Here’s a breakdown of the top five matches of the next Serie A round.
Atalanta-Inter: the Goddess has slowed down a little after a hot comeback and have failed two win in their last two outings, against Sampdoria and Spal. Their offence is missing a key piece in Josip Ilicic and Alejandro Gomez and Bryan Cristante look spent after a demanding year: it would be the right time for either Andrea Petagna or Andreas Cornelius to carry the load a little bit, but neither has been consistent so far. Two disappointing results for Inter as well, first in the Derby della Madonnina, then against Torino. They played decently in both though, creating plenty of chances but without cashing in. Mauro Icardi obviously remains their centre-piece, while Ivan Perisic is more erratic. Rafinha is pulling the strings, but he is not a big factor in the fantasy game.
Fiorentina-Spal: the Viola are humming with six wins in a row and a bunch of clean sheets and they now control the race to the seventh spot. They are getting contribution from all their top players: Federico Chiesa, Giovanni Simeone and Jordan Veretout have all found the target recently. Marco Benassi has broken out of his scoring slump and he could be streaky. Spal are combative and have refused to go down in their last six outings, drawing in the last four. They manage to keep the score low and eventually find an occasional goal to share the spoils. Mirco Antenucci has been their leading scorer so far this season, but they are truly a cooperative.
Milan-Napoli: the Rossoneri have not prevailed in their last three games, tying with Inter and Sassuolo and losing to Juventus. With the Neroverdi, they woke up late but still could have come away with the full loot. Nikola Kalinic scored a pretty goal, which might give him a leg up in the three-man rotation upfront. Aside from the starting striker, Gennaro Gattuso is sticking to his guns in the key positions, relying heavily on Suso, Giacomo Bonaventura and Hakan Calhanoglu. The Partenopei are coming off a dramatic victory over Chievo: they are not playing spectacularly lately, but they have gutted out a couple of pivotal wins to keep pace with Juventus. Arek Milik returned to the scoresheet and will be an interesting arrow in Sarri’s quiver till the end of the season. The Devil will be without Leonardo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli, which could benefit the Azzurri’s attack, spearheaded by Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne.
Juventus-Sampdoria: the Bianconeri had to go to work to topple Benevento, but they managed to score four goals, led by Paulo Dybala, who is back into a featured role and is taking away some of Gonzalo Higuain’s fantasy shine. In the heart-breaking result at Bernabeu, Mario Mandzukic returned to relevancy after a down period. Douglas Costa’s excellent form continues, while Juan Cuadrado is rounding into full shape. They have conceded in the last two games, but they are rock-solid at home. The Blucerchiati have been rather uneven so far on the road, but they won an extremely important game recently in Bergamo and also defeated Roma at Olimpico, so, while they are not as good as at home, they are no pushovers. Duvan Zapata has carried them recently in terms of scoring as Fabio Quagliarella returned to earth.
Lazio-Roma: the Biancocelesti have won two games in a row to get back on track, but they have not had a ton of success in derbies lately. Roma is coming off an incredible feat in Champions League, which could carry over in Serie A, where they have not been as consistent as they would like. They are probably the most well-equipped squad to take the third spot, but they have not fully shown that yet. Lazio narrowly edges out Juventus for the best attack in Serie A and they have buried a whopping 25 goals more than the Wolf. Ciro Immobile has done most of the heavy lifting, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto as his main Robins, while Felipe Anderson joined the party late. One of the main problems for Roma is that they have not had a reliable scorer other than Edin Dzeko. They have recovered Cengiz Under and the coach recently hatched a new scheme to feature Patrik Schick in a more way for suitable for him: we will see whether that will work.
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