Juventus vs Fiorentina
Allianz Stadium, Torino
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @2:30pm
Juventus are reeling after defeat to Napoli, but although Fiorentina are unbeaten under Beppe Iachini, they have several key players missing.
Pressure is growing rapidly on Maurizio Sarri following their second Serie A defeat of the campaign, 2-1 at Napoli, which cut their lead at the top of the table to just three points. It was another sluggish performance, as he can’t seem to get them moving the ball quickly enough, which in turn makes them predictable and easy to close down. Even the all-star trio of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo struggled to create chances at the Stadio San Paolo.
It’s likely that will be shelved, sending Higuain to the bench in favour of Aaron Ramsey as the trequartista. Miralem Pjanic needs a fitness test after a knock to the ankle, while Danilo, Sami Khedira, Merih Demiral and Giorgio Chiellini are out of action. Mattia De Sciglio might be back on the bench after his failed swap with PSG full-back Layvin Kurzawa.
Fiorentina were held to a 0-0 draw by Genoa last week and had the distraction of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final with Inter. More importantly, Nikola Milenkovic and ex-Juventus defender Martin Caceres are suspended, seriously limiting the options in defence. Franck Ribery and Kevin-Prince Boateng are still injured, while Gaetano Castrovilli is a major doubt.
The Italian midfielder was dazed and confused during the Genoa game after possible whiplash and spent two days in hospital under observation. He was released on Monday, but it remains to be seen if he’ll recovery fully in time for this trip to Turin.
The Viola have really turned a corner under Iachini, going unbeaten since he replaced Vincenzo Montella over the Christmas break thanks to two wins and as many draws. They also kept three consecutive Serie A clean sheets, but the defence is transformed for this game by those bans. Upfront, it’s between Dusan Vlahovic and Patrick Cutrone to act as partner to Federico Chiesa.
Maurizio Sarri’s Juve have failed to score in only one of their 30 competitive matches, a 0-0 draw with Fiorentina on September 14.
Atalanta vs Genoa
Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @5pm
Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta are looking to follow up their thumping 7-0 win against Torino last weekend with another convincing performance against struggling Genoa on Sunday.
The Rossoblu arrive in Bergamo at 19th in Serie A and currently one point off safety in the League, but have recently boosted their hopes of renewing the contract in the top tier with a host of new signings to Marassi.
Atalanta have been particularly inconsistent this term, despite only being one point away from the top four in the League.
They win win 5-0 against Parma one week and the next lose 2-1 to SPAL at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo.
But La Dea should have the quality to follow up the surprisingly big win over Torino last weekend with another three points against the Rossoblu at home this Sunday.
Josip Ilicic, Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel are all scoring for the Nerazzurri, as they continue to fight for a place among the elite of European football next term, but Muriel could be on the bench against Genoa.
Alejandro Gomez will play the support role in Gasp’s 3-4-1-2 formation, behind Ilicic and Duvan Zapata up front, as Robin Gosens will be expected to cover the entire left side again this weekend.
Genoa have lost seven of their eight last meetings with La Dea in Serie A and are on a run of three consecutive defeats and the record won’t make them any more confident, despite never having lost four in a row against the Bergamaschi.
Davide Nicola’s men are still the only side that haven’t won away this term and the Rossoblu have the worst defensive record on the road with 26 goals conceded.
This doesn’t bode well against a high-scoring Atalanta, who are the most efficient team in the League with 10 goals more than the second highest scoring side, Lazio, in Serie A.
Genoa will have to pull something special out of the hat against Gasperini’s men in Bergamo and will most likely rely on Goran Pandev and Sanabria to provide the goods up front in a 3-5-2 formation.
Atalanta are the team with the highest amount of goals scored by substitutes among all the five biggest championships in Europe. They have scored 10 goals by players who have come off the bench.
AC Milan vs Hellas Verona
Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, Milan
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @5pm
Milan have reinvented themselves after the winter break and fight for a place in Europe next season, but surprisingly face a direct rival in Hellas Verona this weekend.
Stefano Pioli’s men have hit form after a rough start to the season and the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has lifted the Rossoneri during the initial stage of the new year.
Milan are currently unbeaten in 2020 and on a run of five consecutive wins across all tournaments. In Serie A, they continue to climb the table and are only behind Cagliari at sixth in the League on goal difference.
January has presented a lot of changes at the Giuseppe Meazza and Simon Kjaer has also proved to be a good investment already.
The Dane has integrated immediately and should start again this weekend, when Pioli decided to change the formation and play a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.
Samu Castillejo has also been impressive of late and the same goes for Ante Rebic, who was praised again for his efforts during the mid-week victory over Torino in the Coppa Italia.
Verona are also on great form and are currently on a run of 11 games in a row scoring in Serie A. The last time they registered such a run came back in 2000, when the Gialloblu went 13 games with at least one goal.
They will arrive at San Siro without any new injury concerns, as Eddie Salcedo is the only one still out for the away side.
Ivan Juric plays a 3-4-2-1 formation and could play Fabio Borini behind Di Carmine in a supporting duo with Pessina, hoping that the former Milan player could prove his former employer wrong just weeks after leaving the club.
There are only two points separating the two sides in the table and Verona are still in with a shout for the European places this term, but have already surprised at ninth this term and are not expected to qualify.
On the other hand, Milan have only won once in their five last home games, including two goalless draws against Sassuolo and Sampdoria, and will be determined to continue their great start to the new year against the Mastini.
Verona are Milan’s favourite opponents at San Siro, as the Rossoneri have played the Gialloblu more than any other without losing at home. Milan have won 16 and shared the spoils 11 times in 27 games against the Scaligeri in the fashion capital.
Lazio vs SPAL
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @5pm
Lazio may have halted their run of consecutive Serie A victories at 11, but closed the gap from the leaders and host bottom of the table SPAL.
The Aquile saw their club record streak of victories stall in the Derby della Capitale, but despite being out-played by Roma for long periods, still came away with a point. As Inter also drew and Juventus lost, it means Simone Inzaghi’s men have moved to within four points of the leaders – and have a game in hand to be played against Verona in February.
Joaquin Correa is out with a muscular injury, joined by Adam Marusic, Danilo Cataldi and Jordan Lukaku. This means Felipe Caicedo steps in to partner Ciro Immobile upfront, with Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in midfield.
SPAL are in a three-way tie at the foot of the table with Brescia and Genoa, so every point could be crucial in the fight to avoid relegation.
They’ve lost three of their last four Serie A games, save for a shock 2-1 victory away to Atalanta, which looks more and more like a fluke occurrence. To make matters worse, they face Lazio without two of their best players, striker Andrea Petagna and Mattia Valoti, plus injured Marco D’Alessandro and Mohamed Fares. Sergio Floccari should be the man filling Petagna’s massive shoes, seeing as the suspended centre-forward has scored half of all SPAL’s Serie A goals this season.
SPAL are giant-killers, because 10 of their total 15 points this season came against teams that were at that time in the top half of the table.
Lecce vs Torino
Stadio Comunale Via del Mara, Lecce
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @8pm
Torino need to respond to their latest results against Milan and Atalanta, as they travel to face a Lecce who are yet to win at the Via del Mare this term.
The Giallorossi welcome a Granata desperate to make amends after suffering through a heavy 7-0 defeat to La Dea last weekend, then an extra time Coppa Italia exit on Wednesday.
But Lecce are also looking for their first home win of the campaign and will be hoping to see Khouma Babacar add to his meagre two goals in Serie A after 17 appearances.
The home side will have to call on him and Filippo Falco up front in a 4-3-1-2 formation, when Fabio Liverani is without Diego Farias and most likely with Gianluca Lapadula on the bench.
The home side are only one point above the relegation zone, but might be confident of getting the better of a Granata going through a bit of a crisis of their own.
Torino are on a run of three consecutive defeats, but showed great spirits against Milan in the Coppa Italia midweek. A rare Bremer brace wasn’t enough to see them through to the semi-finals, as Milan turned the game around after equalising in stoppages and scoring twice during extra time.
That result means that Toro are heading to the Via del Mare without a win since they beat Bologna 1-0 on January 12 and will be hoping to see Andrea Belotti set a new record by reaching double figures on Sunday.
He will most likely start again up front, as a lone striker in Walter Mazzarri’s 3-4-2-1, as Simone Verdi and Alex Berenguer should get another go.
Diego Laxalt could start on Sunday, with Koffi Djidji set to replace Armando Izzo in the defensive trio.
Mazzarri needs a positive result to help ease the pressure, but Lecce are also determined to keep their place in the top division ant it could be an even affair in Puglia.
Lecce have only lost one of their seven meetings at the Via del Mare against Torino in Serie A. The Giallorossi have won twice and played out four draws. Torino’s last win came in April 1994.
Udinese vs Inter Milan
Darcia Arena, Udine
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @10:45pm
Inter need to get back on track after three consecutive 1-1 draws, but Lautaro Martinez is suspended for the trip to Udinese and Christian Eriksen could get his Serie A debut.
Antonio Conte’s men still managed to cut the gap to leaders Juventus down to three points, although Lazio have a game in hand and could technically be in second place. Lautaro Martinez was sent off for his furious reaction to the referee’s decision in the final minutes of their stalemate with Cagliari and given a two-match ban, meaning he’ll miss both this visit and crucially the Derby della Madonnina.
In Lautaro’s absence, it’s likely Alexis Sanchez will get the nod alongside Romelu Lukaku, although Sebastiano Esposito is there and ready when called upon. Conte has already stated he does not see Eriksen as a forward, but only a midfielder, albeit potentially in the trequartista role behind the strikers.
That’s where he made his debut in Wednesday’s 2-1 Coppa Italia victory over Fiorentina, coming off the bench for Sanchez at the 66th minute, and is expected to do the same this weekend.
Borja Valero and Stefano Sensi are nursing injuries, but Marcelo Brozovic should be back in action. Ashley Young has taken to life at Inter beautifully, providing an assist on his debut, and could even push Antonio Candreva out of the side to start on the right wing.
Alessandro Bastoni has pretty much become first choice at centre-back ahead of Diego Godin now.
Udinese are coming off back-to-back Serie A defeats, including a last-gasp 3-2 thriller against Milan which saw them very unlucky to emerge on the losing side. That was followed by a 2-0 setback away to Parma, but before that run, they had won three on the bounce. Caretaker manager Luca Gotti remains solidly on the bench, despite assuring everyone he did not want the job on a permanent basis, as the club seems in no rush to find a replacement.
Samir is the only real injury absentee with a meniscus injury. Rodrigo De Paul pulls the midfield strings behind Kevin Lasagna and Stefano Okaka, while Rolando Mandragora continues his search for a goal, having missed several sitters at Parma last week.
Inter have won eight of their last 10 Serie A meetings with Udinese, losing one, and kept four consecutive clean sheets against them. However, coach Luca Gotti is still unbeaten at the Dacia Arena, with two victories and two stalemates.
-Sampdoria vs Juventus @10:45pm