5 Things We Learned from Match Day Six in Serie A

| September 28, 2021 1:19 pm PDT

There was a quick turnaround in Serie A this week, with a midweek round of fixtures, we were treated to plenty of enjoyable Italian soccer.

Napoli enjoyed it more than most, playing three games in just ten days with an aggregate score of 10-0. The defeat of Cagliari saw the Partenopei remain at the top of the table – but there was a lot more to match day six than just Luciano Spalletti’s side.

Juventus continues to stay away from the pacesetters at the top. But it must be only a matter of time before the Bianconeri join in with what has already become a fascinating scudetto race.

Here are five things I noticed from the weekend action in possibly Europe’s most exciting league right now.

Serie A is Goal Crazy

It could be put down to some tired defensive limbs, after a cavalcade of games played by all the clubs in Serie A. But one thing that match six had plenty of, was goals.

None of the ten games over the weekend ended goalless – and only Udinese, Salernitana and Cagliari failed to find the net at all.

In all, there were 35 goals recorded at an average of 3.5 per fixture. With all those goals came dramatic games.

Juventus narrowly beat Sampdoria 3-2 in the Allianz Stadium, Inter and Atalanta shared four goals at the San Siro, and Nikola Kalinic scored a last-minute goal to salvage a point for Hellas Verona at Genoa only minutes after the Rossoblu thought they had won the game.

There is a stereotypical view of Serie A in some countries of a dour, defensive style of soccer in the mold of the 1960s Inter team. But the days of catenaccio are long gone if this season is anything to go by.

To be honest, Italian soccer hasn’t been wholly defensive minded for years. But this season definitely seems to be keen on making sure that everybody knows how exciting Serie A really is.

Rome is Sky Blue…For Now

The big game in Italy last weekend was undoubtedly the Derby della Capitale between Lazio and Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

Even without the impressive start that the Giallorossi had made – and the less than perfect way Lazio had begun the 2021/22 campaign – this was always going to be a huge fixture and eagerly anticipated.

It didn’t disappoint, but Roma nearly did.

Lazio completely overran its stadium co-tenants in the first half, with Milinkovic-Savic scoring a brave header after just ten minutes and Pedro scoring against the club that pushed him aside in the summer just nine minutes later.

Even with Lazio’s domination, Roma made the second half a little more interesting by getting a goal of its own just before the break.

Jose Mourinho predictably complained about a number of refereeing decisions, but Lazio probably deserved its 3-2 final scoreline for the way it took the game to Roma in the first half.

It has taken a little longer for Maurizio Sarri to bed in at his club in Rome this season compared to Mourinho, but he was all smiles on Sunday evening – and this result might just kickstart Lazio’s season.

Empoli is Quietly Going About Its Business

In these days of big money, in the top leagues in Europe especially, it is understood that the clubs that are promoted to the top tier are always the favorites to go straight back down the next season.

That was the case for Venezia, Salernitana and Empoli in Serie A this term. But that last club’s results are not going according to the perceived plan so far.

Empoli first made headlines this season when it sensationally beat Juventus away from home to extend Maxi Allegri’s misery on match day two.

But after four games of the campaign, it was close to the bottom of the table after losing the other three fixtures. Now, back-to-back victories against Cagliari and a very good Bologna has seen Empoli rocket up the league, scoring a fair few goals in the process.

Sunday’s game against Bologna finished 4-2 to the Azzurri but the two sides could have shared more than ten goals in an end-to-end encounter. Aurelio Andreazzoli is back at the club for his third stint as head coach and seems to be enjoying the task of somehow keeping this club up for more than one season.

Everything still might go wrong in this part of Tuscany – but Empoli is putting up a good fight so far.

Atalanta is Always Good to Watch

Atalanta has not begun this season in quite the goal scoring frenzy that we have come to expect over the last few years.

In fact, after six games played, there are 12 teams that have scored more than Gian Piero Gasperini’s side. That is almost unheard of for La Dea, a side that now regularly qualifies for the Champions League on the back of its impressive goal haul.

But the Bergamo club is still able to mix it with the best of them – and last weekend took a point away from champions Inter at the San Siro. They fell behind after just six minutes to an exquisite Lautaro Martinez volley.

Atalanta was perhaps lucky to survive an Inter penalty miss in the second half but fought throughout the exhilarating game.

There is a feeling that Atalanta is still going through the gears as the new campaign gets going though. That is something that the rest of the top clubs in Serie A should be fearful of.

This is a team that has looked like one of the best in Italy in recent years and has continually survived while losing its best players and still competing in the upper reaches of the table.

Milan Continue to Shine

The Maldini dynasty showed its latest star during the weekend when Daniel, son of Paulo – himself, son of Cesare – scored the opening goal in the win at Spezia.

It was the 19-year old’s first goal on his very first start for the club his family has represented for 60 years now.

As an attacking midfielder he will probably escape direct comparison with his defensive relatives, but he will still need to live up to a grand family name.

It could be argued that Spezia should have at least taken a point from a game that failed to really show for the first half, but then came alive in the second.

Brahim Diaz, on loan from Real Madrid, eventually scored the winner for Milan three minutes from time after coming on as a substitute and is the top goalscorer for the club this season. But head coach Stefano Pioli will be happy that the goals have generally been shared around a squad that was creatively improved in the offseason.

There were a number of big names that came in to replace some equally important players – and, before Napoli beat Cagliari on Sunday, they had taken Milan to the top of the league.

Last season’s Champions League finish was regarded as something of an overachievement. But a top four place should be the aim again this year.

Match Day Seven Awaits in Serie A

There is an international break after this weekend’s fixtures but there are few games that really stand out of the list as far as the race for the scudetto goes.

Fiorentina plays Napoli before Atalanta faces Milan on Sunday. But there is also the Turin derby on Saturday to look forward to before that.

Torino head coach, Ivan Juric, would love to heap more pressure on Maxi Allegri and Juventus with a victory.

There are plenty more potential storylines up and down the Serie A table this weekend and I’ll be reporting back at the start of next week with five more things I’ve noticed from Italy’s top flight. Be sure to keep an eye on our news section for that post.

Dan Roberts
Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts is an experienced freelance writer specialising in sports and sports betting. He is particularly knowledgeable about world soccer, but also writes about football, basketball and cricket.

As a fan of Nottingham Forest, New York Knicks, Minnesota Vikings and New York Mets, Dan has not had much to celebrate recently.

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