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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some claim there are two categories of people; the winners and the losers. Cuper is starting to fit in perfectly into that category. It's a shame they dropped down the table, otherwise he would have finished in his customary 2nd place. Having said that, he is an instant miracle maker. He took Mallorca to the CWC final the first time the club ever played in Europe, the same with Valencia the following year. Now he's made a team out of Inter, well more or less, they haven't been this strong for years. It looks like he knows how to build a team, but he can't quite finish off the season in the manner one would wish...

Juve won the long awaited 26th, though it was never obvious it would happen. Sure, all the media hype about Inter finally getting their way masked the fact that Lazio is no pushover and Inter hasn't won at Lazio for ages. It surprised me how easily they overlooked this little fact, it was to prove mighty fateful for the Internazionale. Adding to that, of course, disintegrating in the 2nd half would never help. There was too much pressure there, needless to say I have no regrets about the situation. But a lesson for the future nonetheless, great expectations like Inter had can fade as quickly as they emerged.

On a positive note, Juve will be wearing a cool Italian flag next year, hoping for a more consistent season and a successful (finally) CL campaign. No need for speculation about the transfer market just yet, Moggi will bewilder us when the time comes anyway. :D And yet this didn't much resemble a championship winning team at times. Only taking few points from the major encounters, problems with the formation, a Nedved not fitting in and an erroneous Buffon. Once all that is behind us, Thuram is still searching for his perfect adjustment. Stranger things can happen, this is the Serie A and Juventus is more often than not a contender, I guess the surprise is limited after all. On-target Trezeguet found the net no less than 24 times, not once from the spot, and clinched the capocannoniere title as the first Juventini since Platini. Del Piero added 16 to make it 40 between them. To strengthen their case, the Bianconeri scored the most, conceded the least and picked up the lowest amount of cards.

The last contender looked strong in the first period of the season. Always highly quoted by the press, the leader of the Romans scored at will initially, whereas Bati refused. The invincible Don Fabio again rested Montella for most of the season. Still, without the same solidity, the Romans rarely won away from home. Only two defeats noted, but the 13 draws proved costly, as Roma failed to beat many of the weakest teams. They dropped lots of points after being named winter champions. Apparently they had enough chances, but the forwards didn't convert. Won't argue with them there, target man Delvecchio noted an impressive 2 goals in 27 matches, Bati added only 6, the great Totti found the net 8 times, Cassano 5, Montella 13. In fact, had Don Fabio not overcome his reluctance to field goleador L'Aeroplanino in the first place, they might not have scored for the rest of the campaign. The 5 men produced 34 goals between them, that leaves Trezeguet 10 goals short of a complete Roman attack...

Chievo fought long and well and improved 10 pts on my prediction on their position, I thought it would be mid-table. Still, for next season I don't see too much of this repeating, Eriberto and some of the other more successful players will most likely be moving out and it just won't be the same. I doubt they will have an equally comfortable season next year, expectations have mounted throughout the year, the club, the fans, the media, everyone expects success again but it's harder to stay on top than to get there in the first place. Chievo will struggle next year, with or without Del Neri.

But it was really supposed to be the year of the Rossoneri, I had them tipped for title contenders. With new stars and an eminent Turkish success coach, things could only work out in their favor. Then again, things don't always work out the way you would like them to. A long injury list, a missing Rui Costa, a shaky defence, things went from bad to worse and the Turk didn't last long. In came the Milan favorite Ancelotti. Not a favorite for long, surely. His were results were unconvincing at best, a hammering by Dortmund in the Uefa Cup, the only bright spot of the season so far, brought new requests for his resignation. Not so fast, Pirlo inspired the team that was slowly born again. And finally the lovable Carlo pipped Chievo and Bolo to that seemingly long gone CL spot. Not quite what some of us expected, maybe next year?

After all, this is the Serie A... ;)
 
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