Quick thoughts on Week 28 of Serie A
Milan Derby! Milan 2-3 Inter
There’s nothing quite like a European slap in the face to awaken the senses, just ask Bayern Munich who won 6-0 over the weekend after their humiliating midweek loss to Liverpool.
Inter, fresh from their own European defeat, albeit in the Europa League, were determined to prove their cojones against Milan and played a physically powerful and intelligent game to kick Milan back into ‘their rightful place in the league’, right behind them.
Best quote to sum up game - courtesy of Gazzetta dello Sport:
‘Inter had to go to hell to find out they weren’t dead!’
· Luciano Spalletti talks too much but, on his day, he can pull out a tactical masterpiece. His idea to play Vecino as a playmaker made a world of a difference as Milan were left shocked and confused as to how to respond.
· Lautaro Martinez has been fantastic and growing with each game. While he’s not yet the finisher Mauro Icardi is, he might just do more for the team in the final third. He dished out assists, fought from the top and has improved his ability in tight spaces. Scored one and assisted the opener. Clutch.
· Rino Gattuso took too long to respond to Spalletti’s tactics and Vecino’s positioning but did eventually and played Hakan Calhanoglu in the centre to mirror’s Inter’s formation. It worked well as the Turk proved to be the biggest threat while Samu Castillejo provided a much-needed spark in Lucas Paqueta’s place after half time.
· The stadium rallied around Milan when Tiemoue Bakayoko made it 2-1 but Inter’s fierce desire to win this, probably to fire off a message to the absent non-captain Icardi, pulled them through and earned them the points.
I’m sure everyone has seen the video of Kessie losing it on Lucas Biglia and both players came out to apologise for the incident and their behaviour. (Click here for the youtube clip if you haven’t seen it.) However, it should be noted that racist chants from pockets of the stadium, aimed at Kessie, were heard. In a match that highlighted the beauty of Italian football, it’s a shame we still have to discuss the heinous behaviour of a few.
Milan is lucky to have Kessie and we are lucky to have him in the league, to watch and enjoy as he helps push his club up the league.
The Milan defence that conceded 3 league goals in all of 2019 conceded 3 against Inter.
SPAL 2-1 Roma
All you need to know is that Manuel Lazzari is back for SPAL and Cluadio Ranieri thought it was a good idea to counter him by playing centre-back, a mediocre one at that, Juan Jesus on the right. Jesus lost every duel. Ranieri’s reasoning, ‘He was the only fast player I had to put in that position.’
Roma are bereft of confidence, look super scared and fragile every time they were attacked. SPAL were good on the wings but still made mistakes, ones Roma couldn’t exploit.
Sitting deeper than usual, as Ranieri likes it, they were aiming for simple football. Just trying to get the basics right in hopes of building esteem but they didn’t manage it and I’m still wondering why Eusebio Di Francesco and the project they were building was thrown away so quickly.
Embarrassing side note: SPAL haven’t won a home game since the 17th of September, when they defeated Atalanta.
Genoa 2-0 Juventus:
When I came to write this, I wrote Genoa 2-0 Ronaldo. I wrote Ronaldo, not Juventus. Was that a Freudian slip? Are Juve Ronaldo dependent now?
Juve benched the best player in the world, or at least the best winner in the world (yes, I watched Messi against Real Betis) and ended up losing their first game of the Serie A season. Ah well. They’re still 15 points ahead of Napoli and you have to forgive a side for being a little exhausted after the mentally and physically exhausting win against Atletico Madrid midweek. It was a little slap but nothing that should keep Max Allegri up at night.
Meanwhile, some Juve fan somewhere inevitably still taunted Allegri, threatening his life for not winning every single second in football. Spoilt? Juve? Never… As for the rest of us? Lose a thousand Scudettos, just win the damned Champions League!
Mini mini notes:
Leo Bonucci is not the man who can teach young defenders. He needs Giorgio Chiellini. Daniele Rugani needs Chiellini, Martin Caceres needs Chiellini. Basically, Chiellini is MVP otherwise Juve concede, often.
Rugani, even with Chiellini is pretty average at best.
Pjanic should not be deployed so deep. That’s not where he shines.
Mario Mandzukic needs a three-month holiday and a Piña colada. The guy looks shattered.
Sassuolo 3-5 Sampdoria
This was a perfect Sampdoria game in many ways - when they are at their best, firing from all cylinders, tactically organised and technically brilliant. This was the game where Grégoire Defrel (played as a trequartista) shone, Fabio Quagliarella assisted and scored and every player in Sampdoria impressed.
Sassuolo, on the other hand, were too naïve. Beautiful play and interesting build up play is good to watch but you also have to take note of who you are playing. Sampdoria is not a side that will sit and observe while you indulge in luxurious play and surely enough, Stefano Sensi was robbed and Samp opened the scoring on the 15th minute.
Roberto De Zerbi’s men needed to be a little more defensively cautious and in the second half, Sassuolo’s coach made the changes and returned to a four-man defence. Sassuolo scored twice but it wasn’t enough to overcome a Sampdoria side that were playing at their best going forward if not always perfectly at the back.
Gazzetta writes this about Sampdoria, “Their players, thanks to Giampaolo's lessons, have the knowledge to avoid traps and overcome obstacles.” If that’s true, then they wouldn’t have lost to Frosinone in such embarrassing fashion. No Plan B then, easily closed down, and unable to break through when not allowed to play beautiful football. If anything, they are a side that has yet to avoid traps and overcome obstacles. Against Sassuolo, they just overcame a technically inferior side that shares their problems with naivete.
A final note on David Ospina, Napoli have confirmed the goalkeeper is back home after collapsing in their 4-2 win against Udinese on Sunday. Tests have confirmed the player has not suffered any lasting head injuries.
Official statement from the club:
“David Ospina was discharged this afternoon from Pineta Grande Hospital, where he was taken last night for a series of assessments and specialist visits,”
“All the tests came up negative. The visits ruled out any problems. The diagnosis was that of a vasovagal syncope, which was resolved within a few hours.
“The player was advised to take a few days off and will not be called up by Colombia.”