A wild Serie A Saturday saw both sides from Milan drop points. Both Inter Milan and AC Milan were hoping to get wins this weekend. Both went away with dropped points of differing severity, but equal shame. AC Milan lost 1-0 at home to Fiorentina while Inter went away to Chievo and drew after a 92’ equalizer from Chievo and that was all before Juventus and Roma met in Turin.
Serie A Weekend: Inter Milan and AC Milan Drop Points
Milan Stunned At Home
AC Milan have been absolutely hammered by injuries. In many ways, Saturday’s match against Fiorentina was a manifestation of all of those injuries. Gennaro Gattuso was forced to play Davide Calabria in midfield and Jose Mauri as well. The former is a right-back and latter is probably a worse midfielder than the former, not to mention the often-poor Hakan Calhanoglu as the third man.
With that midfield, it’s hard to expect the creativity Milan need, especially with the way they have been playing. They’ve only scored once in their last four games. Gonzalo Higuain hasn’t scored in Serie A since October and today he really struggled to get into the game. Fortunately, there are still positives for Milan fans.
There are reinforcements on the way. Lucas Paqueta will be able to play in just over a week. Also, there are rumours that Milan are in negotiations to buy Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Those rumours seem like they’re coming from a reliable place and that would be huge for Gennaro Gattuso.
There is another side to this result; an extremely young Fiorentina side got a real signature win. The best players on the pitch were Alban Lafont, Nikola Milenkovic and Federico Chiesa, none of whom are older than 21. Each one of them were particularly vital for Fiorentina to grab all three points.
It starts with Alban Lafont, the 19-year-old French goalkeeper, whose name we will all learn. Lafont is a quick and decisive keeper with excellent reflexes. He does a great job against snapshots and making acrobatic saves, which contributed to a five-save performance on Saturday. When he wasn’t able to save it, his in demand 21-year-old Serbian right-back, Nikola Milenkovic, was there to clear it off the line.
The man who will grab the headlines, though, is Federico Chiesa. The young Italian winger cut in on his right foot and curled a lovely finish into the bottom corner for the only goal of the game. He is Italy’s best attacking talent and his play at Fiorentina will be important for all Azzurri fans. Performances like today’s are certainly worthy of getting excited.
In the past few years, Roma have been one of the most consistent sides challenging Juventus in Serie A. On Saturday, however, it was a matchup of two different classes of teams as Juventus held Roma down for a 1-0 win a home. The goal was a Mario Mandzukic header where he bullied a full-back, this time Davide Santon, at the far post, as he often does.
That goal wasn’t the biggest takeaway from this game. It was the way the Juventus defence completely controlled anything Roma built going forward. Giorgio Chiellini and Leo Bonucci had another starring performance. Alex Sandro and Mattia De Sciglio completely controlled the flanks, making sure Roma got nothing going from their wide players.
It can’t be forgotten just how young Roma’s team are. Cengiz Under is only 21-years-old and Justin Kluivert and Niccolo Zaniolo are even younger at 19. Even as more experienced players like Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti came on, they failed to make any difference for Roma. When you’re going up against that defence, it’s really hard to make an impact, even when you’re Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
What this result does is drop Roma all the way to tenth. With that said, they should not panic as they are only 3 points behind fifth-place AC Milan. The middle of the table is incredibly tight in Serie A this season. It makes up for the fact that Juventus have an eight-point lead over Napoli.
Chievo Verona 1-1 Inter Milan
It was a game that Inter should have won going away. They are by far the better side, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. What might surprise people is that this is Chievo’s sixth straight draw in Serie A, thanks to the 91st-minute equalizer. That goal was scored after a lovely long ball was flicked on by Mariusz Stepanski.
His flick sent in the captain, Sergio Pellissier, who did wonderfully himself. With Samir Handanovic rushing onto him, he expertly chipped the ball over him for the equalising goal. He never should have had the chance to equalize, though. Inter have the quality and should have put this game to bed much earlier.
It will be something that Luciano Spalletti will certainly be aware of. Inter did not do a great job of breaking down the worst team in Serie A and his team actually got worse after the changes he made. Both of those problems fall on the manager and the pressure will continue to mount on Spalletti.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Amongst the other games in Serie A, there were a few interesting situations. Let’s start with Sampdoria, who came from behind to beat Empoli 4-2. One of their four goalscorers was Mr Wondergoal himself, Fabio Quagliarella. Quagliarella has now scored in seven straight Serie A games for Sampdoria, giving him 10 goals this season, augmenting a sixth-place start for Sampdoria.
Meanwhile Napoli played out a fairly boring 1-0 win over SPAL at home. The second place side in Serie A continued winning in their attempt to keep up with Juventus but this was an ugly 1-0 win where Napoli created loads of chances without any real threatening ones. Frankly, the less said about this game, the better.
Finally, let’s check in with Serie A top scorer Krzysztof Piatek, who scored his 13th league goal on Saturday against Atalanta. However, the headlines from will go to Atalanta defender Rafael Toloi. Toloi scored the own goal that opened the scoring for Genoa and then got himself sent off with a straight red in the 92nd minute. Not a great game for the Brazilian defender.