Saturday March 2 2013
Raging Chiellini

The symbol of this Napoli-Juventus Scudetto showdown was Giorgio Chiellini, as Susy Campanale says he’s the man you want on your side during a battle.

So that was the Scudetto crossroads. Everyone survived without getting run over, although some ended up more bruised and battered than others. The gap at the top of the table is still six points, with Juventus technically able to count on a seven-point cushion thanks to a superior head-to-head record. Walter Mazzarri is still blind to Napoli’s faults and insisting everything will continue to go smoothly even if Edinson Cavani does not find the net. The papers are still full of controversy over refereeing decisions. Plus ca change...

It was certainly a battle at the San Paolo last night, of that there can be no doubt. Just ask Giorgio Chiellini and Cavani, who engaged in wrestling matches at every set piece that would make Celtic fans implode with indignant rage. Think Stephan Lichtsteiner shoving you with his chest is bad? Try hair-pulling and an elbow to the face. It’s remarkable that elbow from Cavani was spotted by the goal line assistant, yet only warranted a yellow card. It was about as blatant an elbow to the face as you can get. The slow-motion replays were stunning, as Chiello’s jowls were reshuffled into a new shape, looking more than ever like Robert De Niro in Raging Bull. For a man who has fractured his nose five times, I guess he’s mainly glad the elbow caught him on the cheek.

Some argue that if Chiellini’s spot of cat-fight cruelty had been seen just before that, he too would’ve risked a straight red or at least giving away a penalty. Maybe he was just jealous of Edi’s luxuriant locks... It was therefore a great relief to see the pair embrace at the final whistle and exchange shirts. At last, no brawl or recriminations after the game, especially from Chiellini who had every right to complain to the media. Instead, he simply shrugged and said he gave as good as he got. He’s an old-style warrior and one Juventus have really missed over the last three months.

People under-estimate how much Chiellini brings to the Bianconeri. He is not only a great defender with timing and vision, plus their strongest player in the air on set plays. The celebration after his goal, beating his chest with both fists like King Kong, showed the passion and determination he exudes. That’s the Juventus spirit that took this team to the title. Pretty football is all well and good, but sometimes you need to scrap for a point, and in a fight you really want Chiellini on your side.

Have your say...
Yet another sectarian comment from Mustafa about Napolitani! No one, but no one complains about referees more than Conte - the guy has a persecution mania! Sad.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 9:38pm

Couldn't agree more boss adds absolutely no value to this blog. Never have never will. Kudos for juve.. Juve, Napoli and Milan is what makes r watchable in Italy right now
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 8:40pm
Once again I see the shadow people hiding behind the name "ANONYMOUS" throwing bombs that cannot be backed up by any evidence, ever. If you want to make accusations, then grow a set of balls and put your NAME to it.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 7:41pm
boss i will comment where i see fit. you mate are a true troll even to answer you is beneath me. However i take great pleasure educating trolls who join high riding trains. You are an embarrassment to the human race. and the fact that you call your self a Juve supporter makes me sick.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 7:07pm
Chiellini is one of the dirtiest players in serie A. If he played on any other team outside the big 3 he would be red carded every other game. He gets away with murder but so does the rest of the big 3. Its bad enough they get favoritism and spend more than any other team, they need referee's too. LADRI.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 7:05pm
Count back the points and games Juventus lost in Chiellini's absence, referring to Parma draw and Sampdoria loss. [errors from Left Backs who replaced Chiellini]
Thanks to his injury that the title race is still on.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 6:18pm
Juvefanatico, susys nature to bring up things that don't matter? U then go on to comment on the article. Can u see the contradiction. Support another team mate I'm tired of u embarrassing juve. Take the juve out of ur user name. Re chiellini, he reminds me of terry for Chelsea. Of all the juve players, i do think chiellini is a good player. I suppose he is a decent replacement for cannavaro . He just needs a better tag team partner like thuram.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 5:41pm
players are booked for faking penalties and should be as well for provoking in such an evident way their oponents, the way chiellini did it several times last night. remember the value materazzi added to the finish of zz carier. juve uses these tools to often.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 4:41pm
There have been many times I thought of Chiello as a donkey. However, his skills keep improving and he was immense at the San Paolo. This was a true Man of the Match performance.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 3:51pm
"technically able to count on a seven-point cushion thanks to a superior head-to-head record" -

You mean its technically worth an extra point if we finished level on points at the end of the season. It isn't technically a 7-point cushion, as if napoli were to gain 7 points over us, they would win the league.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 2:34pm
As for the elbow, please it's Susy's nature to bring up things that don't matter. Cavani should have gotten a red card, im also not excusing Chiellini's hair pulling, he should have gotten a yellow, however i have seen far worse things done in a game to provoke your opponent so there was no reason to react the way Cavani reacted. But all is well that end well and i don't see a reason to dwell on the negative aspect of the game, especially since they made up after the game.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 1:46pm
Last nights game was pretty even. I think nobody expected to see Napoli come out and play openly as they did. However playing open football showed that Napoli are behind Juve in quality because Juve had the edge in the first half and could have put the game out of Napoli's reach. Second half belonged to Napoli and was a game that Napoli is famous for, they sat back allowed Juve possession and hit Juve on the counter. All in all both teams could have won it. Therefore the result was fair.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 1:40pm
Cavani shouldn't have pushed his elbow into Chiellini's face even though he was severely provoked. Chiellini made a meal of it though - it didn't look that bad.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 1:14pm
People should elbow him in the face more often.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 12:29pm
Susy has a point. The determination, rage, and hunger were missed by Juve last evening.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 12:21pm
Mazarin needs to wise up.they are a good team but not exceptional which is a quality a scudetto winning side requires.Juve do have these qualities as well as goals that come through the whole team who are all protagonists.Milan have those sort of qualities and in my opinion will be 2nd.Stop Cavani-which is not easy-then you stop Napoli.his goal drought coincides with the recent Napoli failures to get results.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 12:17pm
How Cavani did not get sent off last night I will never know. Both officials should be ashamed to see someone get hit in the face and only give a yellow card. How can that be justified.

If that happened on the street you would risk a prison sentence. I do not know many people in prison for pulling hair....
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 11:51am
Best defender in the world.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 11:42am
Your article is pointless, susy. I'm a juventino, but I don't feel what chiellini did last night is right. Yes, cavani should be sent off,but chiellini should not pull his hair either.

Why don't you write about corielle's pathetic campaign all this week against rizzoli? It's a bad precedent for seri A. If a newspaper can press the referee designator,and succeeded.. I bet they will do it again in the future. Calciopoli was intended to clean practice like that, so why did they do it publicly now?
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 11:20am
Napoli were plucky last night and could have perhaps won it. The trouble is, in their next game, they will not show the same intensity and endeavor. As long as Mazzarri is charge of these players, they will not win the title. The team lack consistency and bottle. For this, I blame Mazzarri. He is a bag of nerves, & this clearly transmits its way to the players. He also bogs his players down with tactics-Benitez style. I also don't like his management of young players. Insigne now plays with fear
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 11:00am
After an entertaining start, the game fizzled out a little. Aside from his nice assist, Pirlo had a poor game, dwelling on the ball too much, & getting muscled off it? Buffon was edgy; Marchisio invisible; Vidal laboured; Vucinic wasteful. There were also too many long balls out of the defense. On the plus side, Chiellini is back, (& I enjoyed his King Kong style celebration). Giovinco did quite, that is, when he is not throwing himself to the floor.
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 10:54am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.