Promotion, it is something every club at a lower level dreams of achieving. Be it from the lowly Promozione to the Eccellenza or from Serie B to Serie A, it is a joyous occasion and one that each and every fan can look back on with fond memories.
What is done after the promotion however is the big question, will a side be able to significantly strengthen to keep their place in the higher ranks. It is a question asked every year of the newly promoted sides, do they have what it takes to make the step up?
Well looking at the Serie B table ten weeks into the season and the answer for the four promoted sides is a resounding yes. Of those four, three (Cittadella, Benevento and SPAL) all occupy a position in the promotion play-offs while the fourth side Pisa sit just outside it in tenth despite winning only one of their last five matches.
While the success of newly promoted sides is heartening to see, and gives a fresh and unique look to the table it also gives rise to one or two questions. Chief among them being is the standard of Serie B declining, making it easier for promoted sides to do well or is the quality of Lega Pro rising to the point where the gap between the two levels is decreasing.
Personally, I would believe it is the latter. The quality of Lega Pro has been on the rise in the last couple of seasons and this again is seen by the number of players and not just teams who are able to make the transition from the lower levels. For instance, Kevin Lasagna of Carpi was playing in Serie D two seasons ago but last year was a key squad member for the Biancorossi in their ill-fated Serie A campaign. Another example is Davide Luppi, three years ago Luppi scored 29 goals in 27 appearances in Serie D. This prolific form earned him a shot in the second tier, one he has taken with both hands. Seen by the fact that he is now playing for table toppers Hellas Verona.
Currently down in Lega Pro at the moment are numerous clubs who possess famous names from yester year looking to get back to the top, e.g. Parma, Lecce, Foggia, Siena, Venezia, etc. These fallen giants, so desperate as they are to get back to the top, are driving on the competitive nature of the third tier and improving the quality that comes out of it.
This then has the effect on clubs in Serie B having to up their game year after year because they know that the sides coming up from Lega Pro are no longer a given three points. All of this together then has the effect on making Serie B that more exciting for the neutral because on any given day no result is certain, anyone can lose and anyone can win. Take Trapani, last season the Sicilians finished third, so far this year they are last win no wins from their ten matches.
Now Trapani have not regressed as a side so much in five short months to go from 3rd to 22nd, but what they have done is stand still and that has proven to be just as deadly. Constant improvement is needed; stagnation is now regression and regression is certain death. Promoted sides doing well like Cittadella, Benevento, SPAL and Pisa is not a sign that Serie B is weak, indeed it is quite the opposite. They have come in and raised the bar everybody else must now follow suit or face extinction.
Who is going to step forward and make themselves Verona’s main contenders for the top spot. The Gialloblu are now five clear of Cittadella after the weekends matches and are looking good on their pre-season favourites tag. Contenders then, well Cittadella’s early season form has deserted them in recent weeks but they were never likely to but up there till the end anyway.
Two sides expected to challenge Verona, Carpi and Bari have been lacking consistency, Bari rather more so. While the sides in third, fourth and fifth have several things that you would put down as going against them. Perugia like Carpi are not consistent enough and probably lack the mental fortitude of Verona. Virtus Entella simply just don’t have anywhere near the resources to compete with the Gialloblu over 42 games. And Spezia well they are just bottlers.
How many goals will Giampaolo Pazzini score this season. Already on 11 in seven appearances, the veteran hitman is on course to break the 30 mark. Can it be done? Head says no but heart says NO. will break 20 though.
Harping back to the competitive nature of the division, only four sides in the top half of the table (4 of 11) won at the weekend
Even further to that point only two teams out of 22 have won more than 50% of their matches so far (10 Matches)
That’s it from this week’s Serie B review, short and sweet this edition, which is mainly because round 11, a mid-week round kicks off in just under 30 minutes from when I post this, so I’m off to watch the action and suggest you do to.
View Table HERE.
Week 10 Results:
Cittadella 0-1 Ascoli, Spezia 2-0 Brescia, Bari 3-0 Trapani, Benevento 0-0 Perugia, Hellas Verona 3-0 Pro Vercelli, Latina 1-1 Pisa, Novara 1-0 Avellino, Salernitana 1-1 Virtus Entella, SPAL 3-1 Carpi, Ternana 1-1 Cesena, Vicenza 1-1 Frosinone.