Standings implications: the top two teams prevailed as Juventus defeated Bologna, while Inter survived Sassuolo’s late rally. Napoli got closer to the third spot after besting Verona since Atalanta three away a three-nothing lead against Lazio. Roma stumbled away against Sampdoria. Cagliari remain in the high-end district thanks to an easy win over SPAL and they have now put together the best start in their history. Milan got halted at the one-yard line by Lecce despite a decent debut for Stefano Pioli. Parma humilated Genoa, while Udinese grabbed another home win. Continue reading
Miralem Pjanic discussed the state of the team and his stellar moment in a Sunday’s interview with Sky Sport: “I feel great, I had a strong start. I am confident and in my prime. The team is playing well and I am having fun. The goals are surely nice, but what matters the most is to be in first position in the Champions League group and in the league. We have to maintain that during the upcoming stretch of matches and maybe increase the gap.” Continue reading
Juventus appeared in cruise control for most of the Bologna game, even when they were not actually winning and the contest demanded a bit more focus on intensity. The dagger did not arrive despite plenty of possession and few juicy chances in the second half, but the three points did, maintaining the perfect record at home and the lead in the standings.
Alex Sandro: other than that improbable volley by Danilo, the back-line was pretty stifling tonight and conceded something only late, when the Felsinei were attacking furiously. Sandro had the most demanding task, but managed to hold in check Riccardo Orsolini and often took it to him phisically. He also produced the early run that led to the initial goal. Continue reading
Maurizio Sarri was back in front of the press today to discuss few topics ahead of the Bologna game. He started off by assessing the form of Douglas Costa and the other injured players: “I do not know where the news about his return came from because he has always been practicing on his own so far. The question about the scheme will be relevant at a later time. Danilo, Aaron Ramsey and Mattia De Sciglio all re-joined the group in the last few days.” Continue reading
Lazio: 3-5-2 Strakosha; Felipe, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Parolo, Alberto, Lulic; Immobile, Correa.
Potential lineup changes: Marusic for Lazzari, Caicedo for Correa.
Probable: Correa (thigh).
Confirmed out: Leiva (suspension), Berisha (thigh).
Juventus: Danilo is the only injured player returning, while Aaron Ramsey, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa need more time, even though the first two have resumed practicing fully.
Inter: Alexis Sanchez underwent surgery to repair some torn peroneal tendons in the left ankle and will miss up to three months. Danilo D’Ambrosio fractured a toe while with Italy and should be out for four weeks. Continue reading
Robin Olsen: he is putting together a nice bounce-back season after having a rough go with Roma in the previous campaign. He is not as good as Alessio Cragno, but he could take advantage of the fact that SPAL are still scoreless after three road games.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo: the move to a bigger club has not hurt him, on the contrary it has raised his profile and helped him earn an Azzurri call-up. He has scored once and provided one assist so far, entrenching himself as a valuable part of the offense. It does not hurt that Verona usually have trouble scoring. Continue reading
Lazio-Atalanta: a pivotal match for the Biancocelesti, who need to be more consistent and beat a quality opponent to prove that they belong, while the Goddess has always prevailed on the road so far. Something will have to give because the Eagles are undefeated at home. I can see a draw here.
Napoli-Verona: the Partenopei need to get their act together after falling into a mini-slump recently, dropping points in two of their last three matches. The Scaligeri are feisty and have not lost in their last three games, but they have gone down against the best opponents they have faced, Milan and Juventus: home win. Continue reading
Lazio-Atalanta: the formula for the Biancocelesti never really changes, as Ciro Immobile is going like gangbusters this year, while Luis Alberto has been their second-best player, especially thanks to his playmaking, as he has already provided five assists. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa have both broken the ice, but they have yet to turn into consistent scorers. The ancillary contributors like Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic have been stuck in a timeshare, while Senad Lulic’s fantasy appeal is limited.
The Goddess lost Duvan Zapata for some time due to a muscular injury, so it now will have to be Luis Muriel’s time to shine as the primary go-to-guy. He has scored three times in five appearances despite the irregular playing time and, despite the different skillset, they might not take a big hit there. Continue reading
Juventus chief football officer Fabio Paratici talked to the journalists after the Manlio Scopigno award and dismissed a rumour about Cristiano Ronaldo departing at the end of the season that has been circulating in the last few days: “He is very focused on his current objectives, I do not believe in the slightest that he will leave at the end of the season or later. He is under contract and I think he will honour it: we are very happy with him and he is happy at Juventus.”