The Serie A dept. of useless information — February edition.
Welcome back to the Serie A department of useless information and what a month it’s been.
So, get the moka on the stove and pull up a chair to enjoy the weird and wonderful world of Calcio.
We’ve witnessed Inter lose top spot, and the ‘Pazza’ levels are on the rise.
You can’t touch, taste or smell it, but for those who’ve experienced it before, you can feel it rising to the surface.
AC Milan have continued their rise from the Elliot funded ashes to reclaim the Scudetto lead, for now.
Napoli look refreshed, with what essentially look like new signings, Victor Osimhen, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Kalidou Koulibaly, returning to the fold.
Lazio are proving there’s life in the old eagle yet, with Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, keeping Maurizio Sarri’s side in the race for a top-four finish.
And then there’s Juve, who despite all their best efforts, poor performances, and spending, just won’t go away.
Let’s go, and don’t forget the coffee.
All stats are courtesy of FBRef.com.
Jeremie Boga continues his one-man quest to spend an entire career in the good books.
Atalanta’s recent signing from Sassuolo just played the 100th Serie A match of his career and has yet to pick up a single yellow card.
Compare that to the relatively short Serie A career of Roma striker Tammy Abraham, who’s managed to already pick up 7 yellow cards in 24 matches.
Speaking of Roma, Jose Mourinho’s usual and predictable rants around the quality and depth of his squad has already played out several times this season.
Mourinho’s faith in his substitute bench are there to see.
Roma have on average left each starter on the field for 84 minutes this season leading the league in unused subs, 205 in 25 matches, only making 91 substitutions thus far.
Only Spezia have made less substitutions with 89.
Perhaps Mourinho doesn’t trust his bench however as the young Australian-Italian Cristian Volpato proved this weekend, maybe the Portuguese manager needs to gamble on a sub or two every now and again.
Juventus’s new striker Dusan Vlahovic has found the spotlight in Turin slightly brighter than the one he left behind in Florence, natural territory with the hefty price tag and expectations.
Vlahovic has been dispossessed 75 times when attempting to control the ball and lost possession of the ball in a tackle on 56 occasions, second behind only Giovanni Simeone (60) and yet, despite all this, has successfully received over 96% of all passes. Go figure.
Two things can be true at the same time, right?
Genoa have made nearly 100 more tackles (300) than Salernitana (202), Torino (202) and Fiorentina (203) and Sassuolo (204), where they’ve won possession of the ball.
Impressive Mexican and Serie A newcomer Johan Vasquez, Croatian veteran Milan Badelj and the Italian rising star Andrea Cambiaso have between them won back the ball back for Genoa on 90 occasions.
It’s all well and good to win the ball but then what you do with it counts.
Genoa have the fourth worst successful passing rate in the league and one of the worst records in the league when it comes to losing possession in their defensive third of the field.
When it comes to pressure on their opposition it’s Udinese’s Rodrigo Becao that leads the league in successful pressures, defined as winning back the ball within five seconds of their side losing possession.
Becao — who we discussed in November last year, has successfully pressured his opponent into losing the ball on 123 occasions this season, 16 times more than the leagues next best, Jose Palomino and this columns favourite Gleison Bremer of Torino.
Napoli continue to be the kings of the short ball — and kit production, watch out for the Easter bunny kit, soon to be released in a store near you — completing 6195 short passes, between 5 and 15 yards, at a rate of 92 percent success.
Fiorentina meanwhile have continued their long season trend, of the long ball, attempting 2898 long passes, between 15 and 30 yards, a nose in front of Juventus who’ve attempted 2800 long balls at the time of writing.
Perhaps they are the Serie A’s Burnley, a hat tip to Carlo Garganese for that one.
The Calabrian from Sassuolo continues to shine.
No Euro hangover for Berardi who, at the time of writing leads the league in goal creating actions, i.e. an offensive action which leads directly to a goal and has contributing ten goals and six assists so far.
Berardi is near the top of the Sassuolo leader board on the defensive front too, making 31 interceptions and winning 17 tackles in Sassuolo’s defensive third and 14 tackles in their attacking third, all in 22 matches.
Hellas Verona lead the league in being caught offside this season.
The referee’s assistant has raised his or her flag 68 times against Hellas, and funnily enough they also lead the league in failing to catch their opposition offside, on only 19 occasions.
Salernitana did all they could to refresh the squad during the January transfer window and ensure their Serie A survival, not only by hiring survival specialist and miracle worker Davide Nicola but by bringing in the likes of enigmatic attacking midfielder Simone Verdi, an interesting acquisition in Brazilian midfielder Ederson, Emil Bohinen — son of former international Lars Bohinen, and ‘Captain Caveman’, otherwise known as Federico Fazio.
Verdi found the net twice in only his second appearance for Salernitana, scoring with two stunning free kicks, both as good as each other, in his sides 2–2 draw with Spezia.
How long did it take Verdi to score two goals for his former side Torino?
Seven years. How you ask?
Verdi, debuted for Torino in 2012, making a 13-minute cameo off the bench on Matchday six against Atalanta.
Between spells with Juve Stabia, Empoli, Carpi and a move abroad to Spain with Eibar, add a homecoming to Italy with Bologna and Napoli, Verdi didn’t return to Torino’s first side in Serie A until 2019 where it took him 32 appearances to score his second goal of the 2019–20 season.
So, Salernitana fans brace yourself, you may not see another Simone Verdi goal until 2029 at that rate.
Thanks for reading and stay safe and enjoy your Calcio.