Week Two in Serie A started off with a Super Saturday of action. Cristiano Ronaldo’s much-anticipated home debut for Juventus against Lazio kicked off the weekend and that was followed by an outstanding comeback victory for Napoli over AC Milan. On Sunday, Inter dropped points again, this time at home to Torino.
Serie A Week 2: Ronaldo, Mertens and Sloppy Inter Again
Having not scored in his full Serie A debut, you knew Cristiano Ronaldo would be itching to get on the scoresheet this week against Lazio. He even got to start on in his favoured left-wing position instead of through the middle. He tried and tried against Lazio but was unable to find the back of the net. However, a comic miss-hit shot kicked up in the air for Mario Mandzukic to hammer home. That was Juve’s second in their 2-0 defeat of Lazio.
That game was followed by an absolute cracker at the San Paulo between Napoli and AC Milan. It was Carlo Ancelotti’s first game against Milan, where he is a legend as both a player and manager, with Napoli. And early on, one of his former Milan players, Gennaro Gattuso, was out-managing him.
AC Milan took a 2-0 lead over Napoli by the 50th minute and looked to be in control of the game. Even a few minutes later when Napoli pegged them back, Milan still looked strong. But when Carlo finally decided to bring on Dries Mertens, the game changed. At his introduction, Napoli turned up their Sarri-ball, and quick-passed Milan to death.
It will be important for Ancelotti to decide what to do with Dries Mertens. He has so far insisted on playing a traditional centre-forward, Arkadiusz Milik. Milik is a fine player, but Mertens has been Napoli’s best player each of the last two seasons, playing as a centre-forward. Ancelotti’s insistence on playing a traditional number nine could cost his team.
Elsewhere in Serie A, Sunday saw SPAL get a massive win over Parma in what will likely be a relegation six-pointer and Inter thought they had bounced back very nicely against Torino after a big dud last weekend. Spalleti’s side switched to a back three and jumped out to a 2-0 lead by half-time. However, Torino made it close through Andrea Belotti, and then they tied the score through Soualiho Meite.
Genoa dispatched Empoli thanks to two first-half goals and Fiorentina walloped Chievo 6-1. Cagliari beat Sassuolo 2-1, Udinese beat Sampdoria 1-0 and Frosinone and Bologna played out a scoreless draw.
Star of the Weekend
It has got to be Napoli’s two-goal hero Piotr Zielinski. The 24-year-old midfielder has so far slide nicely into Jorginho’s vacant midfield spot. Though through tactical adjustment he does not fill the same positition, he and Allan have become deadly in Napoli’s midfield. They bossed the game against Milan and were the biggest reason for the come from behind win.
Surprise of the Weekend
Inter Milan make their way into the Surprise of the Weekend again for their inability to bounce back against Torino. They really bossed the first half and Torino really had no answers for them. But they gave all that good momentum away and squandered their two goal lead rather easily. Now Spaletti’s men have to go back to the drawing board after one point from two games and two completely different styles.
Still to Come
The Monday night game this week features Roma taking on Atalanta. It will be interesting to see who Roma start the game with. They were much better once Justin Kluivert and Bryan Cristante came off the bench so you wonder if they are going to start. Someone will have to for sure now that veteran midfielder Kevin Strootman is moving to Marseille.
Fans of Serie A will have to prove their worth next weekend as there is not a marquee game at the weekend, except for a Friday night showdown between Roma and AC Milan. For some reason, Roma only get three days between games, which seems ridiculous for this time of the year, but schedule-makers in Europe have always been idiotic. Elsewhere on Saturday, Inter travel to Bologna and Juve travel to Parma. Sunday, Lazio host Frosinone and Napoli travel to Sampdoria.