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Serie A Round 3 Review: Inter's Great Start Continues, Juventus Still Winless

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With a victory in Sunday's Derby Della Madonnina, Inter is the only perfect side in Serie A through three matches, while the four-time reigning champions finally earned a point.

Inter had plenty of reason to celebrate after defeating city rival Milan and jumping to the top of the table.
Inter had plenty of reason to celebrate after defeating city rival Milan and jumping to the top of the table.
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

There are still a lot of questions to be answered about many of the teams vying for glory in Serie A this season.

Inter sit at the top of the table as the only club with three wins in three matches. It has not been easy for the Nerazzurri in the early going. They needed late goals to get wins against Atalanta and Carpi, and other than Fredy Guarin's goal to earn victory against Milan, Inter was not overly inspiring in the Derby Della Madonnina.

Meanwhile, Juventus' early-season struggles continue. The four-time reigning champions have yet to win this season, but finally picked up a point Saturday with a draw against Chievo. That point was only made possible by a late penalty from Pablo Dybala.

Player of the Round: Riccardo Saponara, Empoli

Saponara continues to be one of the best players in Serie A this season. The young Italian has scored in all three matches this season, scoring in the third minute, and he helped the Azzurri finally earn a point by adding an assist on Manuel Pucciarelli's go-ahead gaol in the 18th minute.

(Runner-up for Former Milan Player Dominating Serie A of the Week goes to Alessandro Matri, who scored both goals for Lazio in a 2-0 win over Udinese.)

Serie A Power Rankings, Round 3

1) Roma

Round 2 Ranking: 1st; Round 3: Defeated Frosinone 2-0

Round 4: vs. Sassuolo, Sunday, Sept. 20

Iago Calque and Juan Iturbe scored in a modest victory for Roma in a lacklustre victory in its first regional derby against Frosinone. Roma was certainly looking ahead to Wednesday's Champions League opener against reigning champion Barcelona. The midweek European clash precedes a tough meeting with Sassuolo next weekend.

2) Inter

Round 2 Ranking: 2nd; Round 3: Defeated Milan 1-0

Round 4: at Chievo, Sunday, Sept. 20

At times, Inter's defense looked out of sorts. At times, it looked fantastic. Overall, Inter was decent against Milan, nothing more. Still, Fredy Guarin got the Nerazzurri the all-important derby victory with a beautiful strike from outside the box.

3) Fiorentina

Round 2 Ranking: 3rd; Round 3: Defeated Genoa 1-0

Round 4: at Carpi, Sunday, Sept. 20

Fiorentina got the majority of chances and finally broke through an hour in at home against Genoa Saturday. Khouma Babacar scored minutes before Milan Badelj's second yellow card put the Viola on the back foot for the final half hour.

4) Sampdoria

Round 2 Ranking: 5th; Round 3: Defeated Bologna 2-0

Round 4: at Torino, Sunday, Sept. 20

It took 75 minutes, but Sampdoria finally broke through against Bologna, and then it struck again four minutes later. Citadin Eder and Roberto Soriano struck in quick succession, propelling Sampdoria into third place as one of six clubs with seven points. Inter is the only club with more.

5) Torino

Round 2 Ranking: 4th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 at Verona

Round 4: vs. Sampdoria, Sunday, Sept. 20

Verona was winning 1-0 before a seven-minute exchange of three goals, started and finished by Torino. Daniele Baselli netted an equalizer in the 66th minute, and Afriyie Acquah found another equalizer two minutes after Juanito gave Verona the lead again. Torino is off to a decent start, sitting among the top seven in the league, but it only gets tougher from here.

6) Milan

Round 2 Ranking: 6th; Round 3: Lost to Inter 1-0

Round 4: vs. Palermo, Saturday, Sept. 19

Milan lost, but, as Silvio Berlusconi said, it finally played a good game. The Rossoneri had several chances to score in the first half, but Luiz Adriano squandered them all. Alessio Romagnoli, Cristian Zapata and Mattia De Sciglio were strong in the back (Ignazio Abate struggled, but not mightily, and he was filling in for one of Milan's top performers this season, Luca Antonelli). There are still some issues to work out, but they are fixable. Mario Balotelli was sublime in his first appearance back at Milan on loan from Liverpool. He nearly leveled the match twice.

7) Lazio

Round 2 Ranking: 9th; Round 3: Defeated Udinese 2-0

Round 4: vs. Empoli, Saturday, Sept. 19

Alessandro Matri has one goal in 16 career matches for Milan. In his debut for Lazio (on loan from Milan), he scored twice in nine minutes in the second half, propelling Lazio to its second win in three matches.

8) Sassuolo

Round 2 Ranking: 8th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 vs. Atalanta

Round 4: at Roma, Sunday, Sept. 20

What a weird game between Atalanta and Sassuolo Sunday. Two red cards. Two missed penalties. Four goals before halftime. Antonio Floro Flores continued his excellent start to the campaign, netting his third goal. He has converted on 27 percent of his shots through three matches.

9) Chievo

Round 2 Ranking: 19th; Round 3: Drew 1-1 at Juventus

Round 4: vs. Inter, Sunday, Sept. 20

It did not take all three points, but Chievo's fantastic start to the season continued against Juventus. The Flying Donkeys would have claimed victory, were it not for a penalty kick Bostjan Cesar not pulled down Juan Cuadrado in the box.

10) Juventus

Round 2 Ranking: 7th; Round 3: Drew 1-1 vs. Chievo

Round 4: at Genoa, Sunday, Sept. 20

Juventus would have lost to Chievo if not for Dybala's late penalty kick. Massimiliano Allegri's second year in charge at Juventus is starting off strikingly similar to his second year at Milan. After winning the Scudetto in 2010-11, Milan picked up five points from its first five matches. Of course, the Rossoneri then won 12 straight matches and finished second (to Juventus). The Old Lady faces the tough task of beginning Champions League play this week against Manchester City.

11) Napoli

Round 2 Ranking: 11th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 at Empoli

Round 4: vs. Lazio, Sunday, Sept. 20

Allan Loureiro's goal in the 50th minute saved a point for Napoli against a feisty Empoli side, which is proving tough to play against this season, despite picking up their first point in this match. Lorenzo Insigne finally scored his first goal of the season. He now has one goal on 18 shots this season.

12) Palermo

Round 2 Ranking: 12th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 vs. Carpi

Round 4: at Milan, Saturday, Sept. 19

After opening the season with two wins, being the first team to ever drop points to Carpi in the top flight is not what Palermo would have been hoping for. Palermo shot itself in the foot with this one. Roberto Vitiello put the ball into his own net to pull Carpi level, and after Marco Borriello gave Carpi the lead, Palermo looked on its way to defeat. Uros Djurdevic's goal in the 88th minute saved the Eagles.

13) Atalanta

Round 2 Ranking: 15th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 at Sassuolo

Round 4: vs. Verona, Sunday, Sept. 20

Mauricio Pinilla's two goals had Atalanta in good position against Sassuolo after 33 minutes, before Floro Flores equalized seven minutes later. After Pinilla was sent off in the 48th minute, La Dea lost some attacking flair. Atalanta had the best chance to win the game late, a penalty kick, but Maximiliano Moralez's kick was saved by Andrea Consigli.

14) Verona

Round 2 Ranking: 16th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 vs. Torino

Round 4: at Atalanta, Sunday, Sept. 20

It was always going to be tough for Verona to knock off a jumpstart Torino side, but it put up a heck of a fight. Juanito's goal to give Verona the lead must have opened the door for Torino to strike back within two minutes. As the commentators in "FIFA" used to say all the time, a team is most vulnerable right after you score.

15) Empoli

Round 2 Ranking: 17th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 vs. Napoli

Round 4: at Udinese, Saturday, Sept. 19

Saponara is having a fantastic season in his return from Milan. The 23-year-old midfielder has three goals and an assist. It looks like he is on a one-man mission to show Milan what it is missing out on. His performance Sunday pushed Empoli to a needed draw against Napoli.

16) Genoa

Round 2 Ranking: 13th; Round 3: Lost to Fiorentina 1-0

Round 4: vs. Juventus, Sunday, Sept. 20

Genoa could not come back to level terms with Fiorentina after Badelj's red card. The victory over Verona has been the lone bright spot of the season for Genoa, which looks to be struggling.

17) Udinese

Round 2 Ranking: 14th; Round 3: Lost to Lazio 2-0

Round 4: vs. Empoli, Saturday, Sept. 19

Since beating Juventus to start the season, Udinese has lost to Palermo and Lazio and has failed to score a goal.

18) Carpi

Round 2 Ranking: 19th; Round 3: Drew 2-2 at Palermo

Round 4: vs. Fiorentina, Sunday, Sept. 20

In its third top-flight match, Carpi finally picked up its first point, drawing against one of the hottest teams to start the season. Interestingly, there are only seven teams in the league with five or more goals. Carpi is one of them. The other two sides in the bottom three—Bologna and Frosinone—have two combined. On the flip side, Carpi has conceded a league-high nine goals. Only three other clubs—Napoli, Frosinone and Empoli—have conceded six or more.

19) Bologna

Round 2 Ranking: 18th; Round 3: Lost to Sampdoria 2-0

Round 4: vs. Frosinone, Sunday, Sept. 20

Bologna is now the only side back in Serie A from last season without a point this year. The Rossoblu held their own against Sampdoria, but goals from Eder and Soriano four minutes apart late in the second half separated Sampdoria.

20) Frosinone

Round 2 Ranking: 20th; Round 3: Lost to Roma 2-0

Round 4: at Bologna, Sunday, Sept. 20

Bologna next Sunday. Is this the moment for Frosinone to get its first win as a top-flight club?