The first full month of the Serie A season was filled with drama, starting with Mauro Icardi’s last minute transfer to Paris St Germain and ending with Montella’s Fiorentina playing champagne football at San Siro against his former team Milan. Over the course of the September we’ve seen numerous stand out performances, as well as some clunkers- so to recap it all, let’s name our Winners and Losers
Stefano Sensi- while Inter signed one of the best defenders in the game, Manchester United’s number nine and one of the starters on Mancini’s Azzurri, the former Sassuolo midfielder has so far been the best addition on any team in Serie A of the season. While on paper he’s very similar to Brozovic, he interprets the role with a completely different frame of mind than the Croatian who is far more eccentric.
Sensi has played both in front of the defense and in a more advanced position so far this season, and while he isn’t a box to box midfielder quite like Arturo Vidal, he has so far made the same type of impact the Chilean international gave Conte in his first season at Juventus- and I don’t write this lightly.
Beppe Marotta/Antonio Conte- their Inter will be seriously tested against Barcelona and Juventus before the international break, but they couldn’t have gotten off to a better start- they eliminated all the cancers from the locker room and won their first six matches including the derby in a very decisive manner. While Inter has won the transfer window and September scudettos many times in recent years, the fact they have these two in charge should give their fans hope they can shed their “Pazza” ways.
Aaron Ramsey- it’s hard to pick a Juventus winner but since they are in second place and have won eight titles in a row, they deserve to have a representative. While the former Arsenal midfielder has not surprisingly missed time due to an injury, when he’s actually played, he’s made such an impact that Sarri went back to the 4 3 1 2 formation he used at Empoli and in his first few matches at Napoli. Ramsey has brought a spark to Juventus’ midfield which has been a weakness at the club for quite some time, he’s also developed good chemistry with Paulo Dybala who is looking to get his career back on track after a difficult past 18 months.
Atalanta- there have been a lot of prisoner of the moment takes on Atalanta because they lost their first two Champions League matches, but they did use the revenues that come from competing in Europe’s top competition the right way by extending Gasperini’s contract, keeping all of their stars and bolstering their depth with quality players (they are also renovating their stadium which is now team owned but that was planned before they finished in the top four).
While they have struggled in the Champions League, Atalanta have been brilliant in Serie A by showing their usual offensive flair and ability to come back in matches. With many teams improving in the league and because they had multiple players having career years in 2018/19, many expected Atalanta to regress, but so far they look even stronger.
Frank Ribery/Rocco Commisso-while it was going to be very hard for Atalanta to repeat last season, for Fiorentina the only way was up after avoiding relegation in the final match of the 2018/19 campaign. New owner Rocco Commisso has brought a lot of enthusiasm to the team, he retained Federico Chiesa who was heavily linked to Juventus and bolstered positions of needs. But the cherry on top of the sundae, Ribery has been everything you could have asked for- dominating performances on the pitch, particularly at San Siro where he received a standing ovation, developing great chemistry with Chiesa to whom he can be a mentor and putting Fiorentina on the map globally with his arrival and the way he’s played.
Cristiano Giuntoli- Napoli came up short in races for Pepe and James Rodriguez but those may have been blessings in disguise based on what we saw from Lozano so far. Napoli’s sporting director also landed Elmas and Di Lorenzo, who have so far been revelations on the team at positions of need and at some point Kostas Manolas should become an upgrade to Albiol as Koulibaly’s center back partner.
Newly Promoted teams- if the season were to end today, all three newly promoted teams would avoid relegation, I know it’s very early but in recent seasons we’ve seen “neopromosse” look out of their element right away. Lecce have been very intriguing thanks to manager Liverani’s propensity for attacking regardless of who they are facing, Brescia have looked like this season’s version of Parma while Hellas Verona have made up for their lack of talent with gritty performances.
Paulo Fonseca- the former Shakhtar manager was first a great recruiter on the transfer market by convincing numerous players to join him in Italy’s capital and he re energized Dzeko who signed an extension at the end of the summer. Roma so far have played a very exciting and distinct brand of football offensively and certainly look in the mix for a Champions League spot despite losing their captain (De Rossi), best defender (Manolas) and top goal scorer (El Shaarawy) during the transfer window,
Roma defense- as great as Fonseca’s offense has looked so far this season, the backline has been a mess. The giallorossi had a bad defense last season and then they lost their best defender in Kostas Manolas and tried to replace him with inexperienced Gianluca Mancini and Manchester United reject Smalling. At least Roma finally has an above average keeper, but they also have clearly the worse defense of the teams competing for a Champions League spot.
Kalidou Koulibaly- shocking to see him listed here since along with Chiellini, he’s been the best defender in Serie A the past three years. Koulibaly struggled in numerous matches, highlighted by his own goal against Juventus and a red card that cost him a two game suspension and a fine. It’s just a matter of time until he turns it around and a slow start was to be somewhat expected since he had no pre season with his new defensive partners Manolas and Di Lorenzo because of the Africa Cup.
SPAL- the club from Ferrara lost their best player in the summer with Manuel Lazzari joining Lazio and are in serious jeopardy of being relegated because of the above average newly promoted teams to Serie A this season.
Marco Giampaolo- while there were concerns with his ability to handle the pressure of being the manager ay a top club, few doubted the fact that tactically he was supposed to be Milan’s best manager since Allegri. But we have yet to see any of the offensive identity we saw Giampaolo give Empoli when he replace Maurizio Sarri or Sampdoria where Quagliarella had a career season at an age most striker are already retired. Giampaolo has looked very confused with his lineups (remember Andre Silva starting the season opener before leaving the club a few days later?) and in press conference and is now acting like a dead man walking despite the fact Milan had a fairly easily schedule to start the season.
Sampdoria- Giampaolo’s former club have the worse goal differential in Serie A at minus ten and are dead last in the standings. The blucerchiati have been up for sale for awhile and will need whoever buys the club to make significant investments in January to avoid relegation.