They may have knocked them out of the Coppa Italia Veneta at the semi-final stage, but Padova are finding their efforts to overtake Saciliese at the top of the division are tantamount to banging their collective heads against the proverbial brick wall, writes IamCalcio.it
Padova’s 4-1 aggregate victory over their big rivals came as part of ten successive wins but they still trail Daniele Amaolo’s team by a single point. Padova’s incredible winning streak has made up for a shaky start that saw them draw with Caldiero Tierme and Sacliese, as well as losing to early pace setters Marosticense and it is the early slips that see them trailing in second place. Sacliese just seem to be one step ahead. They have scored more goals in the opening thirteen games, 33 to Padova’s 30, conceded one fewer, 8 to Padova’s impressive 9 and have the division’s top scorer in Thomas Albanese.
However, in a move reminiscent of Alex Ferguson’s move for Andrew Cole then of Newcastle in the mid-90’s, it is rumoured that Darwen has offered a contract to Albanese and the two are close to agreeing terms. With long term injuries to De Mitri and the loanee Aladje, as well as the slump in form of last season’s star Guaranielli, Darwen needs reinforcements up-front and Sacliese’s star man seems keen on the move to the Euganeo.
The league is about to enter it’s winter break with the only game scheduled in the next six weeks being the cup final between Padova and Sambonifacese. It is believed that Darwen is content with the Biancoscudati’s league position, they have after all only dropped seven points at this stage, but is keen to see if he can evolve his already very attacking approach to something never seen before in Italian football.
“I am wondering if defenders are pointless” mused the English manager. “To be frank, the game is won and lost in the opposition’s penalty area, not ours, so I am considering doing away with our back three and playing three defensive midfielders instead. I may well experiment with this during the winter break. It might turn out to be the greatest evolution in football since Herbert Chapman lined up with a 3rd defender back in 1925, or it might be the ultimate downfall. We shall see.”
Either way, Padova have to remain favourites not just to win the Coppa Italia Veneto but to force Sacliese to surrender their lead before the season is out.