It is indeed more than mere co-incidence that the form of the team has flourished as Del Piero has regained his rhythm, though there is more to the recent run of five victories than the legendary number ten managing to remind us why he was joint top scorer in arguably the most defensively tight league in europe last season.
The return of Legrotaglie alongside Chiellini in central defence has greatly increased our ability to shut out any level of opposition and should not be underestimated. His power in the air, impeccable concetration and ability to mark competently is the perfect partner for Giorgio’s superhuman abilities to blossom unhindered by constantly needing to bail his partner out of trouble. In tandem, these two are unbreakable…Also, Sissoko has been immense, ruling the midfield much like Viera used to in his prime with Arsenal. The Malian’s control and distribution is improving dramatically this season, and all that remains for the middle of the park to be complete is for the answer to the ‘Who best plays with the african Hatchetman*’ to be found. Tiago has played competently, hardly set the scene alight, but importantly, we have won when he plays. MArchisio is nearing a return to full fitness, as is Zanetti and Poulsen. As much as I am surprised to be writing this, I would hope that the Tinkerman, leaves well alone for now, and changes nothing that ain’t broke until it breaks again.
Without Camoranesi, Marchionni has proved useless, scoring one fortuitous goal and failing to deliver crosses into the box, which is his main skill, even to the standard of the solid yet unspectacular Grgyera. On the opposite flank however, the ageing Nedved has rolled back the years to provide energy, drive and goals. The unfortunate flipside of Nedved’s return to form is the lack of playing time for Giovinco. When I have seen the Atomic ANt play for the Italy U21s he has reminded me of Del Piero in his early years for i bianconeri. Yet Ranieri seems determined to blood him, slowly, as a more combative Nedved-esque winger. This is a waste of obvious talent, and asking too much of the youngster, defensively, is stifling the one player in our squad I see as capable, potentially, of taking over as our fantasista from Del Piero..Still, Ranieri did bring through most of the english players in the Chelsea team who have become rocks in their line-up and some for the english national team, we are climbing the Serie A table, through to the next round of the CHampions League with games to spare, missing several players through injury who, if fit, would command first team places….SO, there isn’t much to complain about really. In the middle of October I was hopeful of Ranieri losing his job. Now, in early November, I am content to see him remain at the helm. Football supporters are as fickle as 12 year old girls…
I adore Del Piero. And his three goals against the spanish vermin are to be celebrated long into the future. But as I am sure Il pinturricchio himself would agree, several players are responsible for helping the team climbing out of the hole we were in a fortnight back.