. Roma recorded a crucial away win against Fiorentina to go to the top of the table after the end of Round 9 in Serie A.
Napoli led by the irresistible Gonzalo Higuain continued their unbeaten run while Juventus and AC Milan recorded important victories. Ahead of the midweek fixtures, Roma have opened up a two point lead at the summit and Rudi Garcia’s men definitely were the big winners in an action packed weekend of football in Italy.
Higuain continues his purple patch
Gonzalo Higuain was recently labelled as ‘the best striker in the world’ by Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri and the manner in which he has started the current campaign suggests that this claim might have some substance. Napoli began the season slowly but soon turned things around with impressive wins over Lazio, Juventus, Milan and Fiorentina. Higuain has played an integral part in Napoli’s revival and is currently the top scorer with 7 goals. Apart from goals, the Argentine has displayed a tremendous work ethic and played key passes to his teammates Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne.
Higuain is showing all the signs of a true leader on the pitch and seems like a man on a mission. Sarri has instilled some confidence in him and Higuain is starting to realise his full potential. His confidence seems to be sky high after scoring yet another decisive goal against a gritty Chievo side. Italy could feature one of the most open title races this season in Europe and Napoli should have a good chance of lifting the Scudetto if Higuain continues to fire in the goals.
Roman clubs look strong again this season
Roma secured their fourth consecutive victory with a 2-1 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi leapfrogging their opponents Fiorentina into first place in the process. Mohamed Salah, who was the subject of jeers and whistles throughout the game, curled a stunning opener and Roma doubled their lead thanks to a confident finish from the rejuvinated Gervinho. Salah was sent off later in the second half and although Fiorentina reduced the deficit, it was not enough to stop the Giallorossi from moving to the top of the table.
Felipe Anderson was the protagonist as Lazio moved up to fourth place in the table. It was a fairly comfortable win against a Torino side who had a strong start to the season so far. The victory also continues Lazio’s perfect home record this campaign. After a fairly shaky start including a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Napoli, Stefano Pioli’s men have produced a positive response and put together a string of good results. The elimination from the Champions League will no doubt be a low point this season but credit must be given to the way Lazio have reacted after the disappointment. The Rome derby next week has the potential to be a classic encounter already.
Juventus and Milan secure vital wins but Inter play out stalemate
Juventus comprehensively dispatched Atalanta on Sunday afternoon with Paulo Dybala and Paul Pogba playing important roles in the 2-0 win. The fourth consecutive clean sheet also shows that the Bianconeri are getting solid at the back while summer signing Mario Mandzukic finally scored his first league goal. AC Milan handed their 16-year-old keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma a surprising first start against Sassuolo on Sunday in a must-win encounter. The Rossoneri scraped a 2-1 win over the 10-man visiting squad with goals from the prolific duo of Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano. Donnarumma was unable to keep a clean sheet but the three points will come as a massive relief for Sinisa Mihajlovic who was under huge pressure throughout the week.
Roberto Mancini was left frustrated as Inter failed to hold on to their lead at the Renzo Barbera and were held to a draw with Palermo’s Alberto Gilardino netting against his favorite opponent. Inter have not won at Palermo since 2010 and they continued their barren run as Murillo was sent off later in the second half, which put an end to any hopes of their comeback. Inter have now failed to win any of their last four matches, after opening the campaign with five consecutive victories.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Sampdoria recovered from their surprising defeat to Frosinone with a clinical 4-1 victory over injury ravaged Hellas Verona who remain in the relegation zone. City rivals Genoa meanwhile fell to a 2-0 away defeat to Empoli. The basement battle between Carpi and Bologna was a typical nervy affair with Carpi going down to 10 men in the first half and then conceding a late goal to remain rooted at the foot of the table. Finally Udinese managed to register their first win in their new stadium as Francesco Lodi scored the only goal of the game to hand Frosinone their 6th defeat this season.
- Roma have not been alone on top of the table since Week 12 in 2013-14.
- Fiorentina have lost three games in the space of a week, all by 2-1 scorelines, against Napoli, Lech Poznan and Roma.
- The goal scored by Mohamed Salah is the first goal conceded by Fiorentina at their ground in this Serie A campaign.
- Gianluigi Donnarumma, aged 16 years, eight months and six days, became the youngest goalkeeper to start a Serie A match.
- Mauro Icardi has failed to get a single shot on target in five of his eight games this season.
- Verona are still the only side without a victory this season.
- AC Milan have kept no clean sheets in the opening nine Serie A fixtures for the first time since 1983/84.
- Gonzalo Higua n has netted nine goals over the last 10 games played in the Serie A.
Goal Of The Week
Domenico Berardi has scored eight goals in just five Serie A meetings with Milan. Quite simply he loves scoring against the Rossoneri. He curled in a glorious free kick past debutant goalkeeper Donnarumma but it was not enough for his team this time.