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Football

Ronaldo’s Juventus hosts Sassoulo on match day four in Seria A

Inter Milan vs Parma

Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, Milan

Saturday, 15-09-2018 @04:00pm (Super Sport 9)

Referee: Gianluca Manganiello

Inter finally got their first win of the season in the last game, winning 3-0 against Bologna. The Nerazzurri had a dismal start to the campaign, one that they had prefaced with open talk of a Scudetto challenge. Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez both missed that Bologna game. The younger Argentine is still struggling with muscular problems, but Icardi is back and featured for his country in a midweek friendly with Colombia in New York. It’s possible the captain will again be rested, allowing Keita Balde Diao to build on his new centre-forward role, supported by Ivan Perisic, Radja Nainggolan and Matteo Politano.

Parma clambered their way back into the top flight after bankruptcy in 2015, securing a record three consecutive promotions. It hasn’t been a great start, losing three out of four games (including the Coppa Italia with Pisa) and throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw with Udinese in the opening round. Their injury list remains fairly solid, missing Alberto Grassi, Jacopo Dezi, Gianni Munari, Scozzarella and Jonathan Biabiany. Amato Ciciretti is finally available again, albeit probably from the bench, and Emanuele Calaiò continues his lengthy suspension.

Parma have only managed one Serie A victory at San Siro in 24 attempts, 3-1 in May 1999, losing 15 and drawing eight.

Napoli vs Fiorentina

Stadio San Paulo, Napoli

Saturday, 15-09-2018 @07:00pm (Super Sport 9)

Referee: Michael Fabbri

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli are fresh from a heavy defeat as they host an in-form Fiorentina side targeting the top spot. Napoli’s winning start to the campaign was ended in comprehensive fashion in Week 3, when they were beaten 3-0 away by Sampdoria. As for La Viola, they have continued their impressive form at the end of last season into this one with two wins from two, having played a game less due to their opening game being postponed following the tragic events in Genoa last month. The problem might be at the back, as Alban Lafont is struggling with an injury, giving Bartlomiej Dragowski a big test in only his sixth Serie A appearance.

Napoli on the other are still adjusting to life under Ancelotti and they need time to reach peak levels, so this difficult start to the season will only help them improve.

 Fiorentina have not beaten Napoli away from home since 2014, emerging with a draw and four defeats.

Frosinone vs Sampdoria

Stadio Benito Stirpe, Frosinone 

Saturday, 15-09-2018 @09:30pm (Super Sport 9)

Referee: Massimiliano Irrati

Frosinone finally get to play in front of their fans at the Stadio Benito Stirpe and host a Sampdoria side brimming with confidence. The hosts really need the support after a dismal start to the campaign, failing to score a single goal in their two away defeats and ‘home’ draw with Bologna. That game was played in Turin and behind closed doors as punishment for last season’s Serie B promotion play-off shenanigans, which included throwing extra footballs on to the pitch to break up Palermo attacks.

Frosinone will have to do without two of his main attacking threats though, as strikers Daniel Ciofani and Federico Dionisi are both injured.

Blucerchiati on the other hand are flying high after battering Napoli 3-0 in their last match. Manager Marco Giampaolo’s men were too savvy for Carlo Ancelotti’s side and buoyed on by a raucous home crowd they put the Azzurri to the sword early in the game. Samp will have to do without the services of defender Vasco Regini, Belgian Dennis Praet and potentially creative midfielder Riccardo Saponara, who limped off in the match with the Azzurri.

Both these teams won their home fixtures against each other 2-0 the first time Frosinone were in Serie A.

Roma vs Chievo

Stadio Olympico, Rome

Sunday, 16-09-2018 @03:30pm (Super Sport 9)

Referee: Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni

Both Roma and Chievo have been riddled with early season inconsistency and look to overcome heavy defeats. Roma have always found a way to get over the chopping and changing that comes every summer, but this season feels different. The Giallorossi dominated Torino, but were easily contained by the Granata until Edin Dzeko’s individual brilliance late on secured all three points.

Chievo on the other hand did face the humiliation of conceding six against Fiorentina two rounds back. Lorenzo D’Anna was trusted with changing their fortunes, but hopes will have been dampened further after the 0-0 draw with new boys Empoli a fortnight ago, meaning that any more dropped points could see the Gialloblu locked in an early season relegation scrap.

Roma’s Kostas Manolas is expected to be fit despite picking up a knock on international duty, but Alessandro Florenzi, Patrik Schick and Javier Pastore are all likely to miss out. Stephan El Shaarawy will probably start, even though there is pressure from the exciting Justin Kluivert, while the all Italian trio of Daniele De Rossi, Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini should keep their place in the middle, despite failing to convince as a unit so far this season.

Chievo are expected to be without Perparim Hetemaj and Fabrizio Cacciatore.

Chievo have only ever beaten Roma three times in 32 Serie A meetings and two of those were in the Capital.

Genoa vs Bologna

Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris (Genova)

Sunday, 16-09-2018 @04:00pm

Referee: Luca Banti

Bologna travel to Marassi to face Genoa still looking for their first goals of the new season. Felipo Inzaghi’s team have collected only one point from their opening three matches of the new campaign.

In Bologna’s way stand a Genoa team with one win and one loss from their two matches played this term.There are no new absentees for Bologna, although they are still without duo Godfred Donsah and Nehuen Paz. Neither side will be missing any players through suspension, although Genoa will be without promising young on-loan forward Andrea Favilli through injury. Lisandro Lopez is also sidelined.

Genoa have won only one of the last nine matches against Bologna.

Juventus vs Sassoulo

Allianz Stadium, Torino

Sunday, 16-09-2018 @04:00pm

Referee: Daniele Chiffi

Both Juventus and second-placed Sassuolo look to remain undefeated as they lock horns in an early season showdown in Turin. Despite still awaiting Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal in a Bianconeri jersey, the Old Lady have won all three of their opening matches and find themselves in a familiar spot atop the Serie A table. Massimiliano Allegri is still trying to adjust to life with a five-time Ballon d’Or winner. He has tried to use the Portuguese Phenom in a variety of different roles as he continues to look for the best way to integrate him into the side. As a result, we’ve seen Paulo Dybala on the bench more often than he is used to, which could become an issue if the Italian tactician isn’t careful. Juventus have won five consecutive matches in league play against Sassuolo, including a 7-0 thumping last season at home that the Neroverdi are doing their best to put in the rear-view mirror.

Roberto De Zerbi’s men have had an impressive start to the season, collecting seven of nine points. Domenico Berardi has two goals already this season, and will need to come up big in Turin on Sunday if his club have any chance of pulling off an upset. Veteran Kevin-Prince Boateng is discovering a new lease of life as a centre-forward, scoring three goals in four competitive games, plus an assist.

Juventus have won the last five consecutive Serie A matches played between these two teams. Sassuolo lost all five trips to Turin, scoring one goal and conceding 16.

Udinese vs Torino

Dacia Arena, Udine 

Sunday, 16-08-2018 @04:00pm

Referee: Paolo Valeri

These teams could be disappointed with their respective starts to the season, but Udinese and Torino know that they have enough talent in their squads for a solid run of form. The hosts come into this off the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat to Fiorentina, one of the in form sides in Serie A, so won’t be too disheartened by that. The win against Sampdoria followed a draw against Parma on the opening day.

As for their visitors, they arguably deserved more. A late defeat on the opening day to Roma followed by clambering back from 2-0 down to draw away at Inter meant that in two games they came close to a better result. The 1-0 win at home to SPAL put a W in their win column, but it’s far from what we all expect from a Torino side that still boast some very good players. Walter Mazzarri will know that he can get better out of the likes of Iago Falque and Andrea Belotti and it’s only a matter of time until they click, but until that point, games like this against Udinese will be vital to determining where they take the rest of their Serie A campaign.

Torino are unbeaten against Udinese since a 1-0 home loss in December 2015, followed by three wins and two draws. There have been 21 goals in their last five meetings.

Empoli vs Lazio

Stadio Carlo Castellani, Empoli

Sunday, 16-09-2018 @07:00pm (Super Sport 9)

Referee: Daniele Orsato

Empoli host Lazio on Sunday in a game where both sides will be hoping to kick-start some form in the new campaign. The Azzurri have surprised most in their return to Serie A, picking up four points from the opening three rounds. A fortnight ago they held Chievo to a goalless draw and come into this match more than capable of taking points from this fixture.However, they will be without Luca Antonelli for Sunday’s clash as he picked up a thigh injury and is expected to be sidelined until November. Ivan Provedel is back and ready to take the gloves after fracturing his tibia back in January.

Lazio will be looking for consecutive victories after their underwhelming opening two weeks of the new season. They narrowly scraped past Frosinone thanks to a Luis Alberto late strike, but will be hoping to silence their critics with a comprehensive performance on Sunday. Jordan Lukaku and Valon Berisha are unavailable for the match as they both aim to recover from their respective injuries.

Lazio have won four of the last five meetings with Empoli.

Cagliari vs AC Milan

Sardegna Arena, Cagliari

Sunday, 16-09-2018 @09:30pm (Super Sport 9)

Referee: Rosario Abisso

Both Cagliari and Milan received a real boost with victories just before the break for international duty. The Sardinians lost, drew, and won in their first three games, and will look to build off of a mediocre start in the hopes of a more successful season than last year’s. Milan, on the other hand, are coming off an impressive win against Roma and aiming to keep the momentum going at the Sardegna Arena. Gattuso has worked to instill a possession-based style into his players and they have shown flashes that they can be successful under it. This Sunday’s match will be tough for both sides, but count on Milan to be the side to come away with three points.

Cagliari have only won one of their last 29 competitive meetings with Milan, a 2-1 home result in May 2017, along with six draws.

Spal vs Atalanta

Stadio Paolo Mazza, Ferrara

Monday, 17-09-2018 @09:30pm

Referee: Maurizio Mariani

SPAL open their newly refurbished stadium, and certainly the hosts will aim to celebrate this with a win over Atalanta on Monday evening. However, the visitors experienced a disappointing result against Cagliari before the international hiatus and, having built their squad to compete on multiple fronts, La Dea certainly will look to spoil the hosts’ party.

Atalanta have struggled as of late, especially away from home. Coupled with the fact that SPAL have lost just one of their last eight at home and overall just three of their last 16, Atalanta could find things a lot tougher than expected here.

Interestingly enough, neither Leonardo Semplici nor Gasperini have managed to get the better of each other as a manager in two prior meetings. So far, it’s been two draws for the duo. Neither will be missing any players and this fixture could see the visitors mix things up in terms of personnel.

SPAL have won their last three Serie A home matches. The last time they won four in row was back in February 1968.

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