Napoli extended their unbeaten run to ten games winning 3-2 win at home over Udinese, however it was Juventus who grabbed the headlines yet again for the second week running as the Old Lady edged past a poor Lazio side by 3-0 on Sunday evening in Turin. Earlier on Saturday, AC Milan rode their luck to beat Fiorentina courtesy an own goal, cutting Napoli’s lead to 8 points at the top of the table. Edin Dzeko was in form once again as Inter secured a vital 3-2 win away at free falling Atalanta.
Here are the talking points from this week’s round of fixtures.
Juventus back at their best
Following their Derby d’Italia triumph over Inter Milan last weekend, Massimiliano Allegri’s side dominated proceedings yet again on Sunday as they beat a toothless Lazio side by 3-0 at home. Moise Kean grabbed a brace for the Bianconeri putting Maurizio Sarri’s side to the sword before Arkadiusz Milik slotted home from close range to secure all three points.
This was Juventus’ sixth win a row as Allegri’s side climbed up to third place in the table 2 points adrift of AC Milan in second. The vibes seem to have completely changed for the Turin side and it would feel that the World Cup has come at the wrong time for the Turin side. If Allegri can somehow manage to have the integrate the likes of Dusan Vlahovic, Federico Chiesa, Angel Di Mario and Paul Pogba, who is currently nursing an injury, into the starting eleven, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they mount a title surge in the second half of the season.
Rossoneri secure vital win
Stefan Pioli’s side kept Napoli within reach as the defending Champions left it very late to somehow grab a 2-1 win over Fiorentina. Rafa Leao opened the scoring in the second minute before Fiorentina tied the game in the 28th minute courtesy Antonin Barak’s deflected effort.
Milan should have been able to register a much more comfortable victory but Brahim Diaz and Sandro Tonali waster two golden opportunities for the home side. Fortunately for the home side, Nikola Milenkovic diverted the ball into his own net in added time. It appeared that there was a foul in the buildup to the goal, but the whistle never came from the referee as the hosts stole all three points in dramatic fashion.
The air in Naples feels different this year
Napoli secured their eleventh straight league victory as they survived a late Udinese surge to secure a 3-2 win. This temporarily opened up a 11-point lead at the top, but AC Milan cut it back to 8 points following their last gasp win over Fiorentina. The Partenopei went 2-0 up by the half hour mark with goals from Victor Osimhen and Piotr Zielinski. Eljif Elmas later added a third to see Napoli cruising but late goals from Udinese substitutes Ilija Nestorovski and Lazar Samardzic ensured a nervy final few minutes for the hosts.
On any other day Napoli would have blown the lead but this year it seems Luciano Spaletti’s team are determined to fight all odds to bring home the Scudetto. Napoli have come close to winning the coveted league title several times over the past few years but eventually have run out of gas as the Scudetto remains elusive for the southern club. It remains to be seen if Osimhen and co. can finally scale the glory years of once certain Diego Maradona from the late eighties.
Edin Dzeko in form of his life
It’s a shame that Bosnia and Herzegovina failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. With 6 goals and 2 assists in 15 games, Edin Dzeko seems to be in red hot form. The 36-year-old secured a brace in the 3-2 away win over Atalanta as the Nerazzurri sit in fifth place, 3 behind fellow city rivals AC Mian. Inter play hosts to leaders Napoi in the first match after the World Cup, which should be a spicy affair.
For Atalanta though, it was their third successive league defeat, culminating in a fourth loss in the last five games. The early signs of promise that Gianpiero Gasperini’s side showed in the opening weeks of the season have quickly disappeared.
Dybala can be Argentina’s X factor in the World Cup
Paulo Dybala made an instant impact for Roma coming off from the bench in his first appearance for the club in over a month. The 28-year-old won a penalty which was missed by Andrea Belloti against his former club Torino. Barely a minute later, Dybala’s thunderous left footed curler crashed against the crossbar but Nemanja Matic rifled in a long range effort to salvage a draw for the home side. Jose Mourinho’s side looked lackluster and currently sit seventh in the table.
Dybala however made headlines as he made the Argentina squad for the World Cup and could be the Albiceleste’s secret weapon from the bench in Qatar. He has hardly lit up the stage in national colors but this time the story could be different. However, the left footed star possesses a game changing ability with his guile and trickery and his talent never been doubted. But it remains to be seen if he can produce in the World’s biggest stage.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Independent Photo Agency