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Rome wasn’t built in a day
Roma’s victory over Milan showcased a team of continuity and one very much struggling to gel seven games in.
Edin Dzeko and Alessandro Florenzi condemned Montella’s side to a 0-2 defeat, which turns up the heat on a boss who will know results, above all, are needed very quickly now.
There has possibly been too much focus on Bonucci, who was there to shore up the defence but has ended up having the side manoeuvred around him. The midfield was packed against Roma but there was a lack of width and in important areas Milan just weren’t fluid enough.
So far they’ve been relatively solid if unspectacular, but this defeat goes to show the concerns about how the overhaul in personnel may delay early success.
Roma don’t necessarily play an expansive game or even get numbers forward, but they fed the ball into Dzeko at the right times and dealt brilliantly by squeezing Milan’s numbers into the centre of midfield.
Montella’s Milan couldn’t get players moving quickly between Roma’s midfield and defensive lines, reducing the likes of Kessie and Calhanoglu to a couple of less than convincing efforts.
Roma aren’t so much a work in progress as a completed article, but when on song they’re good at what they do and a clean sheet after a fairly poor first half against the quality that Milan boast illustrates why they’ll be in the chasing pack this year in the Serie A.
Against lesser sides they may struggle on their over-reliance on Dzeko and will have to gather goals from elsewhere, simply by gambling on more bodies making runs from deep, which they may be able to afford against the league’s struggling outfits.
Juve slip at Atlanta
Atlanta’s fighting spirit came up trumps as they came from 0-2 behind to draw at home to Juventus. In a game that looked like being wrapped up after 25 minutes, the hosts staged a comeback through Mattia Caldara and Bryan Cristante.
It was a rare slip by Gigi Buffon, whose delayed decision in coming for the ball meant he could only direct the ball into the path of Caldara, ironically on loan from Juve, who calmly tucked his effort away for the home side.
Ilicic’s introduction further sparked Atlanta into life as they pressed an increasingly startled Juve, peppering their box with cross field balls and cutting in determinedly from wider areas. Eventually statistics worked in their favour and the pressure told, with Cristante heading home from a sumptuous Gomez cross, majestically woven from the outside of his boot.
For Juve it was a case of failing to manage a two goal advantage.
Bernadeschi’s pursuit of so-called ‘lost causes’ was commendable as there was an early hunger to build a lead at a difficult place to visit, and he was rewarded when the attacker latched onto some bad handling by Berisha to make it 0-1. There was an abundance of attacking talent on display, with Higuain quickly firing the away side to a two goal cushion.
There seemed to be no lack of cohesion but there was in evidence a naivety when Atlanta pulled it back to 1-2. The Old Lady struggled to extinguish the fire, and didn’t seem to know how to cope with the introduction of Ilicic, having been very much focused on reducing service into Cornelius when two goals to the good.
An 82nd minute penalty for Juventus was thwarted by Berisha, giving a cathartic feel to a breathless Serie A game. On review Dybala’s free kick was struck against what was, to all intensive purposes, the shoulder of Petagna.
Other Notable ‘Surprises’
Verona earned a very decent point away at a high-flying Torino side nestled in sixth place in the Serie A, with the game finishing level at 2-2.
It may just be a platform to build on, and a much needed confidence boost for a team who have looked as though they’ll be scrapping near the bottom come the end of the campaign. This might just be the boost the promoted club were looking for.
Udinese were going to have to purge themselves of their poor start sooner or later, and they happened to do just that against a previously unbeaten Sampdoria, thrashing the visitors 4-0. It further goes to support the age old cliché of football as being a strange game.
Sampdoria found out the hard way, and will look to move on swiftly while Udinese harness any outstanding momentum in the topsy-turvy world of the Serie A.
Written by Ross Wilson
Follow Ross on Twitter @ro55iWilson18
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