Hellas Verona vs Sassuolo
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Friday, 25-10-2019 @9:45pm
The pressure remains on Sassuolo to start delivering results, but they face a tricky trip to Hellas Verona.
Newly promoted Hellas gave Napoli a tough time in their last outing, despite losing 2-0 in the San Paolo on the weekend. The Gialloblu were thwarted by Azzurri keeper Alex Meret, who made a miraculous triple save to keep the score goalless early in the first half.
The Veronese outfit are currently in 14th place on nine points and have proven to be a difficult team to break down, losing just once this season at the Stadio Bentegodi in a 1-0 defeat to Milan in September. They spent most of that match down to 10 men.
Coach Ivan Juric has his side playing a high tempo pressing game that has seen them beat Lecce and Sampdoria this season, while drawing with Bologna, Udinese and Cagliari. The Mastini have only lost to Milan, Juventus and Napoli, showing enough endeavour in those games to make themselves confident of avoiding the drop. Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Daniel Bessa and Giampaolo Pazzini continue to clog up the treatment table.
The Neroverdi almost pulled off a memorable comeback against Inter on Sunday, but were unable to find a fourth goal in their 4-3 defeat. Domenico Berardi’s sixth league goal of the campaign cancelled out Lautaro Martinez’s opener at the Mapei Stadium before Antonio Conte’s men went 4-1 up thanks in part to two second half penalties.
Filip Duricic and Jeremie Boga pulled two back in the last 15 minutes, but unfortunately for Coach Roberto De Zerbi, it was too little, too late and his side fell to their third defeat in a row. They have a game in hand, as the encounter with Brescia was rescheduled to December.
The Emilia-Romagna club have only won twice so far this season, at home to Sampdoria and SPAL, and haven’t won away in Serie A since a 1-0 at Fiorentina in March, which is their only win in their last 15 road games.
De Zerbi has a defensive injury crisis on his hands, with Brazilian Rogerio out for the next month, while Vlad Chiriches and Gianmarco Ferrari are also struggling to be fit in time for the weekend. Midfielders Mehdi Bourabia and Luca Mazzitelli also remain doubts for this one.
Hellas don’t score too many goals, with just six to their name in the opening eight matches of the season, while Sassuolo may have found the back of the net 14 times, their defence has conceded 16. Verona will hope their high-octane pressing game will force the Neroverdi into making mistakes at the back, while Berardi and Boga will be dangerous on the counter.
Sassuolo have lost each of their last five Serie A away games, their worst ever run in the top flight.
Lecce vs Juventus
Stadio Comunale Via del Mare, Lecce
Saturday, 26-10-2019 @4pm
Lecce host table-topping Juventus on Saturday as they look to build on an impressive point away to Milan last weekend.
Hakan Calhanoglu gave Milan the lead before Khouma Babacar pegged them back after half time. Krzysztof Piatek thought he’d given new manager Stefano Pioli all three points, but Marco Calderoni struck in injury time to earn the Giallorossi a well-deserved point.
Lecce had to soak up a lot of pressure, averaging 35% possession, but they learnt their lesson from defeat to Atalanta before the international break, where a number of individual errors were their downfall.
The point left Lecce sat 16th in the league, and helped stop a run of two defeats, albeit against Atalanta and Roma. It will be another tough task for Fabio Liverani’s side at home to the reigning Champions, and sat one point above the drop and leaking goals, it could be a long afternoon. All of the Salentini’s seven points this season were earned outside the Stadio Via del Mare.
Lecce will be without midfielder Giannelli Imbula, who misses out with a thigh problem. Coach Fabio Liverani must also sit in the stands due to a touchline ban.
Juve’s winning run at the top of Serie A continued, defeating Bologna 2-1 with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Miralem Pjanic, although a last-gasp Gigi Buffon save also proved decisive. A late comeback courtesy of Paulo Dybala on Tuesday overturned Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League, but these narrow victories are leaving fans on edge.
Goals haven’t flowed freely for Sarri’s side this season, but coming up against a Lecce defence who have conceded 17 in their opening eight league games, they will be confident of racking up goals against the struggling side.
Hosting Genoa in midweek, Sarri will look to rotate his side once again, as they look to manage the hectic fixture list before the next international break.
Juventus’ ongoing injury list doesn’t make great reading for Sarri, as Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia Perin, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa have all been ruled out. Marko Pjaca and Aaron Ramsey are doubts, and may not be risked in amongst this busy period.
Juventus lost three of their total 15 Serie A trips to Lecce, drawing three and winning nine.
Inter Milan vs Param
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
Saturday, 26-10-2019 @7pm
Inter return to Serie A action this weekend against a Parma side that is coming off the back of an impressive win against Genoa.
The Nerazzurri visit the Stadio Ennio Tardini after claiming their second victory in as many matches via a 2-0 win at home over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. It was the first win of the season for Antonio Conte’s side in the Champions League and saw them continue their return to form heading into their meeting with Parma. Prior to the UCL victory, Inter survived a late resurgence from Sassuolo to earn a 3-4 result away from home and maintain their position in second in Serie A.
I Crociati come into this contest following a 5-1 win over Genoa last weekend that pushed them to eighth in the league table. Goals from Juraj Kucka and Dejan Kulusevski, as well as an Andreas Cornelius hat-trick, gave Roberto D’Aversa’s men their third home win in a row and a confidence boost heading into this weekend’s match.
The meeting between the two sides will see two impressive runs of form featured, as Lautaro Martinez and Cornelius will lead their respective front lines. Despite Parma’s dismantling of Genoa, Inter emerge as the favorites to come away from the fixture with all three points. D’Aversa’s side has struggle to find a level of consistency on the defensive end, a problem that is likely to continue against a Nerazzurri side that is just starting to hit its stride offensively.
Stefano Sensi, Alexis Sanchez and Danilo D’Ambrosio remain sidelined for Inter, while Bruno Alves, Roberto Inglese, and Vincent Laurini are out of action for Parma.
Only three of the last 20 Serie A meetings between these clubs have been draws, along with 11 Inter wins and six for Parma.
Genoa vs Brescia
Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
Saturday, 26-19-2019 @9:45pm
Thiago Motta makes his debut on the Genoa bench and is up against Brescia in what is effectively an early relegation dogfight.
The Grifone had already tried to fire Aurelio Andreazzoli before the break for international duty, but struggled to find anyone willing to take the job. Following a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Parma, it became inevitable that something had to change and 37-year-old Thiago Motta was appointed this week. It is his first major coaching job after a spell with the Paris Saint-Germain Under-19 team and a return to Marassi for the former Genoa midfielder.
Thiago Motta has been known to posit some unusual ideas in his football, which was described as a ‘2-7-2’ tactic. It’s really more of a 4-3-3 with attacking full-backs, but must do without injured Domenico Criscito and Stefano Sturaro. Riccardo Saponara returns from suspension and Andrea Favilli could be back in the squad.
It’s likely Goran Pandev will get the nod in attack, now working for his former Inter teammate. Andrea Pinamonti and Christian Kouame complete the trident.
Brescia won the Serie B title last season and are doing well so far, amassing seven points with a game in hand to be played against Sassuolo in December. They were able to stop Fiorentina’s three-match winning streak with a 0-0 draw and have Mario Balotelli back in the starting XI after he has shaken off a knee problem. Florian Aye thought he’d scored his first Serie A goal on Monday, only to see it disallowed.
Daniele Dessena was stretchered off in tears during that match after fearing he’d fractured the same leg that kept him out for the best part of a year in 2016. The response from the medics has been slightly more reassuring, though the midfielder is still expected to be sidelined for three months. Bruno Martella, Ernesto Torregrossa and Luca Tremolada are also on the treatment table.
Brescia can equal the club record of four clean sheets in their first eight rounds of the Serie A season, set in 1966-67 and 1992-93.
Bologna vs Sampdoria
Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna
Sunday, 27-10-2019 @2:30pm
Sampdoria seek their first win under new manager Claudio Ranieri and visit Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Bologna on Sunday afternoon.
The Rossoblu picked up just two points in the last five rounds. In their recent match against Juventus, Danilo Larangeria cancelled out a Cristiano Ronaldo opener before Miralem Pjanic secured the result. However, Bologna were unlucky, as in the final minutes only the crossbar and a big save from Gianluigi Buffon denied them an equaliser.
Samp sacked Eusebio Di Francesco after losing six of the first seven games and new boss Ranieri made an immediate impact, helping to hold Roma 0-0 at Marassi.
A clean sheet was a pleasant surprise for the Blucerchiati, yet scoring goals will be Ranieri’s next task and one which he will need to figure out if they’re to start winning matches and avoid relegation.
Bologna Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has gone back into hospital for another course of chemotherapy, so will not be on the touchline for a few weeks.
Gary Medel, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Mattia Destro and Mitchell Dijks are still out of action for the hosts.
Samp’s last Serie A victory away to Bologna was in November 2003, followed by five draws and as many defeats. They’ve lost the last four on the bounce.
Atalanta vs Udinese
Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo
Sunday, 27-10-2019 @5pm
Details to follow shortly
SPAL vs Napoli
Stadio Paolo Mazza, Ferrara
Sunday, 27-10-2019 @5pm
Details to follow shortly
Torino vs Cagliari
Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Torino
Sunday, 27-10-2019 @5pm
This is a somewhat surprising head-to-head for European ambitions, with Cagliari on a roll and Torino losing three of their last five games.
There are growing concerns about the future of Walter Mazzarri, as support for the manager is beginning to sag. Toro are 10th in the league table with 10 points after conceding six goals in their last five games, scoring four in that same period. They need to get something from a clash with Cagliari after losing on the road to Udinese last time out.
Cagliari invested heavily on the transfer market this summer and after a shaky start, it’s beginning to pay off. They were comfortable winners against SPAL thanks to goals from Radja Nainggolan and Paolo Faragò, sending them into fifth place with 14 points.
Defensively, ?I Rossoblu play with greater resilience on the road, as they’ve conceded just two goals without defeat. Cagliari have won two and draw one of their three away games including a shock 1-0 victory against Napoli.
The home team will be without Alex Berenguer, but Simone Zaza and Iago Falque are now fit enough to challenge for a spot in the starting XI.
Cagliari have had an on-going injury crisis, so continue to miss Leonardo Pavoletti, Alessio Cragno, Charalampos Lykogiannis, Federico Mattiello, Fabrizio Cacciatore and Alessandro Deiola.
Cagliari have managed only three draws from their last nine Serie A meetings with Torino since a 2-1 victory in November 2013.
Roma vs AC Milan
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Sunday, 27-10-2019 @8pm
Roma and Milan have fallen on hard times lately, so it’s an unpredictable encounter at the Olimpico.
Stefano Pioli had looked set to begin his reign with a win, before a stunning Marco Calderoni strike earned Lecce a point. Despite the result, there were positives for Milan, who looked much more of a threat going forward than they have so far in the early parts of the season.
Despite reports Ante Rebic would have a go in the front three, replacing the out-of-form Suso, it seems as if Pioli will stick with the trident of Rafael Leao, Hakan Calhanoglu and the Spaniard. This suggests Krzysztof Piatek will again be on the bench, despite scoring against Lecce.
Milan’s inability to keep goals out at the other end is also a concern for Pioli. The back four looks like it still some needs time before it becomes more comfortable but time is not what Milan have, given how far behind the rest of the top sides they now are in the league. Pioli needs results quickly and against a depleted Roma side, this could be a good chance.
As for Roma, they are three points off fourth place at the moment and are still yet to replicate their best form. This was apparent in their 0-0 with bottom of the league Sampdoria last weekend, in which their attacking issues continued and their injury problems deepened.
Roma’s injury list grew further in the 0-0 draw with bottom-of-the-league Sampdoria, as midfielder Bryan Cristante went down with a groin strain in the early stages. Roma’s midfield was already looking thin on the ground after injuries to Lorenzo Pellegrini and Amadou Diawara, before Cristante’s injury. He now joins the likes of Davide Zappacosta, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Cengiz Under on the sidelines.
Their injury woes don’t end there. Nikola Kalinic also came off in the draw with Samp and it has since been revealed that he has suffered a fracture in his fibula. Kalinic had been drafted in to replace Edin Dzeko, who fractured his cheekbone earlier this month, but his injury meant Dzeko was rushed back. The Bosnian played most of the Sampdoria game and all of Thursday’s controversial 1-1 Europa League draw with Borussia Monchengladbach wearing a protective mask.
Roma must try to find their attacking threat if they are to take three points from this game and will have to do without Justin Kluivert as well, who was sent off in the stalemate with Samp.
There are practically no options available, so we could again see centre-back Gianluca Mancini moved into midfield, where he didn’t do badly in the Europa League midweek. Davide Santon is back after suffering from flu and is also a contender for a midfield spot.
Neither of the teams will go into the game with huge confidence, given their respective form, but it is a game of real importance to both. They are already falling behind the top four and need to turn things around.
This fixture at the Olimpico has seen six draws in the last 11 editions, along with three home wins and two for Milan.
Fiorentina vs Lazio
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Sunday, 27-10-2019 @10:45pm
Details to follow shortly