The 2018-19 season of the Serie A kicked-off with just 8 matches last weekend with 2 matches postponed after the Genoa bridge collapse. None of the games ended goalless as we saw debuts for new players and coaches, notably Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlo Ancelotti. Here are our observations after that eventful start to the season.
* Chievo 2 – 3 Juventus
Khedira 3 (J), Stepinski 38 (C), Giaccherini pen 55 (C), Bani og 76 (J), Bernardeschi 93 (J)
It is now obvious that it may take a longer time for the Bianconeri to gel after the many changes to the side. With Ronaldo up front, Dybala behind and Douglas Costa and Cuadrado on the flanks in a 4-2-3-1, they struggled. However, the introduction of Bernadeschi and Mandzukic brought balance and the goals needed to win from behind. Allegri is a master at tweaking formations mid-game and in the course of a season, it is expected that he will find the right balance for the team as he’s always done.
* Sassuolo 1 – 0 Inter
Berardi pen 27
…. and Inter Milan still can’t defeat Sassuolo. After very smart transfer market activities, it was expected that the Nerazzurri would overtake Napoli as the main threat to Juventus this season; but the bogey Sassuolo caused the major upset of the weekend, thanks to a penalty from Inter fan Domenico Berardi that shot down Luciano Spalletti’s men once again. The Neroverdi have now triumphed in five of their last seven meetings and it remains to be seen if Inter would still be a title contender after the reinforcements.
* Lazio 1 – 2 Napoli
Immobile 25 (L), Milik 45 (N), Insigne 59 (N)
The second game of the season saw Carlo Ancelotti return to Serie A after nine years, with a victory for the Partenopei against Lazio. A section of the league followers expect Napoli to struggle in replicating last season’s 91 points finish, even dropping off the top four due to their near-absence in the market. They fought back from a goal down, with goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne ensuring they took all three points from a tough opening fixture. It wasn’t a sublime performance, but it doesn’t look like a collapse is looming. Napoli are now unbeaten against the Biancocelesti since a 4-2 defeat in May 2015, winning six and drawing one.
* Torino 0 – 1 Roma
Dzeko 89 (R)
Roma once again relied on Edin Dzeko for goals and he provided. Sunday’s clash with Torino could have gone either way as both teams squandered chances, but one of Eusebio Di Francesco’s summer attacking options paid off as substitute Justin Kluivert provided the assist on his debut. If he and the other new recruits come as advertised, they may reduce the burden off Roma’s number 9 who obviously is still the main man.