Monday, August 31, 2009

Early Returns from transfer deals in Turin, Munich

This weekend saw the big four teams face off in the Serie A as Milan, Inter, Juve, and Roma got to test their early season title credentials. The results were in Sunday afternoon, and to no surprise it looks like it's a two team race again.

I was unable to watch most of the Milan derby, but for anyone who's an AC Milan fan that's probably a good thing because I'm not able to fully deconstruct how Inter tore Milan apart. I did see the nice goal by Thiago Motta set up by some splendid interplay, as well as Diego Milito capping the Genoa connection's scoring by making no mistake from the penalty spot. Oh and Gattuso was rightfully red carded, adding to Milan's misery. The 4-0 result is probably an accurate picture of the gap that currently exists between these two sides. With new addition Wesley Sneijder buzzing, Inter will now get to prove themselves against Barca and Co. in the Champions League.

Further south, Juventus put on probably their best display since the 2006 Calciopoli scandal. Winning 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico is no easy feat, and Juve dominated from start to finish. I will admit that I'm suddenly very excited about this season, largely due to the Brazilian midfield duo, Diego and Felipe Melo. Together they put on a master class, outshining the likes of Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi. Playing in a 4-3-1-2, Felipe Melo was dominant and imperious in breaking up Roma's build up play and releasing Diego as the center of the midfield trio. At one point he even made a tackle in his box and stood up and flexed/preened like an NFL player does after every routine play. I laughed and wasn't sure whether I liked the energy he was displaying or hoped he'd never do that again.

As the player in the hole, Diego was simply a joy to watch, something that is desperately needed at Juve and in Serie A generally. Every attacking play moved through him and he always seemed capable of creating something dangerous. Diego capped his man of the match performance with a pair of extremely well taken goals. Felipe Melo got in the goal scoring action late as well, aggressively pushing forward and producing a finish that Amauri and Iaquinta would do well to emulate. On the bright side for Roma, De Rossi sure can strike the ball. Check out the highlights:

It's very early, but Juve could very well push Inter this year, and like Inter, they will get a good test of their European credentials in the Champions League group stage. French champions Bordeaux will be tough - watch out for Joann Gourcuff, he's only 23 and he's destined to return a big club (he spent one year at Milan, never really settling in). Bayern suddenly looks like a much tougher proposition, as if they weren't surfeit in attacking options already, by adding Arjen Robben, he of the two goal debut against German champions Wolfsburg. Does any team in the world now have a better pair of wingers than Robben and Ribery? I'm sure HalaMadrid can inform on however Real is lining up, but I'm sure whatever it is, they aren't attacking with two pure wingers the way Bayern does. Here's the video of Bayern's 3-0 victory.

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