By Edoardo Stella
Results from round 18 of the 2020/21 season:
Serie A table:
Super Lazio tear Roma apart
There was only one possible outcome of the Derby della Capitale, which was evident as soon as the teams stepped onto the pitch. Lazio were awesome, as Roma never featured, in what ended up being a 3-0 scoreline that equals the largest win in Serie A for the Biancocelesti over their rivals.
Wing-back Manuel Lazzari was dominant, creating all three goals, that were converted by the ever-present Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto (twice).
A brutal defeat for Roma, who as often mentioned in this column, keep failing to win against teams in the top nine. They have now completed the first round of games with only four points in those eight “big matches”.
Huge win for Bologna, but Musa Barrow keeps struggling
Bologna ended an eight-games winless streak with an important victory over Hellas Verona. Barrow continued his goalscoring drought, which is somewhat unexpected given the impact the Gambian had had in the past six months after joining Bologna.
With nine goals and three assists in 18 games, there were high hopes for 2020/21, but Barrow is struggling, only getting three goals and three assists in the same number of games this season.
We must still remember that Barrow is 22 and isn’t playing badly, offering some positive contribution to Bologna, but from strikers, more can be demanded, as Roberto Soriano is the only player in the team to have scored more than three goals.Embed from Getty Images
Giampaolo’s future on the edge, as Torino fail to beat Spezia
Playing 11v10 since the eighth minute, Torino failed to impress against Spezia, who managed to keep the hosts to a 0-0.
The home side only recorded one shot on goal, which came in extra time, and hit the post with Christian Ansaldi. Marco Giampaolo’s future keeps being in doubt, despite the presidency’s support.
Torino always fully backed their manager, but probably it’s time to try a change in directions, as the Granata are still in the relegation zone after 18 games.
Torregrossa scores on debut as Sampdoria move to 10th
Joining a few days ago from Brescia, striker Ernesto Torregrossa immediately proves beneficial for Sampdoria, as they beat Udinese 2-1.
Antonio Candreva converted a penalty, scoring for the third successive game, while Torregrossa came on as a substitute and scored late.
His career had gone under the radar until he found stability with Brescia in Serie B, ending up being their top league goalscorer last season, as the Rondinelle were relegated from the Serie A. Can he be decisive? For sure he will offer a valid alternative in attack.
Game, set, match for Napoli
Napoli’s second 6-0 of the season comes against Fiorentina, who were shocked within the first 45 minutes. It took only four shots on target for the home side, led by a superb Lorenzo Insigne to lead the half by four goals.
Although Fiorentina weren’t dominated in terms of playing style and possession, they were inevitably punished by the cynicism of their opponents.
It’s still to be seen whether Napoli’s isolated games in which they score four or more goals (now six in 18), can lead to consistent victories.
Simy Nwankwo: Benevento’s curse
Benevento dominated Crotone in terms of shots (22-5), corners (13-4), big chances (4-2), possession (60%-40%) and multiple other statistics, but Crotone won 4-1. This is what football is about, as despite only three shots on goal, the Sharks were able to win.
Kamil Glik scored an own goal, before also “assisting” Simy’s first. The latter is proving to be a real threat for Benevento, scoring six goals in three games played against La Strega.
The Stadio Ezio Scida is also proving to be cursed for Benevento, who have never managed to win there, with only a single draw in six games.Embed from Getty Images
Serie A welcomes his first player born in 2003
Daan Dierckx started for Parma against Sassuolo, becoming the first player born in 2003 to play in the Serie A. He’s the youngest defender to have started a match in the top five leagues this season.
The game finished 1-1, as Filip Djuricic scored a penalty that was the last kick of the game. A draw that doesn’t fully satisfy anyone, as Sassuolo slip to eighth, while Parma remain 19th.
Surely, a point is better than nothing, but scoring big can help make up several places in this tight Serie A.
Another solid performance from Genoa keeps Atalanta at bay
Limiting Atalanta’s attacking power isn’t something all teams can do and Genoa performed a solid match to snatch a 0-0 draw against La Dea.
Atalanta tried for 90 minutes to breakthrough Genoa’s defence, but the visitors were very well-organised. Since Davide Ballardini took charge, the Grifoni have gained eight points in five games, whilst getting seven in their previous twelve.
They are climbing their way up by giving notable attention to their defence, frustrating their opponents by closing up all spaces, similarly to a catenaccio. It may not be elegant, but it’s definitely proving beneficial.Embed from Getty Images
Another turnaround in the title race
It’s Inter who come out on top against Juventus, but the most impressive fact from Sunday’s big match was the superiority demonstrated against their rivals.
Juventus were coming from four straight wins, whilst Inter had only got a point in the last two and just cleared Fiorentina at the last minute of extra-time in the Coppa Italia.
But from minute one it was evident the teams approached the game very differently, as Arturo Vidal gave Inter the lead and Nicolo Barella sealed the victory, making good use of a woeful defensive error from Juventus.
Inter displayed unusual solidity at the back, limiting Juventus’s attack and making the Champions’s situation a lot tougher.
Milan on the verge of being Winter Champions
The title of Winter Champions has its relative small importance, given every team aspires to be top after 38 games, no matter where they are after the first round.
Milan are leading the Serie A by three points over their city rivals, but have a worse goal difference, which is currently keeping the race for being Winter Champions open.
Since 2002/03, every team who was top after 19 games, with the exception of Napoli in 2015/16 and 2017/18 went on to win, so it might be a good omen to be first at the end of next week. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic on form after returning from injury and the ambitious signing of Mario Mandzukic, Milan can go all the way.
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