It has certainly been a strange weekend results wise for the big clubs in Serie A, with only Inter picking up maximum points. This means that there is a refreshing new face at the top of the race for the Scudetto. That face is the face of Chievo. The only side after Week 2 of fixtures to have a 100% record, having played two, won two.
There is an air of confidence and self-satisfaction flowing out of the Stadio Bentegodi right now. Even the most die-hard followers of the Gialloblu realise that the chances of their club emulating what their bitterest rivals Hellas did in 1984/85 and actually win the Scudetto are very slim if not impossible, but whilst they sit out on top, they can always dream.
Coach Stefano Pioli achieved on Sunday what many coaches fail to achieve – his team silenced the Stadio Ferraris in the second half despite falling a goal behind after only six minutes. The new man in charge of the Flying Donkeys must be wondering what all the fuss is about after making it six points from six in his second spell in charge in the top flight. Pioli was vindicated in opting to stick with the same starting XI that beat Catania on the opening day, despite the fact he had two deadline day signings to add to his squad. The catalyst for the two great results has been an outstanding goalkeeper in Stefano Sorrentino and a solid back four in Gennaro Sardo, Marco Andreolli, Bostjan Cesar and Andrea Mantovani. The fact that the Gialloblu seem to have stopped giving away silly goals and making costly errors, has put them into a fantastic position. Top of the league after two games means that the side has the confidence to continue to make rapid progress and may achieve their goal of primarily guaranteeing Serie A football again for next season as soon as possible (maybe just after Christmas at this rate), before pushing on towards a top half finish.
At the top end of the pitch Pioli will be delighted with the early partnership that’s forming between new signing Davide Moscardelli and club icon Sergio Pellissier. After two games it’s a return of four goals for the pair with each striker weighing in with two goals apiece. The fans have been aware for a substantial period of time now that the key to getting the best out of the clubs all time highest goal scorer and captain Pellissier, is to find the right partner or the perfect foil for him. The early signs are good with Moscardelli running himself into the ground to get on the end of Pellissier’s flicks and always looking to tee his partner up. Previous partners in recent seasons including Pablo Granoche (who replaced Moscardelli at the Ferraris on Sunday), Erjon Bogdani and Elvis Abbruscato have produced just three goals per campaign each which clearly puts the goal scoring impetus on Pellissier’s shoulders. The fact that Moscardelli has almost equalled them inside just two games, points to an exciting season ahead for the club. It is also Moscardelli’s first ever season playing at the highest level and he has worked hard paying his dues in Serie B in order to earn this opportunity.
In the engine room of the side, Pioli seems to have found a blend that is working well at the moment. He has opted for three central midfielders in Brazilian Luciano, Luca Rigoni and Michele Marcolini. In front of these three is creative force Simone Bentivoglio. Pioli also has options in this area having replaced Bentivoglio with Uruguayan ball player Mariano Bogliacino (on loan from Napoli) in the second half of both fixtures and he also able to call upon Swiss international ball winner Gelson Fernandes (who was signed on transfer deadline day) and made his debut in the second half in the Stadio Ferraris. All this means that the immediate future of the Gialloblu is looking bright and with a home fixture against Bologna to come on Sunday, nobody would bet against the Flying Donkeys making it three wins from three and taking a further step towards the unthinkable – challenging for a European place.