Juventus started the new season as they finished the old one, with a win, but this time, it was thanks to a new face: that of Gonzalo Higuain. Roma started on a high as well, whilst Napoli were held to a draw by newly promoted Pescara.
AC Milan began with a close win over Torino, with Gianluigi Donnarumma saving a last minute penalty, whilst Inter suffered a defeat to Chievo to mark Frank De Boers debut. Genoa and Lazio snatched two good wins, with Domenico Berardi scoring again to give Sassuolo the three points.
Keep an eye out for our weekly roundup piece to catch up on the rest of the action.
This Team of the Week will see a 3-4-3 formation deployed.
Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan
It takes some quality and confidence to save a last minute penalty at the age of 17. Nothing new for Gigio, who starts his first full season as first choice on a high. Donnarumma flew to deny Andrea Belotti’s penalty spot effort and give the Rossoneri their first three points under Vincenzo Montella.
Dani Alves – Juventus
Stephan Lichtsteiner is a great full-back, but there’s a reason why Dani Alves has won everything with Barcelona repeatedly. On of the best right backs of the last decades is now in Serie A and he can still easily make a difference. Ruined Marcos Alonso’s night, delivering the quality that’s expected, whilst being careful at the back.
Wesley Hoedt – Lazio
The goals Lazio conceded were widely Federico Marchetti’s fault, with the Biancocelesti defence conceding little until then. Hoedt began this year on a different note to the final one, when he struggled to find consistency at a decent level. Against Atalanta, he was solid at the back and also managed to score a crucial goal.
Gonzalo Rodriguez – Fiorentina
Yes, Fiorentina lost. But what a game by Gonzalo against the Bianconeri giants. His passing rate was almost perfect (97%), winning six clearances out of six and two aerial duels out of two. With Nenad Tomovic struggling on one side, Ciprian Tatarusanu behind him and Davide Astori having a bad evening on the other side, the Argentinian kept Fiorentina in the game.
Dries Mertens – Napoli
The Belgian was ready to score the penalty that would have given Napoli an incredible 3-2 lead to complete an astonishing comeback, before the referees assistant, Rocchi, changed the first decision and disallowed the spot kick. Napoli were so close to winning in Pescara after a horrendous first half that saw them go 2-0 down, and it was all thanks to Mertens. Two goals in 10 minutes and a clear message to Maurizio Sarri.
Radja Nainggolan – Roma
Roma beat Udinese thanks to goals by other players, but what the 4-0 win that opened Serie A tells us is that – especially without Miralem Pjanic – the motor of the Giallorossi remains Nainggolan. The Belgian is constantly everywhere, helping out all his teammates in need, whilst at the same time being ready to counter attack and shoot on goal. A machine.
Valter Birsa – Chievo
Frank De Boer will struggle to forget this name. Inter left Verona with a 2-0 loss in the bag, and both goals for the Flying Donkeys came from the feet of Birsa. The second one especially is an absolute beauty, a delicate right foot curler leaving Samir Handanovic stunned.
Domenico Berardi – Sassuolo
Five goals in the first four games of this new season: Berardi seems to have found the full maturity. In Sassuolo’s opening Serie A game he netted a penalty but was at all times the Neroverdi’s main source of danger. This season he can really become the player everyone has been waiting for.
Carlos Bacca – AC Milan
While Donnarumma denied goals, it was Bacca who scored them for the Rossoneri. The Colombian did what he does best, transforming into gold the (not many) chances Milan had against Torino. A hattrick to open the new season, after rumours he wanted to leave.
Gonzalo Higuain – Juventus
An easy tap in to give Juventus the win against Fiorentina. Nothing special if you look at it, but El Pipita was in the right place at the right time and did exactly what he was paid for: score goals, and score them when the team needs it the most, like three minutes after conceding an unnecessary and undeserved equaliser against La Viola.
Mattia Destro – Bologna
This can be the season of his final growth as a player and he started in the best possible way, netting his 50th career Serie A goal. Bologna struggled to be dangerous against newly promoted Crotone, until Destro’s decisive finish.