The Free-Falling Bunch: Serie A Most Disappointing Players So Far

Football is a cruel sport nowadays. Perhaps never in history has it been so difficult to keep up the highest level for so long. There’s just too much going on – constant analysis, online chatter, pressure of competition, and demand to be at your best all the time.

Serie A is no different. Every year we see some free-falling stars, while young and hopeful boys and men make their way to the top instantly. Recently, we discussed Matthijs De Ligt’s struggles to adapt to the Italian football mentality. In this article, we’ll take a look at some other disappointments in Serie A this season, and discuss whether they can turn it around.

Krzysztof Piatek

The Polish striker joined Milan last January in order to help Gennaro Gattuso’s side to reach a Champions League spot. It started off promising for the former Genoa hitman. Krzysztof Piatek scored 9 goals in 18 appearances for the Rossoneri.

Even Gattuso himself praised his striker for being so focused all the time, saying that he “lives to score goals.”

However, Piatek’s fortunes changed this season. It seems that with Gattuso’s departure the magic disappeared and the Pole lost all of his powers. He scored just 3 goals in 12 matches and, to make things worse, 2 of those came from the penalty spot. Not only is he not scoring, but Piatek is also proving mostly useless in the build-up phase this season, often turning into an obstacle rather than a weapon for Milan.

Perhaps the lack of confidence and efficiency was best displayed in Milan’s two most recent losses to Lazio and Juventus. The Rossoneri actually played well, fought head to head with their opponents, only for Joaquin Correa and Paulo Dybala to do what Piatek couldn’t: Bringing the three points to their respective teams with sheer individual quality and confidence.

Criticism towards him has been heavy but we do hope that the Polish gunman will find back his form, because watching Piatek ripping apart the opposition nets was a sight to behold last season. He’ll get his first shot against Napoli on Saturday in a match between two knocked-out boxers fighting with their last atoms of strength, which may very well prove to be a crossroad both for Piatek and Milan this season.

What ever happened to the Pistolero? Krzysztof Piatek looks all but the shadow of Genoa and Milan’s once infallible striker… (Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images)

Fabio Quagliarella

Love it or hate it, veteran goalscorers with an unmatched sense for goal are at the core of Serie A. Such is Fabio Quagliarella a striker we all know and love, who has earned respect throughout the entire country both on and off the pitch.

Age is however catching up with Fabio. Coming off of his most efficient season ever with 26 goals in Serie A, much was expected from Quagliarella as he went into the 2019-20 championship. However, what we got is the exact opposite version of a man you hate to see go up against your team as the Italian striker scored just a single goal in 10 appearances so far. His only goal even came from the penalty spot, which means a dozen of matches without a goal from the open play for him.

Quagliarella’s form is one of the reasons why Sampdoria are struggling mightily as they stand in the relegation zone, with just 9 points out of 12 matches, mirroring their first-choice striker’s output which is among the worst in the league.

It must be said that Sampdoria lost one of their best players from last season as Dennis Praet departed for England, thus leaving their strikers without a key source of quality service. Perhaps an even bigger reason for Quagliarella’s fall from grace is Gregoire Defrel’s loan spell ending, which left the opposition’s defenses solely focused on stopping Fabio, without anyone to take away the attention from him.

At 36, it is unlikely to see a positive turnaround. However, Fabio always finds the way, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he were to become an unstoppable force once again.

Life on the football pitch is not easy at 36 for Fabio Quagliarella, who has been struggling to replicate his exploits from the past season so far (Photo: Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)


Milan’s creative force is struggling heavily this season. We were used to Suso’s individual breathtaking moves that won matches and points for the Rossoneri last season. However, things have changed in the current Serie A league. First of all, a change in tactics and formation which didn’t suit him well: Suso was forced to play more centrally under Marco Giampaolo, thus being deprived of his biggest strength i.e. moving inwards from the right flank to deliver one of his killer crosses.

Opponents started to read him more easily, and Suso’s biggest flaw – his lack of speed – came to light. This resulted in the Spaniard scoring just a solitary goal in 10 matches. It was, however, a crucial one as it meant three points and the first win for the team’s new manager Stefano Pioli  in a stalemate against SPAL: A free-kick beauty which still couldn’t erase his constantly underwhelming performances.

Milan need one of the best left-footers in the world to be back at his best in order to compete for the European spots which seem so far away as of today.

“Hey, it’s not my fault,” he seems to be saying. But Suso has much to be forgiven for, in view of his steadily declining performances at Milan

Lasse Schone

Schone arrived from Ajax this summer in a sort of a superstar transfer, at least for Genoa’s standard. However, his performances have been far from superstar-worthy so far. The hard-working midfielder was supposed to bring quality and stability to a traditionally unbalanced team.

Rossoblu coach Andrea Andreazzoli got the sack just four months into his reign. This would perhaps surprise someone, but not those who know President Enrico Preziosi, a man who once motivated one of his decisions by just saying: “I’m not crazy”, which says a lot about his logic and personality.

Perhaps Lasse Schone just got caught up in the mess, but he seems to be a player that works best in an offensive system, when much pressure is applied on the opponent. This could soon be the case with new manager Thiago Motta, who took over in late October, and seems to have fresher ideas and vision.

Lasse Schone saw a penalty of his denied by Juan Manuel Reina in a match against Milan which could have potentially saved his coach Aurelio Andreazzoli’s job…

We went through a few names who have been struggling in the beginning of the 2019-20 season. Despite them making to this regrettable list however, there’s plenty of time to turn it around, especially knowing the quality each of them has shown in the past.

Read more from Nedim Maric on