn't notice the wolfs walking among us.

Finally I might add the personal passion makes these blogs interesting.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 12:18pm
Yes Viktor also add Huntelaar to that list and maybe Matri,

Still on topic I said last year La Viola were a sleeping giant...well they have awoken and have made Serie A a great watch so far this season, man I would love them or a Napoli/Lazio to win the title how rereshing! Montella has done great they have a great mix of players strong in the middle Toni on form still scores its great for the fans and fair play to them they have had tough times.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 11:52am
Rannochia was fouled, but I do not believe that it was a penalty. Napoli were poor against Milan. Their passing was woeful. What I am noticing this this season, is how the 352 system doesn't get the best out of the likes of Giovinco & Insigne. In this system these players get snuffed out, due to congestion. These players would fair much better, like SES, in a 433; where they can stretch the play, provide width, find more space, & have the option to cut infield.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 11:40am
It's so frustrating to see so many player that leaves ACM becomes either great again or become great. Edgar Davids, Patrik Kluiver, Gilardino, Pirlo, Aqua, gourcuff, the list is massive..

Think aqua will be called up to the national, again very soon.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 11:20am
Nice to see Viola back on the track, well done lads you deserve it.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 11:16am
When writing for such a site, I expect the writer to be neutral in the way he writes. Referring to the paragraph written about the injustice done against Inter in the past weeks, I dare say that this article is a long shot away from describing the matter at hand. The way this "writer" discusses the facts is appalling, he takes it against Inter for protesting against these absurd decisions taken against them. From behalf of a man who loves this beautiful game, I urge the "writer" to be neutral.
on the 19th November, 2012 at 11:06am

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