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Football

Inter vs Roma fixture headline Serie Match-Day 33

Parma vs AC Milan

Stadio Ennio Tardini, Param

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @1:30pm

Milan retained fourth place with a hard-fought and controversial win over Lazio and now travel to injury-hit Parma.

The Crociati’s first season back since liquidation in 2015 has gone better than most had expected, but now they are closer to the relegation zone than to Europe, while the Rossoneri are clinging to the last Champions League spot by just a single point.

The Emilia-Romagna side have not won since a 1-0 victory over Genoa in early March, while the Lombardy outfit have triumphed in only one of their last five games, and that was in their highly contentious clash with Lazio. These are two teams where we don’t know what to expect, but that is exactly why it could be a highly entertaining encounter, as both must for a win.

Parma’s situation could be put down to a spate of injuries that they have suffered recently, as arguably their three best players this season, defensive stalwart Bruno Alves and star strikers Gervinho and Roberto Inglese, have all been on the treatment table. Gervinho returned as a second half substitute in last week’s 0-0 draw with Sassuolo, but still might not be fit enough to start, while Inglese, Bruno Alves, Jonathan Biabiany, Francisco Sierralta and Alberto Grassi are all expected to miss out.

Milan are missing Lucas Paquetà, Davide Calabria and Jack Bonaventura, but Gianluigi Donnarumma should return in goal after his muscular injury. It’s possible we could see Diego Laxalt as a makeshift right-back, with Fabio Borini again preferred to Samu Castillejo in attack.

Parma often play better on their travels than at the Tardini, but in this situation Milan are expected to be more proactive and that’ll encourage Roberto D’Aversa’s counter-attacking approach.

Following the win over Lazio, midfielders Franck Kessie and Tiemoue Bakayoko were criticised by certain quarters in the Italian media for holding up Francesco Acerbi’s shirt in mocking tone after it was exchanged in good faith. The matter has since been resolved between the players themselves, but the FIGC opened an investigation into possible unsporting behaviour.

Milan have won eight of their last 11 Serie A meetings with Parma, drawing one and losing the other two. In that period, the Rossoneri scored at least two goals on nine occasions.

Lazio vs Chievo

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @4pm

Lazio won their rescheduled midweek round and are still only three points off fourth place, but Chievo’s relegation is confirmed.

The Biancocelesti are still fuming after their 1-0 defeat to Milan and the ugly aftermath, which has dragged on throughout the week in the media. Director Igli Tare was also given a brief suspension for his comments suggesting referees and the Federation are favouring bigger clubs than Lazio.

There was already a chance to blow off some steam in Wednesday’s rescheduled 2-0 victory over Udinese, a result that made the fight for Europe even closer than it already was. There are now only three points separating fourth from seventh and what’s more Lazio have to face Milan again at San Siro in next week’s Coppa Italia semi-final.

Because of that, Simone Inzaghi could be tempted to rest some top players for this game against already-relegated Chievo. Lucas Leiva is suspended, with Joaquin Correa, Stefan Radu, Adam Marusic and Valon Berisha carrying knocks. There aren’t many options available to Lazio in those circumstances, as Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo are the only real strikers left.

Chievo were doomed to the drop last week, although their fate has been sealed for months. They’re trying to go out with a bang, including the intriguing front two of 18-year-old Emanuel Vignato and 40-year-old Sergio Pellissier. Vignato was two years old when Pellissier made his Serie A debut for Chievo in 2002.

Bartosz Jaroszynski, Andrea Seculin and Ezequiel Schelotto are all nursing injuries.

Chievo have scored in each of their last eight Serie A games against Lazio and Sergio Pellissier has put eight career goals past them.

Cagliari vs Frosinone

Sargdena Arena, Cagliari

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @4pm

Time is running out for Frosinone and they visit a Cagliari side on the verge of securing Serie A safety, so this result could prove decisive for both.

The Sardinians clambered to mid-table and are eight points clear of the drop zone after a win over SPAL and draw with Torino. However, they go into this match without suspended trio Nicolò Barella, Luca Pellegrini and Fabio Pisacane. It means Darijo Srna, Filippo Romagna and Valter Birsa should step into the starting XI behind strikers Leonardo Pavoletti and Joao Pedro.

Frosinone had a surprise surge with dramatic late back-to-back victories over Parma and Fiorentina, but capitulated 3-1 at home to Inter. They are eight points adrift of safety and it now feels like a matter of time before they join Chievo in preparing for Serie B.

Federico Viviani and Bartosz Salamon are still on the treatment table, with Daniel Ciofani expected to get the nod in attack rather than Marcello Trotta, partnering Andrea Pinamonti and Camillo Ciano.

Cagliari have won six of their last seven home games against newly-promoted sides, drawing 2-2 with Empoli in the other.

Bologna vs Sampdoria

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @4pm

There is plenty of motivation at the Stadio Dall’Ara, as Bologna are just two points clear of the drop zone, Sampdoria want Europe and Fabio Quagliarella as Capocannoniere.

Bologna Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic won’t be too sentimental about his former club paying a visit, as he needs to scrape up as many points as he can in the last six matches of the season. A point or three against Sampdoria could provide the Serb and his men a much-needed buffer between themselves and Empoli, who will be stopping by next weekend for what might be a do or die match in the relegation battle.

Having picked up 13 points in the last six matches, only losing to in-form Atalanta, Bologna show great intent of fighting to stay in Serie A. Erick Pulgar has converted four out of four spot-kicks and performed well in general lately, while Riccardo Orsolini has pushed his way into the starting XI on a regular basis.

Federico Santander and Mitchell Dijks are suspended, with Mattia Destro, Federico Mattiello and Filip Helander still out injured. This should give Arturo Calabresi a chance to start, with Rodrigo Palacio the only real choice for centre-forward.

Sampdoria came out winners of the Derby della Lanterna by 2-0 courtesy of Gregoire Defrel and Quagliarella. The latter is targeting the Capocannoniere title this year on 22 Serie A goals.

The Blucerchiati are sitting ninth in the table and can still make a European spot, as they are six points off that position, but would need to leapfrog Torino, Lazio and Atalanta.

Samp have issues of their own to deal with, as both Karol Linetty and Manolo Gabbiadini sit out bans, with Edgar Barreto still injured. Jakub Jankto should step into midfield with Gregoire Defrel and Gaston Ramirez supporting Quagliagol.

Samp have managed only five draws in their last nine Serie A visits to Bologna, not winning since a 1-0 result in November 2003.

Udinese vs Sassuolo

Darcia Arena, Udine

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @4pm

While Sassuolo have probably done enough to secure their Serie A status, Udinese remain only three points clear of the relegation zone.

The Friulani’s form has certainly improved since Igor Tudor took over from Davide Nicola in his second spell at the club, but they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Lazio in Wednesday’s rescheduled Week 25 game. It was their second consecutive defeat without finding the net, after an unlucky 1-0 loss to Roma.

Hidde ter Avest, Nicholas Opoku, Valon Behrami and Antonin Barak are out of action for the hosts, who could give Samir a wide left role in the 3-5-2 formation, with Rodrigo De Paul and Rolando Mandragora supporting Stefano Okaka and Kevin Lasagna.

Sassuolo were at one stage considering a European run, but it turns out they were just storing points for the spring, so despite falling away badly in recent months, the Neroverdi remain comfortably mid-table.

Claud Adjapong and Marlon remain on the treatment table, with Khouma Babacar expected to get the nod as centre-forward rather than Alessandro Matri.

Udinese have a surprisingly poor record against Sassuolo, winning only one of their last nine meetings, home and away. They haven’t beaten the Neroverdi on Friuli soil since a 1-0 result in March 2014.

Empoli vs SPAL

Stadio Carlo Castellani, Empoli

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @4pm

It is likely to be an entertaining game between relegation battlers Empoli and SPAL, both fresh from giant-killing exploits.

SPAL should have spirits running high after ruining Juventus’ Scudetto celebrations with a 2-1 comeback, the Biancazzuri thus becoming only the second team this season to defeat the Old Lady in Serie A. Empoli have also surprisingly survived Atalanta’s siege to return home with a precious point from their goalless draw, having beaten Napoli this month too.

With 25 out of their total 29 points grabbed at home and decent hopes of maintaining Serie A safety, expect a battling Empoli in one of their few relatively accessible encounters until the end of the season.

Leonardo Semplici has already warned his boys against complacency, as SPAL are yet to mathematically secure a place for the next Serie A season, despite currently sitting in 13th place with six remaining games to be played.

The Biancazzurri head into this match without experienced Jasmin Kurtic, one of their best players this season, while also missing Mattia Valoti, Marko Jankovic and goalkeeper Giacomo Poluzzi due to light injuries. Mohamed Fares is the only player missing due to suspension.

Empoli’s injury worries are far bigger, with Antonino La Gumina, Afriyie Acquah and Matias Silvestre certainly to miss this match, while Luca Antonelli, Kevin Diks and Diego Farias will still have to be evaluated.

Empoli are undefeated in their last five home matches, with no less than three goals scored in each of them.

Genoa vs Torino

Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @4pm

These sides are fighting for very different goals, as Genoa aren’t yet safe from the drop and Torino are in the race for Europe.

Cesare Prandelli’s side have had a rough time as of late following their historic win to league leaders Juventus last month, as since then Il Grifone have picked up one point from four rounds, most recently a 2-0 knockout at the hands of bitter rivals Sampdoria.

Having found themselves in the lower half of the table sitting at 15th, the Rossoblu are in dire need of a result to help maintain their current five-point distance from the drop zone.

Suspensions to Davide Biraschi and hitman Goran Pandev leave Genoa vulnerable, but a return to the starting line-up for striker Antonio Sanabria may very well add some much-needed energy to the attack.

Torino dropped down to eighth place after a dull streak of form, drawing three of their last five games, with just one win during that spell. Finding themselves only three points adrift of a Europa League spot, you can be sure Walter Mazzarri’s men are not  short on motivation.

An injury to Lorenzo Di Silvestri will give space for the impressive Ola Aina to step in, as well a return of captain Andrea Belotti from suspension, especially with support striker Simone Zaza’s frustrating absence due to suspension and Iago Falque still unavailable.

Genoa have not lost both home and away to Torino in the same Serie A season since 1981-82.

Juventus vs Fiorentina

Allianz Stadium, Torino

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @7pm

Juventus need only a point to secure their eighth consecutive Scudetto, but will be in no mood to celebrate against old rivals Fiorentina.

The Bianconeri were eliminated from the Champions League after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of surprise package Ajax. They currently sit 17 points adrift of second-placed Napoli and a win over Fiorentina on Saturday would mathematically confirm their record eighth straight Scudetto. They’d also equal Inter’s 2006-07 record by winning the Serie A title with five rounds to spare.

Pressure has mounted on Max Allegri following the quarter-final exit, however the tactician insisted that he will remain on the Juve bench next season. Conflicting reports, however, said that the club hierarchy have made initial contact with Antonio Conte.

Nonetheless, Juve have a chance to put the midweek misery behind them with a strong showing in front of their home fans this weekend. Allegri will be without Paulo Dybala, Martin Caceres, Emre Can, Giorgio Chiellini and Douglas Costa for the match due to injury.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina have all but surrendered their opportunity for a European spot come season end. They currently sit 10th with 40 points following last weekend’s lacklustre 0-0 draw with Bologna in Vincenzo Montella’s first game on the Viola bench since returning to the club. They are winless in their past eight Serie A games and they are in desperate need of a boost.

They will be hoping for a strong conclusion to the season and face an uphill battle to keep some of their stars in the summer. Federico Chiesa has been linked with a move to a top European club, including Juventus, while reports emerged late this week suggesting that Roma may make a double swoop for Cristiano Biraghi and Jordan Veretout.

Marko Pjaca is the only absentee, as Montella is expected to use a 3-5-2 formation with Chiesa and Biraghi as wing-backs. The Viola have fired blanks in their last two matches and a third would be their worst run since February 2012.

Fiorentina have lost all seven Serie A visits to the Juventus Stadium, conceding 14 goals.

Inter  Milan vs Roma

Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, Milan

Saturday, 20-06-2019 @9:30pm

Luciano Spalletti, Radja Nainggolan, Claudio Ranieri and Nicolò Zaniolo face their former clubs in a showdown for Champions League places.

The race for a top four finish will go down to the wire, and while a win would pretty much guarantee the Nerazzurri’s status, anything else could blow it wide open.

On one hand, Inter’s season has been a disappointment after failing to compete for the Scudetto, getting eliminated from the Coppa Italia, Champions League and Europa League. But all of this has been overshadowed by the Mauro Icardi drama. The striker was stripped of his captaincy and ‘refused’ to play for six weeks, officially due to a knee problem. He is back now, but no longer first choice for penalties and could even be benched in favour of Lautaro Martinez.

Marcelo Brozovic is out with a muscular injury and Borja Valero in doubt for the same reason, so Roberto Gagliardini could start in the middle of the park. It’ll be the first time Nainggolan has faced his former teammates, as he was injured for the 2-2 draw at the Olimpico in December.

Roma have stuttered all season, sacking Eusebio Di Francesco and bringing in Ranieri as caretaker until the end of the campaign. Curiously, both Coaches at San Siro are facing their old clubs, as Spalletti left Roma two years ago and Ranieri had a brief spell on the Inter bench in 2011-12.

An upturn in recent form with back-to-back wins has seen Roma close the gap from fourth-placed Milan to just one point.

Daniele De Rossi, Davide Santon and Rick Karsdorp are out of action, but Juan Jesus has shaken off a knock. Ranieri also seems to have scrapped the Patrik Schick experiments, as the striker struggles when paired with Edin Dzeko. Zaniolo has a point to prove, having been swapped with Nainggolan plus cash only to emerge the more influential player so far this season.

Luciano Spalletti has never beaten Claudio Ranieri, managing a draw and three consecutive defeats. However, the most recent encounter was in March 2009.

Napoli vs Atalanta

Stadio San Paolo, Naples

Monday, 22-06-2019 @8pm

*Detail to follow shortly

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