Serie A: Inter, Juventus meet in top of the table clash

first_img Tags: Inter MilanjuventusSerie Atop Inter Milan have won all their Serie A games since the season started. (PHOTOS/Courtesy)Brescia vs SassuoloStadio Mario Rigamonti, BresciaFriday, 04-10-2019 @9:45pmDetails to follow shortlySPAL vs ParmaStadio Paolo Mazza, FerraraSaturday, 05-10-2019 @4pmSPAL have alarm bells ringing after one win from the opening six rounds, but Parma seem to have found their mojo after two successive victories.The Spallini lost 2-0 on the road to Juventus in their last outing and would hope to turn the tide against Parma this weekend. Their Achilles hell is their defence, as they’ve conceded 10 goals in their last five games, while netting three times in that period.Parma have restored confidence after their latest victory at home against Torino. Roberto Inglese secured a vital three points in the 88th minute after an intense and exciting first half 2-2 draw.Coach Roberto D’Aversa’s side are currently ninth on the league with nine points from six games.SPAL are three points behind safety, but Leonardo Semplici’s men can be confident of getting on the score sheet as the visitors have conceded in every single game this season. They are hoping to make the most of home advantage, as their only victory was against Lazio at the Stadio Paolo Mazza.Parma have won one of their two away games, scored eight times and have shipped in the same number at their end in the last five fixtures. Alberto Grassi is still on the treatment table, but Matteo Darmian is hoping for a return.Federico Di Francesco, Jasmin Kurtic, Mattia Valoti and Mohamed Fares are out of action for SPAL. Arkadiusz Reca is the favourite rather than Gabriel Strafezza for the left wing-back role.Parma could secure four consecutive Serie A victories for the first time since March 2014.Hellas Verona vs SampdoriaStadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, VeronaSaturday, 05-10-2019 @7pmThis could well be Eusebio Di Francesco’s last chance to save his job after a dismal Sampdoria start, as Verona have twice as many points.The former Sassuolo and Roma Coach has inherited a team from Marco Giampaolo that did not suit his 4-3-3 tactics, so had to adapt in order to suit the squad at his disposal. So far, it hasn’t worked, managing only a lucky 1-0 win over Torino and five defeats. There were some improvements in the losses to Fiorentina and Inter, but this is the game they really need to win or Di Francesco is facing the sack.Gonzalo Maroni is still out of action after spraining his ankle in the Coppa Italia in August, while Manolo Gabbiadini remains a doubt with this recurring muscular issue. Emiliano Rigoni should therefore again be the trequartista supporting Fabio Quagliarella and Gianluca Caprari.Verona shared the spoils in their last two games with Cagliari and Udinese, but the real takeaway from Ivan Juric’s side is just how hard they are proving to beat. The only defeats were very narrow ones against Milan (when down to 10 men for an hour) and Juventus, but just one victory away to Lecce won’t be enough to keep them afloat.Mariusz Stepinski is still trying to form an attacking rapport with Mattia Zaccagni and Valerio Verre in a 3-4-2-1 formation, but Genoa and Inter youth academy starlet Eddie Salcedo is definitely one to watch after an impressive debut coming off the bench against Cagliari. He turned 18 this week and is set for a breakout season on loan in Verona.The injury list includes Daniel Bessa, Salvatore Bocchetti, Samuel Di Carmine and Emmanuel Badu.Samp could lose their opening four Serie A away fixtures for the first time since 1985-86, and on that occasion the fourth loss was against Verona.Genoa vs AC MilanStadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, GenoaSaturday, 05-19-2019 @9:45pmGenoa and Milan are in full-blown crisis mode, with reports suggesting anything less than a victory could see Aurelio Andreazzoli or Marco Giampaolo sacked.The biggest surprise going into this Week 7 encounter is that only one point separates these teams. With home advantage, Genoa will look for their first win in four, whereas Milan will look to put an end to their three-game losing streak.Andreazzoli’s men will be happy to be back at Marassi after a disappointing road trip to Rome, which saw them battered 4-0 by Lazio. The week has been dominated by reports President Enrico Preziosi offered the job to ex-Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso, only to be turned down.Although sitting in 18th place with only five points, the Rossoblu have put in some decent performances and had started strong, fighting back for a 3-3 draw at Roma and beating Fiorentina 2-1. However, with one point from the last four rounds, it has been a rapid downhill slide.Milan are not faring any better, as arguably none of their performances have been convincing, including the narrow victories over Brescia and 10-man Verona. In fact, the best showing of the season was the first hour against Torino, before they capitulated 2-1 to a late Andrea Belotti brace.It was hoped that hour had represented a sign of the future, but it was followed by a disastrous 3-1 home defeat to Fiorentina, which could easily have been a heavier scoreline. Mateo Musacchio was sent off for a leg-breaker tackle on Franck Ribery and is therefore suspended, along with injured Mattia Caldara, so we should see Leo Duarte get his first start in defence.The biggest problems for Milan are upfront, where Krzysztof Piatek has been misfiring badly. Perhaps the return to face his former club, where he went from practical unknown to €25m purchase in just six months, will help bring some of the old magic back. Meanwhile, Rafael Leao scored his first Serie A goal with a wonderful solo effort against Fiorentina and was arguably the only player to emerge with reputation intact from that game.There is the risk of a truly historic result, as the only time Milan lost five of their first seven games of the season was 1938-39.Milan have won four of their last five Serie A meetings with Genoa, drawing the other, keeping four clean sheets.Fiorentina vs UdineseStadio Artemio Franchi, FlorenceSunday, 06-10-2019 @1:30pmFiorentina are finding their rhythm after back-to-back victories and intend to end a two-match unbeaten Udinese run, but only one point separates them.Vincenzo Montella’s men had a dismal start to the season, but victories over Sampdoria and Milan showed vast improvements both in results and performances. Last week’s 3-1 success at San Siro was comfortably their best game so far and considerably boosted confidence.Federico Chiesa and Franck Ribery ran the show in the 3-5-2 formation and the Viola are certainly not dull, scoring 11 goals and conceding 10 this term.It’s a very different story over at Udinese, where Igor Tudor and his side scraped just three goals in six rounds, even if they conceded only five.They are unbeaten in two, having held on to a goalless draw with Hellas Verona, then beaten Bologna thanks to Stefano Okaka’s header. The big news for the Friulani is the return of Rodrigo De Paul from his three-match ban for an off-the-ball slap on Inter’s Antonio Candreva. It’s particularly fitting he should make that comeback at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, considering Fiorentina tried so hard to sign the Argentina international this summer.De Paul should support Okaka upfront, sending Ignacio Pussetto and Ilija Nestorovski back to the bench.Fiorentina are unbeaten at home to Udinese in 12 years, with their last defeat coming courtesy a 1-2 result in 2007 and have only lost twice overall in the last 22 years.Atalanta vs LecceGewiss Stadium, BergamoSunday, 06-10-2019 @4pmAtalanta return to the Gewiss Stadium this weekend against Lecce following the reconstruction of the Curva Nord.The Orobici have been an itinerant club in recent months, playing their Serie A home games at the Stadio Tardini in Parma and Champions League fixtures at San Siro. Now the reconstruction work on one section of the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia is complete and it has been renamed the Gewiss Stadium.Atalanta will be hoping they can bounce back following the late 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.Shakhtar’s 94th minute winner was a bitter pill to swallow for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side in a match which they dominated possession and took the lead through Duvan Zapata, but Josip Ilicic’s penalty was saved.Although fans will be thrilled they can watch their side in Bergamo again, Atalanta’s form playing in various stadiums has been exceptional. From the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia and Stadio Tardini in Parma, La Dea are undefeated in 18 of their previous 19 matches in Serie A.The home side are expected to be at full strength with no injury concerns, but Gasperini could make changes to his side following the midweek loss in Milan. Ruslan Malinovskyi, Remo Freuler and Simon Kjaer were not starters against Shakhtar, but are in strong contention to feature from the beginning this weekend.Historically, Lecce have struggled when visiting Bergamo, with their last win against Atalanta coming in 1994. However, their two wins this season have come on the road against SPAL and an impressive 2-1 victory over Torino. Fabio Liverani’s side performed admirably against Roma last week, but the Coach was disappointed in the way they conceded Edin Dzeko’s late goal. The Giallorossi’s bright spark has been 31-year-old Marco Mancosu, having found the net four times in six matches.Defender Cristian Dell’Orco returned to training this week and may feature, however midfielder Andrea Tabanelli is out for two weeks and so Panagiotis Tachtsidis is expected to retain his place in the side. Diego Farias and Gianluca Lapadula are still not ready to play this weekend, but could be in contention next week.When visiting Atalanta, Lecce have only won once in their 11 meetings in Serie A which was a 4-3 victory in 1994.Bologna vs LazioStadio Renato Dall’Ara, BolognaSunday, 06-10-2019 @4pmLazio hope they have turned a corner with back-to-back victories in all competition, but Bologna have lost their way in recent weeks.Simone Inzaghi has been struggling with squad rotation and keeping the quality level consistent in a packed fixture list, but above all saw massive dips in concentration prove costly. Recent results suggest they have found a way through that, unlucky in defeat to Inter, crushing Genoa 4-0 and fighting back to win their Europa League tie with Stade Rennais on Thursday.It was not until Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto came off the bench that they managed to turn that game around, confirming their dependence on certain star players. Joaquin Correa is out injured, so Felipe Caicedo is again set to support Ciro Immobile in an attack that is more physical than mobile.Bologna have been non-stop remarkable since Sinisa Mihajlovic replaced Pippo Inzaghi in January, taking them from relegation candidates to a 10th place finish. They began the season on a wave of adrenaline, fuelled by their support for a Coach who is undergoing chemotherapy and therefore largely absent, communicating from his hospital bed via video link. However, Mihajlovic is being sorely missed in recent weeks, the team scraping one point from the last three rounds.They were unlucky to capitulate 2-1 to Roma in stoppages, but missed a penalty in their draw at Genoa and seemed extremely tense in the 1-0 defeat to Udinese, culminating in Roberto Soriano’s dismissal for insulting the referee. Danilo is back from injury in defence, although Mitchell Dijks remains sidelined, while Mattias Svanberg is likely to step in for Soriano. Much depends on Rodrigo Palacio, who could either start in a supporting trio behind Mattia Destro or take the centre-forward role himself.Lazio are unbeaten against Bologna in Serie A since March 2012, managing six wins and as many draws, home and away.Roma vs CagliariStadio Olimpico, RomeSunday, 06-10-2019 @4pmRoma host Radja Nainggolan’s Cagliari at the Stadio Olimpico as they look to build on last weekend’s victory over Lecce.Their only defeat this season came in their last home outing against Atalanta and Thursday’s 1-1 Europa League draw away to Wolfsberg only reiterated the importance of Edin Dzeko, who was rested for that trip.The Giallorossi will be disappointed they didn’t take the three points, however it was a promising performance from Paulo Fonseca’s men in what was a much-changed side. Nikola Kalinic was given the opportunity to impress upfront, as Nicolò Zaniolo was also amongst those returning to the starting XI.Roma will be without a number of players, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini added to the injury list this week. Diego Perotti, Cengiz Under and Mert Cetin remain out of action.Cagliari had boosted confidence with a shock 1-0 win away to Napoli, but despite being unbeaten in four rounds, the 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona was disappointing. Lucas Castro netted in the first half before Davide Faraoni pounced on a defensive howler.Radja Nainggolan returns to the Stadio Olimpico, having always confessed he didn’t want to leave Roma for Inter. The midfielder is now on loan at Cagliari and could be ready to start after several weeks out injured.Cagliari will be without long term absentees Leonardo Pavoletti, Alessio Cragno and Paolo Faragò, but Giovanni Simeone has rediscovered his scoring touch with the Sardinians.Nainggolan isn’t the only familiar face on show, as Luca Pellegrini is a Roma youth product and Robin Olsen is on loan after his disastrous debut season at the Olimpico.Cagliari have managed just three draws from their last 10 Serie A meetings with Roma, since a 4-2 victory in February 2013.Torino vs NapoliStadio Olimpico Grande Torino, TorinoSunday, 06-10-2019 @7pmSerie A action returns this weekend with what is usually a fixture filled with goals, as Torino host Napoli, but with a new face on the bench.Torino head into Sunday’s match off the back of a 3-2 loss away to Parma, a contest they spent most of of playing with 10 men following Brazilian defender Gleison Bremer’s second yellow in the 29th minute. Toro did well to stay in the game after taking the lead through a penalty kick courtesy of Andrea Belotti, but being a man down eventually resulted in Parma’s equaliser and eventual late goal to take all three points.The loss comes as a massive blow, as it is The Granata’s third in their last four matches and it kills the momentum gained from the 2-1 win against Milan in Week 4. Walter Mazzarri can be content with his side’s continued ability to score, however, defensive frailties continue to plague the Granata.This lack of identity within the backline has been Torino’s biggest downfall so far this season and a meeting with Walter Mazzarri’s former employer in Napoli normally suggests their headaches at the back are likely to continue.With Simone Zaza carrying a calf problem in training, it’s like Simone Verdi will start against the club he left on transfer deadline day. Barely featuring over his year at the Stadio San Paolo, the Italy international will be eager to prove a point.Mazzarri is suspended following his dismissal from the touchline, a first since the yellow card was introduced for Coaches, but his assist Nicolò Frustalupi is also banned. It means someone else from the staff will have to fill in and it’s likely to be member of staff Roberto Miggiano.Napoli travel to Turin after two frustrating performances in Serie A and the Champions League. The Partenopei made their 2-1 home win to Brescia closer than it should have been, and their 0-0 draw with Genk seems eerily reminiscent of the draw with Red Star Belgrade in last year’s UCL campaign, that saw them drop out of the competition in the group stages.Carlo Ancelotti’s side were consistent in creating opportunities in front of goal, but they failed to convert and kill the game when the opportunity arose. This could very well come back to haunt Napoli, especially since they’ll have to go up against one of Italy’s best strikers in Belotti without their best defender.Kalidou Koulibaly completes a two-match suspension for dissent in the loss to Cagliari. Additionally, a muscular injury to Nikola Maksimovic means it will likely be Sebastiano Luperto who will pair with Kostas Manolas at the back.Defensive issues in both sides make for a game in which anything could happen, but an all-round positive mood within the Napoli locker room, despite seemingly growing frustrations, has maintained the confidence for Carlo Ancelotti’s side heading into their meeting with Torino.In their last three matches at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Napoli have scored a total of 11 goals. The largest tally came in the 2016-17 season, when the Partenopei won 5-0.Inter Milan vs JuventusStadio Guiseppe Meazza, MilanSunday, 06-10-2019 @9:45pmInter’s title credentials are set to be given their sternest test yet, as Antonio Conte takes on reigning champions Juventus at San Siro.Inter began the season in perfect fashion with six wins from six, but this is by far and away their toughest fixture to date, as they host a Juventus side who have improved in the last few weeks.Maurizio Sarri’s men made it four wins in a row in midweek with their comprehensive 3-0 result over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. They also made it three consecutive victories in Serie A with a straight-forward 2-0 win over SPAL last weekend.But what was promising to see was that Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo seem to have clicked. Dybala assisted Ronaldo in that win over SPAL and the third goal in the win over Leverkusen. Gonzalo Higuain has also impressed of late and was Man of the Match midweek, in which he set-up and scored one and could/should have had a few more assists had Ronaldo been more efficient.The addition of Aaron Ramsey in the trequartista role also looks to have helped for Juve and he seems to be establishing himself as an important player already. Juve seem to be hitting a bit of form now, but there are still areas of concern.Inter will be targeting the wings, in particular Juan Cuadrado, who is still adapting to the role of right-back. Stefano Sensi and Kwadwo Asamoah will be looking to exploit Cuadrado’s ill-discipline and often rash style in defence.Mattia De Sciglio, Danilo, Giorgio Chiellini and Douglas Costa are still out injured.Romelu Lukaku was rested as a precaution for the midweek trip to Barcelona, but there are few doubts he will shake off the muscular twinge to start this Scudetto clash. Lautaro Martinez certainly made an impact at Camp Nou, scoring a goal within the opening couple of minutes and going close to several more. His ability to cause defenders nightmares with his work-rate will no doubt continue this weekend.Matthijs De Ligt and Leo Bonucci will certainly have their hands full with Martinez, but Inter’s defence has also been an area of strength so far this season. They conceded only two goals in Serie A this term and kept clean sheets in all three home wins.Diego Godin, Milan Skriniar and Stefan De Vrij will really be up against it when they have to face the likes of Ronaldo, Higuain and most likely Dybala off the bench. Alexis Sanchez is suspended following his eventful full debut – goal and red card with second yellow for diving – so Matteo Politano is the only real option for Inter to come on mid-game.Inter will be full of confidence and Conte will be even more fired up than usual when he faces his old side. Juve don’t have a great record in Milan against Inter, with just three wins since December 2011. Games between these two are normally tight, aggressive affairs and this will be no different.Inter have the form and ability to push Juventus all the way this season, but it is games like this that they must win if the Scudetto is to be removed from the Old Lady’s grasp, who will not be parted from it lightly. A mouth-watering prospect on Sunday, one which the eyes of Europe will be watching.Inter have won only one of their last 13 Serie A meetings with Juventus, 2-1 in September 2016 with Frank de Boer on the bench, along with five draws and seven defeats.Comments last_img

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