What comes into mind when I think of Italy's first division: A couple of good teams; slow, boring style of football; and not enough excitement. But this really isn't the case. So why is it that many are under the impression that Serie A is one of the more boring top-flight football leagues in Europe?
It's a fair comment to say the Italian league is less attractive to watch. It's commonplace for a team to score and then defend the lead for the majority of the match. And it's tactical reasons that best explain why so many are turned off. But the Italian league has some of the most technically capable and skillfully gifted players in Europe.
From Ronaldinho and Kaka to Abate, Totti, Pato, Lavezzi, Silvestri. The list of talent is endless, and yet these players play in a conventional system that stops the league in general from being as exciting as it can possibly be. This must irritate Italian fans when their league is compared to The Premiership or La Liga. Is it just an issue of coverage?
After all, the coverage on a global scale of Serie A in comparison to the EPL is minuscule. Italian teams aren't as prominent around the world as their European counterparts, but it was only recently that Italian teams were dominating Europe in the Champions League.
It's only recently that Italy were crowned World Champions in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, so the Italians are getting something right. It may be consistently classed as the most boring league but, in terms of it's structure, it sets an extraordinary example to the rest of Europe.
Serie A has shown on various occasions that their top four is completely interchangeable. Nobody knows which team will finish in the coveted Champions League spots because that's just how competitive and efficient a majority of the teams are in the league at challenging for the best finishes.
Compared to the EPL, there is also a phenomenal amount of homegrown talent playing regularly in most of the teams. The Italian national team prospers as a result of this, and the best squad can be picked from a wider selection of players than the rest of the other big leagues in Europe.
Currently there are 12 teams in Serie A that stand a realistic chance of challenging for the top four places. In any circumstance, that is an encouraging example to the rest of Europe of a functioning, competitive, and unpredictable league that also works well for its international team.