Serie A

Five features of Serie A: Week 6

Sampdoria produced the upset of the week in Serie A, with a convincing victory over the disappointing AC Milan, while both Juventus and Napoli continued their perfect records.

Roma and Lazio strolled to victory over Udinese and Verona respectively while Inter left it late at home to Genoa to remain two points behind the leading duo.

Here are five features from week 6 of Serie A.

A race between two

Following Inter’s midweek draw with Bologna, only Juventus and Napoli remain on a maximum of 18 points after six matches; a feat never achieved by two teams in Serie A.

The Bianconeri strolled to a sixth victory with a 4-0 thrashing of Torino in the Derby della Mole while the Azzurri had a far more stressful day at the office, albeit ending with the important three points.

Both sides, the two pre-season favourites for the Scudetto, have already shown themselves to be on another level to their chasing competitors, with consistency remaining the crucial key to their success.

Neutral supporters can only hope that these two can provide a race that continues through to the final rounds in May; something Serie A has lacked for sometime.

Samp’s surprise start

Atalanta were last season’s biggest surprise, incredibly finishing fourth position ahead of Lazio and both Milanese giants.

Six weeks in to Serie A’s 2017/18 edition, Sampdoria have already put their hand up to be the biggest revelation for the season ahead. With one match in hand, the Blucerchiati sit in seventh position on 11 points and remain undefeated.

Their results have been anything but luck, with Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Milan showing just how strong they can be against a more fancied outfit. Their midfield, led by Lucas Torreira, completely outclassed their opponents, while they created far more chances in front of goal.

Despite losing the likes of Patrik Schick to Roma, the club have managed to bring through a strong crop of young talent which is certainly already surpassing their potential. Samp fans will be hoping they can continue such form and, in the long-term, hold on to some of these emerging youngsters for as long as possible.

Baselli’s Mole madness

There’s no doubt that the Turin derby brings out a great deal of passion from the stands and on the pitch, often leading to tense encounters from players on both sides.

Having started the season strongly and yet to be beaten, Torino were looking to ride their form into, arguably, their biggest fixture of the season.

Though after going 1-0 down early, Daniele Baselli may have allowed that passion to boil over and produced a moment of madness by producing a move likened to a karate kick on Miralem Pjanic, ending his night and all but destroying any chances of a Granata comeback.

The 25-year-old, an important element of Sinisa Mihajlovic’s squad, will now be left on the sidelines to contemplate his actions and the implications this may have had for his teammates over the coming weeks.

Zapata woes for AC Milan

The excitement around AC Milan’s new-look squad has largely worn-off now and Cristian Zapata has reminded Rossoneri fans why the club needed to invest in defence.

The Colombian gifted Sampdoria’s opening goal to Duvan Zapata before tripping over his own feat in the lead-up to Ricardo Alvarez’s 91st-minute strike. By no means was the defender a lone-standing disappointment of Sunday’s 2-0 loss, however he was certainly an obvious cause for concern.

Standing alongside Leonardo Bonucci, the gap in quality is plain to see, leaving Vincenzo Montella with a dilemma of finding the right balance in either a three or four man defensive line. Whichever way he does go, Zapata’s limitations make him far too vulnerable and simply cannot be in the club’s long-term plans if they are to challenge the top clubs in Italy.

Spalletti’s Candreva conundrum

On paper, Inter’s start for the season has been impressive with five wins and one draw on the board. However, their results against SPAL, Crotone, Bologna and Genoa have been less than convincing, causing new coach Luciano Spalletti to call for more unpredictability from his team.

Certainly one area that has not pulled their weight is the right-hand flank led by Antonio Candreva. The Italian’s game has certainly remained one-dimensional while his delivery has been disappointing, with many fans calling for a change.

Enter the club’s latest signing from Caen, Yann Karamoh, who made an impressive debut on Sunday, adding some much needed energy and enthusiasm going forward.

His ongoing development and potential usage by Spalletti might just be the spark that could jump-start the flat attack or, more specifically, provide Candreva some much needed competition and inherently, motivation to keep his place.

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