10 THINGS WE LEARNED from Serie A this weekend

ALVISE CAGNAZZO: The Lautaro-Lukaku connection is still alive for Inter Milan, Napoli are loving the Georgian age and did Man United make a mistake not going for Marko Arnautovic? 10 THINGS WE LEARNED from Serie A this weekend

  • The second weekend of the Serie A season saw good wins for Inter and Napoli
  • Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku proved their understanding is still there
  • Martinez is likely to enjoy a better season than his Argentine colleague Dybala
  • Georgian signings Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored twice as Napoli beat Monza
  • There could be repercussions with Monza owner Silvio Berlusconi unimpressed 
  • Man United target Marko Arnautovic should ensure Bologna achieve safety 

The second weekend of the Serie A season saw both Napoli and Inter Milan continue their 100 per cent starts with emphatic wins at home.

But defending champions AC Milan dropped their first points in a draw at Atalanta, while it already looks a little concerning for newly-promoted Lecce and Monza.

In the second installment of our weekly review, Sportsmail’s ALVISE CAGNAZZO takes you through 10 things we learned. 


Khvicha Kvaratskhelia would never have dreamed of scoring three goals in two matches in his Serie A debut.

Yet 180 minutes were enough to understand that the No 77, who in the Neapolitan ‘Smorfia’ so much loved in Napoli it means ‘women’s legs’, it is at least as good as Lorenzo Insigne’s number 24.

The Georgian football star can become the greatest player in the history of his country by overcoming Kakha Kaladze of Milan. He runs, dribbles and scores in acrobatics, with his right foot and left foot.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored twice for Napoli against Monza to continue his great start

The Georgian boy is a complete talent that is difficult to counter for his lightness and for his great quality in attacking the full-backs from behind.

His participation in Luciano Spalletti’s plans is amazing for a boy who at 21 had never had an experience in Europe and in the greatness of Serie A football.

One curious aside about Kvaratskhelia is that in the first two Serie A matches he always had calf cramps due to great accumulated stress.

Spalletti immediately after the match expressed a flattering opinion on Krava: ‘He is still under pressure when he plays for Napoli, he has yet to melt and will improve again. I am very happy with his goals’.

The Georgian is already attracting many admirers in Naples and elsewhere in Italian football


Luciano Spalletti is probably the least loved coach in the media due to his rude character and his very Italian personality.

The farmer-coach who owns a majestic farmhouse in Tuscany where he raises hens, donkeys and ducks seems very focused on the possibility of winning the Scudetto with Napoli.

It would be a miracle and in Naples miracles are always frequent as the blood of Saint Januarius teaches. Spalletti is a guru who takes the field with a Tibetan necklace around his neck and with an ink pen that he holds between his lips like a famous Tuscan cigar.

Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti with his marker pen between his lips earlier this season

He is the perfect coach for Neapolitan folklore and until now he has been guided by magnificent players.

It will be difficult to imagine Napoli in front of Milan, Inter or Juventus but it is necessary to be very superstitious to rule out a sensational surprise in the year of the World Cup in Qatar which will suspend football in the world for 52 days.

If his fiery character is softened by a great Serie A start, Napoli can become the loose cannon in a season that promises to be full of surprises.


The four goals conceded by Monza transformed the Brianza club’s first away match in Serie A into a profound humiliation, ruining the afternoon of octogenarian President Silvio Berlusconi.

Coach Giovanni Stroppa is considered one of the culprits for the disaster due to some technical choices deemed not up to par for a big match.

Despite official denials from the club, the next two Serie A matches will be essential to the manager’s future.

Monza coach Giovanni Stroppa is already at risk of the sack following the Napoli humiliation

Napoli are too strong for many Serie A teams, but Monza deeply disappointed the expectations of the fans and the media for their total inability to resist the onslaught of Victor Osimhen and Krava.

Berlusconi and CEO Adriano Galliani were very angry because the team suffered for 90 minutes, putting in a performance that was deemed a technical and tactical embarrassment.

It was like seeing a team of adults playing against a group of elementary school children in the city during recess: an unacceptable attitude for Berlusconi who will open his wallet to further financial investments.

Napoli’s South Korean defender Min-jae Kim heads home the fourth goal against Monza

Up to now, Stefano Sensi, Andrea Petagna, Matteo Pessina and Marlon have deeply disappointed despite the many millions of Euros spent on their purchase and their salary from Galliani.

Despite the large amount of money already placed on the market, their bad start in Serie A will push Berlusconi to new and significant purchases.


Domenico Berardi is one of the few role models of Italian football. Within a few days the Sassuolo captain renewed until 2027 and in the 39th minute of the big match against Lecce he scored a stratospheric goal.

He is the technical and charismatic leader of a team that sold Gianluca Scamacca and Giacoma Raspadori for a total of €70million [£59.2m] and today his way of loving Sassuolo is an example for the young players entering the Serie A stage.

Domenico Berardi (second right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Lecce

Berardi is 30 years old and in his career he has been very close to leaving for Juventus, Inter, Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina but in the end he has always remained the King of ‘Mapei Stadium’ and has never left the team considered dark horses in Serie A.

It is difficult to think of Berardi still in the Italian national team but a great year spent in Sassuolo could keep the Calabrian midfielder on Mancini’s radar.

Today he is the spiritual and technical leader of the team who continues to sell the best players on the market for a lot of money.


Exactly 500 days after the last time, the Nerazzurri fans were able to cheer for a goal made by the ‘Lu-La’ partnership.

Lautaro Martinez has scored his first goal of the season for Inter but potentially together with Lukaku could collect around 20-25 goals.

Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring in Inter Milan’s 3-0 win over Spezia this weekend

In the long-distance duel with Roma’s Paulo Dybala, Martinez proved to be the true No 10 of Inter, probably the strongest in Serie A and Marotta’s choice not to invest in Dybala seems to be justified by the great match of the Argentine ‘Bull’ who will be certainly be a protagonist at the World Cup in Qatar.

Against Spezia, Martinez growled at every ball, proved to be lethal with his powerful and deadly shots and above all he showed that he had not lost his connection with Lukaku.

The feeling is that Martinez is superior to Dybala in the national team and also in Serie A. 

Despite being younger Lautaro shows greater cunning in the delicate moments of each match and the choice not to invest in Dybala is the demonstration of how the Inter consider their No 10 clearly superior to the former Juventus star.

Importantly for Inter, the old connection between Lautaro and Romelu Lukaku is still alive


Erstwhile Manchester United target Marko Arnautovic celebrates scoring against Verona over the weekend

Marko Arnautovic has always been considered an ugly duckling but in Italy, after his unsuccessful experience at Inter many years ago, he seems to have become a splendid white swan.

He is not a top player but he is not a mediocre player either. He scores a lot and his experience in China does not seem to have affected his infinite talent in the penalty area.

Arnautovic is a player who divides opinion but who is continuing to score with great regularity in Serie A and perhaps the purchase of him by Manchester United could have improved the offensive power of Ten Hag’s team.

The Austrian player is always on the market and his great personality is helping Bologna to overcome a moment of initial difficulty.

Arnautovic is not young but his contribution to Serie A is remarkable after reaching 14 goals last year.

If Arnautovic stays in Bologna in the last 10 days of the transfer window, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s club will have few problems reaching the Serie A safety mark sooner rather than later.


It was seven days in which Ruslan Malinovskyi was the burden and the saviour for Atalanta, one who hopes to return to being the true revelation of Italian football despite the controversy that has hit the club of President Antonio Percassi in recent weeks.

Malinovskyi proved to be a top player and deserves more consideration from Atalanta and Gian Piero Gasperini. 

At the press conference, the coach-dictator confirmed the disagreements with the player and the willingness to let the Ukrainian talent go: ‘Atalanta needs players who do not score only six goals in that position’.

Ruslan Malinovskyi celebrates after scoring for Atalanta against AC Milan – there has been friction between the player and manager Gian Piero Gasperini

It took 27 minutes to demonstrate how the eventual sale of Malinovskyi would be detrimental to the club which is losing its best players every year.

The quarrel between Malinovskyi and Gasperini arose at the end of the friendly match with Newcastle on July 29.

The Ukrainian player is fond of the city of Bergamo, as his wife recently confirmed on his social media, and having bought a house in the city for 48 months he would prefer to stay in Bergamo.

After the sensational argument that led to the traumatic separation from Papu Gomez, who entered on a collision course with Gasperini, the risk is that Atalanta will be forced to leave the second most important player of the team for non-technical reasons.


In Napoli, land of saints, esotericism and superstition, they will soon have to review opinions of president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Kim Min-jae and Kvaratskhelia proved to be exceptional players and have made many forget Kalidou Koulibaly and Lorenzo Insigne.

The Asian defender is a very rough and fast and he will have to try to improve but in the match against Monza, Petagna always ended up on his knees in front of the former Fenerbahce star.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis with Lorenzo Insigne, who was allowed to leave the club

The Tbilisi-born winger is Laurentiis’ biggest bet and has had an even greater impact to date than any other player to make it to Serie A this year.

The goal scored with a ‘tir a gir’, as scored by Lorenzo Insigne, made the Maradona Stadium explode with joy, demonstrating the great entrepreneurial intelligence of De Laurentiis.

Napoli fans continually blame the President for letting the club’s iconic players such as Insigne, Koulibaly and, above all, Dries Mertens leave too easily, who became a Galatasaray player without ever cutting the umbilical cord with Naples the city.

This revolutionary strategy demonstrates how De Laurentiis does not know the word ‘sentiment’ in football but still manages to build a team that is stronger every year.


Mihajlovic is an extraordinary man who has won the battle against leukemia twice. Today he has a tired face, an unkempt beard and a hat that covers his head and his sad thoughts.

The strength with which he leads Bologna is a beautiful thing for the world of football and Serie A should be honoured by the strength and ardour of the coach.

Bologna coach Mihajlovic has bravely fought against leukemia and is back in the dug-out

As he stated, his goal is to be able to save Bologna and reach 90kg as soon as possible, his ideal weight before the serious illness.

The match against Verona is not an excellent step but shows how despite his physical problems Mihajlovic is always 100 per cent focused on his work.

Bologna’s road will be long and painful but with a symbolic man like Mihajlovic the club will be able to rely on a great fighter, an experienced man capable of motivating his players.

The two red cards collected by Bologna in the first two matches of Serie A shows how the team has absorbed the grit and determination of their coach who, however, risks losing many points over the course of the championship.


Is this the end? Duvan Zapata is no longer the panther of Atalanta’s attack and has scored just one goal for Gasperini’s side in the last 14 games.

It is very difficult to understand the tactical and technical reasons that are slowly destroying the myth of the Colombian striker who had literally devoured all Serie A defences in the past years.

The former star of Sampdoria and Napoli has lost his appetite and although Gasperini’s football is always the same, he never manages to be really decisive for Atalanta’s results.

Duvan Zapata’s powers for Atalanta seem to have waned and the goals are drying up

Mike Maignan made a great save from a shot of his but it’s too little to consider the 30-year-old South American striker a top Serie A player.

The many muscle injuries have weakened his strength and despite Gasperini’s confidence, he seems to be experiencing a phase of depression that is difficult to overcome.

Share this article

Source: Read Full Article