AC Milan teenager Francesco Camarda becomes Serie A’s youngest-ever debutant, Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio tactics flop again… and Napoli show some fight under Walter Mazzarri! 10 THINGS WE LEARNED IN SERIE A

  • Serie A brought plenty of goals as it returned following the international break
  • Inter Milan remain at the top of Serie A following their 1-1 draw with Juventus
  • Why it’s NEVER OK to cheer in the press box (even if England win the World Cup!) – Listen here to It’s All Kicking Off

Serie A football returned after the international break with a bucketload of goals as Inter Milan retained their place at the top of Serie A.

Inter’s 1-1 draw against Juventus keeps them two points clear of Massimiliano Allegri’s side, who are marginally behind in second place.

It was a weekend of celebration for Napoli as they finally got back to winning ways with returning coachWalter Mazzarri managing to revive the aggression of the reigning Italian champions.

It was also a welcome return to form for AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan who produced a crucial stoppage time save to deny Fiorentina at the San Siro.

Mail Sport’s Alvise Cagnazzo delves deeper into all the latest Italian top-flight action with 10 things we learned in Serie A. 

Inter Milan remain two points clear at the top of Serie A after a 1-1 draw against Juventus

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Mike Maignan saves AC Milan with cheeky stop

The AC Milan goalkeeper produced a stunning save against Fiorentina to secure an important victory for the Italian giants. Maignan made a crucial intervention, saving with his cheek, having closed his eyes and instinctively launched himself to his left to deny Rolando Mandragora’s close-range shot. 

Maignan rejoiced as if he had scored a goal after making the incredible stop, with Milan holding on to celebrate an important victory. One of Fiorentina’s best chances came from a serious mistake by the French goalkeeper but Nico Gonzalez’s left-footed shot failed to wrongfoot the shot-stopper. 

For a few months Maignan has been uncertain in his performances, as evidenced by the groans of the fans at ‘Meazza’ stadium. The French No.1 has often created confusion when he opts to block the ball with his fists, but between the posts he remains without a shadow of a doubt the best goalkeeper in Serie A. 

In the last 20 minutes, Milan lowered themselves to defend the result and Maignan had the right opportunity to make himself noticed with a save that delighted the entire Rossoneri bench and ensured victory.

Maignan’s performance was very good but can still be improved. In the coming years he can become one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, thanks to the targeted training carried out by AC Milan’s Welsh goalkeeping coach, Tony Roberts.

Mike Maignan made a key save in stoppage time to earn victory for AC Milan against Fiorentina

Sarriball is a flop 

Six defeats in 13 games, five defeats in seven away games, Lazio is in an identity crisis and the main culprit is Maurizio Sarri. The Tuscan coach doesn’t seem to have understood his team’s difficulties and they appear unable to understand the requests of the Tuscan coach. 

This Lazio is heartless, without aggression and is unable to respond to setbacks. The team feels defenceless and is showing no sign of turning around their terrible start in Serie A. The team did not react after goalkeeper Ivan Provedel’s error, which allowed Salernitana’s Antonio Candreva to score his side’s second goal.

Sarri’s tactical solutions proved insufficient as Lazio suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Serie A’s bottom side.

The 100th away goal scored by Ciro Immobile, the 198th of his career, is a milestone achieved by only three players in the five major European leagues (124 for Lionel Messi in La Liga, 116 for Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga and the 112 managed by Harry Kane in the Premier League) did not save Lazio.

Sarri has hinted he could step down as manager following the latest defeat. 

Lazio is in a crisis and their head coach Maurizio Sarri looks unable to solve the situation

Napoli show fight under Walter Mazzarri 

Walter Mazzarri managed to revive the aggression and determination of a Napoli team in his first appearance back in the dugout for the reigning Italian champions in a decade.

At 62-years-old, Mazzarri won the duel with Giampiero Gasperini, one of the best coaches in Serie A, regenerating a team that seemed devoid of energy during Rudi Garcia’s short time in charge. 

Mazzarri made decisive substitutions as Napoli claimed three points after Ademola Lookman’s equaliser during Atalanta’s best moment. 

Mazzarri simply reinvigorated the players’ pride and the enthusiasm of a locker room that had been damaged by Rudi Garcia’s decision-making. 

The victory against Atalanta is not the result of the coach’s tactical skills but of the team’s ability to forget what they learned in five months with Garcia. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Eljif Elmas goals revived fans enthusiasm and the victory in Bergamo against Atalanta can open a new positive phase.

Mazzarri managed matters on the pitch as best he could, without upsetting the starting eleven and Garcia’s tactical scheme. Napoli controlled the match with 57% possession until putting the game to bed, neutralised Charles De Ketelaere and weakening Atalanta.

Walter Mazzarri managed to revive the aggression and determination of Napoli in his first appearance in the dugout for the reigning Italian champions in a decade

Dusan Vlahovic needs help from Juventus wingers

Dusan Vlahovic is a top player who just needs assistance from full-backs and wingers. This hasn’t happened at Juventus recently and the striker has struggled as a result. 

When he manages to get crosses and support from midfielders, the Serbian striker becomes unstoppable, as demonstrated by his excellent goal against Inter. His goalscoring form has decreased after moving from Fiorentina to Juventus, but the problem seems to be solely and exclusively tactical. 

Massimiliano Allegri’s 3-5-2 seems to strangle his talent but the presence of Federico Chiesa seems to have reawakened him. Throughout the match Vlahovic fought alone against all three Inter defenders, losing a lot of energy. 

But against Inter he finally demonstrated his desire to regain a starting place in attack and experienced his return to scoring with his fifth goal of the season.

Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic is a top player who needs service from full-backs and wingers

Dybala needs more physicality to be one of Serie A’s best 

If Paulo Dybala had a better physique, he would most likely not be a Roma player today but would live out his 30 years at a top club, playing in the Champions League with the number 10 on his back. 

Unfortunately, his career has suffered over the last four years due to injury problems and this physical decline has severely damaged his image as a top player.  

Roma’s medical staff has tried to design a specific training regime for him every week, treating Dybala differently than all his teammates. Against Udinese he provided the assist for Gianluca Mancini’s goal and then wrapped up victory with a magical left-footed finish. 

Together with Edoardo Bove he is the soul of the team, he is the symbolic man, he excites the fans almost like Francesco Totti did and has launched Roma to fifth place in Serie A. 

To date, Dybala has played nine out of 14 games, not all for 90 minutes, scoring three goals and providing four assists: a statistical average lower than his performance standards at Juventus but still encouraging for the rest of Roma’s season.

Paulo Dybala’s career has suffered in the last four years due to a series of injury problems

Francesco Acerbi fills the void left by Skriniar’s absence

At 35 years old and after many seasons spent in Lazio, Francesco Acerbi has rediscovered a second youth at Inter. 

Simone Inzaghi strongly wanted him at the centre of Inter’s defence and after the departure of Milan Skriniar, the Italian defender has become Inter’s indispensable talisman. 

The 180 minutes spent with the national team do not seem to have affected his performance, demonstrating his excellent physical condition. 

Against Juventus he demonstrated confidence and tactical intelligence as Inter put up a wall in front of Dusan Vlahovic, without ever getting trapped in the overlaps of Massimiliano Allegri’s midfielders.

Acerbi is probably the least considered defender in the Italian championship due to his age, but is certainly among the best performing players and his role as a silent leader has erased the ghost of Skriniar.

Francesco Acerbi (right) is impressing at Inter Milan in the latter stages of his career

Atalanta’s goalkeeper conundrum needs sorting

Marco Carnesecchi was one of Atalanta’s worst performers in their defeat against Napoli. 

A save from Piotr Zielinski seemed to give confidence to the 23-year-old goalkeeper, who is in his second season as a starter in Serie A. But shortly afterwards the Atalanta number one missed a clearance which paved the way for Eljif Elmas’ goal. 

Carnesecchi made a serious mistake in the defeat, which has seen Atalanta lie four points off the Champions League places.

Atalanta coach Giampiero Gasperini continues to prefer former Cremonese goalkeeper to the Argentine Juan Musso, but his choice currently looks wrong. 

Musso guaranteed notable stability last season but Carnesecchi was always considered a starter after a short testing period at the beginning of year. 

Carnesecchi is six years younger and appears destined to one day be considered for the Italian national team, but at the moment he is the main cause of insecurity of Atalanta’s defence. 

The goals scored by Napoli were avoidable but the mistakes made by the Italian goalkeeper sound a serious alarm bell for the future. 

Goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi made a crucial mistake in Atalanta’s defeat against Napoli

Matias Soule is in the perfect place to develop 

Matias Soule is a pleasant revelation in the Italian championship, he uses his left-foot with the same precision with which a painter uses his left-hand to paint, and demonstrates how Juventus were right to sign him. 

The Argentine has found a perfect place to learn in Frosinone, as he begins his first season as a starting player in Europe. The on-loan attacker has a superb left foot that controls the ball and tames it with elegance. 

His sixth goal in Serie A, more than his former Juventus team-mate Moise Kean, highlights his technical quality. However, the attacker still has many flaws that will need to be improved during this season: he runs little and was quiet for long periods of the match. But when he turns it on in middle of the pitch Frosinone improves its overall performance. 

When Soule increases the pace behind the attackers the whole team seems more courageous. It is not difficult to imagine him returning to Juventus next season.

Matias Soule has been a revelation and is in the perfect place for his development at Frosinone

Francesco Camarda makes Serie A history 

AC Milan’s Francesco Camarda set a historic record for Italian football by becoming the youngest Serie A debutant aged 15 years and 259 days. 

After being introduced as a substitute by Stefano Pioli, Camarda surpassed the record of Bologna’s prodigy Wisdom Ameyx, who set played for the first time in the Italian top flight at 15 years, nine months and one day in May 2021. 

Camarda also surpassed the legendary Paolo Maldini, who went on to make more than 500 appearances for the club. Maldini had starred on his Serie A debut in the Rossoneri shirt in January 1985 when he face Perugia at 16 years and six months of age. 

The forward’s arrival into the match was underlined by the applause of all the fans present at the ‘Meazza’ stadium but his contribution was minimal. AC Milan defended the result, obtaining three vital league points. 

Camarda probably would have dreamed of a better debut but the most important thing was the victory. He will have many other opportunities to leave his mark but Saturday was a memorable day for him and his family.

AC Milan’s Francesco Camarda became Serie A’s youngest debutant aged 15 years and 259 days

Antonio Candreva deserves national team chance

At 36, Antonio Candreva is still one of the best wingers in Serie A. Salernitana’s extraordinary victory against Lazio was the result of a goal by the former Inter star. 

Candreva deserves the same consideration given to another veteran Giacomo Bonaventura, who was recently called up to the Italian national team by Luciano Spalletti. 

The Salernitana captain deserves the same treatment and could soon be considered as a useful option in the squad who will participate in the next European Championship. 

He seems to be a footballing Benjamin Button, appearing to get younger with each passing year. Candreva is a reborn player, a hero for the fans of the ‘Arechi’ stadium, a true captain who earned Salernitana their first victory after 13 games. The result has rekindled their hopes of a surviving in Serie A this season. 

Candreva is experiencing one of the best moments of his career and in Salerno he found a late resurgence.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

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