TEN THINGS WE LEARNED from Serie A this week

Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez scores FOUR off the bench, as Romelu Lukaku shines for Roma and Christian Pulisic finds his feet at AC Milan… TEN THINGS WE LEARNED from Serie A this week

  • Lukaku returned to scoring ways during another thrilling weekend in Serie A
  • Martinez proved his class as he once again delivered for table-toppers Inter
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For those involved in European competitions, the matches are starting to come thick and fast in Serie A. And perhaps for some, it’s starting to take its toll.

Lautaro Martinez broke a record in becoming the first ever player to score four goals in a game coming off the substitute’s bench, as Inter maintained their good form to remain top of the table.

Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku continues to prove vital for Jose Mourinho’s Roma, who are slowly climbing the table after their difficult start to the season.

Juventus are just about in the Champions League places despite their 0-0 draw with Atalanta on Sunday, with their opponents dominating the game but failing to secure three points.

Here, Mail Sport’s ALVISE CAZZAGNO breaks down what we learned from round six of the 2023-24 Serie A campaign. 

Lautaro Martinez scored four goals off the bench for Inter Milan at the weekend – the first player in Serie A to do so

Romelu Lukaku scored again for Roma and continues to enjoy life back in Italy this season

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Lautaro Martinez’s form is giving new optimism to Inter who, after the defeat against Sassuolo, demonstrated that they are among the favorites to win the Scudetto by winning 3-0 against Salernitana. 

Martinez was rested for 45 minutes and then scored four goals in 37 minutes, the first time that has happened in Serie A history. The Argentina striker had five shots on goal, scoring four goals: impressive accuracy that brought Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to his knees. 

Against Salernitana he was immense. The definition of a man against boys. The difference between his qualities and those of all Salernitana players was vast.

Martinez is a top player who scored 10 goals in the month of September. Until this weekend no player in Serie A had ever managed to score four goals after coming off the bench, so he is already a Italian championship legend. He is an Inter icon, a charismatic heir of Diego Milito and Javier Zanetti, and a man who can may well be able to take the Champions League back to Milano.

His side beat Salernitana 4-0 with Martinez’s four goals coming in a 27-minute period after the hour mark

The side remain top of Serie A with six wins from their first seven games – level with rivals AC Milan on 18 points 


Ups and downs shouldn’t change your opinion: Christian Pulisic is a top player who just needed time to adapt to AC Milan.

The first goal of the match against Lazio was a small sign of his ability. The former Chelsea star managed to coordinate himself as good pace to, to beat Ivan Provedel. 

Pulisic is strength is his technique and, well, strength. He runs and fights like a midfielder and, like all players who come from the Premier League, he has great stamina. 

During  the weekend’s match he drove Elseid Hysaj, Alessio Romagnoli and Daichi Kamada crazy, with the defenders often sucked into the vortex of his attacking exploits. 

Stefano Pioli often takes him off in games to rest him because his quality needed in Champions League matches and previous physical problems have convinced Milan staff to manage him with great caution. 

Pulisic has adapted perfectly to Serie A and selling him may be a big regret for Chelsea. Pioli understands how to use him to get 100 per cent of his quality out and he is an incredibly important player for Milan.


Initially left on the bench, Victor Osimhen only needed six minutes to score his fifth goal in seven Serie A games. 


Initially left on the bench, Victor Osimhen only needed six minutes to score his fifth goal in seven Serie A games. 

An exceptional haul demonstrateshis great professionalism given off-the-field issues regarding the player and the club. If any proof was needed, Osimhen once again showed that he is the best striker in Serie A and deserves special treatment from Napoli. 

Rudi Garcia prefered to rest him for the first half, perhaps with one eye on the Champions League tie against Real Madrid this week. Like a robot, he got up and fought like a lion and crushed Lecce. He’s an exemplary professional who plays for the good of the team and demonstrates an aggression and determination reminiscent of Edinson Cavani. 

Garcia has shown a certain rigidity towards him several times but yet another goal proves that Napoli need his contribution if they hope to win the scudetto again. 


Victor Osimhen has not let the off-field antics at Napoli impact his performances on the pitch


Albert Gudmundsson is such a bright star and he is destined to shine at a top club next season. After being the best player in Serie B last year, the player had shone in Genoa’s return to Serie A with 11 goals and five assists and now he is already the main man after just seven games in the top Italian league. 

He arrived in Liguria as a relative unknown, but in a few months he has become a man of interest in Serie A, the championship in which his grandfather had been a pioneer many years ago. 

The two goals scored against Udinese were an extraordinary show of strength from a player who can help Genoa this year and then move to any top Italian club. The 26-year-old comes from Iceland, the land of ice and geysers, land of great athletes who have found a natural outlet in football thanks to the great performances of the national team. 

A goal in a third consecutive weeks demonstrates his effectiveness. After Emil Hallfredsson, Gudmundsson is the second Icelandic player to be a star in Serie A. He has managed to bring Scandinavian success to Serie A once again.


Adrien Rabiot’s match against Atalanta was so bad that it couldn’t even be judged. Up against Teun Koopmeiners, he put in yet another nightmare performance, demonstrating that he has some physical problems that Massimiliano Allegri doesn’t seem to worry about. 

Without the help of Wojciech Szczesny to deny Luis Muriel and Koopmeiners, Juventus would probably have suffered a defeat that would have been tough to take. The match was an unequal comparison between one of the best midfields in Italy, that of Atalanta, against one of the worst, that of Juventus, and Rabiot was a standout. 

He doesn’t support, never helping the attackers, only noticeable when he’s brushed off the ball by stronger midfielders. He walks round the pitch, running away from the ball. He is the player who is increasingly ghosting, and he was always under the control of the midfield of Atalanta.

The feeling is that he plays without enthusiasm without ever looking for the best solution on the pitch.


Romelu Lukaku was Roma’s biggest purchase in the summer transfer window. He replaced Tammy Abraham and has meant the England forward, who has been sidelined with a serious knee injury, hasn’t been missed.

Only Gabriel Batistuta (six) and Stephan El Shaarawy (four) have scored more goals than Romelu Lukaku (three) after their first five Serie A games with Roma. The Belgian player’s numbers are exceptional and, despite the many injuries, in 2023 only Lautaro Martinez (30) and Victor Osimhen (26) have scored more than him, currently on 13 goals after the match against Frosinone. 

At 30, he seems to have finally found the physical and psychological balance and, unlike in the past, the former Chelsea star has immediately managed to lose weight, his historic weak point, and get back into 100 per cent shape. 

If Roma have any hope of finishing in the top six in Serie A, the credit must certainly be attributed to the goals of the forward, perfectly at ease next to Paolo Dybala at the center of the attack. Jose Mourinho will continue to motivate him psychologically and physcially, in the hope that he can reach 20 goals for the season, helping Roma move up the table after a negative start.

Lukaku made it three goals in his first five games for Roma when they beat Frosinone to carry on their upturn in form

He opened the scoring in the 21st minute before his side went on to win 2-0 and move up to 13th in the league table


On the magical evening against Salernitana where Martinez’s star shone, there was no trace of Davy Klassen. The Dutch midfielder brought in on a free was anonymous, running in slow motion and failing to be the aggressive midfielder that Simone Inzaghi needs. 

The main problem with his game is the slowness of his movements, taking a while to grow into the game. It is the opposite of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has a different pace to his play and who has no rivals in his role this season. 

Without Klassen, Inter gain speed and dynamism and his return to the bench seems destined to be permanent. He is 30 years old but appears older, despite having good technical quality. 

Compared to his compatriot Koopmeiners from Atalanta, the former Ajax star has a different speed, a less powerful shot and a lower threat of goal. If the Inter fans dreamed of having purchased a star, they are wrong. Klassen is not and will likely never be a starter in this Inter team.


With his goal against Empoli, right winger Riccardo Orsolini managed to score for Bologna for the sixth consecutive season in Serie A, a statistical record that began in the 2018/2019 season, and a statistical record that gave him allowed to match Beppe Signori.

The former Bologna and Lazio star managed to score at least one goal in the Bologna shirt in Serie A from 1998/1999 to 2003/2004. His first goal in this Serie A season was a jewel that projected Bologna into a state of solidity in the Italian tournament standings with 10 points in 7 games. 

Against Empoli, Orsolini not only became an icon of Italian football on a statistical level but also scored his first hat-trick in Serie A. Orsolini doesn’t always make the right choice on the pitch – he is often messy – but he has finally understood that he is the charismatic leader of the team.

He has found good consistency and has raised his technical level. He is a war machine who runs and fights, betting on dribbling and speed. After Federico Chiesa, he is probably the best winger in Serie A and this could become the season in which he will make the definitive leap to become one of the best players too.

Riccardo Orsolini has managed to score for Bologna in six consecutive seasons in the top flight


It all started as a pleasant dream but now it seems to have turned into a big nightmare. In the last two games Lecce have conceded five goals without managing to score, abruptly slowing down their race towards the top end of the table. 

After an exceptional start, Roberto D’Aversa’s team ran into the wall of Juventus and Napoli, with their best player, Nikola Krstovic, struggling. The Montenegro striker is passively undergoing media pressure after his extraordinary start in Serie A and now appears an attacker isolated from the rest of the team, nervous and without enthusiasm.

When Kristvovic turns off his engine the whole team gives up and against Napoli Leo Ostigard and Natan too easily stopped the attacker. Ostigard closed every space and never allowed him to run in behind, limiting his effectiveness. 

Federico Baschirotto, Gabriel Strefezza and even the goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone made several mistakes and the whole team suffers when its leaders are suffering. D’Aversa’s team has excellent players but in terms of overall value it suffers from a lack of quality. 

In decisive moments, even on a psychological level, D’Aversa is unable to react and that will have a huge impact on future big matches in the season. Juventus and Napoli are two strong teams but Lecce didn’t have a good approach in either of the two games.


Salernitana defended well for 45 minutes and with Jovane Cabral and Boulaye Dia tried to attack the Inter defence, but had little to no success. 

It’s difficult to explain their free fall, and impossible just to understand why Paulo Sousa is still their manager. Salerno is a city in love with football and the Portuguese coach doesn’t seem to be the right man to fix its crisis.

There are many problems within the club and Sousa is not the only one responsible for the collapse. Their league record is poor with just three points in seven matches, and there are no signs of improvement and most likely there will not be until President Danilo Iervolino tries to fix the mistakes made in the summer market in the January market.

If the team can keep tabs on the survival spot going into the new year, it will be able to hope to move up several positions in the standings if they can reinvest in January. If not, it could already be too late.

At the moment it is difficult to imagine a miracle even if Ochoa, the best goalkeeper in last season’s Serie A, seems to have found his form again. Something is not working.


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