In a weekend devoid of any headline matchups, Serie A still shines through. Games like Bologna vs Roma, Milan vs Atalanta or Juventus vs Frosinone don’t look like much. But the quality of Serie A showed that any team can bring a tough game in this league.
Serie A Week Five: Bologna Shock Roma and Ronaldo Nets Again
The Milan Clubs
The weekend started out with Inter Milan picking up a giant three points after what has been a very pedestrian start to their season. A team that many tipped as Juventus biggest challenger needed a 94’ minute winner against Sampdoria from Marcelo Brozovic to secure the three points. Spaletti’s men will have work to do to pick up the points they need.
The other club of the same city were much less fortunate. It started very well for AC Milan when they took an early lead through Gonzalo Higuain’s lovely finishing. But their opponents Atalanta are not to be trifled with.
First Papu Gomez equalized with a lovely finish. Then Milan got another goal from Giacomo Bonaventura and Milan thought they had it. But, again, Atalanta are not to be trifled with.
It took until the 91st minute, after both sides had missed chances to add to their score, but Atalanta got another equalizer. This time it was the substitute Emiliano Rigoni who found the back of the net. Another pair of points dropped by Milan, those could be costly.
We had thought Carlo Ancelotti’s imprint on this Napoli side would be the playing of a true number nine. Maybe what we didn’t anticipate was a more inventive change.
Sunday afternoon against Torino he played Lorenzo Insigne in the number 10 position, a trequartista in Italian. The move will be lauded because it worked, Insigne scored two goals en route to Napoli getting a 3-1 win in Turin.
With that change in system he was able to rotate a bunch of his players getting in Simone Verdi, Marko Rog and Sebastiano Luperto. All three played well in their spot starts and that type of rotation could be crucial for Napoli.
One of the biggest criticism of ex-manager Maurizio Sarri was a lack of rotation with this squad. He said he didn’t have the players, Ancelotti may be proving otherwise.
Napoli’s rotation was brought on by a massive fixture next weekend as they return to Turin to take Juventus. Juve had their own treacherous trip to deal with this weekend as they went to Frosinone. The tiny little club packed everyone they could into their home stadium and they made quite the noise.
Those fans got to watch their side take on Cristiano Ronaldo and the full attacking force of Juventus. And boy did they hold up strong.
It took until the 81st minute for Ronaldo to finally break the deadlock and give Juve the lead. After he scored, Bernardeschi was able to get a second and in the end, it looks like a comfortable win for Juve.
But they know this was a tough grind of a match. Next week will not be that. Juve have not looked to be at their best yet this season.
They still feel like a team getting used to a superstar player like Cristiano Ronaldo. That transition will take time, but next weekend when Napoli come to town there will be no more time.
Surprise of the Weekend
None of those results though match the massive result picked up by Bologna on Sunday. Roma came to town and boy did they leave unhappy.
They were thoroughly outplayed by Bologna who got goals from both of their strikers; Federico Mattiello and Federico Santander. Roma had 73% possession and 26 shots but could not get past Lukasz Skorupski The ex-Roma keeper had eight saves, turning in a man of the match performance.
Now Roma have some work to do as they return to the capital. They have an ‘easy’ midweek game against Frosinone but a big one comes at the weekend.
It’s the Derby, it’s Lazio and it is always a must-win game. Lazio are flying getting a 4-1 win this weekend and will look to take it to their city rivals.
Finally, let’s give a shout out to the men from Florence. Fiorentina have had a wild year, losing their Captain Davide Astori to a tragic death chief among it.
But they have started this season in great form getting big performances from Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone they sit third in Serie A early on; fantastic.
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