Monday, October 18, 2021

Serie A Power Rankings: Napoli consolidate top spot and Juventus finally pocket their first win

Another round of Serie A fixtures has thrown up further intrigue with Napoli registering five wins from five at the summit as AC and Inter Milan remain in hot pursuit. Roma are upwardly mobile again while Atalanta also rise and Juventus finally got off the mark and move away from the lower reaches of the rankings for the first time this season.

Our rankings after the fifth round of games.

The Partenopei are a team on a mission at present with a 100% record and a mean joint-best defense with just two conceded and the second-best attack with 14 scored after back-to-back 4-0 away wins at Udinese and Sampdoria. Cagliari and Fiorentina will be further tests for Spalletti’s men but Victor Osimhen’s five goals from three matches across all competitions is major cause for optimism.

A second half show of power in Florence saw Simone Inzaghi’s men come away with the points after Fiorentina enjoyed the better of the opening half and eventually finished with 10 men. Inter continue to keep the pace with the leaders and are one of three unbeaten teams and are by far the most prolific with 18 goals scored.

While it was not on the same level as Napoli’s impressive recent outings, the Rossoneri’s 2-0 win over Venezia was the continuation of a solid start to the season which has seen them take the points expected of them with minimum fuss and an extremely efficient defense which is joint-best with Napoli on two against.

A 1-0 win over Udinese saw Jose Mourinho’s men bounce back from their 3-2 loss to Verona and Tammy Abraham was once again on target for the Giallorossi as they remain sharper in front of goal than the likes of Milan but leakier at the back. Bitter rivals Lazio are next up in the derby before Empoli to lead into the international break.

After their 2-1 win over Sassuolo, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men are decidedly an oddity. After years of being wildly prolific, they are suddenly grinding out results and creeping towards the upper reaches of the table after a slow start. Just six goals scored and four conceded makes them the lowest scoring team in the top half with Udinese but also one of the tightest defenses behind Napoli and Milan. Perhaps a safer approach has been identified as the key which could turn La Dea into genuine title contenders over the course of the campaign.

Despite a 3-1 home defeat to Inter, Vincenzo Italiano’s men remain in a good position, and they are a fruitful a work in progress. Viola’s turnaround has been swift, but the signs are that it could be a lasting change if they can continue to build on this strong start with some extremely talented elements such as the prolific Dusan Vlahovic.

A narrow 1-0 loss to Roma followed a 4-0 thumping by Napoli and while that is heavy damage over two games, Luca Gotti’s men remain in a decent position around midtable with a balanced goal differential of just minus one despite those five goals against. Fiorentina and Sampdoria next could see some points put back on the board.

Ciro Immobile was most certainly the hero with a late penalty to save a point for Maurizio Sarri’s men who remain slow starters. Three league matches without a win and four across all competitions when you consider the UEFA Europa League. The derby with Roma represents the perfect opportunity to turn that around with a motivated performance.

Denied a win by Lazio’s late equalizer, Torino remain within reach of the European places after turning their poor start to the season around.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men followed up their 6-1 trouncing at the hands of Inter with a disappointing 2-2 draw with Genoa who are now under American ownership. Eight goals shipped in two matches and just three goals scored has undone some of the good early work this term but points against Empoli and/or Lazio could quickly change that.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men are finally up and running after leaving it late to beat lowly Spezia. Although it was far from convincing, it finally ignites Juve’s season and the Bianconeri will be looking to take maximum points against Sampdoria and then Torino in the derby to make their way towards the summit.

A 2-0 win over Cagliari gives Empoli a much-needed boost after some demoralizing results at home. As both victories have come on the road so far, it could be that Aurelio Andreazzoli’s men become a force to be reckoned with away from home.

Edged out 2-1 by Atalanta, Sassuolo are now four without a win having lost three on the bounce and not having won since opening day. Salernitana next is something of a must-win.

Roberto D’Aversa’s men continue to be unpredictable and a 4-0 loss to Napoli immediately undoes the corner turned in the 3-0 win over Empoli.

Igor Tudor’s new boss buzz is still there but Salernitana were determined to stop the rot and held on for a 2-2 draw. The Croat will be happy with an unbeaten start and further points could come against Genoa and Spezia.

Under new ownership, the 2-2 draw with Bologna was a decent result and Verona as well as Salernitana are by no means unwinnable between now and the international break.

Unlucky to be undone so late against Juve, Thiago Motta continues to fight an uphill battle despite the recent win over Venezia.

A 2-0 defeat to Milan was logical but an inability to take at least a point in games is already beginning to form and that could prove costly in the long run. Points against relegation rivals Cagliari before the internationals is an absolute must.

A 2-0 loss to Empoli will have laid bare the extent of the task ahead of Walter Mazzarri in Sardinia with unstoppable Napoli next up before a crunch clash with Venezia.

A point finally on the board against Verona but the numbers make grim reading with the worst defense with 14 conceded and second-worst attack with just three scored. Sassuolo or Genoa needs to be a three-point haul to alleviate some of the pressure.
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