Serie A Weekly Review Match Day 13 #698

Napoli 1 Milan 1FT

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Coming off International break two of the most problematic teams in Italy went head-to-head in Milan. Both AC Milan and Napoli have drastically underachieved their expectations this season. Napoli came into the season as one of the favorites to dethrone Juventus for the league title. A manager of Carlo Ancelotti’s caliber as well as a strong team with good pieces around them it seemed that they had everything going for them to do exactly that. However, it has been underwhelming they have lost big games and dropped points when it mattered most. Meanwhile, AC Milan has been nothing short of an utter disaster they’ve already gone through two managers and Stephen Poli since taking over has yet to stabilize with only one win since he took the job. Despite having played much better over there last few games it still is below the expectations. Both of these teams needed to pick up points to try to fight their way back. Three points seemed absolutely essential & both teams were refreshed and ready to go. Despite all this wasn’t an easy result it was going to be tough because both teams needed points as much as each other. It was a more or less balanced game throughout the 90 minutes. The importance of the match could not be any more clear as Napoli had Carlo Ancelotti back front suspension it looked like they were on their way through points. Napoli took the early lead and what was a back-and-forth game. Despite that Napoli did seem to have a little bit more momentum going for them. Lorenzo insigne hit the top of the crossbar before it bounced off meeting the head of Chucky Lozano putting the ball into the back of the net as a Gigi donnarumma had a little time to react he scores his second Napoli goal giving them the 1-0 lead. Given how much Milan has struggled from playing from behind it certainly felt like a blow. However, Milan continued to progress and play much better than previously. In fact, they got back in the game within 10 minutes. Momentum shifted in Milano as they were playing a desperate style of football but it seems to have worked as has Milan leveled the contest. When Bonaventura connected on an outrageous hit just inside the Box ripping a through Alex Meret’s net to equalize. Each team took turns in terms of momentum however Napoli seemed much more dangerous especially on the counter-attack but failed to make Intelligent Decisions in those scenarios to breakthrough. After the first half it was all tied up it was a really special performance by both goalkeepers. Milan did have their opportunities to break through it seemed like it just wouldn’t come through. Meanwhile, Napoli made characteristic mistakes in the counter-attack trying to do a little too much. In what was a continued back-and-forth battle but unfortunately, neither team could get the points they were striving for It was a tough draw with both sides have to feel disappointed with both teams having opportunities and chances it to breakthrough. Struggles continue as Carlo Ancelotti’s job security seems to be under threat even though AC Milan had opportunities to break through and probably cut off in certain situations Napoli got on the counter-attack far too often to not convert as a point split feels like a slap in the face for Naples.

 

Inter 3 Torino 0FT

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Inter Milan have continued to put pressure on Juventus as they are the real threat to their throne. Inter Milan try to continue the momentum going on the road to the Grande Torino. Juventus had one previously in the day against Atalanta and a win for Inter Milan would keep a distance between them at one point. With Juventus playing as poorly as they are it was really important that they continue to make things uncomfortable for the league leaders. While Inter Milan on paper is a much Superior side Torino is a team that has it done very well against them in the past several seasons they have beaten them multiple times. This may be a different Inter Milan under Antonio Conte but despite League form, Torino has the quality to make a difference in matches like this. However, it was some of the worst weather we have seen in Italy this season. It was even possible at one point that the match would have to be canceled. The amount of rain that was hitting the pitch was absolutely ridiculous. Every time the ball moved an ounce of water was splashing. This was going to make things very difficult on both teams. Not to mention because of the rain and made it things are so difficult as part of the pitch was being ripped apart almost constantly. The dramatic effects of it had its consequences early in the match. Torino’s best player and most potent goal scorer Andrea Belotti slipped and fell in such a way that he had to come out due to injury. Which begs the question of whether or not the match should have been canceled and rescheduled. It certainly was questionable whether or not it was a safe environment to play football. However, the match continued to progress. With Andrea Belotti out with injury Inter Milan took advantage almost immediately. A lack in focus from the Torino defense something that would be a reoccurring thing in this match allowed Martinez to get on the counter-attack slipping through the box putting the ball into the bottom corner to give Inter Milan the 1-0 lead. Despite Sirigu having made several big-time saves defensive issues allowed Inter Milan in front. Torino had their moments in the first half but we’re finding things difficult with a minimal amount of possession which certainly impacted the poor display. The weather conditions continued to be a problem as players were slipping and sliding all over the pitch. Torino started picking up some momentum late in the first half but that quickly evaporated as a once again Sirigu despite continually making saves was betrayed by his defense once again. After making arguably one of the saves of the weekend a nearly unmarked corner Stefan de vrij stuck the ball into the back of the net to give Inter Milan the 2-0 lead. It was such atrocious defending that even though it was wet it was not a valid excuse. Torino failed to show simple defensive mechanics they were falling asleep out there that’s how poor they were. Inter Milan had the 2-0 lead after 45 minutes. In the second half Inter Milan despite the weather conditions continue to pile it on as Romelu Lukaku scored an absolutely outrageous goal. He found a way to cut into the box being somewhat surrounded by Defenders and a puddle of water he started to slip refocused himself hit the ball has the ball rolled into the bottom corner as water splashed all over it was a really incredible play especially given how wet it was and that he almost slipped. Ending pretty much any chance of a comeback from Torino as Inter Milan to take a 3-0 lead. Inter Milan continue to come forward and get that fourth goal even though it didn’t come they came close on several occasions and some of the shots probably would have ended up in the back of the net if it wasn’t for the weather. Throughout the last 15 minutes of the match, Torino absolutely dominated and had some chances to come through and at least get a goal back. Outside of that it was one-sided practically all the way through Antonio Conte made the right adjustments as their Inter Milan was in cruise control once they had the momentum and confidence they found the ways to impact the game securing three massive points as the title race only heats up as Inter Milan continue to put pressure on Juventus earning three massive points in a rainstorm at the Stadio Grande Torino.

Juventus 3 Atalanta 1FT 

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Juventus still stand at the top of the table despite having not played all that well this season. With that being said the pressure was mounting to continuously get results when it matters. The one time they looked Unstoppable was in that match against Inter Milan. They need to maintain consistency because they have Inter Milan breathing down their neck. Over the season so far Inter Milan has been the best team and is only points away from overtaking them. Juventus had a challenge on their hands as they welcomed Atalanta to the Allianz Stadium. Atalanta team that beat Juventus twice last season Once in the league and once in the Coppa Italia. Quite honestly this team could have beaten them in all three meetings it took late heroics for Juventus to pick up three points last season. Despite all this, this match was going to be incredibly crucial. There was no Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus who has been horrible this season. Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín with craving the attention of the backline. Meanwhile, Atalanta still is in European contention and has continued to progress this season despite losing a couple of pieces. They would be without Duvan Zapata yet again that made a big difference in the game. Atalanta desperately needs their killer back before they start to slip. It turned out to be an incredibly dramatic match that reached all sorts of levels of drama and enthusiasm. Atalanta is naturally speaking a very attacking-minded team they will go for your throat and risk losing to try to do it. Atalanta nearly took the lead less than 20 minutes into the match. Atalanta was given a penalty after a handball Musa Barlow stepped up but couldn’t take his side in front as the striker missed. Juventus tried to take advantage of the momentum change Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín, in particular, we’re incredibly important in the match showing their qualities without Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite this, both teams founded difficulty breaking through. They were chances from both sides but these attacking teams going head-to-head in what turned out to be an incredibly terrific match. Juve has had a little bit of that momentum that’s not to sell Atlanta short as they were incredibly productive throughout the first half at the time they look like the better team at times despite having some creativity struggled put themselves in front. It was goalless after the first half. Both teams continued to attack as the goalkeepers played a big role in the match being as balanced as it turned out to be at least at that point in the game. Despite being top of the league and having so much importance on the game Atalanta would take advantage of early in the second half as a Robin Gosens put his head through a cross from Musa Barlow that ended up in the back of the net giving Atalanta the shock 1-0 lead. You could see it building at the end of the first in what was a deserving lead. Juventus were not playing poorly but Atalanta just took advantage of their opportunity. It looked like Atalanta was going to potentially steal a victory away from home against the league leaders as the match kicked on and continued to unravel the later it got the more it looked like it was going to be dropped points for Juventus. However, Gonzalo Higuaín became an unsung hero in this match. Of all people, he was the player that changed the game and was the biggest difference in the results. After chipping away repeatedly Juve eventually got back into it when Gonzalo Higuaín just inside the box clipped the ball into the top corner to equalize. Juventus had their momentum and confidence back with enough time to win the game. Less than eight minutes later Gonzalo Higuaín stepped up again from close range converted to give Juventus the 2-1 lead with not much time remaining. In a span of eight minutes, Gonzalo Higuaín scores twice. Then at the death of the match, Gonzalo Higuain set up Pablo Dybala who scored a late goal to kill the game off for good. Despite a scare from Atalanta Juventus stay top of the league after heroics from Gonzalo Higuain.

 

OTHER RESULTS
A.S Roma 3 Brescia 0FT
SPAL 1 Genoa 1FT
Bologna 2 Parma 2FT
Lazio 2 Sassuolo 1FT
Verona 1 Florentina 0FT
Lecce 2 Cagliari 2FT
Sampdoria 2 Udinesse 1FT