Gennaro Gattuso’s tenure as Milan manager looks set to come to an end after his side went a fourth game without a goal in another uninspiring performance. Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to save the game for the Bianconeri as his late equaliser made sure Juventus continued their unbeaten start in the league. Roma won their second straight game to ease some more pressure off the shoulders of manager Eusebio Di Francesco. Fiorentina couldn’t follow up on their win over Milan on the weekend in an extremely infuriating defeat to Parma. While the match of the round saw Inter steal a massive three points over Napoli late at the San Siro.
Gattuso faces the sack after another insipid performance
Four games, three draws, one defeat, one Europa League exit intertwined, zero goals.
Milan’s last three weeks have been absolute hell and the pressure on manager, Gennaro Gattuso is the highest it has been since he took over a year ago. A Milan legend for his on-field exploits but his managerial abilities have been questioned with those questions being justified in the past few games as the Rossoneri have now fallen out of the top-five. His side came into a game against Frosinone who have the worst defence in Serie A and were expected to not just win but to revitalise their season. However, what came was a game where they very well could have been defeated had it not been for VAR and the uncharacteristically wastefulness from their ‘star recruit’, Gonzalo Higuain who looks completely devoid of confidence.
In all of these four games, and really, throughout the entire time Gattuso has been manager – Milan have never played exciting and free flowing football in the attacking third as they continue to play with a slow build-up that eventuates to nothing.
Even with the cutting of some slack through injuries to key creative outlets, the excuses in still not winning nor scoring in these games are few and far between because the quality is still there and the opposition haven’t been world-beaters.
Two of those sides are in the bottom three and one hadn’t won on the road all season. I believe that in the next few days we will see the end of Gattuso before Milan face SPAL as the likes of Antonio Conte, Arsene Wenger and Zinedine Zidane are on the market and ready to pounce on.
Ronaldo saves Juventus’ blushes on the road
It looked to be customary for Juventus when they went ahead in the opening two minutes but a resurgent Atalanta made sure it would be a nervous day for the Bianconeri.
Duván Zapata continued his impressive season thus far with two goals to give the Nerazzurri lead just after half-time. Wedged in between his brace was a red card for in-form midfielder, Rodrigo Bentancur which gave the home side the advantage and their Columbian striker was able to capitalize, making it eight goals in five league games. However, unfortunately for Atalanta they had to face a rare Cristiano Ronaldo substitution who came on and was able to peg home an unlikely equaliser and keep Juventus’ unbeaten start alive.
An impressive display nonetheless from Gian Piero Gasperini’s men but a game where they very well could have been the slayers of the undisputed champions. Max Allegri’s peculiar decision to rotate some key members may have come back to bite him but having the ace up his sleeve in Ronaldo coming off the bench was a move which inspired his side to record what was an important late equaliser.
Lautaro Martinez – the hero as Inter record massive victory
Both sides went into this game knowing there was an opportunity to close out the gap and Inter were able to capitalize in the final seconds.
A showing of great defensive fortitude from both teams saw a frustrating evening for the strikers for most of the night who couldn’t break down the impenetrable walls of either team. Napoli in particular would be counting their lucky stars that their star centre-back, Kalidou Koulibaly has re-signed with the club because he made some important interventions including a goal-saving tackle. However, he was given his marching orders late with a very controversial red-card which was given for a second bookable offence for sarcastically clapping the referee after he gave away a foul. It set up a grand-stand finish at the San Siro as Inter pushed for a winner in the final ten minutes of proceedings which included an incredible goal-saving clearance from Kwadwo Asamoah off a Piotr Zielinski strike in the final moments. However, it was substitute Martinez who got in the right place to slam home a winner to the delirium of Inter fans throughout the stadium
The win closes Inter within five points of Napoli and was a massive step in the right direction for the Nerazzurri and a major dent in Napoli’s hopes of ending Juventus’ reign on top of Serie A.
Roma show signs of improvement with another much-needed win
Another win for the Giallorossi has guided their under-pressure manager, Eusebio Di Francesco towards a little more comfort.
An impressive first-half saw Roma face scares from Domenico Berardi but were able to take control and cap it off with a lovely Patrick Schick strike to open up a two-goal advantage heading into half-time. The second-half was more of the same as youngster, Nicolo Zaniolo scored his first Roma goal in the league and gave his side a third just after the break to breath some much needed life into a side which has struggled in the opening half of the season. Roma were finally able to take some control in the midfield and were able to dispatch a very pecky opponent who made life difficult for them in the opening forty-five.
The even better news was that they welcomed back Edin Dzeko from injury via the bench along with Javier Pastore who will add undoubted quality in this side as they head into the winter break.
Viola fall to Parma on a frustrating day in Florence
34 shots to six in Florence, one red card and no goals for the home side as Fiorentina were defeated by a pecky Parma outfit.
Prior to the red-card to Vitor Hugo, La Viola were in firm control and could have very well been ahead but were caught-out thanks to a counter attack leading to a Roberto Inglese opener just on half-time. Federico Chiesa and Marko Pjaca both had brilliant opportunities to get their side right back in the game but failed to do just that, as they were frustrated by a Parma side who desperately needed a win to get back in some form.
For Fiorentina it is a disappointing result after they defeated Milan only days prior, and showed signs of regression in a game where they were significantly wasteful even with ten men, where they enjoyed large spells of domination on the ball.