Inter-Fiorentina: the Beneamata is coming off a rewarding result against Sampdoria, their second win in Serie A. They have showed some improvements between the last game and the one versus Tottenham, but they have not turned the corner yet. For instance, they have not found a way to constantly feed Mauro Icardi in the box, and he is still scoreless in the domestic league. Ivan Perisic and Radja Nainggolan have compensated on that front, then their dangerousness on set pieces has helped. Antonio Candreva has surprisingly looked better than the newcomers Matteo Politano and Balde Keita. La Viola have prevailed in four out six matches, however failing to come away with three points in the two most demanding match-ups, versus Napoli and Sampdoria. They are in third position, but they have still something to prove. They have had no troubles offensively, as Giovanni Simeone, Federico Chiesa, Marko Pjaca and Marco Benassi have already been able to score, and they are certainly a handful. The last few matches between the two teams have generally been high scoring.
Udinese-Lazio: there was some scepticism about Julio Velazquez in the offseason, since it looked like an odd hiring, but the Bianconeri have done very well so far, garnering eight points in five fixtures and losing only to Fiorentina. The coach has also shown some flexibility, quickly moving to a more robust 4-3-3 since Antonin Barak was not working as attacking midfielder. Rodrigo De Paul has been scorching hot with four goals already and the others have basically been riding his coattails. Kevin Lasagna broke out of his slump against Chievo, they also have a physical option with Lukasz Teodorczyk. Darwin Machis and Ignacio Pussetto are speedy wingers who need to be guarded closely. Lazio are coming off three straight wins against the minnows, which is what they have done in the past two seasons. They are not in supreme shape, but their top players are commencing to show up: Ciro Immobile just had a brace, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic a goal plus assist performance, Luis Alberto scored two in a row. So more of the same from the Biancocelesti, waiting for Joaquin Correa and Valon Berisha to bring something to the table. The Biancocelesti have had a lot of success in Udine in the last few years.
Juventus-Bologna: the Old Lady racked up five wins so far and kept the second clean sheet in Frosinone. Cristiano Ronaldo has found the net in two games in a row and might go on a tear. With Mario Mandzukic serving his usual ancillary role and Paulo Dybala in a funk, Federico Bernardeschi has stepped up big time. Bologna scored in just one game, so the Bianconeri back-line could be in play and Mattia Perin is expected to get his first start. The Felsinei shocked Roma in the weekend, profiting from a surprising goal by Federico Mattiello and then taking advantage of the room to counter, which led to Federico Santander’s score. This will obviously be a more challenging match-up considering the state of Roma.
Napoli-Parma: the Partenopei are cruising with four Ws in five fixtures. They played their best game in Turin, where they always looked in control. The new-look 4-4-2 is working wonders for Lorenzo Insigne, Arek Milik had an assist last week, while more time is needed to evaluate Dries Mertens in a two-man attack. Simone Verdi found his first one in Azzurro, but Piotr Zielinski and José Callejon are expected to return to the starting XI in this case. The Spaniard’s fantasy value could take a little hit since he will be further away from the goal, but he has never been a prolific scorer after all. The Pole instead will have fewer defensive tasks. Parma conquered two wins in a row and their configuration can certainly be effective in this kind of matches since Gervinho is devastating on the fast-break and Roberto Inglese is a professional scorer. Napoli’s defence has not been super solid so far.
Empoli-Milan: the Azzurri are touted for their playing style, but positive results have been hard to come by and they lost in three out of their last four games. They have been able to hang onto Francesco Caputo’s goal, but Antonino La Gumina has yet to acclimate to Serie A. They will be without their main creator Miha Zajc, it could be chance for Hamed Traorè or Salih Ucan to prove what they can do. The Rossoneri have been up-and-down: the offensive phase is doing just fine, the defensive one not so much they since have already conceded seven goals. Their main issue is that they have some prolonged black-out during the games and opponents generally bask in those. Up front, Gonzalo Higuain, Suso and Giacomo Bonaventura are thriving, while Hakan Calhanoglu has had a slow start.
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