We're pretty sure that Milan just finished losing to Napoli about five minutes ago, but here we are again, ready to start the next round of games in Serie A. Time sure goes fast when you've hit your head on the ceiling while jumping up and down on the bed.
Fortunately for us, everything slows down a little in this midweek round of fixtures. Most of Italy's top sides face opponents that will be content with just a point. Until Tuesday, that is, when Inter and Fiorentina, both with ten points on the season, face off at the San Siro.
Round 5 fixture list
all matches at 8:45 p.m. local / 2:45 p.m. ET
Francesco Guidolin is playing that fun game again. You know, the one where he pretends he's clueless and in charge of a bunch of inferior players until about Round 20, when Udinese come to life and sneak in to Europe? But for now, they're even with Genoa in the standings, with one loss, one draw and two losses each. This one's sure to be a lively match...
Mario, Mario, wherefore art thou Mario? Oh, that's right, serving a three match ban for "insulting and intimidating comments" made to the referee after Napoli's win on Sunday night. Considering Mario Balotelli was the best player on the pitch by some distance, Milan could be in for a struggle here -- despite the fact that Bologna has yet to win a match this season.
The Flying Donkeys won their first match of the season at the weekend, a 2-1 comeback against Udinese. Unfortunately for Chievo, the visitors did exactly the same against Hellas Verona. With the Derby della Mole next weekend prior to another Champions League fixture, Chievo will be hoping that, at the very least, Carlos Tévez will be dropped to the bench.
Catania have scored one goal this season. One measly goal. Surely even the slipping Lazio can manage three points at the Stadio Olimpico.
Livorno may be in sixth, but don't get over-excited about how impressive the Serie A newcomers are this season. Their two wins were to bottom sides Sassuolo and Catania, managed just a point against Genoa, and easily fell to Roma. They'll likely avoid relegation, but the amaranto won't be challenging for Europe. Cagliari, as expected, are comfortably midtable and will likely stay that way.
Will Eusebio Di Francesco change his modus operandi after Sunday's 7-0 defeat to Inter? Perhaps make an attempt to defend once in awhile? Or will the Sassuolo manager shrug his shoulders, acknowledge they're playing a perfect Napoli and accept another loss? What's almost certain is that Rafa Benítez will rest certain key players this time around, as the likes of Marek Hamšík, José Callejón and Gonzalo Higuaín all looked a bit peaked against Milan.
These two sides, combined, have scored less goals on the season than Inter managed in their last time out. Don't you think it'd be best to find another match to watch?
Roma look to build on their heady Derby victory by maintaining their perfect record against Sampdoria. The hosts are hovering just above the relegation zone after a late game equalizer by Manolo Gabbiadini earned them a point against Cagliari on Saturday. But Samp will have to do something awfully special to get any sort of result against Roma, who seem intent on keeping first place.
Torino vs. Hellas Verona
Has Giampiero Ventura moved away from completely cautious calcio, or are Torino just accidentally scoring goals? They drew 2-2 against Milan two rounds ago, and beat Bologna 2-1 at the weekend. With Verona seemingly showing no Serie A fear, Toro might want to keep to their early-scoring strategy.
The Serie A game of the week brings together two scudetto challengers, both undefeated thus far this season. After Sunday's 7-0 victory against Sassuolo, there's been much talk about the impressive revival Inter have undergone under Walter Mazzarri. Don't go handing them the title just yet though -- Mazzarri's sides often start off brightly only to hit a slump around March. Vincenzo Montella, meanwhile, is keeping on keepin' on. Fiorentina may have a lengthy injury list, but they've also got four goals from Giuseppe Rossi and the ability to field approximately 132 playmakers at once. If the viola can't smuggle something past the Inter defense, then we can talk about the revival of the nerazzurri.