10 THINGS WE LEARNED from Serie A over the weekend

Tammy Abraham breaks his Olimpico duck, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia joins elite company and Lautaro Martinez proves the heart and soul of Inter Milan again… 10 THINGS WE LEARNED from Serie A over the weekend

  • Lautaro Martinez’s goal handed Inter a crucial 1-0 victory over rivals AC Milan
  • Napoli maintained their 13-point lead at the top of Serie A by seeing off Spezia 
  • Roma, Bologna, Lecce, Torino and Sassuolo also claimed wins at the weekend

The full round of fixtures is yet to draw to a close with more games in store on Monday and Tuesday, but Italy’s Serie A still conjured up plenty of talking points over the weekend.

Inter Milan got the better of arch-rivals AC Milan on Sunday night, with Lautaro Martinez turning home the only goal of the game at the San Siro, while Napoli maintained their 13-point lead at the top with a three-goal win at Spezia. 

Sportsmail‘s ALVISE CAGNAZZO has dissected the weekend’s action and taking a closer look at 10 things we learned from the Italian top flight.

Inter Milan got the better of rivals AC Milan in another fascinating weekend of Serie A football


Lecce revelation Federico Baschirotto continues to impress after helping Marco Baroni’s side claim a big victory at Cremonese on Saturday. 

A tally of 21 appearances and three goals in his first Serie A campaign is a solid tally for a defender with a wrestlers physique and just enough technique, which is perhaps more fitting for Serie B. 

Baschirotto is probably the most important player in a defence made up of contrasting backgrounds and experience. Samuel Umtiti was once a world champion with France and a key player for Barcelona, while Baschirotto’s career until floated between Serie B and Serie C up until a few years ago. 

In 2018, the 6ft centre-back was on Vigor Carpaneto’s books in Italy’s fourth division. His professional career so far matches that of a farmer. In Nogara, the Verona province, he helps his father Graziano and mother Giuliana in the family fields whenever he has free time. Along with his brothers Baschirotto works in the morning to feed the cattle and pigs and grow wheat, corn, soybeans, rice and tomatoes.

Federico Baschirotto (L) continues to impress after helping Lecce claim victory at Cremonese


Tammy Abraham headed home Roma’s second goal to crush Empoli and move them into the Champions League places at a time when problems behind the scenes, the booing of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo’s exclusion continue to dominate headlines.

As well as sealing a 2-0 win for the hosts, Abraham finally found the back of the net at the Stadio Olimpico after an agonising 321 days, with his last goal at home coming all the way back on March 20 of last year against rivals Lazio. 

The striker’s acrobatic goal banished the ghosts of the past year and propelled him back to the forefront of Jose Mourinho’s Roma project – for both the present and the future. 

Empoli’s Guglielmo Vicario is an excellent goalkeeper but at his best Tammy is a cynical surgeon in front of goal, and this header brought back some excitement around his name after months of discouragement and fear. In the second half Vicario denied him twice, pulling out one save with the sole of his shoe, yet Abraham is finally alive again and can almost be considered a new signing for Giallorossi. 

Tammy Abraham headed home Roma’s second goal in their 2-0 win at home to Empoli

In doing so the English striker ended his 321-day wait for a goal at the Stadio Olimpico

Even when he doesn’t score, Paulo Dybala remains decisive and on Saturday he provided assists for both Abraham and Roger Ibanez.

In the space of six minutes Mourinho’s devastating attack brought Empoli to its knees, earning them a vital set of three points to prove they share the same ruthless mentality as their Portuguese coach.


With 14 league goals under his belt, the Scudetto virtually in the bag and a promising future as a top player in his sights; Victor Osimhen is currently experiencing the most beautiful and exciting moment of his career. 

The Nigerian striker’s 15th Serie A goal of the season put Napoli out of sight against Spezia on Sunday, before his 16th sealed a 0-3 victory late on thanks to a generous assist from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Luciano Spalletti earned his star forward a standing ovation in the small stadium of Lo Spezia when he replaced him with eight minutes to go, which left him visibly emotional. 

Victor Osimhen continued his remarkable goalscoring run in Napoli’s win away at Spezia

Today Osimhen is Serie A top scorer with 16 goals in 17 appearances and he could soon exceed the 20-goal mark. Spalletti has a custom-built race car in his hands and knows how to drive it very well, offering the best possible inspiration to his number nine, who continues to score with extraordinary regularity. 

His second-half duel with Spezia defender Mattia Caldara almost resembled a wrestler submitting his opponent inside the ring, with Osimhen humiliating the former Juventus and AC Milan star on the day.

The 24-year-old’s brace saw him become only the fourth player in Napoli history to score 16 goals in 21 games. Gli Azzurri’s return this season has been exceptional: 56 points, 51 goals scored and just 15 conceded. These are the numbers of a team well on its way to a long-awaited Scudetto.

The Nigerian striker humiliated Spezia defender Mattia Caldara (right) in the second half

Largely thanks to his goal output, Napoli are well on course to sealing a long-awaited Scudetto


Lautaro Martinez’s seventh goal in the Madonnina derby, which earned Inter a hard-fought 1-0 win over Milan, was the perfect symbol of a player who is fast becoming an Inter icon. 

The Argentina World Cup winner is an exceptional player, gifted with great physical strength and great charisma. Milan Skriniar’s departure will deprive the team of a leader, but Martinez has the potential to become increasingly important in the dressing room. 

After helping his country triumph in Qatar, Lautaro returned in the best physical shape and has hit the ground running at the start of 2023. Simone Inzaghi clung to him to help Inter overcome a difficult moment and also gained his trust by handing him the captain’s armband.

Marcelo Brozovic and Samir Handanovic’s absence has resulted in Martinez becoming the key man in this team, both in the media and on the pitch, thanks to this upgrade of responsibility. At 25, Inter’s number 10 has reached the level of maturity required to become the leader of a team that is often difficult to organise on the pitch. 

Today he operates as a nine-and-a-half, as a forward who scores 15 or 20 goals per year with the technique of a real number 10.

Lautaro Martinez is proving Inter’s heart and soul after winning them the Madonnina derby


Ciprian Tatarusanu is by no means a top player and has been subjected to 90 days of criticism and controversy following a series of high-profile mistakes, but his excellent performance in the derby certainly boosted his reputation amongst AC Milan supporters. 

The Romanian goalkeeper was on hand with two exceptional saves in the first and second half to prevent Inter from extending their lead on Sunday. The fiercest criticism directed at Tatarusanu in recent months is that he has simply been lucky, but his psychological strength was clear for all to see in a very difficult derby.

He can’t work miracles, he doesn’t have the age or even the personality to replace Mike Maignan as No 1, and perhaps the team’s collective run of bad form explains the criticism he has taken. Milan have slipped to sixth in Serie A after failing to win in their last five games, but the blame cannot be placed solely on an experienced goalkeeper, especially given the slow and disorganised defence protecting him made his life very difficult. 

These will most likely be Tatarusanu’s final months as Milan’s backup goalkeeper and he will be hoping to stay on as third choice should youngster Devis Vasquez be promoted as expected. At 37 and having also played in France, Tatarusanu would be open to renewing for another 12 months before ending his career with more regular football for a lower Serie A club.

Ciprian Tatarusanu fired back at his critics with an outstanding performance against Inter


Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s statistics continue to embarrass the big names in Italian football and elsewhere in Europe. 

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia joined an elite club by opening the scoring for Napoli at Spezia

The Georgian star has now registered 10 goals and 12 assists in Serie A this season after opening the scoring in Sunday’s win at Spezia, making him one of only five players in the continent to reach the 10-goal and 10-assist mark alongside Lionel Messi, Neymar, Randal Kolo Muani and Serge Gnabry. 

Against Spezia, Kvara produced the type of masterpiece an artist would be proud of: teeing up Osimhen for Napoli’s third goal on the day and also playing a part in the Nigerian’s second. Luciano Spalletti has promoted him to first-choice penalty taker and he made no mistake with a powerful effort from 12 yards that was unstoppable for Polish goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski. 

At the beginning of the season many thought Kvara could become a reserve for the likes of Hirving Lozano or Matteo Politano, but as the weeks went by he slowly emerged as an irreplaceable for Spalletti, meaning he is now valued at over €100m (£89m) by the club. He could well be the most inspired signing a Serie A club has made since Paul Pogba arrived at Juventus from Manchester United almost 10 years ago. 

In June 2023 it is very likely Kvara will be worth more than the nine-figure fee United spent to buy Pogba for a second time. His impact in Serie A was immediate and it helped shift the balance of power in Italy by moving Napoli ahead of Juventus, Inter and Milan.

The Georgian star converted his 10th goal of the season from the penalty spot on Sunday

Along with the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar, he is one of five players to register over 10 goals and 10 assists this season


Stefan Posch is enjoying a great run of form with Bologna. The Austrian defender is on loan from Hoffenheim and could be bought outright by Thiago Motta’s side at the end of this Serie A season. 

Posch’s winning goal against Fiorentina on Sunday, his fourth in the league this term, demonstrates his great impact on Italian football so far and also raises the antennas of a number of top clubs who could see him as a solution to their defensive problems this summer.

Skriniar is set to leave Inter and Posch could be an ideal low-cost replacement for the Slovakian, who has signed an agreement with PSG. Bologna managed to sign him thanks to the intermediation of his compatriot Marko Arnautovic, with whom he once could have partnered upfront. Posh was born as a central forward but over the years has moved further back on the pitch while retaining admiration for his childhood idols Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o. 

While he doesn’t have Thiago Silva’s elegance or even the physical strength of Fikayo Tomori, Posch is certainly a player of great tactical intelligence who seems to have found his best form in Serie A.

Stefan Posch continued his great run of form for Bologna by scoring their winner at Fiorentina


Ivan Juric is the proving the most influential manager in Serie A so far this season. The former Crotone and Verona coach, a pupil of Gian Piero Gasperini, is one of the most important coaches in the Italian league today and many foreign clubs are closely monitoring his work. 

Juric’s strong charisma has resulted in him exaggerating for the cameras and speak against Torino sporting director Davide Vagnati on TV, but he is undoubtedly the most important man in the whole team. 

The decision to promote Vanja Milinkovic-Savic as starting goalkeeper is just one of the most important moves of a coach who has always received 100 per cent from every player he has coached in his career. President Urbano Cairo should try to build a team worthy of his ambitions as soon as possible, in order to who tempt him away from leaving at the end of the year. 

The experience at the helm of Torino is certainly inspiring, but it also shows alarming cracks that are difficult to heal without the promise of significant business in the transfer market. Juric has European ambitions and to achieve them he needs a president willing to improve the team with at least one or two top players.

Torino should do everything in their power to ensure Ivan Juric remains with them this summer


Sassuolo have now won two consecutive matches against teams in the top four for the first time in Serie A after edging a 1-0 victory over Atalanta. The Alessio Dionisi cure is working for them and in 2023 Domenico Berardi’s team should finally have greater consistency, which will significantly improve their standing in Serie A.

After beating AC Milan 5-2 at the San Siro, Dionisi’s men destroyed Atalanta’s European ambitions and showed they have well and truly overcome the trauma of last summer’s transfer window. Losing Gianluca Scamacca and Giacomo Raspadori would be difficult for any team, in particular for a smaller club who in the first part of the season suffered numerous problems in attack. 

But today Sassuolo is a brilliant and ferocious pressing outfit that in Armand Laurentie has found a winger capable of erasing the winning history in Jeremie Boga’s club. His winner on Saturday allowed the Emilia Romagna team to move further clear of the dreaded drop zone, meaning they are looking optimistically towards the third and final chapter of this season.

The Alessio Dionisi cure is continuing to work wonders for a ferocious Sassuolo outfit


Short circuit Atalanta. Gian Piero Gasperini had warned the team and supporters by highlighting the importance of Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata. The coach born in Grugliasco had foreseen the decline of his team and Saturday’s unexpected defeat against Sassuolo has reopened the race for Champions League qualification while casting doubt over Atalanta’s chances of winning it. 

46 per cent ball possession, seven measly shots, only two kept out by Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli and two red cards. This is more than a statistical report, it looks like a war diary. 

Atalanta have missed a few games but when their approach to a big match fails, they often go through difficult moments. Teun Koopmeiners’s team arrived in this match after being eliminated in the Italian Cup quarter-finals by Inter and did not seem to have shaken off the disappointment of that result. However, Atalanta’s struggles away from home went on. 

In the last five games they have drawn twice and lost as many having previously won five consecutive games. Against Sassuolo’s defence, their attack also confirmed several problems by failing to score an away goal for the first time this season. 

The dip in form of Gasperini’s most trusted players is evident, meaning he should now provide greater opportunities and confidence to young players seeking first-team minutes.

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