If Serie A is “On the Slide”, Where Does That Leave the Premier League?

That Daily Mail headline looks even sillier now. After Milan’s 4-0 hammering of Arsenal, the Mail’s ill-judged “Arsenal and Chelsea have nothing to fear” and “Serie A on the slide” comments looked a bit silly, but after last night’s result the piece should be filed alongside their now infamous “The best players in the world (and Xavi)” from a few years ago.

We all know the British footballing press is very insular – and frankly the right-leaning Mail is more than most – but Napoli’s 3-1 win over Chelsea allied to their compatriots win over The Gunners shows sections of the press up for frankly having little or no knowledge of the overseas game, assuming that because Serie A, by and large, lacks true big name “world class” talent that their teams would be inferior to the much-hyped Premier League sides. All this despite the fact that Milan are Italy’s reigning champions and were playing last seasons 4th best English side and the fact that dangerous Napoli had knocked out the Premier League’s table toppers and champions elect Manchester City. They may not have the world’s most famous players but Milan could call on the likes of Robinho, Pato and Ibrahimovic while Napoli have the underrated Ilner, the clever Hamsik and the Herculean man-monster that is Edinson Cavani.

The idea that Serie A is generally on the slide though is not that controversial, in fact it’s hardly a new thought – despite the Mail presenting it as such – but what was ridiculous was to dismiss the Italians and assume that two stuttering English clubs with under pressure managers would steamroller them with their pure Premier League power. Furthermore if we accept Serie A has been on the slide for a few years then do these recent results mean the Premier League is on the slide too?

After all The Best League In The World (TM) has seen its top two sides, including its champions, fall at the Champions League group stages this year and now it looks as though its other two representatives at Europe’s top table will take their leave at the first knockout round. Of course it must be noted that the second legs are still to go but even the myopic Wenger admits Arsenal have a “0% to 5% chance” of overturning a 4-0 defecit and while Chelsea’s task is not so gargantuan – they go in to the second leg two goals down, and having scored an away goal in Naples – you would be a fool to think Napoli will be overawed at Stamford Bridge and roll over to let Chelsea win.

There are some mitigating factors to the English clubs’ failures. Manchester City, for all the money spent, were in their first season as a Champions League team and perhaps lacked some of the nous and guile needed to progress, and it’s worth noting they were in one of the hardest groups. Their neighbours United meanwhile paid the price for complacency and fielding weakened sides in what should have been a simple group. Arsenal’s current woes are obvious and well-documented while Chelsea are having a season of both transition and turmoil as new young manager Andres Villas-Boas tries to impose his will on a divided dressing room.

It may be then that this year is a one-off for English clubs in the Champions League, a mere blip. Perhaps next season Manchester City, now with Champions League experience and (probably) a league title, not to mention more money spent in the summer, will trample over Europe the may many in England expected them to this year. Alex Ferguson is unlikely to let complacency seep in again next year whatever group United face. One would hope that Arsenal and Chelsea – should both make it and both have the same men in charge – would have seen a clear out and squad strenghtening. Should one or both not make it, the likes of Spurs and/or Liverpool will come to the Champions League with fire in their bellies and a surprise or two for Europe’s big guns.

So is this a blip or the start of a trend? It’s too early to tell, but the nation’s press should be wary of printing any more “Foreign League on the slide” stories. Pretty soon the Premier League could be on the receiving end of them.

5 thoughts on “If Serie A is “On the Slide”, Where Does That Leave the Premier League?

  1. You ppl have no idea of what is going on in Italy in terms of football. All the national ( under 19, under 21, major ) teams are doing great, the new generation of Italian players have come to fruition and they are fantastic…and with the new ppl that work in the fa such as arrigo sacchi, gig riva, and prandelli’s the game in Italy is getting much more competitive and fearless, and the philosophy now is that quality must always be there, the bar has been risen in order to be a national player, and this has made the Italian league way more competitive and its just the beginning. Arrigo Sacchi and gigi riva are changing the philosophy of serie a and italian football in general, and prandelli so far has done a great job applying it. There is so many things you guys have no idea of. None the less all this doesnt mean all of a sudden Italian teams are going to win everything im just saying this couse most ppl are unaware of it. All these changes were put in effect after the world cup failure in 2010

    • Yor, you have misread the article or not read it at all. Dave makes the point at how arrogant and narrow-minded our annoying media are, and how research is barely undertaken when looking at these ‘on the slide’ foreign leagues. Obviously, all of this EPL hyping-up stuff is pure bollocks and embarassing – for me your article summed it up excellently, Dave. I mean I know Serie A isn’t as good as it was in the late nineties or early noughties but still, anyone would think it was some kind of backstreet, hopeless league judging from the mail article.

      Sadly, a large number of people probably won’t watch the CL now these top top perfect superior English sides are being dumped out of it by, ironically, superior Italian sides. On a side note, I quite like Napoli mainly because of Cavani’s mental celebration. It’s like out of a horror film, when he starts screaming or howling or whatever it is!

  2. I’m confused, Yor…I was actually very positive about Serie A. Granted I did say the sides aren’t the force they were in, say, the 90s but that’s hardly a controversial point. Did you actually read the article or just the headline?…

  3. I did read the article. And i know the English media is the worst when it come to their football.The Epl teams need to stop thinking that they are gods gift to the world and then they will do good again.
    Ill be honest with you I liked the Epl when I was a kid, , but now i hate it with a passion, And its not because of the quality of football. Its good football, The reason why I hate it so much is because of the English press and the commentators. And after hearing so many times Italians dive, and serie a is boring and slow, I seriously started hating english football with even more than a passion…I respect you but you can’t respect me…..
    Going back to the commentators, For example The commentators in the last two games I watched involving the CL…were not presentations of a match between two sides. They were presentation of Arsenal and Chelsea. How can the tactical commentator in arsenal Milan say that “WE” need to score Goals…WE ? or Stuff like Milan is not a great side or better then the side arsenal won against last time…….thats stupid. The team arsenal beat last time was a team that was struggling in the serie A, that had reached the end of its cycle ( similar story to arsenal this year ) this time Milan is in top of the league and defending champion with a Younger hungry all round squad. …how can that person not know this, and their comments regarding thiago silva ( descent player…hahaha yeah right in Italy he is considered one of the best defenders in the world some say the best…and i m pretty sure Italians have good judgement when it comes to defenders ) And why were they surprised Ibra is such a great player I mean seriously, who doesnt know that ibra is a top class striker…. And with what fucking brain can the guy be in the napoli game say “I am pretty sure chelsea is going to win this game by 3 or 4 goals” how fucking stuck up can he be. Or that the only threat that napoli have are the two players up front………I mean how can he not know that most of napoli players are fisrt team starters for their national teams ( not that that justifies Chelsea defeat ) But napoli’s midfield are all internationals, and they also have Italy’s best international Right back they are not going just face teams with their tails between their legs those are all players that have no reason to fear anyone ……Who the hell places these ppl on tv. Isn’t their job to know stuff like that and say it, rather then say shit like chelsea and arseanl are great and they are having bad days againt shitty italian opposition………. Italian commentators don’t do that, they have soooo much more class unless its the commentator from the channel of that specific team. Listening to English commentators is like listening to a fan from the ultra section of the stands, pure ignorance. And in the last ten years i’ve been hearing so much about how english teams are far superior then everyone else. Well let me say one thing about that, In the last 10 years 3 cl’s have come to Italy and 2 in England, in the last 25 years, 7 cl’s have come to Italy and 3 in England. just cause you get so many teams in the quarter finals or semifinals doesn’t mean you have the best teams, winning is what makes you the best. Anyway I am not saying Italy is better, I don’t care i Have my four world cups i can boats about, My lonely euro cup, three ballon d’or, Baggio, riva, cannavaro my 5 under 21 European championships I can boast about and my 7 champions leagues I can boast about and I can say my favorite team is the team that has won the most international trophies with boca juniors in the world, after all that I still dont say that I am better and that my team is better and that serie A is better, …But apparently Chelsea, arsenal, manchester city have trophy cabinets the sizes of kitchen tables… and that makes them the best teams or even better, the only ones worth to watch cause everyone once in a while they hit a cross bar and that excites the crowd, and of course right on schedule the commentator will say ” AND THATS WHY THE EPL IS THE BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD ” ……oh and this one is my favorite…when I heard….. arsenal is the best team in the world…. after they had won the FA cup years back FA CUP?…I couldn’t believe it. ( I understand the national pride of it and respect it but that tournament does not make you the best in the world) Anyway I digress English football is great, its the people that represent need more class and more respect, It really is your downfall. Look at Barcelona arguably the greatest team of all time. Look at how much respect Guaradiola has for every team they face.
    Now the reason why I wrote what I wrote earlier is cause there are some particular things about Italian football that have been happening and I’m sure you and everyone else everywhere had no idea about it, and it bothers me that no one knows this, its not just a casual thing that Italian football has been rising and its incredible that ppl would right serie a is on a slide when its the total opposite right now regardless of how they do in europe…….. But I’m not calling it a renaissance honestly I think both arsenal and Chelsea are still going to go through and I am going to have to hear your crap again for another year. Anyway it might seem this has nothing to do with your article but for some reason your article sprung these words out of me.

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