Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores in the last minute to salvage a point for AC Milan in Serie A

Serie A Takeaways: Milan Miss Chance to Extend Lead over Rivals

It was a weekend full of stalemates in Serie A as a number of the top teams were unable to pick up wins. AC Milan most notably failed to extend their lead atop the table before the international break as they barely avoided a shock home defeat to Verona.

Juventus were denied three points at the death by Lazio, while two struggling sides in Atalanta and Inter shared the spoils in an entertaining affair. Amid those clubs’ recent struggles, Napoli and Roma have taken advantage to rise up in the table.

Read on below for a quick rundown of all the top takeaways from this latest round of Serie A fixtures.

 

Milan finally slowing down after fast start

After second-placed Sassuolo slipped up against second-from-bottom Udinese, leaders AC Milan missed their opportunity to go four points clear heading into the international break as they could only draw 2-2 at home to Verona.

The Rossoneri went two goals behind early in the first half, but they were able to salvage a point as Zlatan Ibrahimovic made up for a missed penalty by scoring the equaliser in stoppage time.

After winning their first four matches in a row, Milan are finally slowing down a bit. They’ve drawn each of their last two home matches in the league, and needed a late Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner to beat struggling Udinese away last weekend.

They also suffered a shock 0-3 home defeat to Lille in the Europa League. The fixture congestion finally seems to be taking its toll on a Milan side that remains reliant on a 39-year-old Zlatan to lead their attack.

But perhaps more importantly, manager Stefano Piolo should also spend the international break repairing a Milan defence which has conceded six goals in its last three games after giving up just one in their first four.

 

Pirlo’s Juventus still a work in progress

Cristiano Ronaldo scores Juventus' only goal against Lazio in their latest encounter in Serie A

Cristiano Ronaldo goes off the pitch after getting injured during a match against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico

Juventus will consider themselves a bit unlucky not to come away with all three points away to Lazio. Felipe Caicedo popped up with a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a point for the home side, who were without captain and leading scorer Ciro Immobile.

That’s now the fourth draw in seven league games for Juve, who are still very much a work in progress under new manager Andrea Pirlo. They have yet to produce a signature performance against top opposition after drawing their matches against the two Rome clubs and only beating Napoli 3-0 by default.

There are certainly some signs of promise, most notably the fine form of Alvaro Morata. The Spanish striker already has six goals and two assists in eight games in all competitions. And as long as Cristiano Ronaldo remains healthy, the Serie A 2020 odds will be in their favour.

But with so many good teams in Serie A this season, Pirlo has a lot of work to do if Juventus are to claim their tenth Scudetto in a row.

 

Napoli and Roma might be the real deal

Napoli and Roma are two such teams that are looking like potential title contenders. Both sides won again over the weekend to go third and fourth in the table with 14 points each.

Roma have now gone six games unbeaten (four wins, two draws) since their opening-day defeat to Verona, with their two draws coming against champions Juventus and leaders Milan.

As for Napoli, they continue to play well on both sides of the ball. Record signing Victor Osimhen has settled in quickly to lead their attack, while their defence has been rock solid; they’ve only conceded four goals n the six games they’ve actually played.

Napoli’s title credentials will be put to the test as they face leaders Milan and Roma when they return from the international break. Those should be fascinating matchups which SBOTOP will cover in depth.

 

Atalanta and Inter need a break

While Napoli and Roma are flying high at the moment, both Atalanta and Inter are fading fast. The two played out quite an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Gewiss Stadium as Aleksey Miranchuk cancelled out Lautaro Martinez’s opening goal.

Normally, both clubs would consider a draw a decent result, but they could have used a win right about now.

Inter, especially, are desperate for victory. They’ve now won just once in their last eight matches in all competitions. Atalanta’s form hasn’t been much better; they have just two wins in their last seven, with three defeats.

After a gruelling run to the Europa League final last season, Antonio Conte’s side has been stretched to its limits of late due to Covid-19 cases and injuries. Atalanta, who have a much shallower squad than Inter, have also felt the effects of playing high-intensity Champions League matches every midweek. Fatigue and lack of depth have likely played a big factor in their poor run of Serie A 2020 results.

Based on their recent form, it’s looking clear that both Inter and Atalanta could use a break. But with several of their players likely to go out and play for their respective national teams, it doesn’t seem like the international break will offer much reprieve.

 

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