Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Serie A: September Review (Matchday 4 to 7)

Serie was thoroughly entertaining in September with quality football, excellent goals and all-round general excitement. As expected Juventus maintained their 100% record during September. 7 wins out of 7 have the Old Lady comfortably perched at the top. While Empoli, Frosinone and Chievo make up the bottom 3 with each side severely struggling for form and wins.

Juventus are flying high as everyone expected. A maximum of 7 wins out of 7 have the Old Lady comfortably controlling Serie A once again. A dominant win over title rivals Napoli has highlighted their complete control yet again. Cristiano Ronaldo is slowly finding his feet notching 4 goals so far while Mario Mandzukic has also begun to find form notching 2 of Juventus’s 3 goals against Napoli. Speaking of Napoli, it has been a solid start in charge for Carlo Ancelotti with 5 wins in his first 7 games to leave them 2nd in the table. Ancelotti’s side are slowly adapting to his style and tactics and are slowly beginning to capture last seasons’ form under Maurizio Sarri. Lorenzo Insigne has started the season well notching 6 goals so far with talismanic Dries Mertens not as integral this season so far. Ancelotti’s men will keep plugging away and hope Juventus drop points somewhere in the near future. The top 4 at the end of September is made up of Fiorentina and Inter. Fiorentina are going well especially at home and Stefano Pioli’s side look a much-improved team this season after inconsistencies in the previous campaign. The Viola lost to Napoli but back to back wins at the end of the month saw them secure 3rd place. A much-improved month for Inter after a slow start to the season has propelled Inter into the top 4. A 3-match winning run has seen Inter’s new look team begin to gel nicely and get their season up and running.  

September was an excellent month for Parma, Lazio and Sassuolo. Newly promoted Parma have had an excellent September winning 3 of their 4 games seeing them end the month in 10th place. Gervinho has been an excellent acquisition for the club since his move from China with the Ivorian notching 3 goals so far including goals in their recent winning run. Lazio have also had an excellent September winning 3 of their 4 games with their only blemish being a defeat in the derby with Roma. After losing their opening 2 games, Lazio have been much better with 4 straight league wins but no doubt the derby defeat will have hurt. Simeone Inzaghi will demand improvement going into their October games. Roberto De Zerbi has had an excellent start in charge of Sassuolo with the club lying 5th in the table after the opening 2 months of the season. Defeats to Juventus and AC Milan their only disappointments so far this campaign. De Zerbi has them playing excellent football and winning fans for their unique style and ambition to succeed. The likes of Domenico Berardi and Stefano Sensi have maintained good form while new signings Kevin Prince Boateng and Federico Di Francesco have been excellent so far. They did end the month with a heavy home defeat to AC Milan and no doubt De Zerbi will want to carry the positive momentum built so far going into October.

However, September has been tough for Atalanta, Empoli and Frosinone with all three sides having a winless September. It has been an unusually poor start for Gianpiero Gasperini and Atalanta with the club sat in 16th place following a run of just 1 win in 7 games. They are also winless in last 6 since their opening day triumph over Frosinone. Disappointing performances and results have heaped pressure on Gasperini and his players while last seasons’ regulars including Alejandro Gomez are yet to find their form this season. Atalanta must improve in October otherwise the axe could well fall on the experienced Gasperini. Atalanta’s problems are probably not as bad as Frosinone with the club winless and sat 19th with just 1 point from 7 games while their first goal didn’t arrive until 7th match of the season against Genoa. The newly promoted side are struggling following a complete team transition in the summer and so far they haven’t gelled or got going and the fans will demand something to change whether that be sacking Moreno Longo or changing their style to play to gain the necessary results. Fellow promoted side Empoli are also finding life hard back in Serie A. They have notched 5 points from their opening 7 games and are winless in their last 6 games. However, they have remained competitive in matches this season and no doubt Aurelio Andreazzoli has confidence in his team, but they must find a win sooner rather than later.

One side having an extremely tough time is Chievo who are rooted to the bottom following a points deduction but even if they didn’t have that penalty, they would still be in the bottom 3 after just 3 draws so far this season. The off-field issues are affecting the whole club including players and fans and Lorenzo D’Anna is struggling to get results and performances on the pitch following a poor start. Something must give at the Verona club sooner rather than later with the fans very unhappy and Lorenzo D’Anna feeling the pressure from all areas. Goals are proving allusive with the club notching just 6 goals so far this season while clean sheets are proving allusive and their defence is conceding over 2 goals a game on average and things must improve drastically to give them a chance of pulling out of danger and getting rid of that frustrating negative deficit. Could October be Chievo’s month? Only time will tell.

September was excellent, and no doubt October will very much be the same with some mouth-watering games to come including Lazio vs Fiorentina, Atalanta vs Sampdoria, Frosinone vs Empoli, Inter vs AC Milan, AC Milan vs Sampdoria, Lazio vs Inter and Napoli vs Roma. October could be the month where we begin to see where each team’s season is heading and certainly it could be a very important month for all teams conceded. Goals and quality football will follow as the 2018/19 Serie A season firmly clicks into gear.

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