By Edoardo Stella.
Sub-edited by Tony Robertson.
Results from round 21 of the 2020/21 season:
Serie A table:
Nicolo Barella: a star in the making
Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella is stealing all the headlines in recent months, with spectacular performances that are now making him a valid player worldwide.
He featured in the Europa League team of the season last year and it appears he has improved even more now. Barella is offering complete performances, conquering the heart of all Inter fans.
His downside had often been his lack of contribution towards team goals, but it appears he is improving. The strike which allowed Inter to score first against Fiorentina on Friday was a real beauty.
Sportsmanship from Belotti as Torino complete heroic come-back
In a crazy come-back for Torino, Andrea Belotti stood out for his fair play. The Torino captain was awarded a free-kick from the edge of the box with a subsequent yellow card for Atalanta defender Cristian Romero.
However, despite being 3-0 down, he told the referee there was no foul and gave the ball back to Atalanta. It probably won’t live long in everyone’s memory, but sometimes it’s the little gestures that make you smile.
In the end, he got his reward as the team completed an astonishing comeback to snatch a draw.
Spezia outclass out-of-form Sassuolo
Vincenzo Italiano versus Roberto De Zerbi: this was a game between two rising managers of the Italian scene. Spezia played an attacking game against the most-attacking team of all: Sassuolo.
Francesco Caputo’s opening goal gave the illusion that Sassuolo could take control of the match, but Martin Erlic later equalised. Emmanuel Gyasi brought joy to the visitors, who now rise to 21 points.
They are the side that won the most percentage of points whilst playing away from home with 71% (15 out of 21). Sassuolo, in the meantime, are winless in five games and the European hunt may be slipping out of their hands.Embed from Getty Images
Cynicism, mentality and solidity: how Juventus are charging back
The game between Roma and Juventus was a real chance to make a statement and kick the other team out of the title race. It was Juventus to come out on top 2-0, despite Roma having more possession and more shots (14-3).
After a difficult start of the season, how are Juventus solving their difficulties? With Giorgio Chiellini’s and Matthijs de Ligt’s return, they have found more solidity at the back. In the last six games, they kept five clean sheets, only conceding a goal against Inter (the Italian side that scored the most goals) in the Coppa Italia.
Additionally, it looks like their winning mentality is finally back. They are able to score at the earliest occasion and look comfortable at managing the game even when ahead of just a goal.
In five of their first 11 league games, they were caught when leading, a thing that now seems to happen less and less.
It spells Genoa, it reads Juventus
It’s hard to stop praising Davide Ballardini’s work at Genoa, with the Grifoni now getting another superb win against Napoli.
It’s true that the visitors dominated the game, but Genoa were able to capitalise on defensive mistakes and net twice with nothing less than Goran Pandev. The Macedonian had only scored in the opening match against Crotone but came back to haunt his former team.
Ever since matchday 14, when Ballardini came in as manager, Genoa got 17 points in eight games, with only Lazio, Juventus and Milan doing marginally better. They impressively only conceded five goals and are putting their eyes on the top 10.
Harmless draw between Benevento and Sampdoria
Benevento were very close to snatching their first win in five games, but they had to settle for a draw after former Sampdoria player Gianluca Caprari got them in front.
La Strega had the chance to score a second but didn’t capitalise, as Keita Balde equalised for Sampdoria.
The draw helps both teams to gain another point towards safety, probably benefitting less Benevento, who are out of form and are expected to face Roma and Napoli in the coming weeks.
Gerard Deulofeu finally shining for Udinese
It was a long time coming, but Udinese fans finally witnessed their Spanish talent at the very best. Udinese and Verona fought in a tight contest, as the two sides are two among the most defensively organised.
When it looked like a draw was inevitable, Deulofeu firstly caused Marco Silvestri’s own-goal, then won Udinese the game in stoppage time with a nice long effort.
Whilst Verona appear in their worst moment of the season, Udinese finally look past their worst and keep getting points towards safety.Embed from Getty Images
Mr. 500: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Milan keep flying with their main man, Ibrahimovic, who reached the milestone of 500 career club goals, or rather 501, given he netted a brace against Crotone.
The Rossoneri remain on top, closing the contest in the second half with goals from Ibrahimovic and two also from Ante Rebic.
At 39, Ibrahimovic’s contribution is remarkable, as he has 14 goals in 11 league games this season, but he is doing more than that. He is helping elevate his team-mates’ level, as Milan look more united than ever.
People may dislike the Swedish striker’s personality, but there is no doubt that he really is an extraordinary player.
Bologna keep inflicting damage on Parma
The Rossoblu were dominant in the Emilian derby, conquering the Stadio Tardini with a 0-3 win.
Sinisa Mihajlovic finally had a positive response from his strikers, with Musa Barrow netting twice and Riccardo Orsolini closing the contest in stoppage time.
Parma keep remaining in an endless crisis, with their last win being in November against Genoa. Not even the return to former manager Roberto D’Aversa seems to restore the team’s confidence and whilst 17th placed Torino are still within reach, the gap from 16th place has now risen to eight points.Embed from Getty Images
Lazio looking ever-stronger, Cagliari ever-weaker
It was a difficult start of the season for Simone Inzaghi, as Lazio were lacking the consistency to perform excellent performances week in and week out. Now, similarly to last season, they are looking strong in the central part of the campaign.
They climbed back to fourth place joint with Roma and are unbeaten in 2021, with next week’s game against Inter being an important test.
Cagliari keep losing and struggling to find goals, as the important names in their roster suggest they are massively underperforming.
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