The Form of 25 Ex-Premier League Stars Now Playing in Serie A

    Pedro and Mkhitayran have been tearing it up for Roma this season | ALBERTO PIZZOLI/Getty Images

    The new season is only seven matchdays old, but Serie A is already proving to be the home of shocks, goals and endless entertainment.

    Current champions Juventus are languishing down in fifth place (despite picking up three free points just for turning up to the stadium against Napoli), major title contenders Inter are two positions below the Bianconeri, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is spearheading the most remarkable of title charges for Milan.

    AC Milan v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A
    The old man has still got it | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

    Blockbuster. One curiosity that seriously stands out however, is just how many ex-Premier League stars are plying their trade in Serie A this season – and how they’re absolutely killing it in their brand new homes. There must be something in the pizza sauce here, because mamma mia, some of the biggest flops that England has hosted have suddenly remembered how to play football again.

    But just how good have they all been? 90min investigates the starts made to the new Serie A season by 25 of the Premier League’s former stars (consisting of players who last played in England as recently as 2018).

    Diogo Dalot
    « Yes Diogo, this is real life. You’re actually playing a game of football again. » | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

    Diogo Dalot has impressed (and scored) in the Europa League for Milan, but completed only 19 minutes in Serie A since his loan move from Manchester United. Nothing to judge him on.

    Season-So-Far Rating: N/A

    Fernando Llorente
    Taking it easy | Enrico Locci/Getty Images

    Not played a single minute of football this season. 99% sure he’s still a Napoli striker.

    Season-So-Far Rating: N/A

    Christian Eriksen
    Form as ugly as that kit | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

    As bad as it gets. Five appearances, no goal contributions of any sort, and all the talk surrounds his future at the club.

    Christian Eriksen is certainly not helped by the system his boss Antonio Conte adores, but time is running out for the Dane to prove he’s still got the hunger for the elite game.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 1.5/10

    UC Sampdoria v Salernitana - Coppa Italia
    What a lovely jersey | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

    Impact substitute as he works back to match fitness. Not featured all too often. Leicester City not really missing him, either.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 2/10

    Davide Zappacosta
    That’s a lovely shirt, shame they lost 6-0 | Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

    Bagged a goal on his debut, then played in the 6-0 humiliation at the hands of Napoli.

    Hasn’t set foot on the field since, after contracting coronavirus and suffering an injury. Chelsea fans act shocked, please.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 2/10

    Look out for that ball, Gerard! | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

    One start, three sub appearances, zero goals and just as many assists. Life back in Italy has not got off to an electric start for the man on loan from Watford.

    There’s talent there, though.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 2/10

    Alexis Saelemaekers, Roberto Pereyra
    Pereyra escaped the Championship by joining Udinese | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

    Another shifter from Watford to sister club Udinese, Roberto Pereyra has offered up a mere one assist for the Serie A strugglers. The Black and Whites have lost three of the five matches in which he’s featured. Not ideal.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 2/10

    Pedro Obiang
    Obiang is not a regular starter for Sassuolo this season | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

    A bit-part player in a team which is absolutely flying in Serie A. Only completed more than 45 minutes of football on two occasions. Almost surplus.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 3/10

    Alessio Romagnoli, Ignacio Pussetto
    On yer ‘ed, son | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

    One goal in four games for the another Watford-Udinese transfer product – although the natural striker has mainly featured out wide.

    Must do better.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 3/10

    Alexis Sanchez
    Haha | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

    Inter took a gamble re-signing Alexis Sanchez this summer, and so far, it’s not paid off.

    No goals and only two assists in five matches, the Chilean is not kicking on as Conte would have hoped.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 3.5/10

    Zenit St. Petersburg v SS Lazio: Group F - UEFA Champions League
    A typically mental-looking challenge | MB Media/Getty Images

    An emergency free signing who has proven wise business given Lazio’s coronavirus and injury crisis. Conceded eight goals in his four appearances, though.

    Southampton fans can barely hide their surprise.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 4/10

    Matteo Darmian
    Darmian looking how all Inter fans are feeling at the moment | Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

    Incredibly, Matteo Darmian has been an Inter regular this season…which come to think of it, may have something to do with their poor start to the campaign.

    Playing in the key wing-back role, it’s no shock that Conte’s system has coughed and spluttered to a halt.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 4.5/10

    Andreas Pereira
    Snazzy training kit | Marco Rosi – SS Lazio/Getty Images

    Andreas Pereira has been a bit-part player since completing his loan from Man Utd, although he did score in Lazio’s 4-3 win over Torino. A useful squad player, but nothing more.

    Not much has changed since his Old Trafford days, then.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 4.5/10

    Stefano Okaka
    Two goals against Fiorentina weren’t enough in a 3-2 defeat | Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

    Doing his best in a seemingly-doomed side. Two goals and an assist tells the story of a striker starved of decent service.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 5/10

    AS Roma v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
    Smalldini, baby | Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images

    Chris Smalling arrived back at AS Roma late in the transfer window and then suffered an injury setback, meaning he’s only managed two league appearances.

    I Giallorossi picked up six points and conceded only one goal over those 180 minutes, though. Rating suffers due to lack of game time, but Smalldini is back.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 5/10

    Atalanta BC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
    Game face | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

    Played regularly bar a two-game absence due to the coronavirus, Ashley Young has kept his place in the Inter defence.

    The Englishman is less of a creative outlet than when he first arrived, but he’s not alone in his struggles in this Nerazzurri backline.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 5.5/10

    Maya Yoshida
    Yoshida in action in the Derby della Lanterna | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

    Samp’s good run of form has coincided with the return of ex-Southampton man Maya Yoshida to the starting lineup.

    Coincidence? Maybe. But try telling him that.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 6/10

    Danilo Luiz da Silva
    Close your eyes and hope for the best | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

    Despite a less-than impressive first season in Italy, Danilo is proving to be an important figure in Juventus’ team this year.

    The Brazilian has filled in as part of a three-man defence and has performed well, and is often a willing carrier of the ball into the opponents’ half. Not bad.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 6.5/10

    Pepe Reina
    Thumbs up all round | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Part of Aston Villa’s miraculous escape last season (although he seemed to do more damage than good), Reina has opted to be Lazio’s backup keeper this year.

    The Spaniard has played the last three league matches due to fitness issues for first-choice stopper Thomas Strakosha, and he is yet to be on the losing side. Lucky charm?

    Season-So-Far Rating: 6.5/10

    Tiemoue Bakayoko
    Back in Italy and bossing midfields once more | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

    Played four, won three, and demonstrated the form which earned him so many plaudits during his time at Milan.

    A solid holding midfielder for top-four hopefuls Napoli.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 7/10

    Alvaro Morata
    Offside, again?! You’ve got to be kidding me! | Silvia Lore/Getty Images

    If you included all the offside goals that Alvaro Morata has had ruled out this season, then we might be looking at the most prolific striker in football history. Okay, maybe not, but he’s settled back into the Juventus groove with ease since his summer loan move from Atletico Madrid.

    Two goals in five matches really don’t tell the story of the Spaniard’s selfless and unfortunate displays. A promising start to the season.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 7/10

    Genoa CFC and Fc Internazionale - Serie A
    An elite striker | Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

    Romelu Lukaku just keeps getting better and better. Since leaving Manchester United, the Belgian hitman has reaffirmed the belief that he is an elite forward, posting record numbers last season, and threatening to do the same again this year.

    Injury has halted his initial progress, but there will be no stopping him once he’s back and firing.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 8/10

    Henrikh Mkhitaryan
    Bang in form | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    After a solid first season in Serie A, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has blown the doors off his second campaign with Roma. The Armenian forward has benefitted greatly from the arrival of Pedro, and the pair have linked up beautifully on the flanks to make I Giallorossi one of the most creative sides in Europe.

    When needed, he has taken up the mantle of the lone striker role in the absence of Edin Dzeko, and he bagged a super hat-trick in the 3-1 victory over Genoa before the break. We’re finally seeing the Mkhi of old, and it’s a thing of beauty.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 8.5/10

    Pedro Rodriguez Ledesma - Soccer Player
    Pedro has been an inspired free signing for I Giallorossi | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

    It’s only when he plays for the team you support, that you realise just how bloody good this guy is. A big-game player, technically brilliant, an experienced winner, and unbelievably consistent.

    Pedro has settled into life in Rome with ease, scoring three goals and adding three assists in seven appearances. His arrival has softened the blow of another ACL injury for starlet Nicolo Zaniolo, and his name is quickly becoming the first on Paulo Fonseca’s teamsheet. He’s won silverware everywhere he’s gone – can he be the man to end Roma’s long drought without a trophy?

    Season-So-Far Rating: 9/10

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic
    He’s got every reason to be cheery | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

    You could not write it – not even if you decided to release a film called ‘I Am Zlatan’, following the historic rise of Sweden’s greatest ever player. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is 39 years old, and against all odds, he’s dragged Milan to the top of Serie A.

    With EIGHT goals in five appearances, Zlatan has resorted to skying penalties on purpose to show he’s not stat-padding – so he’d probably claim, anyway. Should he lead I Rossoneri to scudetto glory, he may well have saved his career’s greatest achievement until last.

    Season-So-Far Rating: 9.5/10

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