Serie A: The Recap of the 4th Round

Inter, Juventus, and Napoli keep not missing any beat, and are still leading the standing with a perfect record after four rounds. The last time that this happened in Serie A, it was during season 1960-61. While this might seem to be foreshadowing a tough battle for the Scudetto, in our view is another supporting sign of a trend that we have been seeing from the very first round: The gap between top clubs and the so-called squadre di centroclassifica (middle-standing teams) is widening.

The ease by which every opponent has been routed so far, and the goal difference for all the three sisters speak clear: Inter has scored 10 goals and conceded only one; Juventus put the ball in the net 13 times and left their opponents do the same twice, while Napoli collected an impressive 15 goals, and received two. Much to the pleasure of their top strikers, it needs to be said, who are already up and running for an exciting battle for the top scorer: Juventus’ Paulo Dybala is currently leading with 8 goals, followed by Lazio’s Ciro Immobile with 6, and then by Mauro Icardi from Inter and Dries Mertens from Napoli with 5 marks.

Behind the leading trio, Lazio confirmed to be a solid team, and Milan managed to put the pieces back together after last week’s setback right against Lazio. Together with Roma, Sampdoria, and Torino, these should be the teams fighting for the remaining Champions League spot for next season – while Fiorentina still looks like an unknown variable, and on that note, we look forward to this Wednesday’s game against Juventus to test their real consistence.

In the bottom part of the standing, Verona confirmed all the bad trends seen so far. Sassuolo’s only point in four matches should also sound as a warning sign, with the Emiliani’s new coach Christian Bucchi still unable to give the team an identity. Bevenento collapsed before Napoli and cancelled the positive impression shown in their previous matches. Our early prediction is that these three teams will be battling with Crotone for their permanence in Serie A – with only one among them able to avoid relegation.

Chievo-Atalanta 1-1
Atalanta’s coach Gian Piero Gasperini operated four changes in the lineup that pummeled Everton last Thursday and left his star Alejandro Gomez on the bench. Chievo took the lead thanks to Belgian midfielder Samuel Bastien, after the VAR had disallowed a goal for the Nerazzurri earlier in the game. Gomez was sent in in the second half, just in time to convert a penalty that debutant Riccardo Orsolini had conquered – once again after a VAR consultation – to set the score on 1-1.

Crotone-Inter 0-2
Last time that Crotone and Inter met at Enzo Scida stadium, the Calabresi snatched a shocking 1-0 victory that opened a fantastic winning streak and eventually led them to avoid relegation to Serie B. On Saturday afternoon, Crotone once again gave Nerazurri a hard time, and it took two important saves by goalie Samir Handanovic to maintain the score to 0-0, before Slovak center back Milan Skriniar’s first goal in Serie A, and a doubling by Ivan Perisic during the extra time awarded Inter their 4th consecutive win.

Fiorentina-Bologna 2-1
Federico Chiesa is 19 years old and his father Enrico used to be among the Serie A top strikers back the ‘90s. The young Fiorentina starlet scored a goal with a powerful long range shot, just like dad used to do, and led la Viola to their second consecutive win. Bologna’s seasoned striker Rodrigo Palacio equalized just one minute after Chiesa’s goal, but then a header by Argentinian Germàn Pezzella set the score to 2-1 and gave Fiorentina a morale boost in view of next Wednesday’s match against Juventus.

Genoa-Lazio 2-3
Lazio’s positive trend continues, and the Eagles catch their 4th win in a row between Serie A and Europa League, despite an astonishing performance by Genoa baby talent Pietro Pellegri: The 16-year-old, who holds the record for the youngest player ever to step foot in a Serie A match, scored two goals – but Lazio’s star Ciro Immobile also put the ball in the net twice after defender Bastos had scored the first goal for his side.

Milan-Udinese 2-1
It’s Nikola Kalinic’s day at Stadio San Siro. Rossoneri’s new number 9 scored two goals like pure strikers do – first finalizing a one-two with left back Davide Calabria, and then converting a flank play by Suso from a corner kick by Frank Kessie. Between the former Fiorentina’s forward two goals, Kevin Lasagna had temporarily equalized for Udinese, but that was not enough for coach Luigi Del Neri’s side to avoid their third loss out of four matches.

Roma-Verona 3-0
Too easy a win for Roma, which aside from the three points, can celebrate their versatile midfielder Alessandro Florenzi’s return to competitions after 11 months. Two goals from Serie A’s incumbent top scorer Edin Dzeko, and a conversion by Radja Nainggolan wiped out a non-existing Verona side. Once again, Gialloblu’s trainer Fabio Pecchia inexplicably excluded from the starting lineup veteran striker Giampaolo Pazzini – the only one to create a few problems to Roma when he did finally stepped foot on the pitch.

Sassuolo-Juventus 1-3
Dybala, Dybala and again Dybala. Juventus made short work of Sassuolo thanks to their top scorer’s second hat trick in four league matches. La Joya opened his show with a curl left foot shot, doubled with a toe-kick, and completed his personal treble with a perfect free kick. Matteo Politano made his side’s defeat a little less bitter, and casted once again some shadows over the Bianconeri’s defensive solidity, but the outcome of the match was never realistically in doubt.

Spal-Cagliari 0-2
These are exactly the kind of games an average team needs to win, if they want to stay clear out of the relegation area of the standings. Cagliari conquered three very important points in Ferrara, against a Spal side that seems to have lost the vibe of their earlier games. Midfielder Nicolò Barella, a young talent to keep an eye for, scored the first goal for the Islanders. Then Brazilian forward Joao Pedro doubled with a right foot blast for Cagliari’s second win in a row.

Torino-Sampdoria 2-2
An entertaining match in Turin, where two teams with a glorious past and a promising future did all in their power to overcome each other, but had to come home with one point each. Sampdoria took the lead just 17’’ into the game thanks to Duvan Zapata, but the Granata reversed the situation in just two minutes with a wonderful shot by Daniele Baselli, and finalization by Andrea Belotti well served by Adem Ljajic. Blucerchiati’s striker Fabio Quagliarella equalized before half time, then both teams slowed down in the second half and the score remained on 2-2.