In comparison with the three crazy previous rounds, things were a little bit quieter during this weekend, with fewer goals scored around the Italian peninsula, and the biggest two encounters of the weekend both ending in a 1-1 draw. Nonetheless, there were so many stories to follow and various conclusions to be made, and we’ll try to cover as much as possible from it in one single read. So here are our Top 5 stories for Serie A Round 7.
Covid-19 Protocol Controversy Pops Its Ugly Head Once Again
Remember when Napoli didn’t show up for their match against Juventus and got punished for it? Well, apparently Lazio went the complete opposite way. While Simone Inzaghi’s men were lauded for continuing participate in the matches despite their squad being decimated by the absentees due to Covid-19, it turned out that the Biancocelesti may have went a step too far, by playing the likes of Ciro Immobile and Thomas Strakosha against Torino while not declaring their positive tests.
And of course we can always leave it to Lazio president Claudio Lotito to make a bad situation worse with some degenerated comments about the issue that are better left alone. But the truth remains that Lazio could be facing some serious consequences for their allegedly irresponsible actions.
Whilst an expel from the league – as some are reporting – is unlikely at this point, a point deduction could be very possible. And following the sanctions on Roma and Napoli earlier in the season, this league table is getting less reflective of the reality with every new punishment.
(☀️) The Italian FA has opened an investigation on Lazio, as tests conducted by UEFA ?? indicated that several players remained Covid-19 positive, including Ciro Immobile ?? despite playing against Torino this weekend.
[@_GIFN] #UCL #Lazio
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) November 3, 2020
Pirlo Must Drop Old Conte and Allegri Tricks
During the good old days of Antonio Conte and his successor Massimiliano Allegri, whenever Juventus had the slightest lead during a Serie A fixture, their fans would have rest assured that their team would be able to cling on it, especially thanks to the defensive excellence of their infamous BBC, composed of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, and Giorgio Chiellini, with the legendary Gianluigi Buffon standing in goal behind them.
But those days are long gone now, and in the presence of an aging and inconsistent version of Bonucci, the inexperienced Merih Demiral, and the journey full-back turned center-back Danilo – despite being solid for 90 minutes – Andrea Pirlo should have demanded his side to keep pressing forward instead of deciding to go all-Italian and defend his slim lead against a suffering Lazio side.
Of course Felipe Caicedo was the last-second hero once again for the Aquile, but the young Juventus tactician should take the blame for this one, as he learns yet another lesson on the expense of another two wasted points for the champions.
Frustrating afternoon for Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus ?
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) November 8, 2020
Champions League Football Taking Its Toll on Italian Participants
In yet another fixture played between two Champions League participants, Atalanta and Inter failed to live up to the expectations, as their Serie A round 7 encounter ended up being a slow paced, not very eventful 1-1 draw, played between two visibly physically and mentally exhausted sides. Even the two goals were scored from slowly built plays.
The state of two Nerazzurri teams is understandable, especially Inter, as despite their incredible squad depth, their Covid-19 decimated team had to play twice per week – including trips to Ukraine and Spain – for three weeks in a row. Thus, the honor of playing Champions League football is so far turning out to be a curse with all four Italian participants suffering in the league standings.
FT: Atalanta 1-1 Inter
Points shared in an entertaining match in Bergamo. Golden chances late on, but both go in to the break with plenty to address. Conte’s Inter now 1 win in 8 across all comps. pic.twitter.com/4Nw7R8GRhN
— Adriano Del Monte (@adriandelmonte) November 8, 2020
Napoli and Roma Quietly Climbing Their Way to Contention
Speaking of European competitions, the Serie A representatives in the Europa League are doing much better than the Champions League sides on the local stage, as Europe’s second tier competition allows the Italian participants to rotate their squads by resting their main players and offering the younger ones some valuable playing time.
Despite Milan’s struggles against Verona, they are still top of the table. And closing on the Rossoneri are fellow Europa League sides Roma and Napoli. The Giallorossi have finally found their tactical identity with coach Paulo Fonseca and are no longer too reliant on Edin Dzeko.
Gennaro Gattuso’s men have also recorded a Serie A round 7 victory over the resilient Bologna which brought them back to the fold after last week’s defeat to Sassuolo. So keep an eye on these two outsiders, as new contenders are rising from all sides to cease Juve’s faltering throne.
10 – Henrikh #Mkhitaryan is one of the two players with 10+ goals scored in three of the top-5 European Leagues since 2015/16, alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Multilingual.#GenoaRoma pic.twitter.com/irjAIaRa8D
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 8, 2020
Spezia Destroy Benevento to Become Serie A Favorite New Boys
We all love underdog stories, it’s why we unconsciously end up rooting for the smaller side. Filippo Inzaghi’s Benevento became the toast of the Serie B town last season by smashing their way back to the top tier.
And yet the Campania side are unable to replicate their form in Serie A, as they were beaten by fellow promoted side Spezia 3-0 in round 7, and thus the little eagles have suddenly earned the label of calcio’s favorite underdogs.
Spezia might have limited capabilities, and they could still end up relegated in their inaugural Serie A season, but the newcomers will surely make it a ride to remember.
— Ghanasoccernet.com (@Ghanasoccernet) November 7, 2020