Inter Milan and Napoli had tough tests this weekend, and both sides passed with flying colours as they reasserted themselves as legitimate Serie A title contenders.
Inter smashed second-placed Sassuolo, while Napoli hammered Roma as they both kept pace with leaders AC Milan, who beat Fiorentina despite missing the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Meanwhile, Juventus dropped crucial points in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence, and Atalanta also continued their recent dip in form.
SBOTOP is here to get you all caught up with all the key takeaways from this most recent round of Serie A matches.
Inter right back in the title race
Inter Milan suddenly find themselves back in second place in the table after a sensational 0-3 win away at high-flying Sassuolo.
Antonio Conte made the big decision to rest star striker Romelu Lukaku for this big match and it paid off as his replacement, Alexis Sanchez, scored after just four minutes to send Inter on their way.
It was a huge victory for the Nerazzurri, who had gone through a rough stretch of Serie A 2020 results which saw them win just once in five Serie A matches just a few weeks ago.
Conte should also be pleased by the fact that his side kept a clean sheet for just the second time in nine league matches.
Conte’s next task is to salvage their disastrous Champions League campaign. They are currently dead last in Group B and are on course to crash out of Europe.
But that could turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it could give Conte the chance to concentrate on the league moving forward.
Napoli get back on track
Napoli’s early-season hype as potential title contenders lost a bit of steam after two disappointing defeats to Sassuolo and Milan.
But they reminded the rest of the league just how good they can be with their dominant 4-0 demolition of high-flying Roma.
Emotions were high for the Neapolitans, who were eager to put on a fine performance after the passing of their greatest ever player, Diego Maradona, and they delivered just that.
Captain Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens were both excellent up front, while their defence limited Roma’s dangerous attack to just a single shot on target.
Napoli now have a couple of relatively easy games against Crotone and Sampdoria coming up before their next big test against Inter in mid-December.
Milan don’t miss Zlatan in Fiorentina win
AC Milan moved five points clear at the top following a 2-0 win over Fiorentina. Franck Kessie starred in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he set up their first goal then scored the second from the penalty spot. Although, he could have made the win more comfortable had he converted another penalty.
It was certainly a promising performance from the leaders without their talisman, who is set to miss a couple more weeks due to a hamstring injury. Ante Rebic, who led the line in place of Zlatan, had a quiet match as he failed to get off a single shot. But Hakan Calhanoglu stepped up with five shots and came close to scoring himself when he hit the post.
Luckily for the Rossoneri, they have a couple of relatively easy games coming up against Sampdoria, Parma, and Genoa, as they await Zlatan’s return.
Juventus rest Ronaldo, drop points
Juventus missed their opportunity to close the gap on Milan as they could only draw 1-1 away to newly promoted Benevento.
Andrea Pirlo made the big decision to rest Cristiano Ronaldo, and the move backfired as they couldn’t take care of business without the Portuguese superstar.
Paulo Dybala, who started in place of Ronaldo, led the way with six shots, but only one was on target. And to make matters worse, Alvaro Morata picked up a red card deep in stoppage time, which means he will miss Juve’s next few games.
Morata’s absence will put even more pressure on Ronaldo to deliver the goals as Juve continue to rely heavily on the 35-year-old to produce in front of goal.
Atalanta taking a significant step back
After back-to-back top-three finishes, this might be the season where Atalanta finally fall back down the Serie A pecking order.
Since winning their first three matches of the season, La Dea have won just one of their last five. They failed to build off their shock 2-0 win at Anfield against Liverpool as they lost 2-0 at home to Verona over the weekend. That was the second-straight Serie A match where they were held without a goal.
Of course, it’s still quite early in the season. Josip Ilicic is still playing himself into form after a long absence and could yet return to the high level he reached last year.
But with the likes of Sassuolo, Napoli, and Roma all taking steps forward this season, Atalanta’s Serie A 2020 odds to crack the top three for a third-straight year aren’t looking all that great.
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