September 26, 2020 Taimoor Khan AC Milan, Atalanta, Benevento, Bologna, Cagliari, Crotone, Fiorentina, Genoa, Hellas Verona, Inter Milan, Italian Football, Italy, Juventus, Lazio, Napoli, Parma, Rifinitura, Roma, Sampdoria, Sassuolo, Serie A, Serie A 2019-2020, Serie A 2020-2021, Spezia, Torino, Udinese Leave a comment
Serie A heads into its second match day and, as always, The Cult of Calcio intends to bring all the good stuff your way so that you can mark your calendars, clear your schedule, let your loved ones know that “it’s not you, it’s just something you can’t understand” and simply disconnect from the outside world.
So, what if we cannot go to the stands and shout and cheer and scream and use all sorts of obscenities every time a player skips a beat or does something that he shouldn’t be doing?
While we watch all the games from a safe distance and maintain our decorum – or at least try to make sure that our foul-mouthed rants don’t cause a commotion – the league would never disappoint.
Following a pretty good opening day where the likes of Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina got off the mark in style, we could be in for quite a treat, thanks to the games we have on our hands this weekend:
Torino – Atalanta
After flying high and becoming the neutrals favorites last season, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men are back in action. They face Torino on Saturday afternoon and would definitely be eager to continue from where they left off. Torino finished 16th last season and lost 1-0 to Fiorentina on the opening day.
Atalanta love scoring goals while Torino are slowly becoming relegation contenders so there aren’t really any prizes for guessing the outcome of this particular encounter. But hey, stranger things have happened!
Sampdoria – Benevento
After a customary 3-0 defeat at the hands of Juventus (no shame in that), Claudio Ranieri would be hoping that his charges have a total recall and start scoring goals on a more regular basis. They finished 15th in the league last season and perhaps the game against newly promoted Benevento could be the catalyst for them.
Flippo Inzaghi guided them to Serie A and the former Milan striker would be eager to further establish his reputation as a young and upcoming manager in Italy. This game could go down the wire and don’t act surprised if the newcomers end up securing an unlikely win.
Filippo Inzaghi will get another shot at the Serie A after leading Benevento to their second promotion to the top-flight in their history
Cagliari – Lazio
Lazio finished fourth in the league last season and are set to play in the Champions League after five years. They face Cagliari who managed a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo in their first game of the season. While they aren’t expected to be punching above their weight, it would be nice to see how Giovanni Simeone develops this season after scoring 12 goals in the Serie A in the previous campaign.
Lazio on the other hand, simply need to win this game and be more consistent this season. Consistency has been a problem for the capital club, which is why they have never been able to mount a sustained Scudetto challenge.
Inter – Fiorentina
The Nerazzurri are set to host Fiorentina in their first game of the new season at the San Siro and Antonio Conte would expect nothing less than three points against La Viola. Inter haven’t won the league since 2010 and this season could be a defining campaign for Conte who, in all honesty, has been given a lot of backing by the club’s owners.
Achraf Hakimi is expected to make his official debut for Inter on Saturday night against Fiorentina
Spezia – Sassuolo
Newly promoted Spezia are set to play Sassuolo in what could be a rude welcome to them to top flight Italian football. Sassuolo aren’t really the most in form sides in Italy but they have enough experience and talent to humble the Ligurians.
Sassuolo finished eight last season and Roberto De Zerbi would be hoping to see his side at least push themselves for a Europa League position at least.
Verona – Udinese
After being awarded three points for, well…not fielding an ineligible player in the game against Roma, Hellas Verona would be looking to “earn” a win over Udinese. The game promises to be a rather dull affair given that the last two meetings between these two sides have been goalless draws.
If you are into betting, bet for a sparring session and a very quiet afternoon.
Napoli – Genoa
Following a 2-0 win over Parma, Napoli are in for a real test when they host Genoa who were impressive in their 4-1 win over Crotone. Genoa survived relegation last season and would be eager to stay away from a dogfight by registering good results early on in the campaign.
Under Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli have done very well. However, there is still a lot of work to be done regardless of what our colleague Diego has to say about the sheer greatness of a team that last won the Scudetto when this writer’s sole aim in life was to cry and kick up a fuss until his demands were met…
Crotone – Milan
A couple of years ago, Crotone would have relished the prospect of meeting a Milan side in disarray. Today, the newly promoted potential whipping boys are facing a resurgent Milan. COVID has been taken over by Zlatan Ibrahimovic so it will fall on the likes of Hakan Calhanoglu and the rest to deliver the goods.
Crotone conceded four goals on the opening day so their goalkeeper should be ready for a long 90 minute trial by fire.
Whatever happened to Hakan Calhanoglu during the lockdown, we want to know! The Turk has been looking like a completely transformed player since the post-COVID restart!
Bologna – Parma
What you need to know about these two teams is that they are on an indifferent run of form and have lost two of their last five games. This particular encounter could go any way and might even be a boring one given the sheer lack of firepower up front. So yeah you can definitely use this game as background noise for whatever it is you would be doing.
Roma – Juventus
Paulo Fonseca would definitely be looking at the squad for the crunch game against Juventus this time around after his team was docked points for a rather comical mishap. We’ve already discussed this in great detail and if you haven’t read our Michel Sakr’s take on it…..you’re missing out!
The Giallorossi aren’t a bad team but they aren’t in great form either. Thankfully though, we might no longer be seeing Henrikh Mkhitaryan play as a false nine if Roma manage to complete the signing of Borja Mayoral. The Spanish striker is fairly clinical in front of goal but would that be enough?