When Serie A restarted, we got rather excited about the prospect of a real title race.
Lazio and Inter were both snapping at Juventus’s heels, and with doubts still persisting about the job Maurizio Sarri is doing in Turin, it looked very much on.
But then came the games this midweek. Lazio threw away a two-goal lead against the ever-entertaining Atalanta, while Inter could only draw 3-3 with Sassuolo.
That means Juve can take a seven-point lead (having played a game more) if they beat Lecce on Friday night.
“We got quite a spectacle in Bergamo,” said James Horncastle on the Totally Football Show this week, “with Atalanta doing Atalanta things, not only going one goal down, but two goals down, looking down and out but they’re never out.
“Obviously this has ramifications for the title race because Lazio were just one point behind Juventus going into this matchday: Juve won in Bologna on Monday night, so the gap is now four points.”
There is hope that it won’t be such a procession again, though.
“I don’t think it’s over yet: Lazio played very well in the first-half, and don’t forget this was their first game back after the restart, whereas Atalanta had already played at the weekend and were maybe slightly fitter. Lazio were without Lucas Leiva and their captain Senad Lulic, and they lost three players to injury quite quickly in this game.
“Lazio have still got to go to Turin to play Juventus, so they could close that gap back down to one point.”
James also described Inter v Sassuolo as the “most irrational game in Serie A history”, going on the past record between the two sides which has seen wins for Sassuolo and 7-0 wins for Inter in recent times.
“Everything goes out the window when these two sides play, and that was true in this game. Inter played really well against Sampdoria at the weekend, but Sassuolo got in front, Inter didn’t really deserve to not only equalise then go into the break with the lead, but then all hell broke loose in the second half, with some disastrous defending from Ashley Young who gave away a penalty, Roberto Gagliardini put in his own candidacy for miss of the season.
“Just when Inter got back in front, 3-2 with just a few minutes to go, what do they do? They concede at the other end again.
“It’s a major dent in their aspirations. Antonio Conte was furious afterwards…he was tearing his hair out enough to need another hair transplant.”
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