Feature Photo: Eco di Bergamo
It’s been a while since the derbies carried a certain weight with them, but this season is more than making up for it as changes at the top are almost a regular and the battle at the bottom is heating up.
Atalanta ride on
As if we haven’t praised them enough, Gian Piero Gasperini and his Atalanta keep on thrilling us with their performances and the latest result wasn’t even a surprise!
La Dea beat Roma 2-1, and even though the Roman captain, Edin Dzeko, scored for his team’s lead, everyone knew it wouldn’t last long. It was only a matter of when, and after Jose Luis Palomino tied it in the 50th minute, Mario Pasalic made an immediate impact you rarely see by scoring seconds after coming on for Duvan Zapata. Talk about a super-sub.
Atalanta are now the favorites to fill in the fourth spot as they sit six points ahead of Roma with whopping 63 goals to their name.
The Champions League challenges await, but the team looks locked and loaded to take down Valencia in the Round of 16.
Juve back at the top
It wasn’t an impressive performance. In fact, it was a pretty disappointing performance from Maurizio Sarri’s men who took the much-needed 2-0 win at home over Brescia. However, it was a performance that got them the three points of the utmost importance.
Paulo Dybala’s moment of brilliance was (again) the only bright spot in an otherwise bland performance at home. A naive red card for Florian Aye basically sealed the deal early in the match, leaving the visitors without as much as puncher’s chance.
Juve are probably optimistic about extending their time at the top because they travel to face SPAL next weekend, the only worse team than Brescia this season in Serie A.
It’s a fairytale that keeps on giving. After beating down Juventus twice in about 20 days earlier this season, Lazio’s next big victim was Inter.
The Biancocelesti hosted Inter in a fabulous atmosphere that saw the Olimpico go wild as the teams ran onto the pitch. Ashley Young, however, almost spoiled the party by scoring late in the first half and Simone Inzaghi had to come up with an inspiring half-time talk to lift his team up… and by all accounts, he did.
Showing their true warrior spirit, Lazio scored twice via Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Many will argue that Daniele Padelli’s presence between the posts for Inter shook things up for worse, but this isn’t the day that we take away absolutely anything out of Lazio’s unreal success so far.
This could even be the point we return to at the end of the season if the impossible does happen. Meanwhile, Antonio Conte now has a difficult job of returning to winning ways, because constantly losing to the direct title candidates certainly won’t help their confidence going forward.
Ante Rebic, he scores when he wants
The atmosphere at San Siro has definitely shifted. From a horrific start to the season, through a very insecure reaction after a managerial change, Rossoneri traveled a long road to where they are now – back in the positive spirits.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up the plaudits – for a reason. As much as his presence on the pitch is felt, attracting two centre-backs at all times, Ibra is even more important in the dressing room, because it feels like everyone took it up a notch since his arrival. Ante Rebic is one of those players.
There are countless stories from the winger’s early days in Croatia where he’d regularly square up the team veterans, standing up for himself both for good and the bad. It seems as if Zlatan lit a fire under the Croat, who has now scored seven goals, starting with the magical brace at the beginning of the year.
Just like for Milan, it wasn’t an easy road for Rebic this season, too. Perhaps all of his frustration, anger, glory, and determination were encapsulated in his goal celebration where he shouted some mean words in Croatian, directed towards the universe, towards the ones who have written him off.
Force rising at the bottom?
Nobody saw it coming, but it happened – Genoa went four games undefeated, winning the last two and they’re now just a point away from safety.
Davide Nicola brought the change Alessandro Preziosi was looking for. Brescia and SPAL are now done and dusted far at the bottom, but the fight for Serie A life is on the line for the Rossoblu.
All of Sampdoria, Lecce, and Udinese could join the bottom duo, especially La Samp, who just can’t seem to find their groove as they convincingly lost to Fiorentina 5-1 just when it looked like they might be waking up.