Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 33: Brave Mourinho Punishes Cautious Spalletti

With a handful of rounds remaining between now and the end of the season, every fixture has become decisive for clubs embroiled in the Scudetto race, the battles of European spots or the relegation dogfight. Inter continued their march towards the top of the table with a confident away win to Spezia, while Milan regained their balance by shrugging Genoa aside at home. On the other hand, Napoli received another blow to their title hopes by dropping points at home while hosting Roma. So let’s check out the tops and flops from Serie A round 33.

Top (Player): Kalidou Koulibaly

This spot has been reserved for strikers in the majority of the previous editions. After all, it’s hard to deny that bunch as they keep scoring hattricks or some spectacular braces every week.

But meet a man who can deny those forwards: Kalidou Koulibaly.

Even though Napoli ended up conceding a goal by the end of the match (more on that later), the Senegalese defender was an absolute monster at the back, as he kept intercepting the runs of Tammy Abraham, Nicolò Zanilo and anyone else who was sponsoring the Roma jersey.

Flop (Player): Gary Medel

On Saturday evening, Bologna were in the midst of creating something special. The Emilians shocked the Allianz Stadium by taking the lead and were able to repel Juve’s attacks.

However, chaos ensued when the official decided to send off Adama Soumaoro following a video review. The Rossoblu were down to ten men. But resisting in the face of Dusan Vlahovic and company for another 10 minutes or so remained a possibility at that point, right?

Well, not when Gary Medel decided to join his teammates on the official’s naughty list and getting himself a red card in the space of few seconds due to a storm of anger.

More was expected from the vastly experienced Chilean.

Flop (Manager): Luciano Spalletti

On Monday, Napoli were desperate for a win at the expense of Roma to remain at striking distance from the Milanese clubs who both won in Serie A round 33.

Lorenzo Insigne’s spot kick gave the Partenopei an early lead, but Luciano Spalletti decided to adopt a cautious approach against his former club, culminating in Juan Jesus’ introduction at the expense of his captain.

Therefore, the experienced tactician willingly gave his opponents the initiative for the final stretch of the match, which eventually cost him two points, and arguably putt the final nail in his Scudetto ambitions.

Top (Manager): José Mourinho

They say fortune favors the brave. So after watching his counterpart taking a winger off to introduce an extra center back, Mourinho did the exact opposite by unleashing Carles Perez instead of Gianluca Mancini.

Although it ended in a draw, this result can be considered a moral away victory for Roma and the Special One considering the circumstances.

Flop (Team): Sampdoria

If losing at home against the rock-bottom Serie A side wasn’t bad enough, Sampdoria’s timid and uninspiring performance at home against Salernitana was the negative surprise of round 33.

The Ligurians will be lucky enough to avoid a relegation scramble, but some major work needs to be done to improve the squad ahead of the next campaign.

Top (Team): Udinese

Udinese have been growing from strength to strength in the second half of the season, and they showcased their prowess by brushing Empoli aside with four goals to one all while displaying an entertaining brand of football.

The Friuli-side is currently enjoying the rise of a new and exciting generation, which will surely spark the interest of the big Serie A sharks come summer.

Flop (Kit): Juventus

After chastising Milan’s awkward fourth kit a couple of weeks ago, a good friend and co-worker of mine (who happens to be a Diavolo supporter) jokingly demanded a public apology following the unveiling of the equally-atrocious Juventus fourth kit.

Although I still find the Rossoneri’s effort slight more horrific, perhaps Milan deserve an apology after all, as they’re far from being alone in needlessly endorsing ugly 4th jerseys that only serve as poor publicity stunts.

Coincidentally, Juventus and Milan both ended up dropping points at home to Bologna while wearing their respective fourth kits.

Fashion Karma, perhaps?