Brescia vs Torino
Stadio Mario Rigamonti, Brescia
Saturday, 09-11-2019 @5pm
Brescia make their debut under new coach Fabio Grosso and it’s immediately a surprise relegation battle for troubled Torino.
The Rondinelle sacked Eugenio Corini following a 2-1 defeat to Hellas Verona, which left them joint bottom of the table with SPAL – albeit with a game in hand to be played against Sassuolo in December.
They’ve lost four of their last five matches and simply need to turn things around fast.
This is Grosso’s first career appointment in the top flight, as he was fired by Serie B outfit Verona in May, with his team about to start promotion play-offs.
Torino have rejected rumours of a change of management, despite the fans turning on Walter Mazzarri after a run of bad results. The Granata now sit just four points above the bottom spot, managing only two draws in their last six games.
The performance in the 1-0 defeat to rivals Juventus was at least a vast improvement and may have bought Mazzarri some time. Daniele Baselli joined the list of injury absentees with Kevin Bonifazi and Iago Falque, but Nicolas Nkoulou returns from his ban.
Brescia’s week wasn’t just eventful because of Grosso’s arrival, as it was also dominated by the racism storm around Mario Balotelli. He kicked the ball into the stands and threatened to walk off when hearing racist abuse from a section of the Hellas Verona fans, then answered in the best way with a spectacular goal.
With a core of talented players, including Alfredo Donnarumma, Sandro Tonali, Dimitri Bisoli, and Balotelli, the newly-promoted Serie A side have all the tools to compete, but have lost their confidence.
The former Bari tactician will have some playing around to do to find the perfect system. Alessandro Matri is suspended, joining injured Daniele Dessena, Ernesto Torregrossa and Jhon Chancellor in the stands.
Torino have lost all four Serie A away fixtures this season, their worst run since seven straight defeats in 2008-09.
Inter Milan vs Hellas Verona
Serdegna Arena, Cagliari
The tension is high in the Inter camp after a Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund and Verona have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Antonio Conte was furious with Inter after his men fumbled a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 in Dortmund, massively complicating their chances of advancing to the Champions League knockout phase. His wrath was openly aimed towards the club management, seemingly for their failure to provide a competitive squad – a Conte classic ever since his time with the Old Lady and familiar at Chelsea too.
You can see his point, because Matteo Politano left the stadium on crutches with a sprained ankle, meaning 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito is now the only alternative to Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku upfront. Alexis Sanchez won’t be back until 2020, while Roberto Gagliardini, Kwadwo Asamoah and Danilo D’Ambrosio need fitness tests.
Having only been promoted this year, Hellas Verona are having an impressive season, currently sitting in ninth place and boasting Serie A’s best defence, on a par with champions Juventus. However, it remains to be seen how their coach Ivan Juric will address matters in attack, the Gialloblu averaging less than a goal per game this season.
Their most recent match was a 2-1 victory over Brescia, sadly overshadowed by racist abuse aimed at Mario Balotelli and – even more shamefully – the club and local council’s attempts to minimise or even deny it had happened.
Salvatore Bocchetti, Emmanuel Badu, Daniel Bessa, Miguel Veloso and Marash Kumbulla miss out, while Koray Gunter needs a fitness test.
Clashes between these two have been dominated by Inter, the Nerazzurri currently unbeaten in their last 16 encounters, their longest streak against any of this year’s Serie A teams. Conte’s men have scored in all league games this year and will try to unleash their anger against Verona’s solid defence.
Antonio Conte could become the only coach after Gigi Simoni in 1997-98 to see Inter score in each of the first 12 Serie A rounds.
Napoli vs Genoa
Satdio San Paolo, Naples
Saturday, 09-11-2019 @10:45pm
Napoli are in a crisis of their own making after players mutinied against club orders and they host a Genoa side eager to cause an upset.
The Partenopei were held to a 1-1 home draw by RB Salzburg, which still left them in a very good position to qualify for the Champions League Round of 16.
However, the aftermath sent shockwaves through the calcio world, as players refused to go back to the training retreat set up for them by President Aurelio De Laurentiis and went home. Carlo Ancelotti then wouldn’t give any media interviews, including those obliged by UEFA, and the club released a statement warning it would take legal action against the rebels.
There were even rumours Ancelotti would either resign or be fired, having stated publicly before that he disagreed with the concept of a training retreat. It’ll be interesting to see how the players are greeted at the Stadio San Paolo, as many were split between supporting their actions and anger at this apparent mass tantrum.
Napoli’s results haven’t been reassuring lately either, as they’ve won only one of the last five Serie A games, the 2-1 defeat at Roma particularly galling, as it was an opportunity to climb back into the Champions League places. Instead, it left them languishing in seventh, three points behind Lazio, Atalanta and Cagliari.
Genoa aren’t exactly faring better, but they have already sacked coach Aurelio Andreazzoli to bring in Thiago Motta. He made a strong impact on his debut, a comeback to beat Brescia 3-1 with all three of his substitutes scoring goals. A narrow defeat to Juventus was decided by a stoppage-time penalty and they were simply too unbalanced against Udinese, allowing counter-attacks in an eventual 3-1 home loss.
Stefano Sturaro, Domenico Criscito and Andrea Favilli are still out injured, with third choice goalkeeper Federico Marchetti suspended after he was sent off from the bench for dissent.
It looks likely that Thiago Motta will stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation, as Sinan Gumus, Kevin Agudelo and Christian Kouame fan out behind Andrea Pinamonti. Expect former Napoli veteran Goran Pandev to come off the bench and potentially surprise the Stadio San Paolo.
Napoli have Kostas Manolas back after he was rested midweek, but Allan, Faouzi Ghoulam and Kevin Malcuit are still out of action. Arkadiusz Milik is the favourite to partner Dries Mertens, although Hirving Lozano scored a crucial equaliser against Salzburg.
Genoa have not beaten Napoli in Serie A since January 2012, managing only four draws from 14 meetings.
Cagliari vs Fiorentina
Serdegna Arena, Cagliari
Sunday, 10-11-2019 @2:30pm
Cagliari are incredibly in joint fourth place with Lazio and Atalanta, but Fiorentina want to get in on the European ambition action.
The Sardinians lost their first two games of the season, but have been pretty much unstoppable ever since, winning six and drawing three. Their latest coup was a 2-0 victory away to Atalanta and confidence really could not be any higher for Rolando Maran’s men. Calculating three points for a win, Cagliari hadn’t picked up at least 21 points in the first 11 Serie A rounds since 1969-70, the year they won the Scudetto.
They’ve achieved all this despite last season’s top scorer Leonardo Pavoletti’s serious knee injury. Alessio Cragno is also a long-term absentee, while Luca Ceppitelli and Valter Birsa are in doubt for this weekend. Radja Nainggolan is making the trequartista role his own behind Joao Pedro and ex-Fiorentina striker Giovanni Simeone, while Luca Ceppitelli returns from suspension at left-back.
Franck Ribery sits out the last match in his ban for pushing a linesman and it’s safe to say he has been sorely missed at Fiorentina. They had to fight back from a goal down to beat Sassuolo 2-1, but scraped a 1-1 draw with Parma. Gaetano Castrovilli really stepped into the breach, scoring in both those games, and he’s bound to get that first senior Italy call-up.
Martin Caceres is still out injured, but German Pezzella is back after his one-match ban. Kevin-Prince Boateng is again expected to start with Federico Chiesa and Andrea Sottil, though Dusan Vlahovic and Rachid Ghezzal are ready to step in.
There have been no draws in the last six editions of this fixture played in Sardinia, with three wins apiece.
Lazio vs Lecce
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Sunday, 10-11-2019 @5pm
Lazio face Lecce on Sunday still smarting from their 2-1 defeat to Celtic in the Europa League.
The Biancocelesti wasted numerous chances to put Celtic to bed before the Scottish side won the game in the dying minutes through former Genoa man Oliver Ntcham.
Lazio now face almost certain elimination from the competition. However, in Serie A, Simone Inzaghi’s team are flying high with four wins in their last five, including a victory over Milan at San Siro – their first in more than 30 years.
Ciro Immobile is one of Europe’s most in-form strikers at the moment and won Serie A’s MVP for October. He recently netted his 100th goal for the club and scored again in the Europa League against Celtic.
On the other hand, the Aquile are without Joaquin Correa, who has a calf problem. Inzaghi is still also without defenders Stefan Radu and Adam Marusic.
Luis Alberto came off the bench against Celtic in the Europa League clash, and the Spaniard may partner Immobile in attack as Lazio try to cement their status as a top-four side this season.
Lecce, meanwhile, will be buoyed by last week’s performance in the 2-2 draw with Sassuolo.
The Giallorossi twice took the lead against the Neroverdi before being pegged back both times, but boss Fabio Liverani was happy with what he saw as the Salentini battle to stay afloat in the top flight.
Liverani is without striker Diego Farias, who has been on the treatment table for two weeks, and it’s unknown when the winger will be back training with the squad. They also have Radoslav Tsonev and Riccardo Fiamozzi out through suspension.
Lecce will be expected to go with the same XI that started against Sassuolo. Therefore, Filippo Falco should once more play in the hole behind hitmen Gianluca Lapadula and Khouma Babacar.
Lazio and Lecce last faced off in April 2012, when both sides played out a 1-1 draw.
Sampdoria vs Atalanta
Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
Sunday, 10-11-2019 @5pm
Sampdoria are slowly regaining their confidence under Claudio Ranieri and host an Atalanta side struggling to balance Serie A with European commitments.
An audacious Atalanta managed to hold English giants Manchester City, although Gian Piero Gasperini was still bitter for not seizing a well-deserved victory. It was La Dea’s first-ever Champions League point and considering that City were down to 10 men and with an outfield player in goal, Gasperini’s regrets are well-founded.
Last week saw Sampdoria secure their second win of the season and Ranieri’s first since his appointment as coach. The winning goal was a last-gasp header by substitute Gianluca Caprari in a rather mediocre encounter, but much-needed for Samp’s chance to stay in Serie A.
Ranieri himself acknowledged his team’s lack of identity, but promised to work on it only after regaining safety, while also praising Caprari’s unique characteristics.
Although historically Sampdoria tend to do well against the Orobici, winning four times in their last six matches, currently there is an undeniable gap between the two – the visitors showcase Serie A’s best attack with 30 goals, while the Blucerchiati have the worst forward line, with only seven goals scored. Although Atalanta took all three points last year at Marassi, it should be noted, however, that they’re yet to register two consecutive victories there since 1992.
Veteran Fabio Quagliarella should be back after a thigh problem saw him miss the SPAL game, even though it remains to be seen who will partner him in attack, one between Manolo Gabbiadini and Federico Bonazzoli.
Gasperini will have to wait one more game before he can have Duvan Zapata back, who’s still nursing a tear in the adductor muscle, while Josip Ilicic begins a two-match ban.
The defeat against Cagliari saw Atalanta interrupt their 16-game streak in which they scored in every single Serie A fixture for a total of 43 goals.
Udinese vs SPAL
Dacia Arena, Udine
Sunday, 10-11-2019 @5pm
Serie A’s bottom side SPAL travel to managerless Udinese on Sunday looking to bounce back from a last-minute defeat to Sampdoria, which left them winless in four.
Udinese responded to maulings from Atalanta and Roma, which saw them ship 11 goals, by sacking Igor Tudor.
Caretaker coach Luca Gotti received an immediate response from the Bianconeri, striking late to defeat Genoa 3-1, courtesy of goals from Rodrigo De Paul, Ken Sema and Kevin Lasagna.
Currently sat in joint 11th place alongside Milan, the talented side is arguably underperforming, and will be hoping to keep the winning run going against lowly SPAL. Although Gotti insists he doesn’t want the job full-time, Udinese don’t seem to be in much of a hurry to find a replacement.
Goals have been hard to come by, and the normally prolific Lasagna only has two to his name, whilst Stefano Okaka is top scoring with three.
Jens Stryger Larsen is the only injury doubt for the Friulani, who have both Rodrigo Becao and Okaka at risk of suspension, having accumulated four bookings this season.
SPAL sit bottom of Serie A after a late defeat to Sampdoria, and goals have been hard to come by in recent weeks. With only seven to their name this season, the underlying statistics don’t make pretty reading for Leonardo Semplici’s men, as creating chances has been an issue, currently sat with the lowest xG of anyone in Serie A at 8.98.
Despite the goal worries, there have been improved defensive displays, particularly at home to Napoli where they held Carlo Ancelotti’s side to a 1-1 draw, whilst away at Milan they were undone by an excellent Suso free kick in a game they otherwise impressed in. Coming up against another struggling attack, they may be confident of keeping their defence compact and looking to frustrate Udinese.
SPAL are without Marco D’Alessandro and Mohamed Fares for the trip to the Dacia Arena.
SPAL have failed to find the net in their last five Serie A away games, the worst run since Atalanta’s seven in 2014.
Parma vs AS Roma
Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma
Sunday, 10-11-2019 @8pm
Despite suffering a setback in the Europa League, Roma have been in excellent form in Serie A as they travel to face Parma.
Although Paulo Fonseca’s side have struggled to get up and running in their Europa League campaign, the same can’t be said for them domestically. The Giallorossi have lost just one league game and come into this match on a three-round winning streak. That includes a recent hard-fought 2-1 victory over Napoli and cruising to a 4-0 rout over Udinese, despite being down to 10 men, as well as overpowering Milan 2-1.
Impressively, Roma have achieved all of this despite dealing with a spate of injuries throughout the course of this season.
Parma, meanwhile, have had difficulty in picking up positive results as of late.
Although they earned a notable 2-2 draw with Inter and thrashed Genoa 5-1, the Crociati ended up losing to the likes of SPAL and Hellas Verona – two sides they certainly would have been expected to earn six points out of six against. Despite taking the lead against Fiorentina through experienced winger Gervinho, who amid their own injury crisis is being used as a centre-forward, they were unable to take advantage in a 1-1 stalemate.
The draw came at a high cost, as the hosts will now be missing key winger Yann Karamoh due to a knee injury. The good news is that it means ex-Roma star Gervinho can return to his usual wider role, because Andreas Cornelius is fit to start following a thigh problem, while Roberto Inglese should be on the bench after recovering from a sprain.
Coach Roberto D’Aversa has never beaten Roma and more concerning is the fact that Parma have not defeated the Lupi in seven years. For all intents and purposes, the Giallorossi, who are really on a positive upward trend, will be fancying their chances to rebound from their midweek loss to Borussia Monchengladbach. Nonetheless, they will not underestimate a potentially tricky Parma side who have shown they can definitely throw a wrench or two into any team’s plans – as demonstrated by their draw with Inter earlier this season.
Parma have not beaten Roma since October 31, 2012. Since then, their record is one draw and six defeats.
Juventus vs AC Milan
Allianz Stadium, Torino
Sunday, 10-11-2019 @10:45pm
While this was once the Scudetto showdown, it now sees leaders Juventus hosting Milan in 11th place.
The league leaders host Milan this Sunday, with the Bianconeri looking to maintain their narrow advantage at the top of Serie A.
Milan travel to the Allianz Stadium, a ground where they have lost all eight trips, on the back of another defeat, this time at the hands of Lazio. Milan struggled to create chances and still have issues going forward, whilst defensively they made silly mistakes, as they lost at home for the third time this season.
As for the Bianconeri, they made it three wins a row in all competitions in midweek, with a last-minute winner away in Moscow, as they qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League with two matches to go.
Despite the win, it was another sloppy performance from Sarri’s men, who had to call on Douglas Costa from the bench to produce the winning goal. Juve were lucky to get a point and it was another game in which their frailties were shown.
Sarri went with Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani again in the middle of the defence and they were both at fault for the equaliser from Lokomotiv Moscow and Rugani, in particular, struggled.
Matthijs De Ligt was rested after picking up a knock against Torino in the derby, with Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi also sitting out, but all three are expected to come back in this weekend against Milan, which should make a positive impact.
Samu Castillejo became the latest Rossonero to pick up an injury last weekend, joining Mateo Musacchio on the treatment table, but the good news is that Suso is available again. It remains to be seen who will start in midfield between Rade Krunic and Franck Kessie, as the Ivorian has looked shaky this season.
Juventus might be picking up the wins but, as is quite often, they are struggling to put in a 90-minute performance and they are allowing opponents too many opportunities. Milan’s forward line is massively under-performing, especially Krzysztof Piatek. The Pole is clearly lacking confidence as well as the threat that has seen him be so successful in the last year. Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic don’t seem to be performing any more consistently either.
Milan have already lost to Lazio, Fiorentina, Inter, Torino and Roma this season, so a defeat to Juventus will be another difficult one to take.
The last time Milan beat Juventus in Turin in the league was back in 2011, when Gennaro Gattuso scored the only goal.
-Sassuolo 3-1 Bologna