Bologna’s renaissance under Roberto Donadoni continues, the Rossoblu drawing against Roma last Sunday to give themselves seven points from the manager’s first three matches in charge - more than they had taken from the previous 10. Torino, though, got back to winning ways themselves away to Atalanta, looking more like their old selves as they continue to recover key players from injury.
Among Donadoni’s chief successes has been to reinvigorate the attack, with Bologna scoring at least twice in every game that they have played since his appointment. Even with Mattia Destro suspended, I think they will continue to carry a threat.
There will be no shortage of sub-plots at San Siro on Saturday. For Sinisa Mihajlovic, this is a first reunion with the team that he managed last season. For Vincenzo Montella, this is a second opportunity to deliver Sampdoria’s first away win of the season. More than that, though, it is a chance to show, a fortnight on from his appointment, that he is starting to make this team his own.
Mihajlovic seems to be making progress towards the same goal at Milan. Over the last month, and notably since Gianluigi Donnarumma was named as the starting goalkeeper, the Rossoneri have taken 10 points from five games - their only defeat coming away to Juventus.
Gazzetta dello Sport mooted the unthinkable on Friday, reporting that Antonio Di Natale might retire before Christmas. Out of form and out of favour under Stefano Colantuono, he finds himself relegated to the bench with increasing regularity after scoring only once in 11 appearances.
That Udinese should consider alternatives to the 38-year-old is understandable. The problem is, besides the injured Duvan Zapata, they have not found any. The Colombian remains the club’s joint top scorer on three goals, despite the fact that he has not played since September. Against a defence as robust as Chievo’s, it is hard to see how they will break through.
As the manager who brought Verona up from the third tier into the top-flight, and who has kept them there relatively serenely these last two seasons, Andrea Mandorlini has earned the right to a few missteps. But after 13 games without a win to start this campaign, his position might finally be coming under threat. A victory over Frosinone, five points ahead in 18th place, is needed both to renew his job security and to keep Verona within touching distance of safety.
The return of Luca Toni gives hope, as do those of Artur Ionita and especially Federico Viviani in midfield. But Frosinone have not lost at home since being sunk by Roma on 12 September.
Beaten at home only by Juventus this season, Genoa are unlikely to be troubled by a Carpi team that continues to look out of its depth. The odds are not especially exciting, but every now and then you just have to go with the obvious move.
Not a happy evening for Roma against Barcelona on Tuesday, but Rudi Garcia was quick to frame their 6-1 defeat as one of those things that can happen when you are up against an “untouchable” opponent. More troubling to him might be his injury troubles up front, with Gervinho, Mohamed Salah and Francesco Totti all absent once again this weekend.
Roma have ridden out such absences pretty well in the league this season, but against opponents who have found the net only three times in seven games away from home, I think the Giallorossi might finally be in for a low-scoring game.
A Europa League win over Dnipro may have boosted Lazio’s flagging morale, but we ought not to assume it will be a turning point. The Biancocelesti won away to Rosenborg at the start of this month, too, only to lose to Roma and then draw at home to Palermo in their two league games since.
Indeed, whilst their progress in Europe has been relatively serene, Lazio have scraped together just four points from their last six Serie A games. A suspension for Santiago Gentiletti will not do any favours for a defence that has conceded 16 times in six away matches.
All of a sudden the notion that we might witness a title race without Juventus is beginning to feel a silly. Four wins in five league games have propelled the Bianconeri up to sixth. They are still nine points behind league leaders Inter for now, but that gap could be down to six before the Nerazzurri kick off away to Napoli on Monday night.
Palermo have struggled for goals this season, Franco Vázquez still creating chances but lacking team-mates capable of finishing them after both Paulo Dybala and Andrea Belotti were sold in the summer. As long as Juventus do not let their concentration slip after Wednesday’s big win over Manchester City, they ought to prevail comfortably enough.