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3 knee-jerk conclusions from Serie A this weekend

December 6th 2021, 4:31:32 pm

Which reactionary takes could be drawn from gameweek 16 in Calcio?

Jose Mourinho has presided over a slump in form at Roma

Round 16 in Serie A is yet to conclude, but the eight games that were played over the weekend were beyond thrilling.

There were several goal-laden encounters, impressive individual and team performances and a swathe of amazing goals.

Every game has witnessed a goal, with five of the eight fixtures played on Saturday and Sunday seeing both sides get on the score-sheet.

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Three encounters witnessed varying comebacks — Sassuolo earning a 2-2 draw at Spezia having trailed 2-0, Atalanta sealing a 3-2 success at Napoli having been 2-1 down, and Hellas Verona roaring back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Venezia 4-3 — while supporters at the Stadio Olimpico and the Allianz Stadium witnessed direct goals from corner kicks—with Hakan Calhanoglu and Juan Cuadrado scoring for Inter Milan and Juventus respectively.

The round has 180 minutes to go, but below are three spontaneous takes, nonetheless.

Remember when Mourinho had not lost a home game in Serie A? Well, the experienced Portuguese manager has now been beaten twice in his last three games.

AC Milan ended the ex-Chelsea trainer’s 43-game unbeaten home run in the Italian top flight in October and his old side Inter Milan inflicted a resounding 3-0 defeat on the Giallorossi on Saturday.

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Admittedly, Roma were hamstrung by key absences, but the comprehensive manner of the defeat must have rankled.

While Mourinho’s long-standing unbeaten home run was remarkable in the 2000s till the early 2010s, the two-time Champions League winner appears to have lost the aura of invincibility that typified his prime in recent years.

Napoli and AC Milan were the early-season high-flyers, with the pair remaining unbeaten for the opening 12 rounds in 2021/22.

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However, the incredible runs of Inter and Atalanta mean first and fourth are now separated by four points.

Simone Inzaghi’s side have overcome previous criticism to go on an eight-game unbeaten run (winning the last four) while the Bergamaschi have picked up five successive wins, extending their run without defeats to nine.

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Victories over Luciano Spalletti’s injury-hit side have helped, with Atalanta’s 3-2 win on Saturday inflicting the Partenopei’s second defeat in four games.

Given Milan have not been pulling up trees of late, the quartet may well head into the New Year with little separating them in the Scudetto race.

Another brace for the Hellas Verona frontman in the rip-roaring 4-3 turnaround at Venezia takes his tally to 11 goals, two behind joint-leaders Dusan Vlahovic and Ciro Immobile.

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Having netted only six times in the entirety of last season, the 26-year-old’s tally after 15 appearances is incredible.

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The Cagliari loanee is Europe’s deadliest finisher, racking up his tally from an expected goals (xG) total of 4.3, demonstrated by his second on Sunday—a low-percentage effort from 20 yards.

His overperformance suggests the ongoing run is unsustainable, but for as long as the Verona forward keeps this going, he will back himself to claim the top scorer’s award.

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Seye Omidiora is a passionate football writer and pundit whose deep appreciation for the beautiful game exceeds the usual. He is currently a columnist for Goal Africa and has previously written for Vital Football UK, IBCity Info and Opera News.

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