After a flurry of goals in the midweek matches, Serie A calmed down a bit this weekend, with only 26 goals knocked in -- although five of those came from Roma, up against Bologna's absolutely hapless defense. Perhaps the biggest surprise was Catania getting two of those goals, as well as all three points. Other surprises included Sassuolo rising from the dead once more, Walter Mazzarri rotating his squad, Valter Birsa scoring a goal and Juventus winning thanks to a missed offside call. Oh, wait. Not all of those are surprising.
The partenopei got back to winning ways, recovering from their midweek draw with Sassuolo to take an easy three points from Genoa. Rafa Benítez played it a bit more cautious with the subs this time, and it paid off, with Goran Pandev scoring a brace. Unfortunately for Fabio Liverani, Enrico Preziosi had had enough. The rossoblu coach was cast aside after just six games, with Gian Piero Gasperini brought on in his place.
It was yet another drab and dreary performance from the rossoneri, who still struggle with a lengthy injury list and a manager that may or may get caught out. Maximilliano Allegri wiggled away this time, however, thanks to a goal from Valter Biersa and the fact that Sampdoria are pretty much crap.
The aftermath of the Turin Derby is proving to be more enticing and captivating than the actual match, what with Torino publishing a press release criticizing Antonio Conte and both sides going at it over the Twitters. The match itself was a scrappy affair, with a header from Paul Pogba in the second half proving to be the deciding factor. That, and the controversy-causer, as Toro protested the goal should've been called as offside.
It must be nice to be an Udinese fan, and not have to worry even when your team is faltering and can't win games except when the other team puts the ball in the back of their own net -- yet you know that somehow, some way, Francesco Guidolin will end up getting his side into fifth place by the end of the season. Atalanta don't have such luxuries, so recording their second win of the season off the back of a brace from Germán Denis will ease the pressure just a bit
Cagliari 1-1 Inter Milan
If you watched anything more than the last fifteen minutes of this match, feel free to give us your tips on how you managed to stay awake. Walter Mazzarri rotated his Inter squad, possibly for the first time in recorded history, and possibly for the last, considering how well his B-squad handled Cagliari. It was the substitutes that started turning the screws on a determined Cagliari, and Mauro Icardi finally scored in the 75th minute. The isolani sprung into action and Radja Nainggolan put in an equalizer less than ten minutes later. Perhaps it's not necessary to make so many changes when your squad isn't involved in midweek action, eh, Walter?
Catania 2-0 Chievo Verona
Catania finally have their first win in Serie A, although they remain dangerously close to the relegation zone. Jaroslav Plašil, on loan from Bordeaux, scored his first goal for the elefanti with a fine strike from the edge of the area that went in off the post. Lucas Castro got the second, doubling Catania's goal total for the season and finally giving the home crowd something to smile about. The Flying Donkeys, however, are now in a spot of trouble, just one point above the drop zone.
Hellas Verona 2-1 Livorno
It may be early in the season, but neither of these freshly promoted sides look like relegation candidates. Livorno still may slip, but Hellas seem to be on track to stay in Serie A. Juan Iturbe was immense for the hosts, the young Argentine scoring the first goal and constantly troubling the Livorno defense. The amaranto got themselves back in it with an equalizer from Leandro Rinaudo just before the halftime whistle. But their inexperience showed through in the second half, when Pasquale Schiattarella fouled Luca Toni and Jorginho put in the winner for Verona.
Boy, a 7-0 loss can really do wonders for a club's performance. Last Sunday, Sassuolo looked battered and defeated by the time Inter had put in two goals. This time around, after holding Napoli to a draw midweek, the neroverdi came back from a two goal deficit to pick up another point against Lazio. They're still dead last, of course, but a win over Parma next week could lift them out of the relegation zone. As for Lazio, well, they're stuck facing Fiorentina after their Europa League encounter with Trabzonspor.
Yes, Roma are impressive. Six games, six wins, something like twenty different goalscorers. In this match, Gervinho grabbed a pair and Alessandro Florenzi, Mehdi Benatia and Adem Ljajic all put in one. Yet Bologna's defense looked, if possible, even poorer than that of Sassuolo's against Inter. Gianluca Curci didn't put up much of a fight against his parent club. Mikael Antonsson practically trembled any time Gervinho approached, making it all too easy for the Ivorian. There's no denying it -- Roma have assembled a talented squad and they have finally found their man in Rudi Garcia. But with Inter on deck and Napoli after the international break, the giallorossi will truly be tested for the first time (sorry, Lazio fans). Will they remain perfect?
Fiorentina 2-2 Parma
Parma certainly ensured Fiorentina were well aware of the definition of sucker-punch, scoring in stoppage time at the end of both halves in a 2-2 draw. On balance the result was hardly unfair -- the crociati were excellent in the first half but poor in the second -- though that will offer little comfort for Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella, who will be replaying Neto's hapless flail leading up to Parma's 92nd minute equaliser over and over again. The viola are now seven points off league leaders Roma after dropping points against Inter last weekend, while Parma -- who have been better this season than the results would suggest -- are still in mid-table.