Europe’s most competitive league?Posted: March 10, 2013
These days, there is the ageing debate that La Liga or the Premier League is Europe’s best league. However, Serie A displays the most competitive division in Europe. Only 41 points separate league leaders Juventus from bottom placed Palermo and Pescara, who are equal on points. Compared to the rest of Europe’s elite, where the gap from top to bottom in La Liga is 54 points and also in the Premier League where 48 points separates top from bottom, this shows Italy’s competitive nature when it comes to football.
Spain do boast the giants of Barcelona and Real Madrid, however I’m not saying that the best team in Europe is an Italian team. Based on the unpredictability of an Italian fixture, Serie A, for me, is the most watchable league in Europe. The most goals scored by a team is held by Roma who have netted 58 goals this season, but remain in 7th place. First placed Juventus are the second best goal-scorers in Serie A with 55. The Old Lady have combined their good finishing with an airtight defence, conceding just 18, which has placed them top of Serie A with a healthy nine-point lead over Napoli.
Although Juventus look favourites for the Scudetto, their top scorer is Sebastian Giovinco with 7 goals and the lack of a complete forward like Napoli’s Edinson Cavani, Serie A’s top scorer, could come back to bite them in their quest for the Champions League. The team dynamics at Juventus, however, are the reasons behind their success with their midfield displaying the creative invention of Andrea Pirlo and the industrious impact of Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal. With a defence that was one of the keys to Italy’s success in Euro 2012 and the always defiant and inspirational Gianluigi Buffon in goal, Juventus would appear to be the best chance of an Italian side lifting the Champions League in Wembley Stadium come May.
The only other Italian side left in the competition are AC Milan, who take a 2-0 home lead to the Camp Nou after a dazzling display in the San Siro which saw them shut out Spanish giants Barcelona in a tactical master class which left them with one foot in the quarter finals. Milan shouldn’t be written off if they do progress past Barcelona to the tournament’s next stage. Stephan El Shaaraway and Giampaolo Pazzini have the best strike partnership in this year’s Scudetto race, with a total of 29 goals between them, and with the addition of Mario Balotelli to their arsenal, a late surge for the title mightn’t be out of the question. If Juventus’ concentration sways towards the Champions League near the end of the season, we could see a very exciting finish to this year’s Serie A campaign.
Although Juventus look the inevitable champions this term, next season looks like it could be extremely competitive. With Milan adding Balotelli to their squad, who has netted 5 times in 5 games since moving from Manchester City, will line up beside other stars like Boateng and Montolivo who could form the basis of a championship-contending outfit. Napoli will definitely compete provided they keep hold of Edinson Cavani, who may be enticed by a big money move elsewhere.
Fioretina have severely underachieved this year and will look to better themselves next campaign, especially after adding forward Giuseppe Rossi to their squad. Lazio, who have seen a good season go to waste as they begin to lag behind, will look to their talismanic Brazilian midfielder Hernanes to carry them unless they make some new additions. Inter will also need to make some signings to replace players like Sneijder and Coutinho, who have both been missed since departing the San Siro.With speculation that Bologna playmaker Alessandro Diamanti could be likely to make the switch, I feel the Italian international would make a great impact in Milan and after a career of drifting to mediocre teams the step up could benefit him as well as Inter.
Roma, who have not replicated the performances of years past, have been too reliant on Daniele De Rossi and Roman god Francesco Totti, who have carried the club for many years now. A new generation of Roma stars need to be brought in to help the veteran striker and midfield dynamo, who have both seen their fair share of failed attempts at success whilst at the club. As for Juventus, the lack of a prolific attacker remains their Achilles heel. With Fernando Llorente making the switch from Bilbao this summer, I still feel the Bianconeri need to sign one of the world’s top strikers in order to bring the Champions League back to Turin. However, they remain the strongest side in Italy and most likely to retain the title, and have the best Italian chance of winning the Champions League in the near future.