By Edoardo Stella.
Results from round 22 of the 2020/21 season:
Serie A table:
Nicolas Viola and Nicola Sansone score in the snow
Bologna and Benevento remain tied in the standings, not harming each other and moving a further step towards safety.
Bologna were off strong, with Sansone scoring less than a minute in, but Benevento reacted well and came close with Gianluca Caprari hitting the post. A howler by Lukasz Skorupski gave Benevento the draw, as Nicolas Viola scored with a back-heel.
The captain is finally back to full form after missing the first part of the season and his leadership will be crucial for Benevento’s charge.Embed from Getty Images
Streak of draws for Torino, as Genoa keep scoring points
It’s a 0-0 between the Granata and the Grifoni, who are unable to break the deadlock in what was a game with few chances.
It’s definitely a match that leaves a mark more on a statistical point of view, rather than for what happened on the pitch. Davide Ballardini becomes the Genoa manager that got the most points on his first nine games in charge (18) in the three-points era.
For the first time in their history, Torino drew five consecutive home games, in what is also their fifth consecutive draw. Curiously, Torino and Genoa were also involved in five of the 14 games that ended 0-0 this season.
Fresh air for Lorenzo Insigne and Gennaro Gattuso
Napoli’s tough situation was helped by a crucial and stoic victory against rivals Juventus. The game was decided by a penalty converted by Lorenzo Insigne, who held a poor record against Juventus prior to today.
Of his 26 penalties taken, Insigne had scored 22, missing three of the four against nothing less than the Bianconeri.
Against what seemed to be a real curse, the Napoli captain stepped up and helped his team to a much-needed win. Coach Gattuso will be relieved, as rumours of him departing from the side were getting very frequent.
Stunning result as Spezia outclass Milan
When the team that scored the most points away from home (28 out of 30) visits the team that scored the least points at home (six from 30), there seems to be only one possible outcome.
If the first team is called Milan and is currently leading the Serie A, while the second one is called Spezia and is the last out of the newly promoted teams, a 2-0 home win is quite shocking.
However, Spezia produced a masterclass of football that stunned Milan, continuing the astonishing work put up by Vincenzo Italiano. Former Milan player Giulio Maggiore and defender Simone Bastoni scored the goals that caused Milan to lose the lead of the Serie A for the first time.
Jordan Veretout proving a leader for Roma
Two goals from the French midfielder early in the first half helped Roma overcome Udinese and recover from the loss against Juventus.
The Giallorossi keep demonstrating tenacity, as this brings them back up to third place. Even after losing direct head to head games, Roma haven’t dropped their heads and kept their perfect score against teams below the top nine.
Jordan Veretout is a quiet leader of this team, now joining Henrikh Mkhitaryan as top goalscorer, netting nine goals that make 2020/21 already his most prolific season.
There are multiple class players in this team, starting from Mkhitaryan himself, but having a complete midfielder like the Frenchman, offering weekly great performances and scoring a decent amount of goals is a real asset.
Keita Balde and Fabio Quagliarella make Sampdoria fly
Claudio Ranieri is really near his aim of Serie A survival, as Sampdoria beat Fiorentina to move up to 30 points. Historically, the Blucerchiati don’t belong to the relegation battle, but they suffered a poor season last year, which means that they have improved a lot in 2020/21.
Keita may be one of the reasons, now scoring his fifth goal in six Serie A starts. After a difficult start, also with an injury, Keita is slowly conquering Sampdoria, joint with the everlasting Quagliarella.
The 38-year-old striker’s playing time is reducing, but his class is truly permanent, as he came off the bench to score his eighth goal of the season. Sampdoria are just four points behind eighth-placed Sassuolo and with stellar performances from Antonio Candreva and Mikkel Damsgaard, they can aim higher.Embed from Getty Images
Has Luis Muriel finally consecrated himself?
There never were doubts about Muriel’s class and the fact that he was a great player, but the Columbian always lacked something. There were moments in which he stunned everyone, but too many times he failed to be consistent.
Let’s not forget Muriel is only 29 and finally may have become a top player. At the 90th minute of Cagliari-Atalanta, he created an excellent goal out of nowhere, to net his 13th in the Serie A this season, making it one every 51 minutes.
At this point of the year, and having played 20 out of 22 league games, these numbers are astonishing and finally indicate that Muriel is becoming a champion.
Giovanni Stroppa’s future on the edge, as Sassuolo beat Crotone
It wasn’t easy, but Sassuolo finally return to victory against bottom-placed Crotone, as leaders Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo gave them a 2-1 lead.
Roberto De Zerbi can finally smile, as Sassuolo produced a good performance, while his counterpart at Crotone, Stroppa, is now on the edge. Crotone has only scored 12 points so far, but never looked like they could move out of the relegation zone.
Stroppa always had full support, but with the season coming to an end, parting ways may be the solution in the hope of finding new energy. After all, even if 16th place is 10 points away, 17th placed Torino are only five points ahead.Embed from Getty Images
A chase that lasted 22 games: Inter are finally on top
Ahead of the Milan derby next week, Antonio Conte and Inter had to prove a point. Too many times this season, in the most decisive moments, they slipped, losing the chance to continue in the cups and to overtake Milan.
This moment finally came against a tough opponent in Lazio, which perhaps makes Inter’s win even more significant. As Milan lost to Spezia, the Nerazzurri welcomed Lazio.
The visitors tried to dominate possession, but met a very organised defence led by former player Stefan De Vrij and Milan Skriniar, as they were punished by Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.
Next week will surely be the most intense derby of recent history, as two sides divided by a point can decide the fate of this Serie A. Will there be a break at the top or a counter-overtake?
What will be in Federico Dimarco’s future?
Parma remain winless, after going ahead at Verona thanks to a penalty from Juraj Kucka. The midfielder has scored all the last three of Parma’s goal, as the team keeps struggling to score goals and points.
Dimarco shone again for Verona. The 23-year-old wing-back was widely involved, with his shot also causing Alberto Grassi’s own-goal and his corner-kick aiding Antonin Barak’s finish.
Dimarco has now got three goals and five assists and is set to return at Inter once his loan ends. Will the Nerazzurri keep him? Considering their struggles on the left-hand side of the pitch, Dimarco may well be useful for Inter’s cause.
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