Twenty eight goals, many confirmations and one, big surprise – this is the second week of Serie A.
Once again the two favourites teams in the Scudetto race, Roma and Juventus, both played on Saturday due to their upcoming Champions League matches. Rudi Garcia decided to leave on the bench a host of attackers against Empoli, whilst Massimiliano Allegri instead faced Udinese with the best team possible. Two different decisions that ended up with the same result – victory. Thanks to another great performance by Radja Nainggolan, in fact, Roma defeated the newly-promoted team 1-0, taking advantage of an own goal by goalkeeper Luigi Sepe. The Giallorossi side played a slightly sub-par match, though, without showing the fast and lethal football we are used to. After a week of discussions, Maicon played in the starting XI and so did Manolas too – the Greek centre-back made his debut, but risked a lot with a tackle on the Georgian striker Levan Mchedlidze that could have seen a penalty awarded.
With a much better performance, Juventus gained three points against Udinese at the Juventus Stadium. Allegri played a 3-5-2 that saw former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra start on the left flank, and the veteran didn’t disappoint, putting in a convincing display. Tevez netted his first goal of the season thanks to a perfect assist from Stephan Lichtsteiner, and then Claudio Marchisio closed the game with a strike from distance. In the final part of the game Allegri gave his first minutes with the Bianconeri side to Alvaro Morata, who arrived during the summer from Real Madrid. The Spanish youngster nearly scored a great goal on debut, but Orestis Karnezis was able to make a smart save.
Now Roma and Juventus will have to prove their strength in the Champions League too, a competition in which Italian teams have struggled to gain any success in recently. Both rosters have been reinforced during the transfer market, but the top European teams still seem a level above.
The only other side that gained two victories in a row is AC Milan, refreshed after a totally negative term. On Sunday night the Rossoneri defeated Parma in crazy game ended 5-4, with two red cards, an own goal and many mistakes from Ducali’s side. Still without Fernando Torres and Riccardo Montolivo, and with Stephan El Shaarawy suffering another injury, the team coached by Filippo Inzaghi played a pure offensive game counting on Giacomo Bonaventura and Keisuke Honda as offensive wings, and Jeremy Menez as falso nueve. The French forward delighted fans with wonderful plays and an amazing goal with his heel. With no European competition, AC Milan could surely become the third Scudetto’s claimant.
On the other side of Navigli, Inter Milan destroyed Sassuolo with an astonishing 7-0, a result that occurred during the last term too. Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick and Dani Osvaldo netted two goals, while Simone Zaza didn’t have his best performance after the great displays in two games with the Italian national team. A comprehensive victory, however, not yet enough to draw conclusions about the Nerazzurri’s chances in the run for the title.
The big surprise of this second week happened at the San Paolo, where Napoli was defeated by Chievo – a team typically known for fighting relegation. The Azzurri crashed against a sensational performance from Francesco Bardi, who saved a penalty kick from Gonzalo Higuain. Now the job of Rafa Benitez, unstable since the elimination from Champions League, is even more at risk.
In the other games, Lazio overcame Cesena with an easy 3-0, while a disappointing Fiorentina wasn’t able to score a single goal to Genoa despite several occasions in front of Perin. Atalanta won in Cagliari, and Sampdoria defeated Torino thanks to Manolo Gabbiadini and Stefano Okaka, two forwards that must be kept under the radar. Gabbiadini, in particular has the ability to become a sensational player like legend Luca Toni, who at 37, was the Man of the Match against Palermo as he led his side to a 2-1 victory.