Atalanta-Sassuolo: the Goddess survived Juventus’ second half push last week and returned from Turin with a precious point that allowed them to catch Inter and maintain a narrow lead over Milan. They have not lost since February 23rd and triumphed in eight of the following 12 rounds. Sassuolo are right in the middle of the pack but played spoiler last week by drawing with Roma. They have been defeated just once in the last eight matches, tying in five occasions. Josip Ilicic scored at the Stadium after being shut out for few weeks and also their rock Duvan Zapata and Alejandro Gomez will be popular picks since the Neroverdi are not the stingiest bunch. Neither are the Bergamaschi to be honest: the locals have spread the wealth in terms of scoring, but in general Domenico Berardi, Jeremie Boga and Stefano Sensi have been their best contributors in the final months. Hans Hateboer’s suspension makes it clear that Timothy Castagne and Robin Gosens will man the flanks: the former is more interesting since he is listed as a defender and in the midst of a prolific run. Continue reading
Empoli vs Torino was one of the few tilts that had something on the line in both sides and, despite the lopsided result, it hung in the balance up until the 70th minute. In the end, the desire to avoid relegation proved to be more forceful than chasing the European dream.
The Azzurri entered the game having picked up six mammoth points in the last two games, putting pressure especially on Genoa among the teams in front of them. The Granata had not lost in eight rounds, winning three of the last four matches and staying close to Roma and Milan in the standings. Continue reading
Salvatore Sirigu (7 points): he was probably a little lucky in his best save, on Lorenzo Insigne’s sure-fire attempt, but still made few other deciding ones that allowed Torino to stop Napoli.
Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): the acrobatic tap-in on the goal line, on top of a very easy clean sheet, made him the highest earner for this round.
Matias Silvestre (5 points): Empoli were finally able to prevent the opponents from scoring after failing to do so for 20 straight matches, and therefore the leader of their back-line gets a token spot. Continue reading
Two perfect results in this round, one rather predictable by Juventus against Frosinone, which has already been covered on the site, the other a little more surprising, by Empoli, which rolled past Sassuolo. The Azzurri had not won since December 9th and copped just two points in the past nine fixtures, against Cagliari and Chievo, and were beaten in all the remaining ones.
Giuseppe Iachini fielded Afriyie Acquah over Hamed Traorè and Cristiano Dell’Orco over Jacob Rasmussesn compared to his most used line-up. Sassuolo posed very little resistance, perhaps caught by surprise by the vigor of the opponents, and Francesco Caputo and company pulled the strings all game long. Continue reading
Standings implications: Juventus tacked on two more points to their lead, as they walloped Frosinone, while Napoli could not come up with a goal versus Torino. Inter seem fully back as they showed some fight against Sampdoria, winning their second in a row. Milan prevailed in the key clash with Atalanta, remaining in control of the Champions League race. Lazio got beat in the final minutes by Genoa. Roma kept up with the Rossoneri by edging Bologna. Fiorentina leapfrogged Torino and Sampdoria thanks to the drubbing they handed to SPAL. Empoli jumped out of the relegation zone with a commanding victory over Sassuolo, closing the gap with the Estensi, but also Udinese and Cagliari snatched the full loot despite much tribulation, against Chievo and Parma. Continue reading
Juventus: Sami Khedira got hurt again in the few minutes he played in Champions League and will undergo tests on Friday. Daniele Rugani has a fractured rib and will miss the Udinese game. Mattia De Sciglio has a chance to return to the squad list after a second hamstring problem. Douglas Costa will serve the final match of his suspension.
Napoli: Mario Rui is disqualified. Faouzi Ghoulam and Amin Younes could return after the break from their kneecap fracture and Achilles tear, while the recovery of Alex Meret from an arm fracture has had few setbacks and his timetable is uncertain. Continue reading
Juventus: no updates for the Italian Champions, as Mattia De Sciglio and Sami Khedira remain out with their hamstring strains, Douglas Costa is suspended and Leonardo Spinazzola is working his way back from an ACL tear.
Napoli: Alex Meret is not progressing as planned after an arm fracture and he is not expected to return before to the next break. Faouzi Ghoulam has been practicing regularly for few days, but he has not been called up yet.
Roma: Diego Perotti suffered another thigh injury and will miss the next two games. Kostas Manolas bowed out of the Frosinone game at half time due to some muscle fatigue, but he should gut it out. Continue reading
Most of the big stuff was done prior to deadline day in Serie A, but it still had a little bit of drama with Simone Zaza picking Torino over Sampdoria after the Blucerchiati had sealed the deal with Valencia. He will now form an interesting couple with Andrea Belotti and the Granata also brought in another familiar face: Roberto Soriano from Villarreal. Two valuable additions that might allow them to seriously challenge for a Europa League spot this year. They also obtained on loan the right back Ola Aina from Chelsea and the centre-back Koffi Djidji from Nantes to complete the defence. Continue reading