Competitiveness in Italy re-emphasised in weekend of big wins.
Over the years, Serie A clubs have gained a reputation of placing a greater emphasis on defence, with those on the outside labelling the league as “boring”.
However, with 43 goals flying in this weekend across the peninsula, the Italian top flight is anything but with a whole host of top clubs vying for a top three finish this season.
Juventus remain the favourites for a third consecutive Scudetto this year, and they have made an impressive start to the defence of their crown with another comprehensive win over Lazio on Saturday.
The Bianconeri hit four past the hapless visitors, who were also on the receiving end of a heavy defeat in the Super Cup a fortnight ago.
A brace from Arturo Vidal set the champions off and running, while Carlos Tevez bagged his second goal in as many games with a well-placed strike to seal the win.
It was the perfect response to Napoli’s win just hours earlier in Verona, where the Partenopei secured a 4-2 win over Chievo.
Having pinpointed Marek Hamsik as an early candidate for the player of the year award, the Slovakian made it four goals in two games since being handed the captain’s armband, while there was also a first goal for Gonzalo Higuain.
Napoli boss Rafa Benitez will be expected to dip back into the transfer market ahead of the deadline, with critics still suggesting that the defence is too weak to maintain a challenge for the Scudetto, as well as competing in Europe.
It continued to rain goals on Sunday, with Roma putting on an impressive performance in their 3-0 win over Hellas Verona. The visitors were full of confidence ahead of their trip to the capital having defeated AC Milan last weekend, but Rudi Garcia’s men were a class above.
The midfield trio of Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi and Miralem Pjanic looked formidable, with the Bosnian scoring a sublime chip to ensure he is a candidate for goal of the season.
However, captain Francesco Totti looked equally as impressive pulling the strings in between the lines, while Adem Ljajic bagged a goal on his debut. The day was slightly soured by the news that the Verona squad were forced to stay in Rome overnight, after the Giallorossi’s ultras attacked and damaged the team bus.
It was also two wins in two for Inter boss Walter Mazzarri after they picked up an impressive win in Catania and secured their second consecutive clean sheet to start the season. However, there was no sign of a clean sheet at the Marassi, where Fiorentina thumped Genoa 5-2, with Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez each netting a brace.
The Viola potentially possess one of the most dangerous attacking pairings in Europe, and they will be well worth watching as the season goes on.
There was also a first win of the season for AC Milan after their 3-1 triumph over Cagliari at San Siro, but perhaps the bigger news for the Rossoneri is that former star Kaka is set to re-join the club.
If Juve boss Antonio Conte had any hopes of this being a straight-forward season for the Turin giants, they are quickly diminishing as the chasing pack prove they’re ready for the challenge.
Results: Atalanta 2-0 Torino, Bologna 2-2 Sampdoria, Catania 0-3 Inter, Chievo 2-4 Napoli, Genoa 2-5 Fiorentina, Juventus 4-1 Lazio, Milan 3-1 Cagliari, Roma 3-0 Verona, Sassuolo 1-4 Livorno, Udinese 3-1 Parma.