Juventus-Frosinone: the Bianconeri quickly bounced back in Sassuolo after the 3-3 draw with Parma and have won four times in the last five fixtures, fortifying their lead in the standings. The Ciociari have been pesky recently and they are coming off a surprise win over Sampdoria, their second in a row on the road, and they are now within striking distance from the 17th spot. With Champions League just around the corner, Cristiano Ronaldo might be rested for the second time in Serie A, which would mean more scoring opportunities for Mario Mandzukic, Federico Bernardeschi and Paulo Dybala, or whoever will compose the front-line. Continue reading
Standings implications: Juventus’ led atop of the table swelled up again as the Bianconeri routed Sassuolo, while Napoli could not break through in Florence and had to settle for a nil-nil tie. Inter returned to winning ways in Parma after three rounds. All the teams involved in the Champions League race won this week: Milan outfaced Cagliari, Roma did the same with Chievo on Friday, Atalanta successfully came back at home versus SPAL and Lazio squeezed past Empoli. Sampdoria lost steam in the Europa League zone with the second loss in a row, an appalling one to Frosinone in this case, while Torino are now eighth after nipping Udinese. Frosinone’s victory drags few more clubs into the mud: there are six teams in six points, with two going down. Bologna was the only other side that brought home a relatively positive result in those neighborhoods as they tied with Genoa. Continue reading
Juventus: Mario Mandzukic is trying to come back from high strain, but it might be too early. Miralem Pjanic and Joao Cancelo are dealing with minor calf ailments, while Sami Khedira has a sore knee: they are unlikely to be available this week, but the fullback has a shot. Medhi Benatia (groin), Andrea Barzagli (thigh) and Juan Cuadrado (knee) remain out.
Napoli: Marek Hamsik will return from a thigh strain, while Allan is experiencing some back pain and has been ruled out.
The first ever Serie A boxing day will culminate in a tasty match-up between Inter and Napoli.
Frosinone-Milan: the Ciociari snatched a decent draw in Udinese in Marco Baroni’s first game, but they need some Ws as they have gotten just one so far and it dates back to October 28th. The window to reduce the gap is closing quickly. Milan are sputtering in the last period: they have prevailed just once in the last six fixtures, tying with Lazio, Torino and Bologna and losing to Juventus and Fiorentina. They have been unable to score in the past three games. With so little time to work with, the new coach did not change much, opting for a 3-5-2 and benching Joel Campbell to have one more midfielder, Francesco Cassata. Continue reading
Frosinone are in desperate need of a spark and the management took the usual route of firing the coach. Moreno Longo got the ax with his team sitting in 19th position and having collected just one win and eight total points thus far this season. They are four points behind Bologna and five behind Udinese, which, as things stand, would be the first club to avoid the drop.
After losing seven of the first eight matches, the Ciociari showed some signs of life between late October and early November, where they picked up points in four matches in a row, defeating SPAL on the road and tying with Empoli, Parma and Fiorentina. However, after that little spurt, they have been defeated in three of the last four fixtures, versus Inter, Napoli and Sassuolo, and drew with Cagliari in the remaining one. Continue reading
The next round features one of the games of the season, Juventus-Inter, and few other juicy match-ups.
Juventus-Inter: the Bianconeri got the better of Fiorentina, extending their winning streak to five fixtures, but in that occasion they were not as dominant as the final score showed. Against Roma, Inter dropped points for the second time in a row on the road and, despite scoring twice, they never looked in control. The same thing happened in Bergamo, but they are extremely opportunistic, so they can never be counted out. Cristiano Ronaldo added one to his tally with a penalty in Florence, while Rodrigo Bentancur continues to impress. Mario Mandzukic is generally money in big matches, while Douglas Costa has the potential to be a factor off the bench. Despite being useful in other areas, Paulo Dybala’s offensive stats in Serie A have been subpar. Continue reading
The next round could be a little one-sided for the top clubs, but surprises are always around the corner in Serie A and there still a couple of juicy games on deck.
Juventus-SPAL: the Bianconeri prevailed in the always tense match-up with Milan, surviving a penalty but appearing pretty dominant overall. They have won in 11 of the first 12 games, setting a new Serie A-point record to start the season. SPAL looked a little better against Cagliari, but squandered a two-zip lead and had to settle for a tie. They had lost in six of the previous seven fixtures. Mario Mandzukic returned to the starting XI with an immediate goal, then Cristiano Ronaldo bagged another one. Continue reading
Another pretty interesting round is in the books: let’s take a look at the best performers.
Orestis Karnezis (7 points): only four clean sheets in the weekend. The Greek goalkeeper filled in for David Ospina and answered the bell with a pair of key saves against his former team.
Kevin Bonifazi (9 points): the youngster finally completed his comeback. He impressed two seasons ago at SPAL in Serie B, but then played very little at Torino last year due to injuries. He is back with Estensi now and buried a header against Roma, on top on defending diligently in a tough match-up. Continue reading
The Derby della Madonnina was balanced, hard-fought and intense, but, albeit in dramatic fashion, it was decided by a single goal in the stoppage time. So the weekly shout-out goes to high-scoring affair between Frosinone and Empoli, which had a lot at stake for an early season game and was brilliantly played by both sides.
The Ciociari have yet to win this season and garnered only a point so far, against Bologna at home. The Azzurri prevailed just in the season opener and suffered five losses after that, managing to tie twice. Continue reading
Standings implications: Juventus dropped points for the first time this season and Napoli promptly took advantage of it, getting closer in the table. Inter prevailed thanks to a late goal in the Derby. Lazio were clinical against a tough opponent like Parma. Roma had a shocking showing against SPAL. Fiorentina’s winning streak was halted by Cagliari. Torino frittered away a two-nothing lead in Bologna, slowing down after two victories. Atalanta came back to winning ways in impressive fashion, romping Chievo on the road. Frosinone and Empoli shared the spoil in an early but still significant relegation zone clash.