Saturday 26th November

Torino 2-1 Chievo Verona

Falque 35′ 38′ | Inglese 85′

RED CARD: Cacciatore (Chievo) 89′

This was a very even game, with neither team really bringing their best performance and their similar formations largely negating each other. It’s worth noting that both teams were particularly wasteful in attack, managing around a 25% shots on target ratio – although Torino’s wastefulness can be explained by a willingness to let fly from outside the area. Being almost completely even in every stat, it was simply to be a case of who was more clinical on the occasions they worked the ball into the area. This time, that was Torino.

Empoli 1-4 AC Milan

Saponara 17′ | Lapadula 15′ 77′ Suso 61′ Costa (OG) 64′

A very clinical performance from Milan to keep up their excellent, if slightly surprising, start to the season. It was as usual a calm passing masterclass from Milan, who completed over 200 passes more than Empoli (546) and were rarely troubled by them – their goal did only come from a very rare mistake by Donnarumma.

Milan were one of the few teams who were more willing to put the ball into the area for their shots – indeed, all of their goals were from shots/deflections in the area. I can’t really criticise Empoli that much, it does seem that AC might be getting back to their best at last – about time, I’ve missed them!

Sunday 27th November

Palermo 0-1 Lazio

Milinkovic-Savic 31′

RED CARD: Gonzalez (Palermo) 86′

One of the more end to end games this weekend, with neither team managing to break the 500 pass mark, but getting nearly 20 shots each – albeit with the usual Serie A problem of long shots… Easy to see how Pogba did so well in Italy…

Moan over, Lazio were the better side in every department and so get a good result to take into this weekend’s derby against Roma.

Bologna 0-2 Atalanta

Masiello 15′ Kurtic 68′

A convincing performance from Atlanta to see the take an easy win at Bologna, with another case of being more clinical. Also, a rare goal from a set piece in this game (Kurtic nodded in from a corner). My one gripe with Atalanta? They only had 2 shots on target, from 14 overall!

Bologna did at least make a go of it, but tried to play a passing game with only one player bringing their best passing boots – Taïder hit 63 successful passes, 15 more than anyone else in the Bologna team. Oh, and they shot from too far out…

Cagliari 2-1 Udinese

Farias 35′ Sau 58′ | Fofana 51′

I suppose this has to be classed as a shock, as Udinese had much higher attacking stats than Cagliari – more shots, passes, possession etc.

But they lacked a cutting edge (Definitely something that applies to a lot of teams in Serie A), as they managed just the one goal from their 20 (!) shots. Strange, given that they played quite an offensive lineup…

Cagliari on the other hand, they took their chances – 2 goals from 3 shots on target! Which is the kind of form you need your attacking players in if you want to exceed expectations…

Crotone 1-1 Sampdoria

Falcinelli 43′ | Fernandes 71′

I certainly didn’t see Crotone getting anything here, but these are the types of points that help teams at the bottom avoid relegation. It wasn’t a lucky point, as the team put in a league high 29 successful tackles in this game – the sort of commitment they simply need to show if they want to survive.

Due to this high energy performance by Crotone, Sampdoria just couldn’t get going in midfield – the ball either going long, or back to the two centre backs who hit 158 successful passes between them. That’s one third of all the completed passes Sampdoria made! 

An all round good display from the strugglers,  maybe even deserved a win for their commitment…

Genoa 3-1 Juventus

Simeone 3′ 13′ Alex Sandro (OG) 29′ | Pjanic 82′

Well, this is a surprise! Juventus never normally concede 3 in the league, although they did have both Barzagli and Chiellini not playing – but Benatia and Dani Alves are capable enough replacements…

It was hardly a poor performance by Juventus, as they were still their normal dominant selves, with over 200 passes attempted in Genoa’s third – Cuadrado up front was a failed gamble (similar to Walcott for Arsenal) and Hernanes was particularly poor as the link between midfield and strikers – most of his forward passes failed to find their target.

In the end, the more clinical nature of Genoa – in particular, rising star Giovanni Simeone (who bagged a brace) was enough to punish Juventus.

Roma 3-2 Pescara

Dzeko 7′ 10′ Perotti 71′ | Memushaj 60′ Caprari 74′

Another team predicted to struggle, Pescara put in a brilliant account of themselves  but came away with nothing from a full strength Roma side. They matched Roma well, getting the same number of shots in despite having a lot less possession . 

For one of the best teams in Italy, struggling to put away relegation favourites (for all the good in this performance, Pescara have been pretty poor overall this season) despite having some good stats – 7 shots on target, 8 corners and around 60% of possession, must lead to some worrying from Roma staff about what will happen if this kind of a performance is put in against a better team.

But still, for now it is a case of a win is a win – and with the players Roma have, they should keep winning.

Monday 28th November

Napoli 1-1 Sassuolo

Insigne 42′ | Defrel 82′

Sassuolo did really well to claim a point here, Napoli put in one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen recently (outside of the Premier League) – with over 70% of the possession and over 700 passes completed. However, their big weakness is pretty similar to a lot of Serie A teams – they were shooting way too much from distance, without a single shot on target from within the area!

Napoli’s failure to properly seal the game was eventually punished with Sassuolo’s only shot on target, a well executed counter attack expertly finished by substitute Gregoire Defrel to earn an entirely undeserved point and cause Napoli to drop even more points in the race for continental football.

Inter 4-2 Fiorentina

Brozovic 3′ Candreva 9′ Icardi 19′ 90+1′ | Kalinic 37′ Ilicic 62′

RED CARD: Rodriguez (Fiorentina) 45+1′

The big game of the matchday certainly lived up to its billing, ending up as the highest scoring Serie A game of the weekend. An extraordinary start from Inter, presumably keen to impress their fans in Pioli’s first home game, saw them race into a three goal lead within 20 minutes with their only 3 shots on target in that time. Clearly comfortable with their lead, Inter began to sit back a bit more, and didn’t have another shot all half. Fiorentina were kept at arms length, as they could only manage a few speculative attempts until a long ball forward was expertly controlled and finished by Kalinic. Fiorentina then dominated the ball until just before half time when their captain, Rodriguez, was sent off for pulling down Icardi as the last man.

In the second half, Inter knew the game was their’s to throw away and proceeded to sit a fair bit deeper – playing the ball around the defence and midfield (having nearly 30 more successful passes than Fiorentina in the second half)  whilst trying to exploit the pace and skill of their front three on the counter – epitomized by them bringing on Joao Mario for Kondogbia shortly after Fiorentina pulled it back to 3-2 with pretty much their only decent attack in the second half. And sure enough, it was on the counter attack that Inter finally sealed the game, with Handanovic only able to palm Perisic’s shot into the path of the onrushing Icardi, who couldn’t miss.

Performance of the Weekend: AC Milan

A commanding performance away at Empoli – the sort of games they’ve really struggled with over recent years 

Disappointment of the Weekend: Fiorentina

Yes, they did score 2 goals… But it was a bad performance by the Florence outfit – they let a bottom half Inter side control the game from start til end!