The 2013/14 Serie A provided a lot of entertainment. Roma won the first 10 games, and looked like they were going to run away with it. Like Arsenal’s famous mid-season collapse, Roma tailed off after that 10 game spell, but finished miles above third place Napoli. Who won? Well, obviously Juventus. After the 13th game, ‘The Old Lady’ were top without fail each week. They won the league by a comfortable margin.
Here is the all important information from the season:
Champion – Juventus (CL Group Stage), 2nd – Roma (CL Group Stage), 3rd – Napoli (CL P/O Round)
4th – Fiorentina (EL Group Stage), 5th – Inter (EL 3rd Round Qualifying), 6th – Parma (Banned from EL).
7th – Torino – EL Qualifying
Relegated – Livorno Bologna, Catania
Promoted – Palermo (Champion), Empoli (Auto), Cesena (Play-off)
All of the top 3 qualified for the Champions League. For Napoli, Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon were well worth buying with both managing double figures. The interesting part now occurs. Fiorentina held off Inter for 4th with both going into various rounds of the Europa League.
Parma held off Torino, AC Milan and Verona for the final Europa League spot however were later banned from competing in Europe for 2014/15, after paying several bills late. Torino and AC Milan were level on points so their 2 meetings during the season decided that Torino took the spot.
Verona, in their first season back up did very well. Old boy Luca Toni ended 2nd top scorer in the league with 20, with Juan Iturrbe and the likes of Jorginho serving the club well (the former has now joined Roma for £15m). Towards the bottom, another promoted team in Sassuolo, competing in their first ever Serie A season, managed to stay up thanks to a massive 4-3 Win over Fiorentina. Domenico Berardi the headline maker, scoring hattricks against Viola and AC Milan. Juventus have paid the minnows a handsome fee to buy the other 50% in their co-ownership deal.
Beleaguered Livorno were bottom of the league, performing pretty badly all season. Catania and Bologna followed them down – the latter a surprise as they had some very good players. Palermo bounce straight back up at the first time of asking, Empoli make a return and Cesena also come up via the playoffs after a strong end to the season – Latina Calcio will be disappointed as they had an automatic place for a long while, but blew it.
Elsewhere a few to disappoint are Miroslav Klose’s Lazio and Antonio Di Natale’s Udinese. Both struggled to cope with Thursday-Sunday matches as both competed in this seasons’ Europa League. Funnily enough a lot of managers around Europe dislike that particular competition, with Newcastle’s Alan Pardew being caught saying “Thank god we didn’t qualify for it”. Personally I don’t see the issue – Champions League teams have to play Saturday-Tuesday or Sunday-Wednesday – not a great deal of difference, bar perhaps the wider span of teams in the Europa, making more travelling an issue.
On average this season there were 2.75 goals per game, but that does not tell the full story. A game tended to be either 0-0 or 3-2 – there was rarely anything inbetween. Dull or Brilliant. Either way it was an intriguing season and we are looking forward to the resurrection of the next!