The traditional late August start to Serie A means that itÃ¢ÂÂs back to the beach as the league closes down for the international break.Well, summer is winding down and with Italy off to Cyprus for what should be a winning start to the defence of their World Cup crown, fans up and down the country are at a loose end.Well, they are going to have to get used to it because the way things are going travelling support will become a thing of the past.Following NapoliÃ¢ÂÂs duel in the sun last Sunday, not only are the fans of the southern club banned from away games for the rest of the season, but when the action resumes next weekend no Fiorentina supporters will be allowed into the San Paolo while their AC Milan counterparts will not grace the streets of Genoa.
Like Ever Banega when his internet connection cuts out just as he has started to get going, as it were, the Spanish football fan has been left limp and lifeless by the underwhelming arrival of another international week. After just one week of thrills and spills, the league has been put on hold for a fortnight as a bunch of other sporting stuff happens elsewhere in the world.
Or, if Roger Federer can stay in good shape for Wimbledon every year, why are so many top footballers missing crucial games because of torn adductor muscles, torn cruciate ligaments or mumps?Or, to put it another way, why havenÃ¢ÂÂt the hordes of sports scientists, nutritionists, fitness gurus, osteopaths and physiotherapists that advise the big clubs, dramatically reduced the level of injuries? In 2002, a UEFA study suggests 29% of the players in Japan/Korea incurred injuries. Others, like Beckham, were struggling for match fitness before the finals started.To take one extreme: a top flight English footballer in the 1980s was notorious for his 39-pint weekends, consumed in three major binges: Saturday night, Sunday lunchtime and Sunday night. As a result, he often missed Monday training and, making up for lost time on Tuesday, often pulled a muscle or three.Today that footballer would simply not be able to function. Yet the revolution in diet and fitness that has swept across English football has not made his successors much more robust. They may, in fact, be the unfittest professional athletes on the planet.If any club has come to epitomise the scientific approach to football in England, it is Arsene WengerÃ¢ÂÂs Arsenal.
We have only had one game of the new season but it would seem as if itÃ¢ÂÂs business as usual in Serie A: ultras on the rampage and coaches set for the chop.LetÃ¢ÂÂs start with the incidents that marred NapoliÃ¢ÂÂs opener at AS Roma. It seems now that there was a more sinister element orchestrating the public disorder that followed the Napoli fans all the way to the capital and back again.The Naples anti-mafia department believe that the Comorra Ã¢ÂÂ the local crime family eÃ¢ÂÂ were flexing their muscles over the city council and Silvio Berlusconi governmentÃ¢ÂÂs unwillingness to allow them to control the rubbish collection within the city and surrounding area.
La Liga Loca read with some astonishment this week that moo-cows tend to stand in a north to south direction. It seems that the ability to sense the EarthÃ¢ÂÂs magnetic poles is embedded into their tiny, Guti-like brains.
Everton and Spurs have long been touted as the two teams most likely to eventually break up the quartopoly (if this isnÃ¢ÂÂt a real word it should be) of Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, but have Man City overtaken them as the team most likely to usurp one of the big four this season and force one of them to suffer the ignominy of UEFA Cup football next term?