Monday August 28 2017
Wk2: Breaking taboos

Napoli, Juventus and Inter showed they are learning not to repeat historic mistakes, so Susy Campanale hopes Andrea Belotti does too.

If anyone wanted proof that Napoli have matured into genuine Scudetto contenders, then they got their response on Sunday night. Atalanta were the only side to do the Serie A double over them last season and history seemed to be repeating itself when Bryan Cristante nodded in a corner – when will Maurizio Sarri sort out their defending from set plays?! – to stun the Stadio San Paolo. A few months ago, there is no way Napoli would’ve come back from that, but this is not the same team. It took a Piotr Zielinski stunner on the half-volley that nearly broke the net to get them on level terms, but the belief is what made the difference.

It seemed like madness to see Pepe Reina holding back tears as he waved to the fans, perhaps for the final time. Just as Napoli have finally found the path to greatness, he’s ready to abandon it for a spot on the Paris Saint-Germain bench? Everyone knows a trophy win in Naples is worth five elsewhere, because the party would be going on for a decade. If they did it playing this kind of scintillating football, even more so. Unfortunately there are some things about the Azzurri that don’t change – the tendency to create their own problems with unnecessary drama. Aurelio De Laurentiis, just give the man a new contract.

Juventus also showed how much they’ve changed, as going 2-0 down at Marassi brought back memories of last season’s crushing defeat. Granted, it is not the same Genoa either and they were dealing with an injury crisis too, but Paulo Dybala consolidated his status as a leader, even at his tender age. The Number 10 jersey is in good hands.

His Argentina international teammate Mauro Icardi might’ve seemed an odd choice for the captain’s armband at Inter, but he too is turning into a general leading his troops to their first Olimpico triumph since 2008. Roma evidently used up their reserves of good fortune in last week’s victory over Atalanta, because it’s no mean feat to rattle the woodwork three times in one game. Icardi proved when you are that good a hitman, only half a chance is enough to do damage. One can only imagine the goals he’s going to score when Luciano Spalletti’s side start providing more decent service with proper full-backs.

The old Milan would’ve crumbled against an aggressive Cagliari, but Suso stepped up with an assist and free kick to ensure they overcame their first genuine test of the season. If the Rossoneri thought they’d steamroller all before them on star power alone, this hopefully provided a wake-up call. You need the determination and resilience shown by Spal and Lazio to keep believing until the final whistle.

Fiorentina are going to need Big Ben ringing non-stop to wake them up after another defeat. Nenad Tomovic had a nightmare – again – and once more their decent second half performance was not enough to make up for a disastrous first period. The Viola started late on the transfer market and are carrying that through to their games as well.

I wrote before the season began that VAR would create more controversy and conspiracy theories in Serie A, so it was no surprise to see that coming to pass this weekend. It took far too long – a good four minutes for Manuel Lazzari to be awarded the Spal goal after it was initially disallowed – and was not used consistently. It’s inexplicable how the challenge on Diego Perotti, when Roma were still 1-0 up, was not even examined. This is precisely the kind of situation video assistant referees were introduced for.

At Marassi we had the nadir of two penalties awarded using VAR, neither of which should’ve been given. They were so busy looking at the foul on Andrej Galabinov that they forgot to check if he was offside first. Mario Mandzukic kicked the ball on to a Genoa defender’s arm from point-blank range, so I fail to see how that could be considered a voluntary handling offence. It was amusing to register the reactions from the usual moaners on social media during that game. Juventus have a second consecutive penalty awarded against them using VAR: ‘At last, they won’t be able to get away with anything anymore!’ The Bianconeri receive a spot-kick: ‘Ah, the usual cheats, they always get away with it.’ Have some consistency, please.

Torino were robbed of a win last week due to misuse of VAR, but there was no denying the glory of Andrea Belotti’s scissor-kick volley. In one deft movement, he scrapped a run of editorials asking if the €100m price-tag was excessive. In today’s market, it’s more than reasonable. I hope Il Gallo stays at Toro, at least for this World Cup year, because we’ve seen what happened to Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci when leaving too soon for pastures unknown.

Have your say...
Its ok carpet its ok there there now lol . Dont cey because yoy never won anything amd never will. Be a real fam like am arsenal supporter . Things will get better. Trust me. One day hahhahahhahahahahha
on the 1st September, 2017 at 12:08am
@Anonumous (gobbo Juventino), touché, 90% of your comments are about Napoli and how bad they are, how do you find time, do you have a life, what motivates you?
Why can't you love Joventus, without hating Napoli?
May be you have a few embarrssing facts on your conscience, like calciopoli, referee's watches and prostitutes, years of EPO use and abuse, match fixing, referess's intimidation,the sponsoring by FIAT of the association of referees. etc.
on the 31st August, 2017 at 3:13am
@scarpeta. Nobody thinks about napoli.
on the 30th August, 2017 at 12:54pm
VAR shows exactly what most want: any controversy surrounding Juve must be focused on much more than others (Milan clubs certainly get away with it).

Both penalties last match were controversial. The one against Genoa could've gone either way. The other one though, under VAR rules, could be right strictly speaking. It's up to the linesman to call offside, I doubt the referee is allowed to judge a penalty based on that. He was looking for Rugani making illegal contact and nothing else.
on the 30th August, 2017 at 11:24am
A lot of interesting comments all around, and some suspiciously quiet folks. Anyway, it's still the beginning of the season and days away until we stop worrying about mercato.

For my part, I'm liking our new direction while also think we have to work out a few things, such as giving our new wingers game time. Our competitors in Italy are only repeating past performances, still a false hope. All will be clear when UCL+EL start, including how well we fair against a struggling Barca.
on the 30th August, 2017 at 11:14am
Why is Inter no. 1 on the table? Juve is number 1 in every website except on football.italia! Please correct. Juve have scored more goals and have a goal balance advantage.
on the 30th August, 2017 at 5:58am

So a small sentence in an article means it's significance to the article? Strange perspective.

Now that you mention ADL, didn't he buy the club, drag them to one of the best teams in Europe and keep them running like a well oiled machine?

Yeah I see your point, it's really tough having an owner like this.

Try and pay attention to the facts, and not the fake news.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 6:23pm
It is fascinating to see the psychological impact Napoli have on a lot of Juve supporter, it haunts them in their sleep, they can't stop loving hating Napoli, anything, even Inter but Napoli, it has become their obsession, they seem to follow more Napoli than their own team. They have bags of chips on both schoulders.
I wonder why?
Maybe they know deep down that they are the bigest cheating club ever in football history.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 4:29pm
Napoli scudetto contenders? What a laughable statement.

Rube has already won the Scudetto again, everyone knows it. There is no scudetto "race" in Italy, the difference in quality between Rubentus and rest is too big and they will keep walking the scudetto for atleast 2 more seasons before Milan and/or Inter can realistically have built a strong enough team to really challenge for it.

The exciting part of serie a this season is who will end 2-4.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 3:02pm
@ Amirhossein Thanks! Yes I've come back home to Football Italia since BR changed over to the Facebook log in.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 6:14am
"Aurelio De Laurentiis, just give the man a new contract."

That is what it has to do with the article. Try to keep up.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 11:14pm
Usually us napoli fans are against most of the ideologies ADL believes in. However no way does Reina deserve as much as he's asking for per season. He's way way past it, and is holding us back in the goalkeeping dep. He's no buffon, the quicker we replace him the better. We love you Pepe, but its time for us both to move on
on the 28th August, 2017 at 11:05pm

Who are you referring to,and what does Napoli's ownership have to do with the article?
on the 28th August, 2017 at 10:45pm
How Napoli supporters deal with being owned by that sleazeball is beyond me.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 8:57pm
a Varsavia,

What would you break up a front 3 like that when Napoli are winning?
on the 28th August, 2017 at 7:03pm

seriously calgari potentially could have had a penalty and bonucci been sent of for taking down the last man. As for the last 5 games it was against weak opposition milan could have probably gone 5 games without conceding with last year lineup against these teams.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 4:23pm
If Sarri is not ready to play Milik with starting XI (or even worse keep the lad 90 minutes on the bench), then Arek should leave Napoli, i.e. to Monaco replacing Mbappe.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 3:14pm
Like I said last week. Juve and inter look like the best teams at the moment, and this week only reinforces that.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 2:57pm

let me remind you we condeded ONE gola in 6 games...

Granted yesterdays game against Caglirari wasnt easy at all but I didnt have any doubts of us coming out as winners.

Again, just because you spend 200m doesnt mean everything click right away.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 2:52pm
I maybe indifferent towards fiorentina but seriously the negatively needs to stop and the fans need to get behind the team or they will be facing relegation. The team shouldn't pay the price for the hostility which the owners has brought up. There are positives it is still a decent group of players which need to find the right balance. pioli is a seasoned coach he will make this team effective if he is supported.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 12:42pm
inter i don't what this victory against roma means for them. This is Spalletti roma team he knows all it weaknesses and how to exploit them. It is just a shame that EDF hasn't been able to build this roma side in his own image true he has made a lot of signings but none of them really look like impacting on the first team. This is also team affected by injury they are missing peres florenzi and karsdorp at right back juan really looked wide open.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 12:27pm
Milan really didn't look 200 million euros better than calgari last night hell they barely had the upper hand. Still Milan did edge out the result which is the important factor to remember still some things missing montolivo as a defensive midfield players is asking for trouble and a little bit of pace in the wings would be appreciated. in addition this team lacks balance too many players looking to go forward to attack is leaving them vulnerable to a counter attack.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 12:16pm
Finally I've found Heir Maldini here. 2Years ago, after each match, I was reading his comments in bleacher report. is it right? Forza Milan
on the 28th August, 2017 at 12:10pm
games but I can't help but feel we've missed the chance of consolidating 3 at the back. Bonucci was an unplanned signing and was certainly worth the punt but the minute he was signed Montella should've moved to 3 at the back. The first 6 competitive games were perfect for establishing the new formation with the new players. It's little things like this that could cost us a title challenge.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 10:31am
3 points are all that counts for Milan and when those 3 points come courtesy of CUTRONE even better! Suso was obviously great but there's just nothing like a youth team player coming through. Fair play to Montella for starting him ahead of Silva and Kalinic. Can he continue to do it? Now after some positivity one negativity: some of the sluggishness probably was because so many players were rested on Thursday and the change in shape. It worked out: Milan have got the wins and young players got
on the 28th August, 2017 at 10:26am
In as long as I can remember juve have never had the most penalties awarded to them. So when these soar losers go on, and on, and on, about juve getting ref help it's always without merit. Just pay no attention to them cause haters are always gonna hate. The only time I can think of that was a really dodgy call in juves favor was the muntari goal. And we all know that, but also there have been about 6 times the amount of calls AGAINST us since. We simply shut up and keep playing.
on the 28th August, 2017 at 10:13am
I am curious. In the first 2 games, 2 penalties have been awarded against juventus via VAR, with the one in the Genoa game totally wrong even with the use of the VAR system. The one against genoa was offside so can someone explain why the referee w=even with VAR awarded a spot kick. Secondly, in the first 2 games Inter Milan played there were 2 really good shouts of penalty against Inter Milan yet on each occassion the referee chose not to use the VAR system. i will like an explanation please because had these been in Juve's favor there would have been an uproar from all
on the 28th August, 2017 at 2:45am

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