The next Serie A round features a couple of very interesting match-ups involving the two top teams.
Fiorentina-Juventus: the Viola bounced back last week after two tough losses by defeating Bologna on the road, thanks to a great goal by Federico Chiesa. On the other hand, the Oldy Lady collected this seventh win a row and this time creamed Sassuolo, scoring seven goals. The Bianconeri have not had a lot of success in Florence, as they have won only three in the last ten games here. Pioli’s side has fared decently against the best clubs, even though in some games things have gone South quickly for them. For the home team, Giovanni Simeone has been a big-game player, while Federico Chiesa is a constant force, but they will go against a defence that has conceded only once in the last ten games. Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira are in exquisite form for the guests, who have been able to navigate through injuries thanks to the depth of their roster. It will be an emotional game for Federico Bernardeschi, who is slated to start and has usually brought some bonus points when inserted in the XI.
Napoli-Lazio: the Partenopei have won seven games in a row as well, so the duel with Juventus rages on. They have a decent tradition at home against this opponent, having won four of the last seven bouts, at times very easily. The Biancocelesti have lost two games in a row, against Milan and Genoa, and they notably tend to struggle against the better teams, but they did end Juventus’ undefeated streak at the Stadium and they could be dangerous if they are able to play possum and counter. They will have back Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and their attack is a handful, even for the best scoring defence in the league. In the last couple of games, the Azzurri have been carried by Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik, while Lorenzo Insigne has not scored in a while. The Serbian midfielder and Ciro Immobile remain the biggest weapons at Inzaghi’s disposal in what could end up being a high scoring game.
Inter-Bologna: the Nerazzurri are coming off five straight draws, a couple of them against lowly teams. They have someway found the back of the net in the last four, every time with a different scorer, but their defence has also left them down a little recently. They could have Mauro Icardi back, in any case Eder scored on a rare start against Crotone, while Ivan Perisic and Antonio Candreva continue to disappoint in that regard. Rafinha could be a surprise pick in a team that is desperate for new offensive solutions. Bologna have lost in four of their last five games and their defence has not been good, as they have allowed nine goals in that stretch. Rodrigo Palacio will face his former team, while Blerin Dzemaili could be a sneaky pick as Roberto Donadoni has fielded him in a more offensive position with Simone Verdi sidelined.
Sampdoria-Verona: the Blucerchiati are not as dominating at home as they were in the early portion of the season, but their record is still excellent and they will square off against an opponent that, besides a great win against Fiorentina, has recorded several losses lately and conceded a lot. So this will be a good opportunity to field the Sampdoria strikers, Fabio Quagliarella and Duvan Zapata, while Gianluca Caprari is expected to replace the suspended Gaston Ramirez and has been effective when deployed. As for the Scaligeri, Moise Kean has been their best forward, especially in the counter-attacking game.
Roma-Benevento: the Giallorossi finally broke through against Verona after a slew of unsatisfactory results and they have now an excellent chance to build up some momentum as they will host the Sanniti, who have been defeated in all their 11 road games so far, conceding 25 goals. Di Francesco will be without Radja Nainggolan and Lorenzo Pellegrini and has recently implemented a new scheme, which is pretty much last year’s one, where the Belgian thrived as attacking midfielder. We will have to wait to see that again, in the meantime Cengiz Under stepped up with a terrific goal at the Bentegodi stadium and has a chance to grab the starting job, as Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy have both been inconsistent and are not comfortable on the right flank. Despite the underwhelming form of the Wolf’s attack, all their forwards, starting with Edin Dzeko, are worth consideration against such a porous defence and Alisson and the backline are very much in play as the Stregoni have failed to score in their last five away fixtures. As for the guests, the newcomer Guilherme has shown some decent things after his arrival and the speedster Enrico Brignola could represent a longshot bet.
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