Top 5 Stories of Serie A Round 12: Gómez and Dybala Missed

It’s the first midweek round of the season, with the last few weeks of December being a stern test to the clubs’ endurance levels. Juventus and Atalanta played an exciting draw, and whilst Milan were dropping points yet again, Inter managed to squeeze their path through Napoli and now find themselves with just one point behind their city rivals in the standings. So let’s take a look at our Top 5 stories for Serie A round 12.

Filippo Inzaghi Complicates Matters Further for His Brother Simone

On Tuesday night, reigning Serie B champions Benevento managed to earn a hard-fought draw against Lazio as their captain Pasquale Schiattarella scored the equalizer to cancel out Ciro Immobile’s spectacular volley. 

But above all, this match had the “Brother Vs Brother” tag dubbed all over it, with each side being coached by an Inzaghi brother. And while Simone was expected to put his team back on the right track with a routine win, he was denied by his elder brother’s resilient southern side. 

The Biancocelesti now find themselves 9th in the Serie A table after round 12. Although the packed-up European fixtures were bound to take its toll on Lazio, Simone Inzaghi must quickly pull his team back on its feet while he can still catch the sides who are in front him, otherwise it would end up being a very disappointing domestic campaign for the capital club. 

Gómez and Dybala on the Bench is a Sad Sight for Serie A Fans

In one of the biggest clashes of round 12, Serie A fans were left disappointed to see two of Argentina’s greatest imports being left on the bench, as Paulo Dybala and Alejandro Gómez were both dropped from the starting lineups of Juventus and Atalanta. 

Calcio fans probably know the Gómez story by now, and how the Atalanta captain has become an outcast at the club after a very heated half time argument with his manager Gian Piero Gasperini during a Champions League fixture. However, the former Genoa tactician decided to put his ego aside and rely on his captain’s services during the second half against Juventus, as Papu helped La Dea in earning a tough draw against the champions. 

On the other hand, Dybala’s omission was merely due to a tactical decision by Andrea Pirlo. But during a match where Alvaro Morata embarrassed himself with a strong contender for the miss of the season, and the almighty Cristiano Ronaldo wasting a penalty-kick, one must wonder why it took the young coach 83 minutes to decide to introduce La Joya into the match. 

Napoli Must Learn the Craft of Drawing Points 

In the last few editions, we’ve been praising Napoli for their terrifying attacking force as well as their improving defensive line. However, Gennaro Gattuso’s side has one obvious problem, which is their tendency to come out empty-handed when they aren’t at their very best. 

As we witnessed against the likes of Genoa and Roma, an in-form Napoli can comfortably tear apart their opponents. But, when facing adversity, the Partenopei often end up losing matches – even when they don’t entirely deserve to – as we’ve already seen against Sassuolo, Milan and lastly Inter. 

Thus, Napoli are so far the only Serie A side who are yet to draw a match, and Gattuso must find a way to enable his team to come out with decent results even when they aren’t at their best form. 

Conte Was Lucky Not to Be Punished for His Negative Approach 

They say that results are all what matters in the end, and Inter certainly got the results they wished for on Wednesday, when they took advantage of Milan and Juventus slipping, and managed to get a hard-fought win against Napoli thanks to a Romelu Lukaku penalty-kick. 

But it must be said, the Nerazzurri manager Antonio Conte almost fumbled the result with his ultra-negative approach. In the last 20 minutes of the match, Gattuso’s men were hit badly by the dismissal of their captain Lorenzo Insigne right before conceding a goal. A 10-men Napoli playing without their captain – as well as Dries Mertens and Victor Osimhen – shouldn’t have been able to mount a late assault at the Guiseppe Meazza Stadium. 

However, Conte decided to take out his striker Lautaro Martinez and replaced him with wing-back Ashraf Hakimi, while also adding Danilo D’Ambrosio to the defensive line, and thus Inter were suddenly pegged back by the Partenopei players, and had to rely on Samir Handanovic as well as the post to salvage a win which should have came much easier considering the circumstances. The former Chelsea and Juventus manager should definitely count himself lucky. 

Inconsistency is the Theme of This Serie A Season 

Whilst Inter managed to come out with a vital win, the other top Serie A sides, Milan, Juventus, Lazio, Atalanta and even Sassuolo all dropped points during round 12. The Bianconeri weren’t able to extend their first winning streak of the season to three, and the Rossoneri drew for the second time in three days. 

As we previously mentioned, this Serie A title race could be one of the best in recent memory, and with all contenders expected to repeatedly drop points throughout the campaign, a tally of 85 points or so might be enough so wrap up the Scudetto by the end of the season. 

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