AC Milan, Juventus fixture headlines Serie A round 12

Frosinone vs Fiorentina

Stadio Benito Stripe, Frosinone

Friday, 09-11-2018 @10:30 pm

Referee: Fabrizio Pasqua

Frosinone are on their way back up and could cause a real upset against a Fiorentina side in poor form on Friday evening. The Giallazzurri are sitting second from bottom seven points ahead of Chievo, who are on minus one after their three-point deduction for financial irregularities. Five of the Canarini’s six points to date have come in their last three matches, a 3-3 draw at home to Empoli began their run and was quickly followed up by an unlikely 3-0 win away to SPAL. Their last outing was a goalless draw away to 10-man Parma which brought to a halt a decent bit of goalscoring form, as they had found the back the net nine times in their four previous games. The Ciociari will be hoping that they rediscover that eye for goal in this one, as a win here could see them lift themselves out of the relegation zone. The last time these sides met in the Stadio Benito Stirpe in what was Frosinone’s first adventure in Serie A two years ago ended as a 0-0 draw. Coach Moreno Longo will have to do without the services of strikers Luca Paganini and Federico Dionisi, who are still recovering from their long injury layoffs. Uruguayan striker Joaquin Ardaiz and Icelandic midfielder Emil Halfredsson are slight doubts to be fit in time for this game.

The Viola meanwhile have slipped down to eighth place in the table after three successive 1-1 stalemates against Cagliari, Torino and Roma. A controversial penalty awarded after a Giovanni Simeone stumble in the box was tucked away by Jordan Veretout and rescued a point in that match with the Giallorossi. Boss Stefano Pioli will be looking for his side to pick up the three points here and seal what would be their first away win of the season after losing three and drawing two of their opening five games on their travels. He will have a fully fit squad to choose from and it remains to be seen if he will decide to freshen things up and rotate in some of his squad players.

Fiorentina could put together four consecutive Serie A draws for the first time since December 1996.

Torino vs Parma

Stadio olimpico Grande Torino, Torino

Saturday, 10-11-2018 @05:00 pm

Referee: Davide Massa

Torino’s recent and form and rise up the table has gone under the radar, but they are hoping to continue it against stuttering Parma. With only two losses so far this season – both at home against Roma and Napoli, so hardly the worst defeats in the world – Torino have picked up some reputable results in recent weeks to put them within one point of the final Europa League spot, currently occupied by Sassuolo, who they come up against at the back end of a tough run of games prior to Christmas. Their recent run of six without a loss has been spilt by three wins and three draws, with stalemates coming away from home at Atalanta and Bologna and a strong 1-1 at home against Fiorentina, but this weekend in front of their own fans against Parma provides them with a great opportunity to extend their run and make it two wins in a row.

Parma haven’t won since the first weekend of October, when they dispatched Genoa 3-1 at the Luigi Ferraris, but while losses against Lazio and Atalanta aren’t the end of the world, Roberto D’Aversa’s side will be kicking themselves that they didn’t manage to take all three points last time out against second bottom of the league Frosinone. Their 1-0 defeat of Inter back in September showed that they have the ability to pull out a big result when needed, and this weekend will definitely be one of those occasions. Parma may be comfortable in 12th position, eight points off of Empoli in 18th, but with those two games against Sassuolo and Milan coming up, it’s vitally important that they pick up points wherever they can and against Walter Mazzarri’s side who, admittedly whilst unbeaten in six, can be caught susceptible to clutching a draw out of the hands of victory.

Both sides are missing important players through suspension, as Soualihe Meite has been a revelation for Torino, while Leo Stulac pulls the creative strings for Parma and is always a danger on set plays. The Ducali are without a goal in 330 minutes of football and desperately need Gervinho to step up.

Parma have only lost three of their 14 Serie A trips to Torino, drawing seven and winning four.

SPAL vs Cagliari

Stadio Paolo Mazza, Corso Piave

Saturday, 10-11-2018 @08:00 pm

Referee: Daniele Doveri

SPAL and Cagliari are both coming off heavy defeats, but know the results didn’t entirely reflect the performances. The Spallini fell 4-1 to Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, and Cagliari lost 3-1 to league leaders Juventus. Though both sides managed to even things up for a short time, they inevitably fell behind against much stronger teams. This game is a must win for both sides, so expect both to be firing on all cylinders. SPAL are clearly the side that are worse for wear heading into this Saturday’s fixture. They have only won one out of the last five rounds and they’ve been outscored 11-5 within that span. In their last match against Lazio, Leonardo Semplici’s men weren’t in terrible shape by half-time. They were only down by one come the end of the first 45 minutes but, unfortunately for SPAL, Lazio kicked it into another gear during the second half. The Biancazzurri will be without Johan Djourou, Jasmin Kurtic and Mattia Valoti this Saturday. Valoti and Djourou are both nursing ankle injuries (with Djourou currently being monitored day to day), and Kurtic is out with an elbow problem he sustained in SPAL’s match against Sassuolo back in September.

Cagliari seem the side most likely to take all three points from this meeting. Prior to their loss against Juventus, Rolando Maran’s men went three matches unbeaten. Wins against fellow bottom dwellers Bologna and Chievo, and an away draw against Fiorentina, pushed the Rossoblu into 14th place, one spot above their opponents for the week. Notable injuries for Cagliari consist of Diego Farias and Ragnar Klavan. Both were expected to return early this month, but whether or not they will be in the squad come Saturday is yet to be seen. Leonardo Pavoletti is still leading the charge for the Sardinian side, and with his recent good run of form, Cagliari fans will hope that ‘Pavoloso’ can help them continue to climb the table.

Cagliari have won their last three meetings with SPAL.

Genoa vs Napoli

Stadio Communale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa

Saturday, 10-11-2018 @10:30 pm

Referee: Rosario

Napoli need a victory to keep the pressure on Juventus and Inter, but defeat could see another change of management at Genoa. Despite still being Serie A’s top scorer, the Krzysztof Piatek hype is now dying down with the Pole not having scored in Serie A since October 7 and the reality is sinking in for Genoa of how good they really are. Piatek’s goals covered up what was frankly an XI that still has a lot of work to do on the training pitch as well as some personnel issues within the squad. Ivan Juric’s side reside in 13th place and are winless in their last five games, with their last Serie A victory coming in late September. Since Davide Ballardini’s dismissal, the Grifone have frankly been performing worse and President Enrico Preziosi is reportedly reconsidering his decision.

Genoa’s opponents are arguably the opposite. Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli are now into the full swing of the Serie A season and are suffering little hangover from Maurizio Sarri’s departure. While they still trail Juventus by six points, they’re certainly still in Scudetto contention and the managerial transition hasn’t been nearly as tough as imagined. Unsurprisingly, you can expect Napoli to dominate this game from start to finish. The technical quality within this squad has always been immense, but Ancelotti’s conversion to a 4-4-2 with a midfield containing the likes of Piotr Zielinski, Fabian Ruiz, Marek Hamsik, etc. makes the combination and midfield play a sheer joy to watch.

In terms of team news, Genoa have Argentine defender Nicolas Spolli out for the game as well as veteran goalkeeper Federico Marchetti and on-loan Juventus forward Andrea Favilli. Brazilian midfielder Sandro is being evaluated for injury and may yet make the game. For the visitors it’s a relatively clean bill of health. Italian winger Simone Verdi and Vlad Chiriches are still out of action, though Faouzi Ghoulam is gearing up for his comeback. Dries Mertens could well be rested after spraining his shoulder during the 1-1 Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain, although fortunately it was not dislocated.

Napoli are unbeaten in their last 12 Serie A meetings with Genoa, picking up nine wins and three draws, home and away.

Atalanta vs Inter Milan

Stadio Atleti Azzuri d’Italia, Bergamo

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @02:30 pm

Referee: Fabio Maresca

These are two of the form teams in Serie A right now. La Dea endured a tough beginning to the season. They were bundled out of the Europa League play-off by FC Copenhagen early on, as they recorded only one win inside their first eight Serie A games. However, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men seem to be on a roll, winning their last three games rather convincingly. They have scored an incredible 10 goals in that timeframe, while conceding twice. Last week, they travelled to Bologna and came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to second-half strikes from Gianluca Mancini and Duvan Zapata. Despite their early woes, they now sit tenth and just three points outside of a Europa League play-off spot – a competition they are undoubtedly aiming to qualify for to make amends for this year’s early exit. A win here would do them and their confidence a world of wonders. However, Gasperini is without a number of players for the match, as Rafael Toloi, Andrea Masiello and Marco Tumminello are battling injury.

Inter are flying high and in the hunt for their first Scudetto since the 2009-10 season. Luciano Spalletti himself had a rather tough start to his second season at the helm of Inter before finding his rhythm. They have won the past seven Serie A matches, including a 5-0 demolition of Genoa last week at San Siro, even with Mauro Icardi was rested. Spalletti had a somewhat difficult match midweek, as Icardi salvaged a 1-1 home draw with Barcelona in the Champions League. Unlike his counterpart, Spalletti has a full squad to choose from for the match with no injury clouds surrounding his players. This leaves the former Roma manager a squad full of options in a match that has proved to be quite the uphill task in the past.

Inter have only been victorious in one of their last eight trips to the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.

Chievo vs Bologna

Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @05:00 pm

Referee: Daniele Orsato

Bologna can pile further misery on rock-bottom Chievo Verona and pick up some potentially significant points in the race to avoid relegation. We are in the 12th round of the campaign and Chievo are yet to record a single victory. They’ve lost nine and drawn two after 11 games, including seven defeats on the trot, and are currently staring relegation in the face. This weekend they host Bologna at the Stadio Bentegodi and their situation could be about to get even worse. This is a head-to-head with one of the other sides expected to be battling relegation come the end of the season, so this may well end up being decisive. Chievo have scored the fewest goals (eight) and have the worst defence, shipping 13 goals in their last five league matches. The appointment of Gian Piero Ventura is yet to have the desired effect and the former Italy boss will see this as an opportunity to break the run of poor results.

Bologna are currently going through a struggle of their own. Filippo Inzaghi’s men have only two points from their last four games, conceding eight goals in the process.

Despite the loss to Atalanta in their last outing, Bologna have shown an ability to score goals, netting seven times in their last five games. Inzaghi’s men need to guard against complacency, as they lost five points from winning positions in their last two games. Bologna have won two of their last three encounters against Chievo Verona.

Chievo will be without Nenad Tomovic, Fabrizio Cacciatore, Filip Djordjevic, Manuel Pucciarelli and Nicola Rigoni. Bologna meanwhile have no injury worries ahead of this encounter.

Bologna’s last away victory was against Chievo in December 2017, followed by four points from 15 Serie A games on their travels.

Empoli vs Udinese

Stadio Carlo Castellani, Empoli

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @05:00 pm

Referee: Piero Giacomelli

Empoli make their debut under new Coach Beppe Iachini and a bad result here could precipitate a change of management at Udinese too. Yo-yo clubs have become a staple in modern Serie A, and Empoli are a prime candidate to continue the tradition. Currently sitting in 18th place and winless since the opening weekend, the Tuscans controversially sacked Aurelio Andreazzoli. It was a surprising and potentially damaging decision, because although they have been struggling in terms of results, the performances showed immense promise.

Julio Velazquez is facing similar issues, scraping one point from the last six rounds and sitting in 16th place, but Serie A fans and pundits alike believe their squad is of too high a quality to be slumming it at the bottom of the table.

The Spaniard’s failure to improve on the results of predecessors Massimo Oddo and Igor Tudor could well see him sacked should the Zebrette fail to take all three points on Sunday, and it couldn’t come at a worse time.

Bram Nuytinck is suspended, while Emmanuel Badu, Svante Ingelsson, Giuseppe Pezzella and big summer signing Lukasz Teodorczyk are all out through injury. It is expected that the former Villarreal  and Alcorcon Coach will not stray from his 3-5-1-1 system. Empoli have an extensive injury list of their own.

It has been an historically bad start for both sides. Empoli’s six points is their worst tally by this stage since 2003-04, while nine points is a negative club record for Udinese in the era of three points for a win.

Roma vs Sampdoria

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @05:00 pm

Referee: Massimiliano Irrati

Roma are going well in the Champions League, but are floundering in Serie A, while Sampdoria have had a nightmare couple of weeks. Eusebio Di Francesco’s team are enjoying European football, but at home they have collected just 16 points from their first 11 games, their lowest total since the 2009-2010 season. Currently sitting in eighth spot, they remain only five points off the Champions League places, but must put a halt on their three-game winless streak in the league. Javier Pastore is available again after a recent injury and will be in contention to start, as boss Di Francesco has opted to rotate his team in recent weeks. Justin Kluivert and Alessandro Florenzi started in the wide areas against CSKA Moscow, but Cenzig Under and Stephan El Shaarawy have been favoured in Serie A.

Sampdoria visit Rome with problems of their own, having also failed to win any of their last three outings. The Blucerchiati have conceded seven in their last two games, having only leaked four goals in the nine games previous. Locking up their defence will be first on the list for Marco Giampaolo this weekend. With a positive recent record against Roma in Italy’s top flight, the Marassi outfit will look to draw on those experiences here. On-loan striker Gregoire Defrel is expected to return for Samp on Sunday and they would certainly benefit from him rediscovering his early season form against his parent club. The visitors won this fixture by a single goal last season and the same result would see Samp leap frog their hosts in the table. For Roma, nothing other than a win will do, with Di Francesco all too aware that failure to get three-points will increase the pressure on his job.

Sassoulo vs Lazio

MAPEI Stadium – Citta del Tricolore, Reggio nell’Emilia

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @08:00 pm

Referee: Giampaolo Calvarese

The international break must have felt twice as long for Lazio, who saw their great run of form ruined two weeks ago. They slipped to a 0-0 draw away to Cagliari, a side who have been wide open at the back this season. That result saw them fall off the pace in the race for next season’s Champions League. However, third placed Napoli host runaway leaders Juventus on Sunday, so this meeting with Sassuolo could be a perfect time for the Biancocelesti to close the gap. Time is running out for them to end their excellent season inside the top three.

Sassuolo, on the other hand, would be happy to finish the campaign in the top half of the league. This has been a roller-coaster for the Neroverdi, which started off with them in Europe for the first time, and at one point had them flirting with relegation. There’s little stability at the club right now, having contended with a long injury list all season. On top of that, manager Eusebio Di Francesco is being linked with a move away.

Despite Sassuolo’s struggles this season, they showed signs of life against Lazio’s neighbours Roma. While they put in an impressive display in their last fixture, the Neroverdi ultimately lost 3-1. Returning to the MAPEI Stadium isn’t something the hosts will be excited about, given their awful run of form at home. Di Francesco has seen his side lose 57% of their matches there in Serie A this term, scoring just 14 goals and averaging 1.14 points per game.

The hosts boast the fifth worst home record in the league, and things are getting worse for them. Sassuolo have lost four straight home games, while they’ve conceded in five straight outings at the MAPEI. They pit that record against a Lazio team who have won four of their last five on the road, scoring 1.71 goals per game. Given that the Neroverdi have lost 43% of their home matches without scoring a goal, the visitors’ scoring record should help them to pick up some crucial points.

The Biancocelesti have the fourth best away record in Serie A, while they’ve picked up five wins in six trips. The form ahead of this clash points to an away victory, yet you can get generous odds of 8/11 with bet365 for Lazio to come out on top. We’re backing the visitors to boost their top three hopes, while we’re also backing them to claim a 2-0 victory. Sassuolo have failed to score in five of their last seven at home, and we’re backing that run to continue.

Lazio have won four of their last six meetings with Sassuolo, scoring at least twice in each of those victories.

AC Milan vs Juventus

Stadio Giuseppe Meaza, Milan

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @10:30 pm

Referee: Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni

Injury-ravaged Milan host Serie A leaders Juventus, who are smarting after their first defeat of the season. Mateo Musacchio was stretchered off on Thursday having seemingly lost consciousness after a nasty collision with Franck Kessie, while Hakan Calhanoglu and Patrick Cutrone suffered ankle knocks, which means theyare doubts for the clash at San Siro. Gonzalo Higuain might also have to wait for his debut against his former club in a Milan jersey, as the Juventus-owned Argentinian is also recovering from a back problem that kept him out of the Betis game. This means that Cutrone is expected to get another start alongside the inform Suso, who will once again be Milan’s main attacking threat. Giacomo Bonaventura is also a doubt, while Mattia Caldara and Lucas Biglia are long-term absentees, which means both Cristian Zapata and Tiemoue Bakayoko are expected to start against the Bianconeri,with Alessio Romagnoli returning in defence alongside the Colombian.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic are all expected to start for the Old Lady, and considering that the Rossoneri have kept just one clean sheet in their last 17 Serie A games, the chances are they will concede at least once against Juve as well. The Portuguese superstar has contributed five goals and four assists in Juve’s last five Serie A games and after scoring a stunning volley against his former club on Tuesday, he’ll be eager to do the same against Milan. Although the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Tuesday will probably not affect their qualification for the next round of the Champions League, the way the Old Lady lost the game was extremely annoying. Juventus dominated proceedings for the majority of the 90 minutes and could’ve easily scored three or four past David De Gea, but their worrying habit of losing concentration in the dying minutes of games and sitting on minimal leads was punished this time.

Juventus will be without the injured Emre Can and Moise Kean, while Douglas Costa remains a doubt, but considering the depth that Max Allegri has at his disposal, their absence should not be a major issue for the visitors.

Milan have lost their last five meetings with Juventus in all competitions, conceding an average of 2.6 goals per game. The Rossoneri’s last victory against the Old Lady was in the Italian Super Cup Final in 2016, when Il Diavolo won the penalty shoot-out.




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