As some of you may already have noticed, I have been on Super Bowl duty for the Guardian this week. Frustratingly, that coincided not only with the Derby d'Italia, but also plenty more interest around the end of the transfer window. As with the last few years on this weekend, I've put together a few talking points instead of the usual blog. Apologies for the reduced service, but rest assured that we will be back to full coverage next week.
• Juventus thumped Internazionale 3-1, just as they were always likely to do. It was hard to imagine any other outcome given the recent disparity in each team's performances – with the Bianconeri unbeaten in the league since October, and the Nerazzurri yet to win a game in any competition this year. Indeed, given that Inter had managed one goal so far in 2014, it was almost a surprise just to see them score. And yet, it remains true that Walter Mazzarri's side are one of only three teams to take points off Juventus so far this season, drawing with them at home in September. For all their frailties – from Andrea Ranocchia's repeated mental absences at the back right through to the enduring reliance on a declining Diego Milito up front – it is still hard to grasp quite how they have fallen so far. This team, after all, had only lost a single league game before mid-December. The arrival of Hernanes may help, and addresses a need in creative terms, but it is hard to shake the sense that the problems here run deeper.
• The gap between first and second has widened, at least temporarily, to nine points, after Roma's game against Parma was abandoned due to a torrential downpour at the Stadio Olimpico. The game may not get made up for some time now, either, since the venue is already heavily booked up with additional Coppa Italia games, as well as Lazio's Europa League fixtures and Italy's Six Nations home games. For now it has been provisionally scheduled for 12 March, but if Lazio were to make it through to the last 16 of the Europa League, it could get bumped back into April.
• Easily the most shocking result of the weekend arrived at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, where Atalanta demolished Napoli 3-0. Rafael Benítez engaged in some heavy squad rotation, presumably with one eye on Wednesday's Coppa Italia semi-final first leg away to Roma, leaving out the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín and Marek Hamsik, but their absence cannot explain the shambolic nature of all three goals Napoli conceded, from Pepe Reina letting Germán Denis's tame effort squirm under his body for the opener to Gokhan Inler hooking the ball awkwardly back into the same striker's path for the second. It would be tempting to just dismiss the game as one freakishly bad day at the office, but while that is undoubtedly the case, Napoli have not won any of their last three league games. They, too, are slipping.
• The coolest image of the weekend, for me, was that of Denis celebrating with his son, a youth team player and ball-boy, after scoring his first goal. The striker was being an embarrassing dad before the game, ruffling his son's hair as he walked out on to the pitch, but must have seemed a whole lot cooler after connecting ball with net against such high-profile opponents.
• If the season ended today (which, you will be shocked to learn, it doesn't), then Verona would claim Italy's last Europa League spot. The "little, big club", as Gazzetta dello Sport referred to them this Monday, climbed above Inter into fifth place by virtue of a 2-1 win away to Sassuolo. Their first goal was a gift, Thomas Manfredini sliding the ball into his own net as he tried to cut out a cross at the near post, but the second, a chip from Luca Toni, was a peach. It was also his 10th goal of the campaign.
• Clarence Seedorf's perfect start in the league with Milan was ended by a 1-1 draw against Torino, but Adriano Galliani did not seem too disappointed with his new manager's start. "With Seedorf, Milan have changed their mentality and formation," he said. "Now the players are applying themselves much more."
• The sale of Hernanes might not have had any immediate impact on Lazio's form – the Biancocelesti winning 2-0 away to Chievo this weekend – but it has certainly not gone down well with the club's fans. The owner Claudio Lotito's phone number was circulated on message boards and social media this week, and he has since been inundated with abusive phone calls attacking him over his transfer policy. He even received one such call while in the middle of an interview with reporters outside the league's offices in Milan. "Yesterday evening I received about 60 calls from pseudo-fans, in which they either asked me to leave Lazio or threatened me with death," said Lotito. "I am living under protection, you have to understand that writing stupid things is an incitement to violence."
Atalanta 3-0 Napoli, Bologna 0-2 Udinese, Cagliari 1-0 Fiorentina, Catania 3-3 Livorno, Chievo 0-2 Lazio, Genoa 0-1 Sampdoria, Juventus 3-1 Inter, Milan 1-1 Torino, Sassuolo 1-2 Verona, (Roma v Parma was postponed).