Napoli at +18: you can’t decorate a second place with double-digit gaps and mistake it for normality. It would be harmful, for pride and for budgets
On the podium, but there is little to celebrate. Inter are second at 50 points, Milan can match them if they beat Salernitana today. All at high altitude, but the air is not the best. There is placement and placement, especially if the former has 18 more points.
In Serie A, Napoli is now racing for itself: for the Milanese there is no need to uncork the bubbles. For now, Inter and Milan are satisfied with an ancillary presence, they would be the bridesmaids. But what honor, after all? Let’s talk about the clubs that have won the last two championships, which restarted in August with the declared intention of winning the second star, after having interrupted the tyranny of Juventus of nine titles in a row. Yes, Juventus. Interisti and Milan fans can argue: the black and whites are in worse shape, they are fighting not to disappear from the continental maps. True, but at the same time it would be the classic Italian objection “There is much more”. It is usually the paraphernalia of those trying to draw attention away from their flops. It sounds like those representatives of the parties defeated in the elections: “Look who got fewer votes than us. And compared to the elections a year ago, we have contained the losses”. Oh well… If they reasoned like this, the big names in Milan who follow Spalletti’s men from sidereal distances would risk living on memories and nostalgia of the good old days. Which actually date back to a tournament or two ago. Napoli steamrollers deserve open applause, but they are good at taking advantage of the obvious inferiority of the competition. Maradona’s squadron won two titles when Platini and Baggio played against their rivals in 1986-87, Matthäus, Gullit and Van Basten in 1989-90, just to limit themselves to the Golden Balls and not bring Vialli, Mancini, Baresi into play , Maldini, Donadoni… These are names that give the dimension of the enterprise of Diego and his companions. Given to Napoli what belongs to Napoli, the Milanese must immediately shake up, not so much and not only to reduce the gap from the leaders to a decent extent, but to avoid falling back into new setbacks, which are almost never the result of chance.
Inter with a certain complacency called themselves crazy, they sang it at the top of their voice in the anthem. After Conte’s drastic cure, a rational team was admired, capable of exploiting their potential and winning the Scudetto with full merit. Under the management of Inzaghi, last year he sent an encore to the Devil, but he seemed to have the numbers to return to the assault for the title. The Inter that wins the Super Cup, that beats the unbeatable Napoli, that blows the pass to Barcelona in the Cup and imposes itself, albeit with difficulty, on Porto, is the same that suffers eight defeats in the league. Does it seem normal to you? Discontinuity is the biggest flaw of a group that struggles to find alternative arrangements to the 3-5-2, at least to shuffle the cards in critical situations. The final will be acceptable with the next round in the Champions League and fourth place. But then deep reflections are required in order not to resign oneself to getting by on routine goals.
The Italian champions have already landed among the top eight in Europe. AC Milan, who abdicated early in Italy, have nonetheless found security in defense. Thiaw’s graft, even if with a delayed burst, proves to be invaluable. It’s no wonder that the move to the European G8 with 1-0 at home and 0-0 in London: everything has a logic. Pioli has rearranged the foundations, that is the defense that had lost self-esteem after the beatings with Sassuolo and Lazio. Now he needs to recover other men to relaunch the offensive phase. Milan struggles enormously to score, everything is on the shoulders of Giroud, 36 years old. Ibra has 41, there is little to add, Origi and De Ketelaere either light up or they will be a heavy ballast. Maldini and Massara have placed good shots like Theo Hernandez, Leao and Maignan, but the two Belgian forwards have zero impact, if not just two ballasts. For the rest, one cannot expect who knows what peaks from Vranckx, Adli and Dest. We might as well demand, before it’s too late, a characterful response from Leao, in line with the requests for renewal, otherwise the end of the season will be complicated.
Past and present
Crooked years, or so, happen even in the best families, the alternation in power is healthy and fascinating. However, two clubs that have won a total of ten European Cups and 38 league titles have a duty to aim for immediate redemption. There are those who, like Milan, celebrate 60 years since the first cup, those who celebrate 60 since the start of the Grande Inter cycle. Everything is ok, the past must weigh, as Real Madrid teaches, but now there are other priorities. Bowing a second place with two-digit gaps and mistaking it for normality is harmful in the long run, for pride and for budgets. You can’t, least of all in Milan.
March 13, 2023 (change March 13, 2023 | 09:04)
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