Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 5: Super Leao Settles Milan Derby

With several big clashes on the card, the fifth matchday of the campaign was arguably the most anticipated weekend in Serie A thus far this season. It’s sufficient to mention that the Derby della Madonnina. And Luckily for us Calcio fanatics, Europe’s most fascinating derby fulfilled its promise and some more. Elsewhere, Roma were shockingly dismantled at Udine, while Atalanta took advantage of all the chaos to snatch the lead with a routine win over Monza on Monday night. So let’s recap the action by highlighting the best and worst performers of the weekend in the tops and flop of Serie A Round 5.

Top (Player): Rafael Leao

We’re only five rounds into the season, and we’ve already seen several versions of Rafael Leao. We recognized him as a flop in round 2, before naming as the top player of the third round.

But this time around, our man was operating on a whole different befitting of the great occasion. Milan found themselves trailing in the first half, and this is when the Portuguese rose to the occasion and put his team back on level terms with a fabulous strike.

In the second period, last season’s MVP put Inter to the sword, first by providing the assist for Olivier Giroud, and then with a brilliant piece of magic inside Inter’s box to complete his personal brace.

A day to remember for the ever-improving superstar.

Flop (Player): Stefan de Vrij

Since the Derby produced the Top player of the weekend, it must also provide the ultimate flop. It’s how the universe balances itself (or not).

Anyway, Stefan de Vrij endured an abysmal outing against Milan for the second season in a row, failing to cope with Leao and company. Some of his teammates at the back didn’t fare much better (the likes of Alessandro Bastoni and Samir Handanovic), but if we have to pick one disappointing performer, it has to be the Dutchman.

Top (Goalkeeper): Mike Maignan

On Saturday night, Stefano Pioli’s men must have enjoyed some wild celebrations, with Leao being the toast of the town. Nonetheless, their Derby triumph would have been unachievable without the heroics of their top-notch custodian.

Although he conceded twice, Mike Maignan denied Inter players on a host of occasions, including late saves on Lautaro’s header and Hakan Calhanoglu’s scorcher, securing the most vital of victories for the Rossoneri.

Top (Manager): Andrea Sottil

Despite being one of the least recognized faces among Serie A managers, Andrea Sottil deserves some credit, and observers can no longer overlook his exploits following the shocking outcome of Round 5.

On his fifth top-tier appearance, the 48-year-old led Udinese to a historic victory over José Mourinho’s Roma with four unanswered goals!

If that’s not enough to warrant some attention, then we’re not sure what would.

Flop (Team): Roma

Truth to be told, there were some circumstances that went against Roma on Sunday, culminating in the dreadful final result. For instance, Mehmet Celik had a genuine appeal for a spot kick, while Gianluca Mancini hit the post and Tammy Abraham sustained a shoulder injury.

Yet, conceding four goals against a mid-table side remains an unacceptable result for a club that is aiming for a Champions League spot – or even beyond.

Top (Team): Udinese

Reminiscently to their manager, Udinese’s recent progress has been going under the radar. But kudos for the Pozzo family and club director Pierpaolo Marino who restored the Zebrette’s status as a foothold for young and exciting talent from all over the world.

Sottil’s men delivered a wonderful performance at the expense of the Romans, with the likes of Roberto Pereyra and Destiny Udogie looking splendid.

Flop (Match): Fiorentina vs Juventus

Mostly thanks to Massimiliano Allegri’s uninspiring tactics, the greatly-anticipated Super Saturday began on the wrong foot, with Juventus doing just enough to snatch an away point at the turf of their hated rivals.

The Bianconeri simply decided to give away possession and sit deep in their areas, while Fiorentina were only able to produce few dangerous chances throughout the meeting.

The final scoreline of 1-1 was relatively generous considering the general quality of play witnessed at the Artemio Franchi which proved to be an inappropriate opener for Serie A Round 5.

Top (Match): Milan vs Inter

Thankfully for all of us, the Derby della Madonnina more than made up for the cagey Florence affair that preceded it.

With back and forth action all over the pitch, repeatedly changing scorelines and a fast-pace football until the final whistle, the thrilling encounter delivered on all fronts, and left us all satisfied at the end of day… except for the unfortunate Nerazzurri supporters of course.

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