Serie A Relegation


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An idea shamelessly adapted from an issue of L’Equipe I was looking at over lunch today, here’s a table showing the fate of Serie A teams who were in the relegation zone after 27 games (as is current for all but Parma and their intended opponents) from 2006 to today along with their final league positions and points above the relegation zone.

The first year is a bit off, as its the year Juventus were relegated, but the rest makes interesting, if not definitive reading. Less and less often, at this stage, are teams making a break for survival, so credit to Sassuolo last season. It was about now they re-hired Eusebio Di Francesco, as I recall. You should be able to view the image full size.


Kashima Antlers v Shonan Antlers Preview


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J-League newboys Shonan Bellmare travel to Kashima Antlers in the early hours of Saturday morning (UK time) with both sides looking to bounce back from opening day defeats. Following their J-League 2 triumph last season, Shonan found their bubble burst on the first day of the season as Urawa Red Diamonds left the coast with a 1-3 victory.

Meanwhile, Kashima travelled to Shimuzu S-Pulse and lost by the same scoreline. In a season that the Antlers are dubbing ‘Rise to the Challenge’, that game showed a singular inability to do that. They will be looking to justify their status as one of the league favourites, as Shonan coach Cho KwiJea suggested in his pre-game press conference.

In truth, Antlers’ status amongst Japan’s elite is unquestionable and to face first Urawa and then Kashima in successive weeks is something of a baptism of fire for Bellmare in this shortened form of the J-League season.


Shimasaki (Getty) is capable of magic.

Since their defeat last week, Kashima have signed veteran Brazilian striker Juninho to boost their attack. He joins Caio and Davi as Brazilians in the squad – though the former failed to impress last week.

Gaku Shibasaki, meanwhile, remains the man most likely to pull a rabbit out of the hat from midfield, though he has yet to score this season.

With both teams yet to settle, this is a difficult match to call, but Kashima’s pedigree (they have yet to lose to Shonan, ever) should see them through.

Daniele Cacia: On Fire Again.


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Daniele Cacia scored his eighth goal of the season for Bologna on Monday evening; and he’s got form for being a high roller in Serie B. This graph shows this rather well – his seasons in Verona, Lecce and Florence being the low points; but equally, he doesn’t score when he doesn’t play. I might have a look at some other Serie B top scorers and see if they’ve had similar problems making the step up; for Cacia, this is an ‘on’ season, it seems.

This graph shows his minutes played and his goals per 90 – there’s a definite trend that he succeeds in Serie B, but is either not good enough, or not granted the chance, in Serie A.



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