Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 15: Dominant Juve, Lucky Milan

Unfortunately for us Calcio fanatics, we’re set for a depressing month or so with the Azzurri left out from the big carnival in Qatar. But on the plus side, Serie A bowed out with a bang, as the final round of 2022 delivered the fireworks. From back-and-forth action to late drama, this weekend had it all. So let’s recap some of the thrilling events of Serie A Round 15 in our last Tops and Flops edition for the year.

Top (Player): Dany Mota

From Edin Dzeko and Moise Kean to M’Bala Nzola and Victor Osimhen, it seemed as if Serie A bombers were adamant on finishing the year on a high note.

Nonetheless, it’s Dany Mota who gets the nod. The 24-year-old created Monza’s first goal against Salernitana with a brilliant backheel towards Carlos Augusto, before scoring the second following dashing solo effort and finally winning the spot kick which sent out Antonio Candreva and allowed Matteo Pessina to kill off the match with a third goal.

Not a bad outing from the Portuguese.

Flop (Player): Stefan de Vrij

Although Inter emerged victorious from a thrilling back-and-forth battle against Atalanta, Stefan de Vrij endured a tough morning in Bergamo.

The Dutch gave away a penalty kick that allowed La Dea to take the lead, and he also lost José Luis Palomino who beat him to the ball and nodded home Atalanta’s second.

Sadly, the former Lazio man is becoming a shade of his former self.

Top (Manager): Thiago Motta

Following the sacking of Sinisa Mihajlovic and the appointment of Thiago Motta, Bologna were forced to endure a major tactical overhaul. While the results were woeful at first, the change is finally beginning to bear its fruits.

The Italo-Brazilian manager led his side towards a comprehensive win over their Emilian rivals Sassuolo with three unanswered goals all while displaying an exciting brand of football.

Flop (Manager): Gian Piero Gasperini

Following a brilliant start to the season, Atalanta have suffered a skid just before the end of the year, succumbing to three defeats in a row, with the latest coming at the hands of Inter.

While the size of the opponent makes the loss somewhat justified, Gian Piero Gasperini’s decision to thrust Palomino completely backfired – even if latter scored late in the match.

The Argentine has just recently returned from a precautionary ban related to doping, and his manager decided to give him a baptism of fire by giving him his first official outing in almost six months against one of the best attacks in Serie A.

The 32-year-old showed signs of rust as he lost Dzeko on the first goal, before scoring an own-goal.

Flop: Regulations

Speaking of Palomino, the precautionary ban is an issue that needs to be addressed. After getting cleared from doping suspicions, the defender was given the green light to play once again.

However, the damage has already been done for the player and the club, both on physical and morale levels. Even his image is arguably unrepairable.

Whether Palomino truly committed any wrongdoing or not is not for us to say, but if you can’t prove it, don’t ban him in the first place.

Whatever happened to the “innocent until proven guilty” presumption?!

Top (Team): Juventus

Six matches. Six wins. Six clean sheets.

After a miserable start to the campaign, Juventus have somehow turned the tide in their favor, with their latest victim being their former manager Maurizio Sarri and his Lazio side.

Moise Kean grabbed a personal brace, Arkadiusz Milik looked sharp as well, while Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli bossed the middle of the park, as Massimiliano Allegri watched his side pummel the Eagles with three unanswered goals.

Flop (Team): Sassuolo

Naturally, Sassuolo are struggling to make up for the departures of their prized assets Giacomo Raspadori and Gianluca Scamacca, while their talisman Domenico Berardi has been struggling with injuries.

However, we still expected a bit more from the Neroverdi, especially when contending a regional derby. Nonetheless, Bologna had the upper hand from start to finish as they routed their sorry Emilian rivals.

Top (Goalkeeper): Guglielmo Vicario

After receiving another call up from the Italian national team, Guglielmo Vicario’s confidence is sky high, and he displayed his aptitude once more when Empoli hosted Cremonese.

The Azzurri won the contest with two scrappy goals, but they also had to rely on the usual heroics of their custodian who pulled off a string of incredible saves.

Top (Youngster): Lorenzo Colombo

We talked about the Serie A strikers who enjoyed a stellar weekend above, and Lorenzo Colombo didn’t lag behind his colleagues at all.

The Milan loanee put Sampdoria to the sword by opening the deadlock in favor Lecce with a clinical strike. He then provided the assist for William Bianda with a deft flick.

Keep on eye on this one for the future.

Top (Luck): Milan

They say fortune favors the brave, and Milan surely didn’t lack courage when hosting Fiorentina. For instance, Fikayo Tomori made a decisive goal-line clearance, avoiding a deadly late blow.

A couple of minutes later, Aster Vranckx sent a cross towards the box, but Viola goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano made a great mess out of what supposed to be a routine pickup, culminating in an own-goal from Nikola Milenkovic.

Perhaps Lady Luck desires to see the Rossoneri – and the rest of the chasing pack – in striking distance of Napoli who are threatening to run away far from the competition following their 11th straight win in Serie A.

Flop (Luck): Bartłomiej Drągowski 

Our heartbreaking story of the weekend comes form Verona. And no, we’re not talking about Hellas’ tenth straight defeat, which surely is a misery in its own right.

Instead, our heart goes out for Spezia goalkeeper Bart Dragowski who was supposed to join Poland’s squad for the World Cup, but instead suffered a horror ankle injury on his final outing before the trip to Qatar.

Even though the former Fiorentina custodian wasn’t expect to feature anyway (with Juve’s Wojciech Szczesny being the first choice), missing out on the chance to be a part of the greatest sporting competition in the world is just devastating.

Now add the horrific manner and the unfortunate timing, and you can expect Dragowski to be inconsolable at the moment.

Top (Goal): Lewis Ferguson

The Scotsman has been recently gaining the attention of some of the bigger fish in Serie A, and his super strike in round 15 explains all the hype surrounding the Bologna midfielder.

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