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Serie A Round 8 Review: Roma Climbs to the Top as Fiorentina Stumbles

There's a new No. 1 in the Serie A Power Rankings. After a few weeks off, Tim Fontenault gives his look at the league after Round 8.

Miralem Pjanic had a goal and an assist as Roma cruised past Empoli with three goals in 13 minutes.
Miralem Pjanic had a goal and an assist as Roma cruised past Empoli with three goals in 13 minutes.
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Well, the Serie A Power Rankings are back.

The last few weeks were rather busy. It was difficult to find time evaluate where things stood in Serie A. After evaluating the sixth and seventh rounds, the league rankings looked like this: 1) Fiorentina (Round 6: 1st), 2) Roma (2), 3) Inter (3), 4) Sampdoria (7), 5) Chievo (6), 6) Lazio (8), 7) Napoli (9), 8) Torino (4), 9) Sassuolo (5), 10) Juventus (13), 11) Atalanta (10), 12) Empoli (16), 13) Milan (11), 14) Udinese (14), 15) Genoa (15), 16) Verona (17), 17) Frosinone (12), 18) Carpi (20), 19) Palermo (18), 20) Bologna (19)

Round 8 did not provide a whole lot of excitement, other than Napoli's 2-1 victory over Fiorentina. Maurizio Sarri's squad is starting to really come into its own. The victory over Fiorentina followed a 4-0 thrashing of Milan.

The Rossoneri, meanwhile, looked set to grab a critical win on the road at Torino after a goal from Carlos Bacca. But Daniele Baselli struck back to grab a point for the hosts and keep them within the European spots.

Player of the Round: Miralem Pjanic, Roma

Pjanic is having making an early case for player of the year in Serie A. The Bosnian scored his fourth goal of the season against Empoli, blasting in a free kick in the 56th minute of Saturday's match. That sparked a run of three goals in 13 minutes, which included an assist for Pjanic on a goal from Daniele De Rossi three minutes after his free kick.

Serie A Power Rankings, Round 8

1) Roma

Round 7 Ranking: 2nd; Round 8: Defeated Empoli 3-1

Round 9: at Fiorentina, Sunday, Oct. 25

A 13-minute assault in the second half pushed Roma past Empoli Saturday night. The Romans have dominated in the attacking third this season, compiling 20 goals in eight matches. The plus-10 goal difference is tied for the best in the league, and Roma is looking like a legit title contender. Sunday's showdown against Fiorentina will be a can't miss affair.

2) Fiorentina

Round 7 Ranking: 1st; Round 8: Lost to Napoli 2-1

Round 9: vs. Roma, Sunday, Oct. 25

What a heartbreaker for Fiorentina. Any momentum gained by Nikola Kalinic's equalizer in the 73rd minute disappeared when Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain struck back two minutes later. It doesn't change anything about Fiorentina. This is still one of the best teams in the league and the current table topper. An early-season 1 vs. 2 matchup against Roma Sunday is going to be an incredible showdown. Two great teams vying for the top of the table. If they draw, Inter will likely go back to the top. Does anyone really want that?

3) Inter

Round 7 Ranking: 3rd; Round 8: Drew 0-0 vs. Juventus

Round 9: at Palermo, Saturday, Oct. 24

Inter has the lowest combination of goals for and against this season, with only eight for and six against in eight matches. Sunday's match was a testament to the defense. Only four of Juventus' 15 shots went on goal. With the Palermo match Saturday, Inter have a chance to go to the top of the table before the Roma-Fiorentina showdown.

4) Napoli

Round 7 Ranking: 7th; Round 8: Defeated Fiorentina 2-1

Round 9: at Chievo, Sunday, Oct. 25

Maurizio Sarri's men are starting to turn the tide this season. The 2-1 win over Fiorentina was a big statement, as Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne buried goals. Higuain's came two minutes after Kalinic gave the Viola life. The combination of Higuain and Insigne is incredible. The two account for two-thirds of Napoli's goals are tied at the top of the scoring table with Sampdoria's Citadin Eder with six goals apiece.

5) Torino

Round 7 Ranking: 8th; Round 8: Drew 1-1 vs. Milan

Round 9: at Lazio, Sunday, Oct. 25

Milan almost stole this one, but Torino fought back and earned a hard-earned point. The great start to the season continues for Giampiero Ventura's men, who are seventh in the league table. Sunday will be a good test to see where exactly the club stands.

6) Sassuolo

Round 7 Ranking: 9th; Round 8: Defeated Lazio 2-1

Round 9: at Milan, Sunday, Oct. 25

Keep on doing your thing, Sassuolo. In a season when Serie A is showing signs of revival, Sassuolo is one of many bright spots. Surprisingly, Domenico Berardi's penalty kick against Lazio was his first goal of the season, and there are surely more to come. Sassuolo will get another great opportunity at three points Sunday, especially if Milan opts for 16-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

7) Sampdoria

Round 7 Ranking: 4th; Round 8: Lost to Frosinone 2-0

Round 9: vs. Verona, Sunday, Oct. 25

That's not the kind of loss anyone wants to have on their slate. Sampdoria outplayed Frosinone for most of the match, but two goals in two minutes from the promoted side pushed the Canaries to their second win in Serie A. Verona is winless, so Sampdoria needs to use Sunday as a chance to climb back up the table.

8) Lazio

Round 7 Ranking: 6th; Round 8: Lost to Sassuolo 2-1

Round 9: vs. Torino, Sunday, Oct. 25

Losing to Sassuolo is not as bad as it was a few years ago, especially on the road. There is no reason for Lazio to fret about it. What Lazio should be worried about is turning around its goal difference. With 11 goals for and 13 against, Lazio needs to improve defensively. The capital side has another test Sunday, when it hosts Torino.

9) Chievo

Round 7 Ranking: 5th; Round 8: Lost to Genoa 3-2

Round 9: vs. Napoli, Sunday, Oct. 25

It seemed like Sunday was going to go so well for Chievo, especially after Alberto Paloschi scored in the first minute against Genoa. Chievo's defense let it down. Two goals in four minutes gave Genoa the lead in the first half. Chievo equalized late, but Genoa's stoppage-time goal crushed the Flying Donkeys. A tough test against Napoli awaits this weekend. Chievo may be out of the top 10 by this time next week.

10) Juventus

Round 7 Ranking: 10th; Round 8: Drew 0-0 at Inter

Round 9: vs. Atalanta, Sunday, Oct. 25

Juventus' season has been woeful, but a scoreless draw at Inter isn't terrible. The Bianconeri are sitting in 14th, but a positive goal difference (plus-1) is a good sign. Juventus should be able to bounce back with a big win over Atalanta, but this is Juventus. No guarantees.

11) Atalanta

Round 7 Ranking: 11th; Round 8: Defeated Carpi 3-0

Round 9: at Juventus, Sunday, Oct. 25

The rout of Carpi has Atalanta sitting in eighth place in the league. Beating Carpi is one thing. For as bad as Juventus has been, Sunday's match will still be a tough task for Atalanta.

12) Genoa

Round 7 Ranking: 15th; Round 8: Defeated Chievo 3-2

Round 9: at Empoli, Saturday, Oct. 24

Panagiotis Tachtsidis picked a great time for his first Genoa goal. The 24-year-old Greek midfielder buried a goal three minutes into stoppage time to steal all three points from Chievo. Genoa now has seven points from its last three games, climbing out of the relegation zone, for now.

13) Milan

Round 7 Ranking: 13th; Round 8: Drew 1-1 at Torino

Round 9: vs. Sassuolo, Sunday, Oct. 25

Milan has been atrocious, but a draw against Torino on the road isn't bad. The only downside is Milan had the lead early in the second half, after Bacca's strike. Baselli's stole a point for the hosts. Milan need to get better. Dealing with Milan-killer Berardi and Sassuolo won't be easy Sunday.

14) Udinese

Round 7 Ranking: 14th; Round 8: Drew 1-1 at Verona

Round 9: vs. Frosinone, Sunday, Oct. 25

Cyril Thereau is still clutch at 32. His 84th-minute strike equalized for Udinese after a first-half penalty for Verona. Udinese could have been more precise with its 15 shots, but scoring has been tough overall this year. The Zebras have eight goals in eight matches.

15) Frosinone

Round 7 Ranking: 17th; Round 8: Defeated Sampdoria 2-0

Round 9: at Udinese, Sunday, Oct. 25

Another win for Frosinone! This wasn't a last-gasp miracle, but it was still a shock. Sampdoria has been one of the league's best sides early on and controlled the game statistically. But Frosinone took its chances and pulled the upset. The Canaries could have a chance to make it two straight against Udinese.

16) Verona

Round 7 Ranking: 16th; Round 8: Drew 1-1 vs. Udinese

Round 9: at Sampdoria, Sunday, Oct. 25

Giampaolo Pazzini's penalty could not hold up for Verona, as Thereau struck late to grab a point for Udinese. Verona remains the lone winless squad in the league, but five draws have helped the side collect some points and remain in position to escape the drop zone. It's a tough go from here, however.

17) Empoli

Round 7 Ranking: 12th; Round 8: Lost to Roma 3-1

Round 9: vs. Genoa, Saturday, Oct. 24

Empoli was in the match until Roma's 13-minute attacking binge. After that, there was no hope for the visitors. Marcel Buchel's late goal was nowhere near enough to get the blues back into the match. Maybe Riccardo Saponara and company can end Genoa's point streak.

18) Palermo

Round 7 Ranking: 19th; Round 8: Defeated Bologna 1-0

Round 9: vs. Inter, Saturday, Oct. 25

Palermo got a victory! After five matches and more than a month without a victory, Palermo finally got back in the win column with a victory over Bologna. The success shouldn't last long. Inter will probably roll over the hosts.

19) Carpi

Round 7 Ranking: 18th; Round 8: Lost to Atalanta 3-0

Round 9: vs. Bologna, Saturday, Oct. 24

Carpi will beat Bologna Saturday. That is all that matters.

20) Bologna

Round 7 Ranking: 20th; Round 8: Lost to Palermo 1-0

Round 9: at Carpi, Saturday, Oct. 24

Bologna will lose to Carpi Saturday. Book it.