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Milan derby headlines Serie A round 9 fixtures

Roma vs SPAL

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Saturday, 20-10-2018 @04:0pm

Referee: Luca Pairetto

Roma rediscovered their form ahead of the break for international duty, but SPAL completely lost their way. The Giallorossi are looking to continue their resurgence following a bumpy start to the season, while SPAL travels to the capitol city in the hopes of ending their four-game losing streak. After grabbing only five points out of a possible 15 in their first five matches, Eusebio Di Francesco’s squad earned the maximum nine points possible out of their last three games, all while outscoring their opponents 9-1. Roma’s last match was a 2-0 win away at Empoli, with Steven Nzonzi and Edin Dzeko providing the goals. The hosts unfortunately have to deal with multiple injuries following the international break. Daniele De Rossi, Javier Pastore, Diego Perotti and Rick Karsdorp are out of action. Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini will most likely fill in for De Rossi and Pastore in the midfield.

SPAL are currently 14th in the league and it doesn’t look likely that they’ll climb the table this weekend. Unlike Roma’s slow start, the Spallini began the season unexpectedly well. A run of three wins out of their first four matches saw Leonardo Semplici’s men soar to second in the table. However, the fairytale start ended for SPAL, as they have haven’t earned a point in a month. With only two goals scored in their last four matches, SPAL have been short of ideas offensively. Andrea Petagna isn’t 100 per cent fit and remains in doubt, but that could open up room for Alberto Paloschi to step in. Paloschi has scored in his last two appearances for the Spallini.

SPAL have only ever won once away to Roma, a 2-0 result in September 1965, along with six draws and nine defeats.

Juventus vs Genoa

Allianz Stadium, Torino

Saturday, 06-10-2018 @07:00pm

Referee: Federico La Penna

Juventus are the unstoppable force with a 100 per cent record, but host Genoa and Serie A Capocannoniere Krzysztof Piatek. The Bianconeri have set a blistering pace in Italy’s top flight following an impressive eight wins from eight Serie A matches, 10 in all competition. Another three points at home to Genoa on Saturday would make it 11 on the bounce, edging them toward breaking another record. Fabio Capello’s Milan racked up 13 consecutive wins at the beginning of the 1992-1993 season and Max Allegri has set his sights on exceeding that achievement. The international schedule provided the likes of Mario Mandzukic and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo an all-important break from the action. The returning Douglas Costa provides another boost for Allegri, as the Brazilian is available again after returning from injury and a four-game suspension. Paulo Dybala will almost certainly miss out, as he picked up a knee injury playing for Argentina and with Manchester United on the horizon, the Number 10 will not be risked. Mattia De Sciglio could feature for the first time this season after injury problems, but Sami Khedira is ruled out.

Following the recent dismissal of Coach Davide Ballardini, a familiar face has returned to the Genoa bench in the form of Ivan Juric. It is the third time in two years that Jurichas been appointed by eccentric President Enrico Preziosi. The Rossoblu currently sit 11th in the Serie A table, but Preziosi felt the team’s performances had been masked by the extraordinary form of strikerPiatek. Captain Domenico Criscito stated his side would require “half a miracle” to beat Juventus, but the Grifone will hope that The Old Lady are distracted by their upcoming Champions League tie, opening the door for an almighty surprise. It remains to be seen how returning coach Juricwill change Genoa’s approach and starting XI.

Juve are unbeaten in this fixture since a 1-0 result in January 1991, decided by Tomas Skuhravy, followed by 15 wins and three draws between Serie A and the Coppa Italia. Genoa haven’t even scored in their last six trips to Turin.

Udinese vs Napoli

Dacia Arena, Udine

Saturday, 20-10-2018 @09:30pm

Referee: Maurizio Mariani

Napoli hope to retain second place and pick up all three points against an Udinese side that has lost its last three on the trot. The hosts are somewhat unsurprisingly languishing near the bottom of the table in 15th place, with eight points from eight games. The visitors however are flying high under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, sitting in second place with 18 points. There were natural questions raised after Ancelotti’s appointment, simply due to the high expectations that Maurizio Sarri’s 91-point Napoli had left to linger. For the most part, the former Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss has answered those questions with relative ease, aside from disappointing defeats to Sampdoria and Juventus.

There were question marks over how Udinese’s season would play out and Julio Velazquez has been unable to drift Udinese away from the expectations of simply trying to stay in Serie A. However, there have been some dull and uninspiring defeats even by their recent standards.

You can expect the game to play out the same as recent fixtures between these two. Napoli are still a ball dominant and passing side under Ancelotti, but the attacking combination of Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne could imprint a particularly heavy defeat on an incredibly lacklustre Udinese side. Napoli have won each of their last four meetings with Udinese, since a 3-1 loss here in April 2016, when Gonzalo Higuain was famously sent off.

Udinese head into this one with a relatively clean bill of health, with only Emmanuel Badu and Giuseppe Pezzella out of action.

Napoli have been regular purchasers of Udinese’s talent since the start of the decade, buying or loaning no less than nine players since 2010. Alex Meret and Orestis Karnezis both left the Dacia Arena to join Napoli this summer, but the former is yet to make his debut after breaking his arm in only his second training session. Meret is back in the squad, but unlikely to start, while David Ospina should be rested after international duty with Colombia. Kalidou Koulibaly should also be given the day off after returning early from Senegal with a muscular issue.

Frosinone vs Empoli

Stadio Benito Stirpe, Frosinone

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @01:00pm

Referee: Daniele Orsato

It is a relegation tussle between two newly-promoted sides, although Empoli have done considerably better than Frosinone. The Canarini have had a desperate start to their league campaign, losing seven of their opening eight games. They sit in 19th position on just one point, which came courtesy of a goalless home draw against Bologna in August. Their last outing before the international break was a 3-2 loss away to Torino, which made it six losses in a row. A small glimmer of hope had appeared in that game when they came back from two goals down, but was soon extinguished when Alex Berenguer fired in the winner for the Granata.

Empoli, on the other hand, have a slightly better record this season, but only just. Since beating Cagliari 2-0 on the opening day, they have picked up just two more points coming from a goalless draw away to Chievo and a creditable 1-1 at home to Milan. They sit on five points in the table, just one place above their hosts Frosinone, and have only found the back of the net twice in their last six games. Their last outing before the break was a 2-0 loss at home to Roma and prior to that they lost 1-0 away to Parma, making it seven matches in a row without a win. Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli could also be about to feel the mounting pressure rise on him if his side loses this tie, as anything less than a point here will be unacceptable against the division’s worst team.

Last season in Serie B these sides played two six-goal thrillers, as it ended 3-3 in Empoli and 2-4 at the Stadio Stirpe.

Bologna vs Torino

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @04:00pm

Referee: Luca Banti

Bologna seemed to be on their way to a revival after wins against Roma and Udinese came either side of a 2-0 loss to Juventus, but defeat to Cagliari by the same margin put things into perspective for the Rossoblu. Pippo Inzaghi’s inability to match the coaching merits of his younger brother Simone in Serie A has been well documented, but his general turnaround of the club deserves credit, even if it was after one of the worst starts for a club in Serie A in recent memory.On the other hand, Torino are starting to find some confidence and visit a Bologna side seeing a third straight home win. Although Edin Dzeko’s wonderful volley started Torino’s season with a loss, the Granata’s overall performance gave reasons to be hopeful that after two underwhelming campaigns, Walter Mazzarri was finally getting Toro back to where they belong. The 2-2 draw with big spenders Inter that followed gave the same impression, but unfortunately it has been stop-start at best since.

Simone Zaza is out injured along with Lorenzo De Silvestri and Lyanco for Torino. Bologna Goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski is in doubt after a hand injury ruled him out of international duty with Poland, while Federico Mattiello and Ladislav Krejci are certainly absent.

Bologna have beaten Torino only once in their last six meetings, home and away, drawing another. There have been 36 goals in the last 12 competitive clashes.

Chievo vs Atalanta

Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @04:00pm

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi

Giampiero Ventura makes his debut on the Chievo bench, as they welcome a struggling Atalanta side to the Bentegodi. The former Italy CT has been appointed to replace Lorenzo D’Anna after a disastrous start to the season for the Flying Donkeys, who have yet overcome the three point deduction imposed upon them for irregular accounting. The Veronese still sit on negative points after just two draws in their opening eight games, and have turned to the experienced tactician to try and turn things around. Ventura is still public enemy number one for much of the nation after failing to take the Azzurri to the World Cup for the first time since 1958, having built his reputation at Torino by taking them into the Europa League.

Torino have been a revelation in recent season, twice reaching the Europa League, but the Coach’s warnings about lack of investment in the summer appear to have been prescient. Having been knocked out of Europe by FC Copenhagen, the Bergamaschi haven’t won since the first weekend of season and sit one point outside the relegation zone. There is some mitigation for Gasperini, whose side have managed creditable draws at Roma and Milan, but where once the 60-year-old appeared untouchable there are no real suggestions that he has stayed in Bergamo too long. A return of nine goals in eight games has been a major contributory factor to their slump, but Atalanta will be confident of getting back among the goals against a Chievo defence which has shipped 19 already this season.

Chievo are actually in a worse position at this stage of the season than Benevento were last term. The Streghe lost all eight of their opening fixtures, but Chievo’s point deduction means they’re still on -1.

Parma vs Lazio

Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @04:00pm

Referee: Michael Fabbri

Lazio face a very difficult trip to mid-table Parma, but the hosts are struggling with injuries. The Ducali have won four of their last five Serie A games and currently sit a very impressive ninth in the standings. They have enjoyed a good start to their top-flight return and will be hoping for another big scalp at the Tardini this weekend. Before the break, Parma came from behind to win 3-1 at Genoa, with their goalscoring form impressing many. They have only been held goal-less twice this season – to SPAL and Napoli – as they will look to test a shaky Lazio defence.

However, if they are to grab a positive result from this match, they will have to do it with a hefty injury list. Former Roma man Gervinho is doubtful to face his former cross-town rival, and he has been in great form for Parma so far this season. He has scored three times from his five games and he is a big absentee for his side. They are also without Alberto Grassi and Federico Dimarco through injury, while Emanuele Calaio is suspended until December 31. Coach Roberto D’Aversa faces a selection headache, but will trust that his group can get the job done. Lazio, on the other hand, have lost two of their past three in all competition. They endured a 3-1 derby defeat to Roma before a heavy 4-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League. Before the break for international duty, they defeated Fiorentina 1-0 thanks to a Ciro Immobile goal. The Biancocelesti are in need of a win here if they are to keep their top-four intentions intact. They must tighten up their defence to keep a free-flowing Parma goal-less in this match. Simone Inzaghi, unlike his Parma counterpart, has a clean bill of health for the match with no injury concerns.

Lazio are unbeaten against Parma since a 3-1 result here in March 2012, followed by five wins and two draws in all competition.

Fiorentina vs Cagliari

Stadio Artemio Franchi, Firenze

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @07:00pm

Referee: Piero Giacomelli

In all fairness to Fiorentina, they’ve lost against Napoli, Inter and Lazio which isn’t the easiest of trios to face so early in the campaign, but against so called ‘lesser’ opposition they’ve been a fun team to watch, in particular their 6-1 defeat of Chievo and the 3-0 win against SPAL.  For Cagliari, they will definitely be eyeing this game as a statement win to get their season on the right track. With just two wins under their belt against Atalanta and Bologna (the latter coming just before the most recent international break), Cagliari need another win to carry on their form, considering they haven’t managed to string together two wins in a row since the last two games of last season – ironically enough against Fiorentina and Atalanta. With the club expected to be around the relegation zone or at least in the bottom half of the table this season, a win at the Artemio Franchi would be huge for their confidence ahead of a run of games that feature Chievo, Juventus and SPAL.

These sides haven’t played out a draw since a 1-1 in Florence in 2013, followed by four Viola wins and three for the Sardinians.

Inter Milan vs AC Milan

Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, Milan

Sunday, 21-10-2018 @09:30pm

Referee: Marco Guida

Both Inter and Milan will be eager to continue their impressive runs of good form in a mouth-watering Derby della Madonnina clash on Sunday. Despite winning just one of their opening three games this season, Luciano Spalletti has finally managed to find consistency at Inter, as the Nerazzurri have won their last six fixtures in all competitions. The Beneamata play a rather unspectacular, but efficienttype offootball, which was once again evident in their 2-1 victory against SPAL.

Inter’s physicality and pragmatism perfectly complement Mauro Icardi’s ruthless goalscoring ability, as unsurprisingly the Argentinian’s return to form has coincided with the Nerazzuri’s six-game winning streak. Icardi has netted five times during this stretch and will be looking to improve his record against Milan, which currently stands at four goals in 11 meetings – most of them in a hat-trick in October 2017. Scoring against the Rossoneri might not be enough for Inter to get the win on Sunday, as Milan have won their last three games, despite conceding in each of them. Gennaro Gattuso’s men are currently on an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions and their only defeatwas 3-2 in their season opener against Napoli at the San Paolo.

Although Milan’s record looks impressive, many of their good results were achieved thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s presence in attack. The Argentinian is Milan’s top goalscorer with seven strikes in all competition, but what has arguably been more impressive than Pipita’s goals is his unselfish and hard-working style, which often covers up some of the limitations of his team.

Inter have won just one of their last six competitive meetings withMilan, drawing three and losing two. The Nerazzurri have failed to score a single goal in their last two games against Il Diavolo.

Sampdoria vs Sassuolo

Stadio Communale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa

Monday, 22-10-2018 @09:30pm

Referee: Francesco Fourneau

Sampdoria leapfrogged Sassuolo before the break for international duty and are eager to surge ahead in this intriguing battle. Coaches Marco Giampaolo and Roberto De Zerbi have earned plaudits for the style of football and giant-killing exploits this season, mounting credible pushes for European ambition despite limited resources. The Neroverdi got off to a stunning start and were in second place before a run of two consecutive defeats at the hands of Milan and Napoli. A third loss on the bounce would be their worst run since November 2017.

As for Samp, they are marching up the standings with two victories in a row, so making it three would be their best Serie A streak in over a year. Rogerio sits out a ban for the visitors, with Federico Peluso and Alfred Duncan likely to miss out through injury. Filip Djuricic remains the favourite to start in the trident attack with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Domenico Berardi, sending Federico Di Francesco to the bench again. The Sampdoria treatment room is slowly emptying out, with only Vasco Regini remaining for another three months. Gianluca Caprari is back and the favourite to take the trequartista role behind Fabio Quagliarella and former Sassuolo striker Gregoire Defrel. Although veteran hitman Quagliarella had a spectacular start to the season, scoring two in his first three games, he hasn’t found the back of the net in his last five appearances.

Sassuolo have won each of their last three meetings with Samp in Serie A, keeping two consecutive clean sheets. The Neroverdi also won three of their last five trips to Marassi.

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