Tops and Flops from Serie A Round 19: Lazio Thump Milan

In a weekend which started with another controversial episode which further tainted Calcio’s worldwide image, Italian football fans turned to the pitch for consolation. Ironically, it was the club plagued by the point deduction which took part in what was arguably an early contender for the best match of the season. But aside from the thrilling encounter between Juventus and Atalanta, there were other interesting events which ensued during the prolonged weekend including Lazio’s routing of defending champions Milan. So let’s recap some of the action in our own special way while shedding light on the best and worst performers in the Tops and Flops from Serie A Round 19.

Top (Player): Luis Alberto

While Angel Di Maria or Ademola Lookman could have gotten the nod, it ultimately had to be a Lazio player. The Biancocelesti left us all in awe following an exhilarating performance against the defending champions, and at least five of their players would have been worthy picks.

However, we opted to pay homage for one of the most brilliant midfielders in Serie A over the past five years or so. Luis Alberto hasn’t always displayed his best football under the tutelage of Maurizio Sarri, but in Round 19, he was the main mastermind behind the demolition job, exhibiting his magical touch in the process.

Flop (Player): Domenico Berardi

According to traditions, generations come and go, but Domenico Berardi stays put at the Mapei Stadium. But while the Euro 2020 had enjoyed a phenomenal campaign last season, his declining performances this term embody Sassuolo’s troubles. The 28-year-old has only scored three goals this term.

In his last outing against Monza, the winger missed two sitters which could have sealed the match for the Neroverdi who instead had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Berardi’s current form is a major concern for both his club and national team.

Flop (Player): Milan Skriniar

On most weekends, one flop would suffice, but probably for the first time, we had to include two. On what was deemed to be Milan Skriniar’s possible last hurrah as an Inter player (due to a potential transfer to Paris Saint-Germain), the stage was set for the defender to produce one final solid display in the famous black and blue jersey.

Yet, the football gods can be cruel at times. In a shocking twist of fate, the Slovakian received his marching orders in the first half against Empoli much to the dismay of Simone Inzaghi and the stunned Nerazzurri supporters.

Eventually, the Tuscans took full advantage and snatched a historic victory at the Giuseppe Meazza, painting the defender as the ultimate villain on his way out of the club.

Top (Manager): José Mourinho

So Maurizio Sarri dismantles Milan with four unanswered goals, yet, it’s José Mourinho who receives the plaudits for beating Spezia 2-0. Unfair, one might say?

Perhaps. But then again, the Special One pulled off a tactical maneuver which could pay off on the long term. With Nicolò Zaniolo out of the equation (and possibly out of the club as well), the manager formed a new attacking trident consisted of Tammy Abraham, Paulo Dybala and Stephan El-Shaarawy.

The latter in particular proved to be the perfect foil for both the Englishman and the Argentine thanks to his pace and trickery, looking much more at ease in this advanced role after being thrusted in a wingback position in previous years.

This move paid dividends immediately, and it would interesting to see how the newly-unleashed trio would fare against sterner opposition.

Flop (Manager): Stefano Pioli

Although we do love and appreciate Mr. Pioli, there was simply no way around this nomination. The man has totally lost the plot as Milan found themselves in full-blown crisis.

It’s not exactly his team selection nor even his tactical shape, as it feels that the issue lies deeper. The Rossoneri simply look like the shadow of the team who quite deservedly won the Scudetto on the back of courageous displays.

Pioli has to pull a rabbit out of the hat as soon as soon as possible.

Top (Team): Lazio

We mentioned Luis Alberto’s fabulous performance, but Lazio as a whole delivered an exceptional performance. In the absence of their talisman Ciro Immobile, the vibrant attacking trio of Mattia Zaccagni, Pedro and Felipe Anderson enjoyed themselves upfront, while Sergei Milinkovic-Savic pulled off another masterful display in the middle of the park.

Flop (Team): Milan

Was there any doubt?

Prior to Tuesday night, Inter were the lone frontrunners for this unceremonious mention, but their cousins overtook them with another calamitous display. From the goalkeeper, to the backline, all the way to the strikers, this lifeless team is in a dire need for some sort of an energy injection.

Top (Youngster): Tommaso Baldanzi

At the age of 19, Tommaso Baldanzi made a name for himself by scoring a historic winner for Empoli at the Giuseppe Meazza from a play which he instigated himself. It wasn’t the most fabulous of strikes, but the power made André Onana fumble.

So well done, kid!

Flop (Luck): Sampdoria

At this point, Dejan Stankovic must wonder why the football gods insist on sabotaging his attempts to salvage Sampdoria. The Blucerchiati shockingly wasted a plethora of chances, and Kingsley Ehizibue eventually snatched a late winner for Udinese who were far from their best.

The Ligurians aren’t doomed just yet, but time is running out.

Top (Goal): Aleksei Miranchuk

Perhaps other goals were more spectacular, but there’s something about Aleksei Miranchuk’s effortless ability to find the far corner that makes his goals truly special.

The Russian’s wonderful strike sealed an unexpected yet valuable win for Torino at the heart of Florence.

Top (Match): Juventus vs Atalanta

What a thrilling contest this one turned out to be. Atalanta took an early lead thanks to Wojciech Szczesny’s blunder, but Angel Di Maria and Arkadiusz Milik completed a comeback before the halftime whistle.

However, La Dea turned the table once again with two goals, but Danilo – out of all people – sent a low drive past Juan Musso to settle the score in what will surely go down as a Serie A classic.

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