Edin Dzeko © Getty Images
Edin Dzeko has lost Roma's penalty privileges, Napoli are relishing a plum Champions League tie with Real Madrid and Serie A minnows Atalanta are looking for a place in the Europa League.
Along with hot-shot Gonzalo Higuain and Chievo giving Sassuolo an 'English' lesson, here are five things we learned in Serie A this week:
Dzeko not spot-on for Roma but top in Serie A
-- He might be chasing this season's Capocannoniere (top scorer) award in Serie A but Edin Dzeko's success rate from the penalty spot isn't helping. The Roma striker missed his second successive penalty in a 2-0 win at Crotone on Sunday that prompted him to admit on television he would "give the next penalty chance to someone else." Dzeko also has a reputation for missing the target when in scoring positions in open play and was labelled "too soft" in front of goal by coach Luciano Spalletti. He made amends with Roma's second goal to go top of the league scoring charts on 18 goals. He was later joined by Gonzalo Higuain, who hit a brace for Juventus in a 2-0 win at Cagliari.
Napoli look to Real with relish
-- Napoli front man Jose Callejon believes the southerners can cause an upset when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday, when an estimated 10,000 Napolitans are expected in the Spanish capital. He is a former Real player who came through their academy, and he's relishing a return to the Santiago Bernabeu: "We're on the ascendancy, and we have a lot of young players. We want to take a step up and become one of Europe's big sides," he told La Sexta. But the stats are against Napoli as they embark on just their second last 16 appearance, and first since losing to Chelsea in 2012. Napoli have won two and lost four of their six away matches against Spanish opponents in Europe, and Real are unbeaten in their last 11 Champions League games at home.
Hot-shot Higuain keeps on firing
-- He was mocked for being "fat" at the start of this season by disgruntled fans of Argentina, but Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain is laughing away as he makes a bid for a second consecutive Capocannoniere award. Higuain's brace in a 2-0 away win at Cagliari was the 24th time he hit the net multiple times in a Serie A game. The 29-year-old boasts three hat-tricks and 21 doubles. Last season he won the Capocannoniere with a new Serie A record of 36 goals, beating retired AC Milan striker Gunnar Nordahl's 1950 Serie A record of 35 by one goal when he scored a hat-trick against Frosinone on the final day of the season.
Sassuolo undone by English lesson
-- Sassuolo's fans were delirious as Alessandro Matri pounced when the ball came off the post to give the Tuscans a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute against Chievo. But the hosts were stunned by a stirring comeback single-handedly launched by Roberto Inglese. A 25-year-old Italian, Inglese's surname translates as 'English' or 'Englishman', but it was pure footballing skills that came to the fore during a performance that could have seen him score four. Inglese spurned the chance for the opener from the spot after he was hauled down by Dutch defender Timo Letschert, who saw red, after just four minutes. He made amends on 39 minutes after heading Valter Birsa's corner past Andrea Consigli. A tap-in from a rebound and another header off a Birsa cross secured his hat-trick on 69 minutes.
Awesome Atalanta stuck on Europa trail
-- This time last year Atalanta were 13th in Serie A, only nine points above the relegation zone, but Gian Piero Gasperini's men are now bound for the Europa League. Alejandro Gomez took his club-leading tally to nine league goals with Atalanta's second in a 3-1 win at Palermo to see the Bergamo side are up to fifth place on 45 points, only 15 shy of leaders Juventus and six points behind Napoli in the third and last Champions League qualifying place. Atalanta host struggling Crotone at home next week but then face Inter Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina in successive weeks. "Our championship will be determined by those three matches," said Gasperini.