The second half of the 2019/20 Serie A season promises to be full of thrills and surprises, so much that it can be difficult to keep track of what to watch for on a week to week basis. That is where we come in.
Here are five things to watch for in Serie A Round 21 this weekend.
Castrovilli, Boga continue their breakout seasons in Italy
As two of Serie A’s breakthrough stars this season, Fiorentina’s Gaetano Castrovilli and Sassuolo’s Jeremie Boga make for must watch calcio each weekend. Starting with the Italian midfielder, Castrovilli has quickly emerged as one of the league’s best of his kind overnight, an Azzurri debutant and the talk of the country all in his first top flight season. Previously spending time in Serie B with Bari and Cremonese, the 22-year old has quickly proven he is the real deal as a silky passer, efficient dribbler and all-action box-to-box midfielder. What’s not to like? As for Boga, it seems as though the ‘former Chelsea youth’ label has challenged him to get out from underneath the Londoners’ failed loan policy and make a name for himself as a top winger. This season, few are as dangerous on the ball, dribble with intent and deliver on the end product to make all the tricks purposeful. Castrovilli’s Fiorentina host Genoa on Saturday, while Boga and Sassuolo visit Sampdoria on Sunday, leaving you with little excuse to not catch both in action.
Atalanta’s response after shock defeat to SPAL
The Monday fixture often gets lost and forgotten after a full slate of fixtures on Saturday and Sunday, only this past week, SPAL delivering Atalanta a shock alerted quite a few at the full-time whistle. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are the league’s most offensively potent side, while Leonardo Semplici’s are actually bottom of the table, so you can get an idea of just how big of an upset this was when the Ferrara-based side beat the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 finalists. Despite the defeat, Atalanta still finds themselves in a good position to finish fourth, but given how tight the race for top four is shaping up to be, the Bergamo side cannot afford many more slip-ups. This weekend, they make a tricky trek to face Torino who can be difficult to break down when organized and committed defensively. More dropped points for Atalanta could begin making things a bit uncomfortable.
Inter return home to get back on track
Whether we can chalk Inter’s 1-1 draw away last weekend to Lecce as a minor slip-up or not, the fact is they are now four points behind league leaders Juventus through 20 rounds. Combined with the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo has awoken, is scoring with vengeance and the Bianconeri are riding very good league form, the Nerazzurri really do not have many points to leave on the pitch. Antonio Conte is likely to receive reinforcements this month that will enable them to remain firmly in contention for the title, but in the meantime, they must remain focused on the task at hand and keep pace. A return to San Siro to host a struggling Cagliari side works in favor of Inter to pick up maximum points and hope for Napoli stealing something against Juventus to narrow the gap at the top.
Can Napoli use big match vs Juventus to get back on track?
2019/20 has been awfully cruel to Napoli and their fans as they enter this weekend’s tie with Juventus in 11th. However, despite not being the ‘anti-Juve’, there is still plenty of motivation in this clash – for Gennaro Gattuso, the players and entire club itself. A positive result for Gattuso and his men could be the turning point of the season, while also putting a hit to their former coach Maurizio Sarri and his title ambitions. Either we get the same lethargic and sloppy Napoli, or they play to their competition and give their home fans something to be happy about in a nightmare season.
The Derby della Capitale takes centerstage in Rome
This weekend’s main event in Italy has the potential for a truly classic affair as Roma and Lazio open up another chapter in their intense Derby della Capitale. For the Giallorossi, nothing would be sweeter than putting an end to their city rivals’ 11 match win streak in the league, while also solidifying their position in the top four conversation. With Lazio, they must be taken seriously in the Scudetto race, and an impressive performance this weekend while everyone watches on would cement that even further. Few derbies in Europe match the intensity, angst and excitement behind the Roman Derby, the first of which ended 1-1 with six shots clanking off the woodwork. Surely, you cannot miss this one.
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