Serie A Round 17 Recap: Napoli return to top of table
It was another exciting week in Serie A as Napoli returned to the top spot and Juventus overtook Inter. The top four are still separated by only four points, with Roma in fourth place and with a game in hand. Here is a recap of Round 17.
Inter began the weekend by playing host to Udinese. The nerazzurri gave Napoli, Juventus and Roma hope as they lost 3-1, their first loss of the season. It was by no means an easy fixture for Luciano Spalletti's boys, as Udinese have been playing well since Massimo Oddo took over, however, still a surprising result. It was Inter's third straight poor performance as they didn't play well last week to Juventus, were brought to penalties by Serie C side Pordenone in the Coppa Italia and now lost 3-1 at home to Udinese. In past seasons, this would be the beginning of a poor run for Inter, let's see if they can stop the slide and stay at the top of the table.
The next important result was Napoli's 3-1 away victory to Torino. The Neapolitan club took advantage of Inter's slip-up and took over first place. It was a much needed, convincing performance from Napoli, as they lost to Juventus and tied Fiorentina in their previous two fixtures. Marek Hamsik was also able to score a goal and tie Maradona's goal record for the club. This could be very important as Hamsik hasn't been at his best this season and it could be due to the pressure he was feeling from the goal record.
Inter, Napoli and Juventus have been the popular title favorites this season, but Roma have been lurking in the background. The giallorossi beat Cagliari 1-0 over the weekend in Rome. It was not convincing by any means, but like many other matches, Roma got the result they needed. They currently sit in fourth place, four points behind leaders Napoli and have a game in hand. The result sets them up nicely as they will play Juventus in the next round, and could tie the bianconeri on points with a win.
Moving onto Sunday, it was yet another disappointing day for Milan as they lost 3-0 away to relegation battlers Hellas Verona. The most confusing part about this result is that Milan beat Verona 3-0 in the Coppa Italia just a few days prior. Milan failed to take advantage of slip ups by Inter, Lazio and Sampdoria and close the gap with those clubs. With 17 matches in the books, it looks like this will be another bad season for Milan fans.
Juventus beat Bologna 3-0 away, which allowed them to surpass Inter and move to second place in the standings. Over the past weeks, the bianconeri have regained their defensive form and proved that they are still the favorites for the title. Paolo Dybala started from the bench again for Max Allegri. After beating Napoli and tying Inter, they will now face Roma and this victory against Bologna sets them up nicely for that match.
Other results from round 17:
Crotone 1-0 Chievo
Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa
Sampdoria 0-1 Sassuolo
Benevento 1-2 SPAL
Atalanta 3-3 Lazio