Serie A TIM: Matchday 4 Review
After just 4 rounds of calcio in Italian the Serie A TIM, Juventus are already seemingly running away with the Scudetto. With 12 points in the 4 matches played, they sit at the top of the table with most of their “supposed rivals” and “title-challengers” continuously dropping points and failing to hit their mark and impress.
Spal surprisingly sits at second along with Napoli with 9 points (each have 3 victories and 1 loss); Sassuolo comes in right after with 7 points after a strong start to the season; and Sampdoria, Fiorentina, and Genoa all remain at 6 points with a game in hand (therefore could move closer to the bianconeri), but what remains worrisome is that even at this early stage of the season, Massimiliano Allegri could probably rotate the Old Lady’s squad, bringing on reserves (which would allow their first team to focus on the bigger prize of the Champions League) and still succeed.
Below, @TriniSportsGuy will present a summary of this past weeks’ action in Italy.
Inter 0 vs Parma 1
Yes, you are seeing the scoreline correctly. Inter 0. Parma 1. Put a movie in, rewind, and watch again! This basically sums up Inter’s season. The Nerazzurri continue their awful start to the season, with not just a loss, but a home loss to a promoted side with a goal scored by one of their players (Federico Dimarco) who was sent on loan to the gialloblu… you can’t make this stuff up.
Parma, on the other hand, have now won their first match away to Inter since 1999. Dimarco’s screamer in the 79′ left the home side’s goalkeeper Samir Handanović bemused as the ball flew over his head into the top left-hand corner from Dimarco’s left foot.
There was a moment of controversy earlier on, as Ivan Perisic had a shot cleared off the line (by the hand of the aforementioned Dimarco) which the FIGC admitted today should have been reviewed by VAR. However, that should not take away from Inter’s tepid display, and they themselves could have had Roberto Gagliardini sent off for a lunge in the game as well. Luciano Spalletti still has the backing of the Suning Group, but for how long again?
Napoli 1 vs Fiorentina 0
“I wanted to repay the faith of Carlo Ancelotti”. These were the words of Lorenzo Insigne after scoring the only goal – the game-winning goal against La Viola.
Napoli were the dominant team in this game, with their usual possession-based game, and they kept on probing throughout the game. Fiorentina, on the other hand, were strangely slow, both in whatever build-up play they had and most disappointingly from them, when on the counter.
Carletto decided to start Dries Mertens in this match instead of Arkadiusz Milik, however, just before the hour mark, he brought on the Polish striker and his impact was almost instantaneous. He provided a constant threat to the Fiorentina defense, as his physical play, holding up of the ball caused them to think differently. In the 79′, he put his skills to work by setting up Insigne. He picked up the ball half-way into the away team’s half, moved forward with it, and almost instinctively looked up and saw the Napoli native open. He slid the ball through and Insigne did the rest – he moved past his defender and sent the ball away from Fiorentina’s goalkeeper. Juventus loanee Croatian Marco Pjaca was thrown on to try to even the score, but to no avail. The Partenopei bounced back from their defeat to Sampdoria last week.
Frosinone 0 vs Sampdoria 5
Speaking of the Blucerchiati, they continued their fine start to the season with a crushing 5-0 win over newly promoted Frosinone, who are already looking as they may go right back down to the Serie B. Surprise leaders of the scoring charts? One of those is Gregoire Defrel, who grabbed a brace to take his total to 4 already this season. The other goals were scored by Gianluca Capari, a Dawid Kownacki penalty, and the customary Fabio Quagliarella strike, as they ran riot in the region of Lazio. Sampdoria has always been strong at home, but this away win should give them confidence going forward as a potential return to Europe is there for the taking.
Roma 2 vs Chievo 2
The Giallorossi are intending on giving Inter a real run for their money on who wants to throw away their season first. They were 2-0 up at home versus The Flying Donkeys, completely dominating proceedings and heading for a morale-boosting win before their daunting trip to face Real Madrid in the Champions League.
That was until, their concentration, intensity and work rate dropped and Chievo were more than grateful to take advantage. Valter Birsa with a sweet curler and Mariusz Stępiński with the game-tying goal, gave the away side just their second point of the season, however, due to their points deduction, they are still at -1 total points.
Roma, plain and simply are in big trouble!
Udinese 1 vs Torino 1
This was a surprisingly entertaining game that ended as a draw. However, to be fair to the Granata, they were the team that was trying their best to win, including having more possession and more shots, so imagine their surprise when the Friulian side took the lead.
In a classic counter-attack, Rodrigo de Paul, collected the ball with the freedom of the Dacia Arena, powered towards the penalty box, had a right footed shot, that took a deflection and rocketed into the bottom right of the net.
In the second half, Soualiho Meïté (who scored the goal that earned Torino a point away to Inter) did it again. His goal this time was more classy, as he got the ball on the edge of the box, turned and fired it with a left-footed strike that gave Simone Scuffet zero chance.
Both teams made substitutions to try to get a winner but to no avail.
Juventus 2 vs Sassuolo 1
A match that should have been remembered for the first two goals of Cristiano Ronaldo since his move to Serie A, is, unfortunately, grabbing the football headlines worldwide for Douglas Costa’s disgraceful display.
The Neroverdi have yet again been a surprise package this year and held The Old Lady to a scoreless first half. However, just 5 minutes into the second half, the moment all Juventini have long awaited for since the Portugal international joined them was realised. From a corner, a Sassuolo defender ridiculously tried to head the ball away, forcing his goalkeeper to make a save, only to see Ronaldo right there to put it into the net. He ran off to the corner flag and was quickly followed by all his team-mates as they joined in the celebrations.
One quickly became two for the star, as with the away team pushing forward for an equalizer, the home team picked off a pass and set off on a counter. The ball made it’s way to Ronaldo, and he easily dispatched the ball into the bottom left corner of the net with his left footed shot. He could have even had a hat-trick, but missed a sitter later on, and then Douglas Costa decided to lose his mind.
He got into a tussle with Federico Di Francesco, first with a tackle from behind, then an elbow and then ending it off by spitting at the player. It must be pointed out that the referee in this game, could have, and should have sent him off for either of those incidents, but failed to do so. Thankfully there is VAR, and the Brazilian was rightly given a red card. Khouma Babacar pulled one back for the away team, but his goal was an afterthought to Douglas Costa. The world is eagerly watching to see how the FIGC and Serie A deal with the player: leniency, fair punishment or bring down the hammer?
Watch. This. Space.
Genoa 1 vs Bologna 0
Polish talent Krzysztof Piątek has been the striking sensation of the campaign so far and he added another striker versus an underperforming Rossoblu, leaving their manager Pippo Inzaghi under more pressure.
Piatek got the ball from left wing-back Domenico Criscito, took one touch, and slotted the ball into the away team’s net, and his growing reputation was enhanced once again. His price of just 4 million euros is already looking like the bargain of the season.
Empoli vs Lazio
The home team must be wondering how on earth did they not get anything from this game, as they dominated most of it, with a lovely style of play that they displayed in Serie B last season.
Their manager Aurelio Andreazzoli said that they would not change their style of play and much respect should be paid to him for that. Lazio have had a slow start to the season, and they got the much-needed win at the Castellani however.
Veteran Marco Parolo got the only goal, as he deflected a cross from the right just minutes into the second half and the Biancocelesti held on for the win, but not before goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha had to make a few important saves.
Cagliari 1 vs Milan 1
Watching the first 25 minutes of the game, one would think it was the Isolani who had Champions League ambitions, as they started off very strong. They pressed their much more illustrious opponents and it was no surprise when they took the lead in just 4 minutes in.
The returning Joao Pedro scored after they had hit the post and yet again the Rossoneri were slow off the blocks. Milan’s performances have been lackadaisical, without intensity and very insipid. They were fortunate not to be 2-0 down, as Nicolo Barella (who Milan have been linked with) hit the post in the first half as well.
Gennaro Gattuso called their first half performance “embarrassing”, but there was a slight improvement in the second half. The goal scored by Gonzalo Higuain was his first for the club since his move and it was fortuitous. A rebound went into the penalty box, and the poacher that he is, picked up the ball, rounded the keeper, and coolly put it into an empty net.
After that, the away team, held most the ball but were quite stale in their play yet again and the game ended in a draw. More questions than answers for Rino.
Spal 2 vs Atalanta 0
Another game where a former player hurt a side, as Andrea Petagna scored a brace, and the Biancazzurri continued their impressive start to the season.
The tifosi, as usual, put on a delightful display with the choreography, in my opinion, that alone is worthy of their stay in Serie A. Petagna, a former Milan youth product, scored his goals in the space of 6 minutes just after the second half began.
The first after a save from the Atalanta keeper from a headed corner, with his right foot; and the second, a deflected right footed shot that flew into the top left-hand corner of the net. Just by how much he celebrated, you just knew, he was letting out his frustration at being let go by La Dea.