Samir Handanovic (7 points): just one goalie managed to keep a clean sheet in this round and Inter easily contained Genoa on Saturday, finally blanking their opponents for the first time in the season. The Slovakian veteran was pretty much a spectator in the game.
Danilo D’Ambrosio (9 points): he has been pretty solid while filling in for Milan Skriniar, who is out with COVID, and, on top of that, he keeps making his presence known on the other end as well. He notched his second goal of the campaign by punching it home on a flick-on by Andrea Ranocchia on a corner kick. Continue reading →
Same as in previous Serie A weeks, Juventus did not fully push the envelope until it was too late and the team got smacked in the face. It still almost worked, as the final siege could have easily yielded another goal, but ultimately the Old Lady was held to another disappointing tie.
Danilo: after a pair of ho-hum displays, the Brazilian international returned to the excellent levels he exhibited at the beginning of the campaign, both as hybrid centre-back and as a pure one once Leonardo Bonucci subbed off. The Italian veteran had a confusing performance as he often ventured forward since he was unguarded, but that did not produce anything good, if not some imbalances when he tracked back. Since when it rains, it pours, he picked up an injury and the back-line is down to bare bones. Usual hustle out of Merih Demiral, who however was not as dominant as in other circumstances. Continue reading →
Standings implications: Roma managed to at least slow down Milan in the Monday night thriller. Napoli stayed perfect in the matches they actually played but they had to dig deep to sink a plucky Benenevento. Juventus lost some more ground as they could not get past Verona. Inter and Lazio both bounced back after multiple winless rounds, as the Nerazzurri patiently worked their way around Genoa’s defence, while the Biancocelesti bested Bologna. Sassuolo and Sampdoria are the surprises of the early season: the Neroverdi were again the comeback kids against Torino, but their rally stopped short this time, while the Blucerchiati handed Atalanta their second tough L in a row. Fiorentina held on two dear life this time in order to beat Udinese and return to winning ways. Cagliari defeated Crotone, keeping the opponents on the down low, while this time Spezia were on the wrong end of a two-goal comeback in Parma.
Sassuolo-Torino: the Neroverdi are coming off three wins in a row, the Granata have suffered three consecutive losses, so this one looks like a no-brainer, even though surprises can always be just around the corner: 2-0.
Atalanta-Sampdoria: the Bergamaschi bounced back from the stunning Napoli romp in Champions League and will look to do the same in domestic play, maintaining the pace they had in the first three successful outings. Sampdoria looked mighty good versus Lazio and got Fiorentina as well, but they might be forced to bend the knee here: 3-1. Continue reading →
Atalanta: Matteo Pessina returned in Champions League from a late-season patellar dislocation. Ruslan Malinovskyi had an old scar in his adductor flare up and missed the previous game, but he is set to be available Saturday. Cristiano Piccini (knee) could return sooner rather than later, while Pierluigi Gollini (knee) is at least two weeks away.
Benevento: Nicolas Viola has resumed practicing after his meniscus surgery and made the squad list. Gabriele Moncini and Federico Barba are out again to muscular problems and are joined in that regard by Iago Falque. Continue reading →
Sassuolo: the Neroverdi were tested by Bologna, but they reacted vigorously and nabbed another win thanks to goal by their usual difference-makers, Francesco Caputo (fourth in the season), Domenico Berardi (third) and Filip Djuricic. The Serbian attacker started off slowly but found the target in the last two outings. Gregoire Defrel and Lukas Haraslin have hampered by injuries, while Jeremie Boga and Nicolas Schiappacasse had to deal with COVID, so the final spot in their front-line is up for grabs. Hamed Traore has first dibs if the absentees do not return, but Maxime Lopez could be an option as well. At some point they will have to start using Boga, but he missed a lot of practice time because of the virus. Mert Muldur and Georgios Kyriakopoulos have yet to turn it on this season, while Manuel Locatelliand Mehdi Bourabia have both hit the net once despite their role. Continue reading →
Atalanta: the Bergamaschi looked unprepared to match Napoli’s aggressiveness in the last fixture and the much-anticipated bout ended with a shocking beating. They will look to return to form in Serie A as well after pummelling Midtjylland. Alejandro Gomez has been the tip of the spear so far and straight-up one of the best players in the League. Luis Muriel has put his name in the stat-sheet twice, like Sam Lemmers, who has made the most of his limited opportunities. Duvan Zapata has been more up-and-down. Josip Ilicic looked rusty in his first game back, but that is understandable: the good news is that he indeed came back and the coach will likely give him regular minutes to get him into shape. Ruslan Malinovskyi is questionable due to an injury, which may lead to some playing time for the intriguing Aleksey Miranchuk. Their stud wing-backs Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens have scored one goal each, with the German international adding two assists.
Juventus finally tuned up the defensive phase in the trip to Ukraine and seemed in control for the majority of the contest in its Champions League debut, kicking off the group stage in positive fashion.
Leonardo Bonucci: the back-line lost Giorgio Chiellini in the first twenty minutes but held up with ease for the most part, a nice change of pace compared to a suspect start of the season on that front. They were surely helped by the remissive attitude, which attacked convicingly only for few minutes in the second half. Bonucci and Merih Demiral were neck-and-neck in terms of performance, the Italian stalwart was just a little more noticeable and precise. Danilo improved compared to the last match, but also had some awful clearances. Wojciech Szczesny was never challenged too seriously. Continue reading →
Mattia Perin(7 points): just three goalies managed to keep a clean sheet in this round, two actually in the Monday match. Perin was by far the busiest of the lot and had to intervene on several attempts by Verona, mostly from outside the box, and had his best save on a header by Marco Davide Faraoni.
Tommaso Augello (11 points): every defender for the Blucerchiati could have a place in the top XI, but the nod for everybody else naturally goes to the hard-working left-back, who assisted Fabio Quagliarella with a gorgeous cross and then hit the net with a precise little volley from outside the box. Continue reading →