In the first match day of this season’s Serie A, there was the shock result that everyone was looking for. The 2-1 home victory for Hellas Verona over AC Milan caught everyone’s eye, and all fingers were immediately pointed at Allegri’s Milan for their ineptitude and inability to defeat the newly-promoted side. While people are still scrutinizing the rossoneri and their stuttering start (currently 12th with only 8 points from a possible 21), it’s about time we start eyeing that newly-promoted side that defeated Milan on that first match day. After their latest 4-1 away victory over Bologna, Hellas Verona are currently in fifth place, just one point shy of fourth placed Inter Milan.
While this was Verona’s first away win of the season, Mandorlini’s side has made the best of their difficult first few matches. After the aforementioned season-opening win against Milan, Verona has had to travel to Roma and Juventus (losing both of those matches), along with direct clashes against relegation fighting rivals, including fellow newly promoted sides Sassuolo and Livorno (winning all except a 2-2 away draw against Torino). With four victories in seven matches, Hellas Verona and Mandorlini have now given themselves a secure start to build upon and will be looking to reach the magical relegation-avoiding goal of 40 points as soon as possible.
While the exceptional start might come as a surprise to most, when the squad is given a closer look you begin to understand how they’ve begun so successfully. A strong core of Serie A veterans, which include the likes of Donadel, Donati, Jankovic and the gigantic goalscoring machine that is Luca Toni, has mixed well with a strong group of young and talented South Americans, creating a side that plays with freedom and attacking fluidity. It’s been Toni and Iturbe up front scoring goals (Toni with three and the 20 year-old Argentine with two so far this season), supported by a midfield featuring Jorginho, a 21 year-old Brazilian also boasting three goals for himself this season.
There are definitely questions to be asked about whether Verona will have the resilience to continue this run of good form and finish somewhere in the top of the table. Yet after seeing the ease with which the club put four past Bologna, it’s certain that the side has plenty of attacking choices with which to score and create goals. Whether it’s Toni providing a definite aerial threat, or Iturbe with his devastating left foot shot, it’s very difficult to contain Mandorlini’s side.