Paulo Dybala shines for Roma…10 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM SERIE A

Luciano Spalletti continues to break managerial records, Paulo Dybala shines as Jose Mourinho’s Roma stay unbeaten in 2023 and Sampdoria sink to a new low – 10 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM SERIE A

  • Paulo Dybala continued his hot streak as Roma continue to stay unbeaten in ’23 
  • Napoli disposed of rivals Salernitana, who continue to suffer from dysfunction 
  • Juve were torn apart by Atalanta’s ex-Premier League flop, Ademola Lookman

After a colossal week in Italian football, the back pages turned their focus toward the pitch at the weekend. 

With the Milanese giants in action on Monday night, the weekend was an opportunity for others to put themselves in the limelight. League leaders Napoli continued to steam ahead, while Jose Mourinho’s Roma continue to put the pressure on Inter and AC Milan.  

As ever, there was plenty of other encapsulating moments in another crazy weekend in the Italian top flight. Sportsmail’s ALVISE CAGNAZZO has once again pulled out the biggest talking points from another intriguing round of Serie A fixtures.

After an historically bad week, Juventus fans stood unified behind their club on Sunday night

Giovanni Di Lorenzo is most definitely the best Italian defender in the league. A goal for Napoli against Salernitana only heightened his status as Gli Azzuri continue to fly high at the top of the table. 

While largely imperious at the back, Di Lorenzo has also added three assists and the weekend’s goal in 19 appearances. 

A true leader from the defence, Di Lorenzo embodies the spirit of Napoli and will die for the cause of the Serie A leaders.  

Napoli defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo opened the scoring in Napoli’s 2-0 win over Salernitana 

Magnificent Mirancuk  

Aleksei Mirancuk showed what he is capable of for Torino in their 1-0 win at Fiorentina, their first-ever at the Artemio Franchi Stadium.

Mirancuk did what he pleased up against Vincenzo Italiano’s men, opening up the Viola defence as if they were a can of tuna. 

After failing to consistently play at Atalanta, the loan move to Torino has paid dividends for both club and player. 

The next question will be whether Torino president, Urbano Cairo, will take up the option to buy. Judging from Saturday’s performance, the answer seems rather obvious.  

The magnificent Aleksei Mirancuk showed why Torino took out a loan deal with a buy option

Spalletti creates history 

Luciano Spalletti’s phenomenal season continues, reaching his 276th Serie A victory across his career – the most of any manager since the three-points-for-a-win system was introduced. 

It hasn’t all been as easy as this current season. A tumultuous separation from Inter seemed likely to bring an end to his career at the top. Though, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis gave Spalletti the chance to take the reigns in the hopes of pushing for its first Scudetto since 1989-90. 

Now, after San Gennaro, Spalletti is the most revered man in Vesuvio city and that looks likely to continue with Napoli now 12 points clear, with a game in hand over Milan. 

Luciano Spalletti is leading Napoli towards its first Serie A title since the 1989-90 campaign

Lookout for Lookman 

How Everton could do with this version of Ademola Lookman. So too, Leicester. 

The £13.2million summer signing has been a revelation for Atalanta and terrorized the Juventus defence, scoring a brace in a 3-3 draw with the Biaconeri. It is now Lookman’s third double of the season – all in successive games, no less. 

He has become the key to Atalanta rediscovering their potency and has scored 13 goals and accrued four assists in 19 games across all competitions. 

Atalanta are charging toward a Champions League spot and boast the second-most potent attack in Italy. In large part, they have Lookman to thank. 

Ademola Lookman has scored six goals in his last three appearances for high-flying Atalanta

Paulo Dybala is back to his best 

The Roma attacker has been utterly sensational for Jose Mourinho’s side this season. 

He has truly established himself as the centerpiece of the capital club with 11 goals in 13 Serie A appearances. Juventus must have regrets for letting go of their star man too easily, with Mourinho and Co. now benefitting. 

Tammy Abraham profited at the weekend after an assist for the second goal against La Spezia. So did Stephan El Shaarawy, who scored on the break thanks to the little Argentine. 

Juventus’ 15-point deduction means Roma are fourth, on 37 points, and are in touching distance of second. With Dybala they are every chance of soon eclipsing their Milan rivals. 

Roma continued their unbeaten start to 2023 thanks in large part to the superb Paulo Dybala

Sampdoria continue to sink 

Sampdoria are the first club in the history of the 20-team Serie A to not have scored at least 10 goals by the halfway point of a season. 

With nine points and just eight goals scored, with an astonishing 32 conceded through 19 games, it’s a wonder how Samp will survive. Bluecerchiati lack the quality players to get themselves out of their current predicament. 

Young boss Dejan Stankovic isn’t the main issue. Rather, their defence which has more holes than a colander, is. On-loan Spurs midfielder Harry Winks is yet to make any tangible impact as he fights his way back to full fitness. 

After just one shot on goal against Udinese, the fall from grace could not be more evident for Sampdoria, a giant of the past. 

Sampdoria players, including Fabio Quagliarella (L), applauded the away support on Sunday

Salernitana continue to spiral 

There have been performances worse than Salernitana’s account in Naples, but it is the off-field turmoil which should worry supporters of I Granata. 

Manager Davide Nicola’s recent sacking and rehiring is a microcosm for a broad dysfunction engulfing the club. 

Currently, Salernitana are not at risk of relegation but if internal issues continue to rear their head, things could change. Despite the recent addition of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, the rearguard continues to concede goals with worrying ease. 

Nicola’s tactical work will be critical in the coming weeks and results are imminently needed if they want to avoid slipping into a relegation battle.  

Salernitana boss Davide Nicola lost his first game after being rehired by the club last week

Danilo leads from the front

Juventus have had problems at the back, of that there is no doubt. A five-goal Napoli defeat, followed by three more by Atalanta on Sunday have left the Turin club vulnerable. 

Though, Danilo stood tall on with an extraordinary free-kick to bring Juventus level at 3-3, sparing their blushes.

Defensively, he suffered against the electricity of Atalanta’s Lookman – and won’t be the last this season. Danilo’s strength is acting as the conduit between Juve’s defence and attack.

Without a doubt he was the best at the back for a Juventus rearguard which is in desperate need of a change from Massimiliano Allegri.  

Danilo scored a fantastic free-kick as Juventus came back to claim a point in a 3-3 home draw

Fiorentina continue to flop

Luka Jovic’s arrival on loan from Real Madrid was meant to give La Viola the firepower it once had from another Serbian striker. 

This was also meant to be the season where Italiano established himself as the best Italian manager in Serie A. 

Neither have occurred. It is safe to say the Florence club have failed to live up to expectations. Defeat against Torino highlighted their inability to replace the sensational Dusan Vlahovic. 

Incomings are needed, in the form of a second-choice goalkeeper, as well as an all-action midfielder. Sitting 10th, 11 points off European qualification, it feels like little more can be achieved positionally by Viola. 

Luka Jovic was meant to fill the shoes of fellow Serb, Dusan Vlahovic, but it hasn’t panned out

Mario Rui – from booed to beloved 

Once derided for his performances, with boos reigning down during Rino Gattuso’s time in charge, Mario Rui is now central to the defensive fortitude of the league leaders. 

The diminutive full back is now an indispensable part of Spalletti’s stellar squad and showed why in the derby. 

Focused at the back and aggressive going forward, Napoli had the Portuguese to thank for the first goal, who is now utterly central to attacks down Gli Azzuri’s left. 

Mario Rui has become an indispensable force in Napoli’s stout rearguard this Serie A season




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