Top Three Stories from Serie A Round 22: Juve and Milan Choke

Ok, let’s recap the action from the prolonged calcio weekend. Roma rebounded with a 3-0 victory over Udinese, Atalanta earned their expected win over Cagliari – although with a late winner – Inter passed the tough Lazio test with a 3-1 win. Well it’s all pretty normal so far… but wait! Napoli bounced back to earn their revenge against Juventus, and moreover, Spezia shocked the world with a 2-0 upset victory to overthrow Milan from the top spot. So here are our Top 3 Stories of Serie A round 22.

Squad Depth Helped Napoli in Overcoming Juventus

Despite the absence of Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas, the Napoli players put up a solid if not spectacular performance to defend their 1-0 lead against Juventus, and therefore save Gennaro Gattuso’s job.

Although there were so many tactical factors behind this result (as explained in our post-match analysis), squad depth may have played a certain role. Both sides arrived to the big Serie A round 22 clash with several absentees, but Gattuso was still left with more options than his friend Andrea Pirlo.

The Partenopei began the match with a strong XI, before introducing four players who could have actually been starters. On the other hand, the Bianconeri’s four absences, meant that Pirlo had to start the match with the unconvincing Federico Bernardeschi, and was only able to introduce three players in the second half – a full back, a midfielder and a winger – despite trailing in the result.

The Italian champions’ current squad is a far cry from their previous sides who could have “won the league with their substitutes” according to some observers.

Milan Only Have One Week to Fix Their Current issues 

It finally happened. Milan are currently in the midst of a mid-season slump. The alarm bells were ringing since the humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Atalanta, but their shocking loss to the newly promoted Spezia in round 22 means that the Rossoneri have handed the lead of the Serie A table to their city rivals.

Although this skid is an expected one, as almost every other European side has suffered from a similar negative run throughout this particularly packed campaign, Stefano Pioli should better fix this issue sooner rather than later.

It might be due to physical or mental exhaustion, or perhaps a loss of form for certain key players, or an accumulation of several reasons, but whatever it is, a loss against Antonio Conte’s side next weekend would be a huge blow to their title aspirations.

Romelu Lukaku Is in the Form of His Life

Inter were the absolute big winners of the round, as they took full advantage of the defeats of their two biggest rivals on Saturday, to claim the lead with a vital 3-1 win over the in-form Lazio.

But the man of the hour at Appiano Gentile is none other than Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian giant scored two goals in the first half to put his side in command, and just when the Biancocelesti grabbed one back, he launched a terrifying run towards Pepe Reina’s goal – leaving Marco Parolo with no chance in stopping him – before unselfishly laying it towards his partner in crime Lautaro Martinez to seal the victory once and for all.

The former Everton and Manchester United star has equaled Cristiano Ronaldo’s tally with his 16th Serie A goal after 22 rounds, and he might just be the scariest striker in Italy, if not the world.