Serie A Morning Mix: Weekend of Stalemates Raises More Questions Than Answers

In one of the weirdest matchdays of the 2023/24 Serie A season, none of the top three sides got into the win column in the same round for the first time this term. Evan Ndicka’s collapse on the pitch cast a dark shadow on Matchday 32, leaving us all praying for his wellbeing.

Let’s look at the most telling storylines.

Get Well Ndicka

Referee Luca Pairetto sent players into the dressing room when Ndicka fell on the ground during Roma’s away game against Udinese. The bottom-half strugglers and Daniele De Rossi’s men were all square heading into the last ten minutes after Roberto Pereyra and Romelu Lukaku found the net.

That’s when the disaster struck. Ndicka held his chest twice before collapsing on the field. Parietto immediately halted proceedings, with Roma players insisting to accompany their defender to the hospital. According to the latest reports, the Ivorian is safe and out of danger after heartbreaking scenes in Udine.

Hopefully, Ndicka will soon be back on his feet. The whole Serie A community and football fans around the world are with the Roma star!

Unwanted Records Falling Around Clueless Max Allegri

Juventus are on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League group stages after a season-long hiatus from European football. Kudos to Massimiliano Allegri – this would be a perfect slogan for April Fools’ Day. In reality, one of the most defensive-minded managers in Serie A history continues to frustrate the Bianconeri faithful with his near-unwatchable football.

Whenever asked to comment about Juventus’ sloppy performances, Allegri turns to statistics to defend his conservative approach. Well, what goes around – comes around! Stats blew up in the Italian’s face as his side met two unwanted pieces of history in a tepid 0-0 draw against crosstown rivals Torino on Saturday. 

Juventus failed to get on the scoresheet in the Derby della Mole for the first time since 2008, halting a run of 27 scoring outings against Granata. Another toothless showing left the record-time Italian champions stuck at only 45 goals after 32 rounds, accounting for their worst scoring record since 1998/99. 

Is it time for Allegri to change his philosophy? Or is it time for Juventus to change their manager?

Calzona Set to Enjoy ‘Calzone’ During Next Season’s Champions League

If there was a glimmer of hope that reigning Serie A holders Napoli could secure Champions League qualification, Frosinone vanquished it on Sunday afternoon. In a strange twist of fate, Partenopei loanee Walid Cheddira struck twice to inspire the Canaries to a crucial 2-2 draw at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. 

Cheddira’s rise to prominence was Napoli’s undoing. The Moroccan’s double left Francesco Calzona’s side six points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots. With only six games left, Napoli will need a miracle to beat Roma to a coveted fifth-place finish. Given their recent results in Serie A, it’s doubtful whether a magic stick would do the trick.

While their rivals continue to take points, the clock is ticking for Napoli. As things stand, Calzona and his men will watch next season’s Champions League over pizza.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Using the name of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novella is perhaps the best way to describe a lack of balance between Milan’s scandalous defending and outrageous attacking capacities. Sunday’s 3-3 draw at Sassuolo was the latest example of Stefano Pioli’s inability to connect the dots at the back, instead using sheer firepower to mitigate the damage.

Milan’s notoriously porous backline is probably the only reason Inter are about to waltz away with the Scudetto. Giving away so many cheap goals is unacceptable for a side aspiring for the highest places in Serie A. But that’s been a common theme for Rossoneri this season. Even relegation-threatened Sassuolo had no problems putting three past Marco Sportiello.

Luckily for Pioli and Milan fans, a free-scoring frontline was there to bail them out at the Mapei Stadium. However, unless the under-pressure manager addresses an emerging crisis in defense, his team probably won’t stand a chance against Roma in the return leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie next Thursday. 

Complacency Rarely Pays Off

Relegation-fighting Cagliari made Inter learn that complacency doesn’t pay off the hard way, clutching a gutsy 2-2 draw at Giuseppe Meazza. The aura of invincibility Simone Inzaghi’s men have covered themselves with this season let them down on Sunday, as a false sense of security backfired on the runaway Serie A leaders.

Seeing Inter drop the lead was a rarity this term. But twice? That had almost been unheard of until this round. However, Cagliari’s desperate effort to avoid relegation inspired a superb performance from Claudio Ranieri’s side. They defied the odds to hold Nerazzurri winless despite falling behind twice.

Had Nicolas Viola directed his stoppage-time header slightly better, we would’ve been talking about one of the most outstanding comebacks in Serie A this season. But his free header fell straight into Yann Sommer’s arms, even though he had a goal at his mercy.

Nonetheless, Cagliari gave Inter a valuable lesson ahead of the upcoming Derby della Madonnina. 

Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football