Serie A talking points

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Alasdair Mackenzie
·2 min read
Serie A - Hellas Verona v Juventus
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By Alasdair Mackenzie

ROME (Reuters) - Talking points from the weekend's Serie A matches

JUVE'S WORST SEASON IN NINE YEARS

Juventus slipped 10 points off the title pace as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Hellas Verona before leaders Inter thumped Genoa 3-0.

Andrea Pirlo’s side have a game in hand over their rivals, but the champions' stranglehold of the Serie A title is under serious threat as they endure their worst league season in nine years.

Juve have picked up 46 points, their lowest total after 23 rounds since 2011-12.

However, the Turin club did win the title that year, their first in a run of nine consecutive Scudetti, and winger Federico Chiesa was adamant that 10 in a row remains the target.

“We are missing important players, but we are Juve and that’s no excuse, end of story,” he told DAZN.

“We need to think about Tuesday’s game (against bottom side Crotone) and win it, because we still believe in the Scudetto”.

FONSECA FUMBLES ANOTHER BIG GAME

AS Roma missed the chance to cut the gap to second-placed AC Milan to two points as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico, extending a dismal run for the capital club in big games.

In Serie A matches against fellow top-seven sides – Juventus, Milan, Inter, Lazio, Atalanta and Napoli – Roma have picked up three points from a possible 24, drawing three and losing five.

But these problems are nothing new under coach Paulo Fonseca, who has led the club to three wins in 20 matches in these fixtures since taking charge ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

"We need to get as many points as possible to qualify for the Champions League and that will be difficult if we don’t win these games," the Portuguese said after defeat left his side in fifth place.

"The team must react like they did in the second half, they need to believe. We must improve against these types of team; if we commit errors, they will punish us. This is what’s missing."

SEMPLICI SPARKS HOPES OF CAGLIARI REVIVAL

Three months and 16 matches later, Cagliari finally recorded a Serie A win on Leonardo Semplici’s debut as coach.

The former SPAL manager took the reins at the Sardinian club last week after Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked for failing to take the club out of the relegation zone.

Beating bottom side Crotone was crucial to Cagliari’s survival hopes, and a 2-0 win left them two points behind Torino in 17th, although Toro have a game in hand.

"The situation in the league table isn’t the best but I have faith that we’re on the right path," Semplici told Sky Italia.

"We know we haven’t done anything yet, but it was important to start on the right foot."

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)