They came, they saw, they had belief. And so they conquered. This past weekend, Crotone took on Inter in a game that really represented a David vs. Goliath-esque clash.
Although the Nerazzurri have had their problems, they arguably, on paper are a far superior side. Star man Mauro Icardi has scored 20 goals. Crotone as a whole team have netted a measly 25. But even minnows, even the smallest ones have teeth.
And Stefano Pioli’s side became the latest ones to be bitten by the Squali on Sunday.
Turning things around…
They also join a rather unwanted club – as one of four teams to lose to the debutants this term. Yes, that’s correct. Crotone finished second in Serie B last term and so are featuring in the top flight for the first time in their history.
The other teams are Empoli and Pescara, whilst Chievo has the dubious honor of being the only team to have lost both home and away. The Flying Donkeys also became the first team to fail to score against the Squali when they lost 2-0 on matchday 11, and gifted Crotone their first away win with an awful showing at the .Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.
Empoli, who have the worst attack in the division, have managed to stay out of the drop zone just due to how poorly the bottom three have performed.
Well, now the Azzurri are looking over their shoulders. A series of losses, coupled with Crotone’s resurgent form have seen a once comfortable gap reduced to an anxiety-inducing three. Davide Nicola’s side have won two on the trot after earning just one point from their last eight games, and having secured a shock win, will be growing in confidence ahead of their trip to Torino on Saturday.
…but can they ultimately “pull a Leicester” and avoid the drop?
Following that, they will take on Sampdoria, AC Milan, Pescara, Udinese, Juventus, and finally Lazio. Of those games, Pescara, whom they beat 2-1 earlier this year is a must-win. Juventus are a foregone conclusion, so they should just write that game off as a loss. Yes, they did lose to Sassuolo last season, but the Bianconeri are playing at home, where they are simply unstoppable and have been for a while.
Furthermore, they managed to beat Crotone 2-0 on the road despite not being in their best form. Udinese is another they could definitely nick at least a point off, as is Sampdoria given that they managed to draw the latter earlier this year.
As for Milan and Lazio, the Rossoneri have had their fair share of problems, especially on the road, where they dropped two points against Pescara. The Biancocelesti, meanwhile are a really tricky customer, but Crotone will wrap up their debut Serie A campaign at home, which could offer them some respite.
During the 2014/2015 season, Leicester City managed to avoid the drop. A year later, under the tutelage of Claudio Ranieri they were crowned champions of England. Crotone, obviously will not follow in that stead, but they certainly can emulate the wily Foxes in one regard by transforming their debut season into a sophomore campaign next term.
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