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Race for the Scudetto: Roma pushed Napoli; AC Milan (& Maldini) in crisis; watch for Ricci

A confirmation, the usual one, which bears the name of Luciano Spalletti's Napoli, two very bad defeats, two historic defeats, for Milan and Juventus against Sassuolo and Monza respectively. In the latest weekend of Serie A, everything and more happened. Let's check on all the protagonists...!


It was perhaps the "championship point" (using a metaphor linked to the world of tennis) for Luciano Spalletti's team, which arrived against Jose Mourinho's Roma with 50 points scored in 19 games: simply incredible.

The Azzurri managed to win, despite the better performance provided by the Giallorossi, who came very close to not only snatching a point, but who perhaps also deserved the three points. The match was decided by the usual Victor Osimhen, with an outstanding goal, taking advantage of carelessness by Roger Ibanez and Leonardo Spinazzola, and by Gio Simeone, after the goal of the momentary equaliser scored by Stephan El Shaarawy.

The match was beautiful, exciting, very tight as evidenced by the reaction of the Napoli players at the end of the game. The real difference between the two teams, who played at similar levels, was the depth of the squad, the general level of the team available to the two coaches: in the most delicate moment, Spalletti subbed in Simeone and Giacomo Raspadori, Mourinho was able to send on the field Benjamin Tahirovic and Edoardo Bove to replace Nemanja Matic and Lorenzo Pellegrini, because he had no alternative choices. The match was of a high level, but this year Napoli continues to prove superior week after week and is now sailing towards winning the championship. Deservedly.


Dark and difficult moments for Stefano Pioli's AC Milan. The defeat against Inter in the Supercoppa, the elimination against Torino in the Italian Cup, the draw against Roma, the 4-0 defeat against Lazio, now a sensational 2-5 against Alessio Dionisi's Sassuolo, which was experiencing an extremely bad moment. Rafael Leao and his teammates are no longer able to be a team and help each other and Pioli struggles to find solutions: the next attempt will be the 4-3-3, a change of tactical system, to give the team more coverage.

The Neroverdi were too good for their opponents, especially Domenico Berardi and Davide Frattesi,who made the difference: the first in particular scored a goal and made three assists for his teammates. He hadn't played so well for a long time, due to poor performance and too many injuries that slowed down his growth. Milan conceded five goals and could have conceded even more: serious reflection is urgently needed at the Rossoneri.

Despite Charles De Ketelaere's opportunity from the first minute, another insufficient performance arrived and also for this reason the relations between director Paolo Maldini and the management are no longer very strong.


Rafaelle Palladino has the magic touch, or in any case he is a projection of a great coach and he is proving it match after match. The latest striking example of his tactical and managerial skills was the sensational 0-2 win at Juventus: Patrick Ciurria and Danny Mota sealed the victory for Silvio Berlusconi's team in forty minutes, further complicating the moment of Massimiliano Allegri's players, currently thirteenth in the standings and only two points above Salernitana.

Beyond the Bianconeri's difficulties, however, the credit must go to Monza, which is making itself the protagonist of a first-tier season for the level of the team and the actual ambitions of the club. It would have been wrong to reduce this result to Juventus' problems: Monza play well and have a clear identity. There aren't many other Serie A teams, especially those that don't have many top-level players, with this kind of spirit and identity.

Palladino is doing an exemplary job despite having taken the team after the start of the season and who knows next year on which bench he will be…


Finally Ricci. Considered for some time as one of the next great talents in Italian football, his move to Torino had slowed down his growth a bit, to the extent that his performance had dropped, also and above all because he was employed in a different role, more one of construction.

Ivan Juric brought him closer to the opponent's goal and in the game against Empoli he was his team's man of the match, allowing Antonio Sanabria and the others to grab an important draw from a comeback. The first of the two goals was his and it won't be the last.

Always among the best of Salernitana, however, and it is no longer a surprise, is Boulaye Dia. The striker was the MVP of the match against Lecce, which ended 1-2 for Davide Nicola's team (confirmed at the helm despite the very heavy defeat against Atalanta, after a long confrontation with the president Danilo Iervolino): a goal, the first of the two, but above all a high and constant performance that often makes him appear "out of place" compared to the average level of the team's players who are fighting not to be relegated to Serie B.

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Matteo Vitale
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