Juventus-Milan: the Bianconeri are coming off a convincing outing in Cagliari, where they notched their second shutout win in a row and in general their seventh victory in the last eight fixtures. On the other hand, the Rossoneri failed to take home the full loot for three matches in a row as they lost to Inter and Sampdoria and then tied with Udinese. The Old Lady is likely to have back both Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala for this game, while Cristiano Ronaldo is slated to sit one more out. Some players could be spared in the Ajax game, in any case Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are in terrific form and have lead them scoring-wise. Continue reading
Standings implications: they did it in opposite fashion, but Juventus and Napoli both took home the full spoils in this round. Inter were bested by Lazio, Milan by Sampdoria and therefore the Biancocelesti and Atalanta moved closer to the fourth spot. The Orobici leapfrogged Roma, while Sampdoria now share the eight spot with Torino, which tied in Florence. Cagliari prevailed for the third time in the last four fixtures, this time versus Chievo, and are eight point clear of the 18th spot, which is now occupied by Empoli that have been overtaken by Bologna as result of a dramatic victory. Udinese and SPAL kept their slim lead with Ws against Genoa and Frosinone.
Confirmations: Duvan Zapata took advantage of few elite strikers being shut out to pull closer to the top of the scorers’ chart thanks to a brace. Continue reading
Serie A returned in full force with a gorgeous weekend of football. Here are the top performers.
Samir Handanovic (7 points): just five clean sheets in this round, by Inter, Sassuolo, Milan, Juventus and Atalanta. The veteran goalie had the best showing, denying two close range attempts by Kevin-Prince Boateng and Jeremie Boga to preserve the tie. Gianluca Donnarumma was not far behind.
Gianluca Mancini (9 points): he has already scored five goals thus far, which is more than most midfielders. He added a new wrinkle on Sunday, as he did not do damage on a set piece, but simply followed an offensive action by his side, then his teammates fed him with a solid cross. Continue reading
Atalanta scored five goals in the season opener against Frosinone and the result did not change few months later in Ciociaria, so they earn the coveted club of the week award. Gian Piero Gasperini replaced the injured Remo Freuler with Marten De Roon, chose the Berat Djimsiti and Gianluca Mancini over José-Luis Palomino and Andrea Masiello in the back and preferred Timothy Castagne to the dinged up Robin Gosens on the left flank.
It did not take long to the Goddess to establish their superiority, as Duvan Zapata had a big chance six minutes into the game, but Marco Sportiello and a defender cleared the ball before it could cross the goal-line. The start of the goal fest was simply delayed by few minutes: at the tenth one, Mario Pasalic connected with Mancini, who had decided to attack on that action, and the centre-back outjumped an opponent for his fifth goal of the season. Continue reading
The next Serie A slate is pretty tasty on paper.
Fiorentina-Juventus: the Viola are having a weird season. They started off decently, showing well especially at home, where they are still undefeated and have a sound defense, but they have struggled to score recently. They have not netted more than one since late September and they have drawn in their last five matches, against Cagliari, Torino, Roma, Frosinone and Bologna. On the other hand, the Old Lady is cruising with 12 wins in the year, four in a row after the tumble against Genoa, but it will be tested before the break. Fiorentina’s offensive problems stem primarily from Giovanni Simeone and Marko Pjaca’s poor form, as they have combined for just three goals so far. Federico Chiesa is always doing stuff, but he has not bagged many as well. Continue reading
There was not a lot of juice in this week’s round, where the two most anticipated matches Lazio-Milan and Genoa-Sampdoria were hard-fought, but low scoring. The most entertaining fixture turned out to be a unforeseen one, Empoli-Atalanta.
The Azzurri came into the game looking to build on the win over Udinese in Giuseppe Iachini’s debut, while Atalanta were coming off four straight victories, including the brilliant one over Inter, where they had their best performance of the season.
Iachini switched from the 4-3-1-2 they have been using so far to a 3-5-2 he is more accustomed to, basically replacing Miha Zajc with a defender, Frederic Veseli, and picked Manuel Pasqual over Luca Antonelli on the left wing.
A seminal Serie A weekend is approaching, featuring the Derby della Capitale and Juventus-Napoli.
Roma-Lazio: the Giallorossi shook off at least part of the negativity surrounding them by routing Frosinone on Wednesday, which is not particularly difficult these days, but they needed it. They had won just in the opening round. The Biancocelesti keep feasting on the minnows and are coming off four wins in a row. La Lupa has been so inconsistent so far, but 4-2-3-1 with Javier Pastore in the hole and Steven Nzonzi and Daniele De Rossi screening the defence might ultimately be the way to go, at least in big matches. Stephan El Shaarawy has been their most trustworthy player so far, but Cengiz Under broke through on Wednesday and he does not need a lot to get hot. Continue reading
The most enthralling game of the weekend was certainly Milan-Atalanta, which was hard fought until the final whistle. The Devil came into the game after a disappointing draw in Cagliari, where they did not play well and were lucky to come away with a point. Atalanta were eager to bounce back as well, since they were coming off two bitter losses to SPAL and Cagliari.
Gennaro Gattuso deployed his usual line-up, with Mateo Musacchio retaining his starting job because Mattia Caldara got hurt. Gian Piero Gasperini instead continued to tinker with his formation, sending out Mario Pasalic in the hole and Musa Barrow as centre-forward. Continue reading
There are not any mammoth clash this week, but a pair of match-up could turn to be very succulent.
Sampdoria-Inter: if it was not for the tumble they took in Udine in their season opener, the Blucerchiati would be regarded as one of the most impressive squads in Serie A, considering they how they dusted Napoli and Frosinone and came back against Fiorentina. Their attack is humming: Gregoire Defrel, Fabio Quagliarella, Gianluca Caprari and Dawid Kownacki have all already found the target at least once and the former Roma and Sassuolo striker is raining fire. Continue reading
There will be a lot to mull about in the international week after a very meaningful Serie A round.
Standings implications: Juventus scooped up another win and are now alone on top since Napoli did not pull off the comeback this time versus Sampdoria, Milan won this week’s big match against Roma, Inter got back on track with a large result against, Lazio had more troubles but the same results. Sassuolo again excelled at home with Genoa as their victim this time, while Cagliari exploited Atalanta’s tiredness to bring home a precious win. Chievo and Empoli were content sharing the spoils. Torino prevailed in a very wet encounter with SPAL that was suspended and resumed late. Continue reading