Juventus-Empoli: the Bianconeri are coming off their first Serie A loss this season, against Genoa, while they dropped points just twice at home thus far. The Azzurri defeated Frosinone in Aurelio Andreazzoli’s return match, nabbing the second win in the last 13 rounds. They have lost in five of the last six away games. The Old Lady will be without Cristiano Ronaldo, who got hurt while playing with Portugal, and Douglas Costa, who remains sidelined. Therefore, Federico Bernardeschi, Moise Kean, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic will lead the charge and try to alleviate the absence of the Portuguese star. They could be helped by the fact that the Tuscans have one of the leakiest defenses in the League. Emre Can has done some damage near the goal recently. The coaching change does not really affect Empoli’s dynamics, as Francesco Caputo remains the linchpin of their offense, heavily supported by Diego Farias and Rade Krunic. Marko Pajac got a surprise start two weeks ago and scored, while Salih Ucan could return to prominence in a very offensive role.
Sampdoria-Milan: after a dip in early February, the Blucerchiati have re-gained some momentum with three wins in the last four fixtures, against Cagliari, SPAL and Sassuolo, but they lost versus Atalanta, where a positive result would have given them a big lift. The Rossoneri’s run, which saw them put together a five-game winning streak and remain undefeated for nearly three months, came to an end at the worst time in the Derby della Madonnina. Fabio Quagliarella continues to be on a scoring spree and was joined in the scoresheet by basically all the other offensive players versus the Neroverdi, but they will clear do battle with a much stingier opponent in this one. Manolo Gabbiadini has been serviceable after returning in January and Gregoire Defrel finally snapped out of his slump. They might recover both Gaston Ramirez and Riccardo Saponara, but the Frenchman fared well as no.10, so we might see the heavy trident again. Krzysztof Piatek was shut out against Inter and will be looking for revenge. The Devil could certainly use some productivity from the supporting cast, as Suso, Hakan Calhanoglu and Lucas Paquetà have not bagged one in a while, which makes their attack a little predictable. Their spriest guy recently has been Samu Castillejo coming off the bench, which is not a great sign.
Fiorentina-Torino: La Viola have triumphed just twice in the last 11 matches and have very slim hopes to re-enter the fold for an Europa League berth. In the last four, they got sunk by Atalanta and Cagliari away and shared the spoils with Inter and Lazio at the Artemio Franchi Stadium. The Granata’s streak was surprisingly busted two weeks ago in the home fixture with Bologna. They had won in three in a row and had not been defeated since mid-January. Federico Chiesa is banged up and his availability is uncertain, so Luis Muriel might have to shoulder a massive burden and Kevin Mirallas and Giovanni Simeone, who both had their moments, could be given a chance to start. Gerson has been pretty useful in the front-line, while they have been hurt from the lack of goals out of the midfield, from Marco Benassi and Jordan Veretout in particular, and their back-line has been sieve-like. Andrea Belotti had netted three in the last three games, while the other Torino goals have been pretty random, as Iago Falque, Simone Zaza and Daniele Baselli have not had much consistency. Ola Aina is suspended, which opens the door for Cristian Ansaldi and Lorenzo De Silvestri and wingbacks are a significant part of their offensive plan. Their defense has been airtight for a long stretch before falling apart versus the Felsinei.
Roma-Napoli: the Giallorossi could not replicate the success in Claudio Ranieri’s second debut as they were torpedoed by SPAL in Ferrara. All year long they have been way better at home, where they have lost once. The Partenopei had a little scare, but returned to winning ways versus Udinese after garnering just one point in the previous two bouts. They grabbed the full loot in just one of the last five road contests. La Lupa continue to deal with a plethora of injuries and they will not be able to rely on Stephan El Shaarawy and Alessandro Florenzi, while Aleksandar Kolarov, Kostas Manolas, Javier Pastore, Daniele De Rossi and Lorenzo Pellegrini are trying to shake off pre-break physical issues. Nicolò Zaniolo and Edin Dzeko will once again be their nexuses, while two between Patrik Schick, Diego Perotti and Justin Kluivert will get the call, but they have been hit-and-miss. As for the Azzurri, Piotr Zielinski is suspended, which will give an opportunity at left winger to either Simone Verdi or Amin Younes, who scored in the last match. Lorenzo Insigne and Fabian Ruiz had some hiccups, but they should be available at least in limited capacity. Dries Mertens was a demon against the Bianconeri and he could be a streaky player, while Arkadiusz Milik has been a constant threat all season long. There is the potential for a high scoring affair.
Inter-Lazio: the Beneamata played one of their best games of the season at the most opportune time, toppling Milan and re-taking control of the third spot of the table. They have succeeded in four of the last six rounds. The Biancocelesti are coming off two big home wins over Roma and Parma, while they dropped point in Genoa and Florence in the last two away ones. Mauro Icardi resumed practicing fully after clashing with the management and the teammate and being stripped of the captain armband. He is not guaranteed to reprise the full-time job because Lautaro Martinez has been excellent while deputizing, however the starlet got hurt with Argentina and will be out this week. Balde Keita is also an option as false-nine, which would boost his fantasy appeal. Radja Nainggolan was dealing with a calf ailment before the break and his presence is in doubt. Matteo Politano and Matias Vecino have been pretty good recently, while Ivan Perisic is seesawing. Filippo Inzaghi has switched to a tactic featuring all his most creative players, Luis Alberto, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa, but might go back to Marco Parolo, who is the least appealing one fantasy-wise, in a more challenging match-up. The Spaniard broke out of the slump in emphatic fashion two weeks ago and Correa is always a thorn in defenders’ side. Ciro Immobile is back from suspension and will look to keep it going after scoring in his last two appearances.
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