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Will Sunday’s Serie A Schedule be Respite for Italian Gloom?
Aaron Rogan
Aaron Rogan
September 14, 2018
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Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.

There’s little happiness around Italian football right now. While the new Serie A season washed away the negativity of missing the World Cup, there’s still a lot that’s getting people down. Quite a lot of that will come in to focus on a crucial Sunday of action in the Italian top flight.

There are reasons to criticise all of the top Italian sides so far, and four of them feature across the six matches on Sunday. Here we are looking across the Sunday games, and seeing if this weekend’s entertainment can lift the gloom which surrounded this international break. Frustrations with Roberto Mancini’s Italy have seemingly bled in to criticism across the big six, and we’ll be looking at those major criticisms along with the highlights from Sunday’s Serie A fixtures.

Also See: Saturday Tests for Ancelotti and Inter

Patchy Roma Searching for Consistency

Most sides who make a surprise run to the last four of the Champions League would tend to be enthusiastic. Roma should be feeling cheerful, with a young squad on the way following their run to the semis of Europe’s biggest competition last season. However, things aren’t looking all that positive this term. The club are even playing down their chances of getting out of their Champions League group this time around.

Roma’s rebuild has sacrificed some of their experience this season, which showed as they lost late on at AC Milan before the international break. However, the Giallorossi’s push for consistency is far from the worst issue. Their clash with Chievo this weekend can put things in perspective for them.

Chievo have just been docked three points for inflating transfer fees in order to balance the books and stay in Serie A. Had they not cheated like that, things would have been much worse for them. However, even with that they’ve been left on -2 points after a poor start and that penalty. After years of defying their resources to stay up, this could be the year Chievo drop down.

Read More: Roma vs Chievo Predictions

The Weight of and Wait For Ronaldo’s First Goal

There’s little for Juventus to worry about, as they stand on the verge of making history. Beat Sassuolo this weekend, and they’ll have won their first four games in back to back seasons. However, they’re not entirely happy. Record signing Cristiano Ronaldo remains without a goal, and that’s something which will be dragging down this side until he eventually scores for the first time.

A couple of games was all it took to set many off, and with the Champions League around the corner the clamour is going to get even worse. It may be a great problem to have, but Juve need goals from their Ballon d’Or winning forward. As we’ve already mentioned, this is part tactical issue. However, it took Ronaldo months to open his account for Real Madrid last season, and he wound up having a solid year for them.

The misery in Italy doesn’t extend to everyone, especially the scout who spotted Genoa’s new signing Krzysztof Piatek. The £3.8million buy has put Ronaldo in the shade with seven goals in his first three games with his new side. The striker takes that form in a meeting with Bologna on Sunday, where his fantastic start is expected to continue.

Read More: Juventus vs Sassuolo Predictions

Unconvincing Lazio Head for Empoli Test

Lazio’s Serie A season opened with losses to Napoli and Juventus, following that loss to Inter Milan at the tail end of last term. Their losing streak may have ended with a 1-0 win over Frosinone, but that narrow victory hasn’t left everyone satisfied. They look worse off this season, after missing out on Champions League football in back to back campaigns.

This weekend takes Lazio to Empoli, who are newly promoted to Serie A. The hosts’ attacking style should make this an interesting game, but can the Aquile claim a win? Simone Inzaghi’s side seem to be paying the price for a quiet transfer window. They need to step up their level of performance when they visit the newcomers, or Inzaghi’s successful reign at the Stadio Olimpico may come under question.

Read More: Empoli vs Lazio Predictions

Misfiring Higuain Off to Sardinia

AC Milan may have silenced critics with a 2-1 win over Roma, but now focus is turning to the lack of goals from Gonzalo Higuain. The new signing was expected to hit the ground running for the Rossoneri, but – like Ronaldo – he’s being judged harshly at this early point of the season. Will it be third time lucky for the Argentine as he goes chasing his first Milan goal?

That is something the Rossoneri are waiting on, especially with the season up and running following their last win. Gennaro Gattuso and his side have been left in no uncertain terms about what their aim is this term. Milan President Paolo Scaroni told the press this week that he sees Champions League football as more important than winning the league. While both can be achieved together, it’s clear that the main aim for Milan is cash over silverware.

This weekend’s trip to Cagliari is the kind of game Milan need to be winning in order to keep up their top four push. A goal from a certain Argentine who is hoovering up a chunk of Milan’s cash wouldn’t go amiss either.

Read More: Cagliari vs AC Milan Predictions

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