In match week two of Serie A, fans were treated to a host of goals including screamers from Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski and Torino’s Andrea Belotti, while Paulo Dybala bagged a hat-trick and Mauro Icardi collected his second brace in as many weeks.
Juventus, Napoli, Inter and AC Milan have so far lived up to their favouritism for Champions League qualification, picking up a maximum of six points and are joined at the top by Sampdoria.
Here are five features to absorb over the international break, until Italy’s top flight gets back into action.
Belotti’s brilliance in the box
Anyone who has followed Serie A over the past couple seasons would already be aware of Andrea ‘il Gallo’ Belotti’s incredible talent in front of goal.
Though just in case, the Italian prodigy made sure the world stood up and took notice of his name by quite possibly producing one of the goals of the season in match week two, pulling off a stunning overhead volley to help Torino to their first win of the season.
While he’s not the quickest, tallest or most agile of strikers, he proved once again that when given the chance, he can score from just about any position humanly possible in the box.
Having reportedly come close to signing for Manchester United, Ivan Perisic has proven to be one of Inter’s best pieces of business this summer.
While Mauro Icardi’s goals will often steal the headlines, the Croatian’s combination with the captain has proven to be an invaluable attacking force for the Nerazzurri.
Though it’s not only his movement forward that makes the number 44 so crucial, it’s his workload down the left-flank in attack and defence that would make him a welcome asset in any squad across Europe.
Last week, the Partenopei’s return as Serie A’s entertainers was featured. And while their exciting brand of football was once again on display in their second half comeback, it was their new-found depth that carried them home.
Following Piotr Zielinski’s screamer of an equaliser, the introduction of Allan, Amadou Diawara and Marko Rog energised the Azzurri midfield, and for the first time in the match were completely running over their opponents.
The flexibility to be able to change a match when the wheels are not spinning as they should will become a crucial factor for Maurizio Sarri this season, particularly as Champions League and Coppa Italia fixtures put club squads to the test.
After Roma defeated Atalanta in match week 1 and took an early lead against Inter on Saturday, things might have looked quite positive for Eusebio Di Francesco’s start in the capital.
Though as the match wore on, the frailties of his new team became more apparent as the Nerazzurri took advantage of a vulnerable defence and tiring midfield.
The clinical Mauro Icardi did what Atalanta were unable to do last week by finishing the chances presented to him. And despite hitting the post three times themselves, it certainly would not be sustainable to rely on long range stunners from the likes of Radja Nainggolan or Aleksandar Kolarov to earn them maximum points.
There are certainly promising aspects to Roma’s play, having dominated on the ball for the opening 60 minutes, though there is a lot of work to be done if the Giallorossi is to challenge for a Champions League position.
Fleeting faith for Fiorentina
If the Viola’s offseason wasn’t enough to make you feel for their suffering fans, they have now lost their opening two matches of a Serie A season for the first time in 11 years.
While a slow start to the season was expected, the uncertainty around the club’s future is certainly showing on the field. Far from two season’s ago when Fiorentina topped the league in the early rounds, European qualification may well have been replaced by a top-half finish as the club’s more realistic goal for 2017/18.
Supporters are rightfully angry at the situation playing out in front of them and season-ticket numbers are looking disturbingly low. Stefano Pioli has seemingly jumped from one troubled club to another in the midst of a crisis of its own.