Juventus keep their momentum as they win with a roboant 4-0 in Udine and escalate to second place in the league. Mario Mandžukić walks past his injury and makes his debut in 2016 from the first minute. The Croatian international fails to leave a mark on the score sheet but is decisive in closing the match when, in the 25 minute, he wins the penalty that is worth the 3-0 and that causes a red card. Other than that, his understanding with Dybala is growing match by match making him the best partner for the Argentinian.
La gazzetta dello sport rating: 7, Does what has got to do. Comes deep to support the team play, opens spaces around the box. Fails to score but wins a penalty.
Inter seem to have lost the momentum after an unimpressive 1-1 in Bergamo versus Atalanta on Saturday. In spite of daily market rumors Marcelo Brozović seems to have ultimately gained a solid spot in the starting eleven. The former Dinamo Zagreb midfielder is the only one to emerge in a mediocre first half for the Nerazzurri. Again a bit too imprecise in the second half when the teams are tired and distances between the lines are lost. He is clearly the only one who looks to be potentially able to take sound decisions in the shambolic midfield that Roberto Mancini has built. I personally reckon that his bad pass ratio is badly impacted by the fact that rarely is he offered an easy alternative.
La gazzetta dello sport rating: 5,5, Sometimes produces interesting runs without managing to find the final pass. In better shape than his teammates, but too many bad passes.
Ivan Perišić unexpectedly starts from the bench. The former Wolfsburg star comes on in the 56 minute to try and win the match with the score being 1-1. Roberto Mancini asks him to take on 1 to 1 to create chances. He gets off to a good start with a couple of promising accelerations that are not well supported by teammates, then steps back to the general mediocrity until he disappears on the offensive front.
La gazzetta dello sport rating: 5,5. Comes in for Guarin. Dances between the left and an inner midfielder position. Creates only one chance.
Sassuolo lost to Serie A leaders Napoli 3-1 on Saturday Night in spite of an expected penalty that had put them in front early in the match. With Napoli reacting bitterly Šime Vrsaljko was asked to resist to the opposition attacks all night. The former Dinamo defender suffered all the time and hardly ever managed to stop Lorenzo Insigne who looked almost unstoppable. Two goals came from his side resulting in his worst performance of the season.
La gazzetta dello sport rating: 5, He should defend and close spaces in his zone but concedes the first two goals and many other chances. A potential assist with 3 minutes to go represents his only positive mark on the match. Worst man of the match.
Fiorentina lost 2-0 in Milan on the Sunday night match. Nikola Kalinić features as a starter for la viola. The Croatian international does not have any impact on the game. His vertical game who had terrorized the rossoneri and won the match in the first round is this time neutralized with ease. He is also late on a couple crosses that a few months ago would have probably banged in with fury. Kalinić managed to collect four harmless shots sowing a questionable form. For the first time this season, Fiorentina end without scoring and, more importantly, without creating a single chance. It should be clear now that some tactics adjustments are compelling if Fiorentina want to keep competing for a Champions League spot.
Milan Badelj looks on from the stands due to an injury. The former Hamburg midfielder has already started rehab and will be sidelined for at least another 3 weeks when he will undergo new exams at the scope of estimating a more precise deadline for his complete recovery.
La gazzetta dello sport rating: 5, Three crosses from the left comes in but he is not there. He wastes the only good chance of the night with a soft and imprecise shot.
Ante Rebić moved to Verona last week and quickly convinced the manager to be worth a chance from the first minute. As the team is set to be relegated having failed to win a single match so far, the next months will purely serve the former Split attacker to prove that he is up to Serie A standards. Despite the situation Verona manage to snap up a surprising draw against Roma on Sunday. Rebić provides a good display considering that he only had a couple of training sessions with his new teammates under his belt. The former Fiorentina forward shows that he is more inclined to play in a 4-3-3 of the second half when he also hits the post.
La gazzetta dello sport rating: 6, Unlucky when hits the post. Doesn’t see much of the ball, but he is always ready to give a defensive contribution.
Danijel Subašić started in net for Monaco in a 2-0 road win at Lorient on Sunday. Mario Pašalić came off the bench in the 69th minute, making two interceptions and putting a shot on target. Subašić made two easy saves as he picked up another clean sheet. Monaco moved back into 2nd in Ligue 1 with the win.
Danijel Pranjić played the full match and Mladen Petric came on for the final 13 minutes as Panathinaikos were held to a disappointing 0-0 home draw against Panionios on Sunday. Panathinaikos had 14 shots in the match, to Panionios’ 6. Panathinaikos fall to fourth in the Greek Super League after the draw.
The Ukrainian Premier League is on Winter Break until March. Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk will return to competition in late February for Champions/Europa League knockout matches.
Vedran Ćorluka and the Russian Premier League are on Winter Break until March. They will play Fenerbahce in the Europa League Round of 32 in February.
Internazionale at Napoli(Coppa Italia),
Torino at Sassuolo, Monaco at Evian TG(Coupe de France), Juventus at Lazio(Coppa Italia), Barcelona at Athletic Club(Copa del Rey)
Bayern München at Hamburger SV, Real Sociedad at Sporting Gijón,
Liverpool at Norwich City, Stoke City at Leicester City, Bayer Leverkusen at Hoffenheim, Barcelona at Málaga,
Toulouse at Monaco, Torino at Fiorentina, Bologna at Sassuolo, Carpi at Internazionale, Udinese at Palermo, Roma at Juventus, Genoa at Hellas Verona, Real Madrid at Real Betis, Panathinaikos at Levadiakos
~Ante Kvartuč and Denis Svirčić reporting from sunny Southern California, Zach Gilfix reporting from Minneapolis, MN and Salvatore Cagnazzi reporting from Italy