ATALANTA BLOW TITLE RACE WIDE OPEN
Napoli and AC Milan’s unbeaten start to the season after 12 matches set the early pace in Serie A, with the pair even threatening to pull clear as others struggled to keep up with the relentless form of the top two.
However, recent results have closed the gap substantially at the top of the standings, with just four points separating Milan at the top and Atalanta in fourth, with the latter once again unsettling their more established rivals.
Napoli blew Lazio away with a blistering display of attacking football the previous weekend and led 2-1 against Atalanta on Sunday in Naples, only for the free-scoring visitors to turn things around to win 3-2 and upset the apple cart.
“I want to thank the players for allowing me to make my ideas come to life,” Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said after the win.
“As for the Scudetto, I know people talk like this, but the reality is we have never been top of the table. Never. So the day we get there, then I will say we can challenge for the Scudetto.”
ALLEGRI MILESTONE AS JUVE CREEP BACK INTO CONTENTION
A title challenge may still be a long way off for fifth-placed Juventus, but two 2-0 wins in a week have helped them at least keep in touch with the top four.
Sunday’s comfortable 2-0 success over Genoa was a special night for coach Massimiliano Allegri too, as he has now won 250 Serie A games as a manager – exactly 150 for Juventus.
He is only the second boss after Carlo Ancelotti to have reached this milestone in the era of three points for a win.
It was not a vintage Juve display, but an element of calm in a chaotic season of plenty of low points is just what Allegri needed.
“The top four are doing very well and currently deserve their positions,” Allegri told DAZN. “We have our objectives, in Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia, so we’ll get there step by step, one game at a time.”
TWO GOALS DIRECT FROM CORNERS IN ONE WEEKEND
In a Serie A weekend full of thrills and spills, one of the more surprising events that took place was that a quarter of all the goals in the Italian top flight scored directly from corners in the last decade took place in one round of matches.
Juve's Juan Cuadrado became the eighth player to score a Serie A goal directly from the corner since the start of 2010 on Sunday, one day after Inter Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu had done the same thing in his side’s 3-0 win at AS Roma.
The Turkey international even suggested that he meant to score through the goalkeeper’s legs while Colombian Cuadrado gave a perhaps more honest assessment in that he got lucky.