An interesting Serie A round is coming up, let’s take a look at the most intriguing matches.
Benevento-Juventus: even though they are too far away from the positions that would allow them to avoid the drop, the Sanniti always perform well in front of their crowd, having won four of their last six games here. They were defeated only by Napoli and by Cagliari after a late comeback by the opponents. The Bianconeri quickly returned to winning ways after drawing against Spal as they defeated Milan last Saturday, helped by Sami Khedira and Juan Cuadrado. They will look to bounce back after a tough result against Real Madrid and, despite being belligerent, Benevento do not have a great defence. So Gonzalo Higuain and especially Paulo Dybala, who has netted four in the last five games, could be good picks here. The Old Lady’s defence fell just short of surpassing their previous record of minutes without conceding, ironically enough it was perforated by Leonardo Bonucci. As for the Stregoni, Cheick Diabate has been a menace in the box since joining, but he has played sparingly, Massimo Coda has scored a good amount of goals at home and Guilherme and Enrico Brignola are usually spry.
Roma-Fiorentina: the Giallorossi stumbled in Bologna after a very positive stretch of matches and were then largely defeated at the Camp Nou despite putting up a decent fight. Fiorentina are coming off five straight wins, mostly against minnows, and have re-entered the Europa League race. Edin Dzeko continues to be Roma’s driving force, while Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy are a little inconsistent and Cengiz Under and Radja Nainggolan are banged up. Fiorentina will be without Federico Chiesa, who is suspended, and replacing him will definitely be a big task. Giovanni Simeone has scored in the last two games and Riccardo Saponara, Gil Dias and eventually Cyril Thereau and Valentin Eysseric will have to take the reins with the starlet sidelined.
Sampdoria-Genoa: the two clubs are coming off massive wins in the midweek round. Sampdoria defeated Atalanta and shook off the funk of three straight losses, while Genoa got the best of Cagliari in the final minutes thanks to a gem by Iuri Medeiros, which pretty much assures that they will stay in Serie A this season. The Derby della Lanterna is usually very intense and always has a great atmosphere. For the Blucerchiati, Duvan Zapata has stepped up recently while Fabio Quagliarella has understandably slowed down, but you can always count on the veteran striker in big games. Gaston Ramirez and Ricardo Alvarez have been pretty lackadaisical, perhaps Marco Giampaolo should stick with the energetic and effective Gianluca Caprari as no.10. As for the Griffon, Gianluca Lapadula is finally in a rhythm after an injury-laden season and Goran Pandev held down the forth while other attackers were struggling. They have found another weapon in Medeiros and Adel Taarabt is back to be healthy, also Oscar Hiljemark has done pretty well recently.
Torino-Inter: the Granata are suddenly back to performing convincingly as they have scored eight goals in their last two outings, against Cagliari and Crotone. Andrea Belotti bagged a hat-trick in the last game, Iago Falque continues to be his productive self and Adem Ljajic seems to have finally won the coach over. The Nerazzurri wasted away two points in the midweek Derby della Madonnina as Mauro Icardi atypically missed two sitters. The striker is always in the thick of it and the Torino’s defence is not the stingiest in the League. Ivan Perisic did not have a particularly impressive outing on Wednesday, but he had buried two in the previous two games, with few assists as well. The main problem for the Beneamata is that they need a third guy to step up: Antonio Candreva has not found the back in a year and his dishes are down as well, Rafinha has done pretty well so far but he is not a big threat to score. Inter have kept five clean sheets in a row, also against some fizzy opponents, so Samir Handanovic and Milan Skriniar deserve consideration even though the match-up is not that easy on paper.
Napoli-Chievo: the Partenopei are not in the best form and they confirmed that in Sassuolo, where they were only able to equalize the game in the final minutes after going down. Their attack is getting bottled up a little too often and they are not as explosive as they used to be. That being sad, they are still close to Juventus despite prevailing in just one of their last four matches. Chievo collected four points in their last two matches, but they should have won both as they let an excellent opportunity slip against Sassuolo. They fought with Milan, but they have lost in their last eight away games, even though they were mostly close ones. José Callejon has resumed scoring consistently, Dries Mertens is their top dog offensively and Arek Milik has looked good last week. It could be a good idea to select Kalidou Koulibaly or another Napoli defender. Rolando Maran seems to have settled on a new tactic relying heavily on Emanuele Giaccherini and the move has paid off with a pair of goals and assists by the ex Napoli player.
Milan-Sassuolo: the Rossoneri took a step back in the last two games, where they were unable to come away with big points in the demanding bouts against Juventus and Inter. They did pretty well at the Stadium, but it takes a lot to leave scot-free from there, while they were rather fortunate in the Derby. Amid some inconsistent playing time, Patrick Cutrone did not do the trick this time. Giacomo Bonaventura’s stocks are trending downwards, Hakan Calhanoglu’s one upwards and Suso’s are consistent. The Neroverdi collected two gritty points against Napoli and Chievo, where Matteo Politano again confirmed to be their most dangerous man. This game has a history of being high scoring, with Domenico Berardi being very prolific when seeing red-and-black, but he is dinged up and it has almost been a lost year for the promising winger.
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