Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 14: Vengeful Inter, Irritated Mourinho

Between Tuesday and Thursday, Calcio fans were treated to some exciting midweek action. For the second round in a row, Napoli managed to extend their lead on top of the table. The Partenopei opened an eight point-gap between them and their closest chasers following their labored win over Empoli. At the moment, the southerners seem to be operating in a league of their own. So let’s recap the most intriguing action from Round 14 by recognizing the best and worst performers in our latest edition of Serie A Tops and Flops.

Top (Player): Federico Dimarco

Poor Robin Gosens. Even when he managed to score a goal, his teammate (AKA direct competitor) Federico Dimarco still outdid him by delivering two spectacular strikes.

The Italian wingback has been on a spectacular form this season, and was one of the main protagonists in Inter’s demolishing job of the hapless Bologna.

Napoli’s Hirving Lozano and Torino’s Nikola Vlasic deserve some recognition as well, but Dimarco is our ultimate star of Serie A Round 14.

Flop (Player): Chris Smalling

José Mourinho can’t catch a break these days. In the weekend, it was Roger Ibanez who committed the deadly blunder in the Derby della Capitale. This time, it was the vastly experienced Chris Smalling who made a rookie howler, allowing Sassuolo to snatch a late equalizer.

The former Man United defender broke his team’s offside trap, but still insisted that the linesman should raise the flag – even though the rules state that he should allow play to continue before resorting to VAR.

So while the Englishman shifted his attention towards the official, his loss of concentration was enough to see Andrea Pinamonti sneak in from behind his back and smash the ball home.

You’d expect better from a defender of Smalling’s caliber.

Top (Goalkeeper): Marco Carnesecchi

In the last few years, Marco Carnesecchi has often been mentioned as one of the most promising custodians of his generation. But as they say, seeing is believing.

Therefore, the Atalanta youth product pounced on the opportunity to make a name for himself when Cremonese hosted Milan on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old produced at least three fabulous saves in the first half to register a clean sheet and help his side gain a historic point against the reigning Italian champions.

Remember the name!

Top (Manager): Marco Baroni

Marco Baroni is one of the most overlooked tacticians in Serie A. The 59-year-old has been doing a solid job at Lecce – who arguably have the weakest squad on paper.

This midweek, the southerners delivered the biggest upset of round 14, emerging victorious against Atalanta at the Via del Mare.

The Orobici created significantly less than what was expected of them, as Baroni and his band of southerners managed to shut down Gian Piero Gasperini’s war machine.

Flop (Manager): Stefano Pioli

With Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez both suspended, Milan were in a dire need of every available pillar in the team. Surprisingly, Stefano Pioli kept Rafael Leao on the bench (again), opting to change his entire formation from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-1-2.

Unfortunately for the proud Scudetto winner, his tactics backfired, as his men suffered to break through the resilient Cremonese defenders. And even when they did, they found the majestic Carnesecchi in their way.

Though the manager tried to rectify the situation by introducing Leao and Pierre Kalulu, the hosts had already gained ground and momentum, and were able to ward off the onslaught rather comfortably.

Top (Team): Inter

When Bologna took the lead at the Giuseppe Meazza, Inter supporters immediately felt the horrific flashbacks from their doomed trip to the Renato Dall’Ara last season.

But this time around, Simone Inzaghi’s men were hellbent on punishing the team that ultimately cost them the Scudetto title last season – Not even Thiago Motta’s presence on the dugout could spare the Emilians from Beneamata’s wrath.

The Nerazzurri tore their opponents apart with six goals, including a brace from Dimarco and a stunning volley courtesy of Edin Dzeko.

Flop (Team): Atalanta

While Bologna would make for the obvious choice, this is about the most disappointing performers of the round. So while the Rossoblu weren’t expected to cause too much harm at the Meazza anyway, Atalanta were tipped to return home with all three points.

Nonetheless, La Dea displayed a poor performance in Lecce which saw them falling down to the sixth place in the Serie A standings following back-to-back defeats.

Top (Rant): José Mourinho

The Special One should be the honorary president of this section. If you love a good post-match rant, no one does it better than the Portuguese.

We hear managers making all sort of bizarre statements following a disappointing result, but only Mourinho can casually invite one of his players to leave the club in such a stone cold manner.

Rick Karsdorp was reportedly the doomed soul that irked the manager with his languid attitude.

Good luck making up for this one.

Mourinho Invites Unnamed Roma Player to Leave in Tirade

Top (Goal): Edin Dzeko

While his teammate Dimarco produced two fantastic goals, Dzeko’s smashing volley was something else. The way the Bosnian directed the ball towards the far post was a sight to behold.

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