Top 5 Stories of Serie A Round 10: A Juventus Renaissance?

In this week’s edition of the Top 5 stories, we’ll discuss the hottest topics from Serie A Round 10. Juventus, Inter and Lazio all managed to win their local encounters before their deciding Champions League fixtures in midweek, while floods in Udine gifted Atalanta some much-needed rest. Roma and Sassuolo played a goalless draw in the Olimpico, as Milan maintained their five-points lead on top of the table. So let’s get our round recap started! 

Can Juventus Emulate the 2015-2016 Spirit? 

Although many followers believe that Juve’s current start of the campaign is their worst in the last 10 years or so, it should be remembered that the champions had an even worse beginning during the 2015-2016 season, when they found themselves in the bottom-half of the table after 10 rounds. 

On the 11th round of that campaign, the Bianconeri earned a last-minute victory against Torino thanks to a scrappy Juan Cuadrado goal. Whilst it wasn’t the prettiest of wins, it turned out to be the beginning of an incredible 15-match winning run which put Juventus on top of the table and set them up for a 6th straight Scudetto title. 

So the question now remains whether Andrea Pirlo’s men are able to replicate their previous achievement on the road for a historical 10th title in a row, following another Derby Della Mole victory, instigated by another crucial Cuadrado display

Champions League Participants Receive Moral Boost

Juventus have already sealed their qualification for the Champions League knockout stage, but nonetheless will still face Barcelona in a highly prestigious fixture to determine the top spot in group G. But for the rest of the Italian flag-bearers – Inter, Atalanta and Lazio – it’s all about survival in three dramatic final showdowns. 

The good news for the Champions League participants, is that they will embark in their preparation for their midweek encounters after receiving one last moral boost from the weekend. While Juventus won the Turin derby with a late goal, Inter managed to put down Bologna in a 3-1 victory at home. 

For their part, Lazio opened the Serie A round 10 with an important 2-1 away win at Spezia. Atalanta’s encounter against Udinese was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, which could well be a blessing in disguise for La Dea, who should find themselves fresh prior to their crucial trip to Amsterdam. 

Mattia Zaccagni, One of the Best Hidden Gems in Serie A

For the second season in a row, Ivan Jurić continues to evolve a young and solid Hellas Verona side that is thriving beyond the expectations, and has become a regular stable at the top half of the table. And one of the most impressive players among their ranks, is no other then the Gialloblu youth product, Mattia Zaccagni. 

The 25-year-old has been constantly developing from last season to the current one. After getting a goal denied by the post and then by VAR during his side’s draw against Cagliari in Round 10, Zaccagni managed to score a goal that would stand, taking his impressive tally to two goals and four assists in eight Serie A starts.

These stats are considered very encouraging for an attacking-midfielder who plays for a mid-table club known for its cautious style. And thus, calcio fans should keep an eye on this young man who just might find himself at a bigger club in the future. 

Napoli Defensive Solidity Behind Their Recent Resurgence 

In last week’s edition, we mentioned how a consistent Napoli would be perhaps the most terrifying club in Italy, while highlighting their attacking prowess. In round 10 the Partenopei earned their second 4-0 Serie A win in row, and this time we must shift our focus to another department. 

Although it was only bottom of the table Crotone – playing with 10 men – but it is becoming obvious that the defensive pairing of Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas is finally delivering on its mouth-watering prospect as one of the best center-back duos in the world, putting their last season struggles behind them. 

Gennaro Gattuso’s men have officially conceded 10 goals so far, but it must be noted that three of those goals were artificial ones in the 3-0 administrative defeat to Juventus. Thus, Napoli have actually conceded only seven goals in their nine matches on the pitch, making them the unofficial best defense of the league so far – an unusual stat for a side who is mostly known for their attacking threat. 

Milan’s Suffering Victory Is Another Positive Sign 

Last week, we mentioned how Milan’s victory over Fiorentina in the absence of their main star Zlatan Ibrahimovic proves that the current league leaders are more than just a one-man show. And for the second week in a row, the Rossoneri were able to steer their way into a tough victory against a resilient Sampdoria side

This round 10 win was far from beautiful, especially with Milan’s young guns failing to create many chances during the first half, but a lucky penalty unlocked the hosts’ net, and a second goal was scored thanks to a couple of second-half substitutes, before warding off a late Blucerchiati comeback, and thus maintaining their lead on top of the Serie A table. 

Whilst some critics will easily find some weaknesses to highlight in Milan’s game, but a hard-fought away win built on some defensive master-class should always be considered as a characteristic that distinguishes championship-winning sides. It should also be noted, that a title is rarely accomplished without a little help from Lady Luck, and so far she seems to be favoring the black and red devils.