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Matchday 23 talking points from Serie A

SERIE A ROUND-UP: Napoli in seventh heaven, Milan's woes continue, Palermo finally get relief

February 6, 2017 By Michelle Bonsu
Matchday 23 of the 2016/2017 Serie A season is nearly complete, and there were plenty of talking points from this weekend's action, including Palermo finally achieving a crucial milestone and Napoli setting a record.

Matchday 22 of the 2016/2017 Serie A season was full of surprises. Namely, because several of the bigger teams lost or dropped points, including Lazio, Roma, AC Milan, Napoli, and Fiorentina. Flash-forward to the next round, and this past weekend was also just as interesting. But instead of shock results, arguably, the theme of round 23 was goals, goals, and more goals. Although we're not done with this matchday just yet - as Fiorentina and Roma are set to lock horns in a huge clash on Tuesday - there are still plenty of talking points.

Let's have a look at some of them.

Napoli in seventh heaven

The Partenopei ended up drawing Palermo on matchday 22, which, given Palermo's bad performances, was nothing short of a major upset. Maurizio Sarri's men clearly were frustrated with that result, and Bologna ended up being their punching bag.

By the time the final whistle blew, the Partenopei had blitzed the Rossoblu 7-1. In doing so, numerous records were set, including one for Belgian international Dries Mertens. Here are a few of the things achieved by Maurizio Sarri's side during that rout, which sees them temporarily move into second spot before Roma play on Tuesday:

- With 55 goals, Napoli have scored more goals after 23 rounds in their entire Serie A history

- Before this match, Napoli had never scored more than six away goals in a match

And here's another interesting one:

They're definitely the underdogs in their Champions League clash with Real Madrid, but this surely will give Napoli that added bit of confidence ahead of taking on Cristiano Ronaldo & Co.

Milan's woes continue in 2017

What has gone wrong for AC Milan? They finally ended their wait for silverware by beating Juventus in the December Supercoppa Italiana, and fans thought things were on the up-and-up for the team, who have struggled badly in the past few seasons.

At one point, they were in contention for a Champions League berth. But since the start of the New Year, Vincenzo Montella's side seem to be suffering a post-celebration hangover. They managed to pull off a comeback to beat Torino in the Coppa Italia, and then again had to come from behind to salvage a draw against the Granata in league play.

But that was their last good result. Since then, they went on to be dumped out of the Coppa Italia by Juventus, and have lost their past three Serie A matches.

That includes against Sampdoria, a team who had not troubled Milan much in the past:

It goes without saying that they will be desperate to get back on track against Bologna in their make-up game on Wednesday. They were in third place in December and now are ten points off a Champions League spot.

Palermo FINALLY get some points at home

The Rosanero are one of three teams set to be involved in the much unwanted relegation dog-fight. Usually, playing at home gives a team an advantage. Not so much, unfortunately, for the Sicilians. Prior to facing Crotone, Palermo had earned just one point at home, which was the lowest among any team featuring in Europe's "Big 5" leagues.

Crotone, meanwhile, had picked up just two points on the road all season, which is the worst out of any team in Serie A. So, in short, you had the team with the worst home record facing an opponent with the worst away record. Something was bound to give.

A single goal from Ilija Nestorovski was enough to give them a much needed three points. That was Nestorovski's ninth of the season, and when Palermo do score, majority of the time, it's the Macedonian international finding the back of the net.


Ilija Nestorovski has scored nearly 50 per cent of Palermo's 19 goals this season, but it remains to be seen if his hard work will help the Rosanero avoid the drop

Of course, Palermo still have a lot of work to do, as they are eight points from safety.

Inter brought back down to earth

It's not been a good week for Inter fans. The Nerazzurri were flying high, until this past week that saw Stefano Pioli's men dumped out of the Coppa Italia and lose the Derby d'Italia to Juventus. This ends a seven game winning league streak for the Nerazzurri and they will have to re-group ahead of their next game against Empoli.

Juan Cuadrado's long-range effort was enough to decide a rather tense and spicy affair, and in doing so, the Colombian continues his knack for sniping from distance against a favored opponent:

 

Roma vs. Fiorentina, of course, is bound to create plenty of talking points, and fans surely will be looking to see what goes down at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday evening.


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