Serie A

Five features of Serie A: Week 4

Following their 4-1 loss last weekend, AC Milan bounced back and returned to the winner’s circle while Napoli scored six in the Campania derby.

The Partenopei stand on maximum points with both Inter and Juventus, while Lazio, Torino and Sampdoria remain undefeated.

Here are five features from week 4 of Serie A

Spalletti’s Inter can suffer

Having impressed in over the first three weeks of Serie A, the Nerazzurri were well below their best away to Crotone.

Struggling with the sub-standard playing conditions, the midfield produced far too many misplaced passes while Mauro Icardi was left largely isolated up front, with little-to-no service into the box.

In fact, Inter were lucky not to have conceded on numerous occasions had it not been for the goalkeeping heroics of Samir Handanovic.

Though all things considered, Luciano Spalletti’s squad showed a mental toughness missing from the club over the past seasons. Having suffered for 80 minutes, they continued to believe and eventually found a way through, with Milan Skriniar bagging his first goal in the Nerazzurri colours.

Winning matches when the team is not performing at their best is vital for any successful team and will be crucial as il biscione search for a return to Champions League football.

Napoli’s unstoppable attack

A resounding 6-0 demolition of Benevento kept the Neaopolitan’s perfect record in the new Serie A season. Having found the net 15 times, they now average more goals per match than any other club from Europe’s top five leagues.

What makes them so dangerous is that, while many of their competitors are reliant on one or two players for goals, the Partenopei have shown that almost all of their squad members can pose a significant threat in the final third.

After four matches, Paulo Dybala has provided 62 per cent of Juventus’ goals while Inter’s Mauro Icardi-Ivan Perisic combination represents 80% of their goals scored. While both clubs have registered four different goal scorers, Napoli already have eight squad members who have already found the back of the net, with Dries Mertens leading the way on five.

With such an armoury at his disposal, Maurizio Sarri looks certain to provide a few more nightmare days at the office for Serie A clubs this season.

Benevento’s harsh reality

Of course, on the other end of the 6-0 Campania derby result were the Serie A debutants, Benevento.

To say the victors of last season’s Serie B play-offs have had a difficult start to the season would be an understatement, with four losses leaving them on 0 points with 10 goals conceded.

However, prior to the 6-0 demolition, the Wizards had lost all three of their matches by just the one goal. They will no doubt be looking to the example provided by fellow southerners, Crotone, who accrued just one point in their first nine matches last season before eventually undertaking one of the most incredible survival stories in recent memory.

For now though, Marco Baroni and his squad will need to shake off their latest defeat and prepare for the next the next battle ahead.

Lazio’s stability

One of the teams that flew under the radar for much of 2016/17, and is looking to remain in the shadows for the new season, is Lazio.

While the teams ahead of them dominate the headlines, the Biancocelesti’s only loss of point was their opening round draw against SPAL, where they were unable to beat the keeper with 22 shots on the day.

Despite losing the likes of Lucas Biglia and Keita Balde, Simone Inzaghi’s team have gone about their business in a truly professional manner. At times their defence has struggled however the group has continually shown the mental strength to recover from goals conceded.

After falling behind twice in last Thursday’s Europa League victory over Vitesse, Lazio was on the receiving end of two equalisers away to Genoa on Sunday however still fought to regain the lead and clinch the three points.

While the columns will continue to be filled with stories of the northern giants, Le Aquile will quietly proceed forward as one of Serie A’s most consistent teams, with Champions League qualification remaining a realistic target.

Leading trio hit the history books

It’s common place for one or two clubs to hit the ground running in the new season before the reality of the long 38-week competition eventually catches up. However, in the 2017/18 edition, three clubs are still sprinting ahead after four weeks having collected a maximum of 12 points.

Juventus, Napoli and Inter’s feat is quite the rarity in that the last time three clubs started Serie A in such a manner was back in 1960/61; when the Nerazzurri and Bianconeri were joined by Roma.

It’s still early days however the leading trio continue to show off their respective Scudetto credentials while no doubt keeping a keen eye on one another as they wait to see who will slip up first.

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