Lecce vs SPAL
Stadio Comunale del Mare, Lecce
Saturday, 15-02-2020 @5pm
SPAL’s new coach Luigi Di Biagio has very little time to prepare for his first match at club level and probably couldn’t have faced Lecce at a worse time.
The home side are coming to this game after two uplifting results in the fight for survival this term and are hoping that Gianluca Lapadula will continue his current form and help the team towards another year in the top tier.
His brace against Napoli last weekend helped the Giallorossi to a 3-2 win at the San Paolo and he will most likely start the game alongside Filippo Falco on Sunday.
The absence of Diego Farias has given Falco an opportunity to play further up the pitch, as Marco Mancosu is also chipping in with goals from his support role above the midfield three in Fabio Liverani’s preferred 4-3-1-2.
Di Biagio has revealed that he would prefer to play with a back four, but might have to accommodate for a three after looking at the conditions in Ferrara.
SPAL decided to part ways with Leonardo Semplici this week and are hoping for a boost in their performances with the former Italy Under-21 coach.
The Biancazzurri are hoping to make the most out of Andrea Petagna’s last few months at the club, as the former Milan and Atalanta forward is set for a move to Napoli this summer.
He will most likely be paired with Federico Di Francesco up top and 33-year-old Simone Missiroli is expected to keep directing the midfield five.
A win for Lecce will distance them from SPAL, who are rock bottom in the League and the first game could already be extremely decisive for Di Biagio.
This is the second Serie A match between the two sides, as the reverse fixture this term is their only meeting in the top division so far, ending in a 3-1 win for the Salentini.
Bologna vs Genoa
Stadio Renato Dell’Ara, Bologna
Saturday, 15-02-2020 @8pm
Bologna are looking to continue their run of three consecutive triumphs, but host a Genoa side who are unbeaten in three.
The Grifone are currently three points behind safety, hoping to bring home another victory after an uplifting 1-0 win against Cagliari last weekend.
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men are flying high and would be favourites against a struggling Genoa, but Davide Nicola has brought home some great results from Florence and Bergamo during their recent run of games.
Bologna will most likely give Musa Barrow another chance to shine this weekend. The former Atalanta forward bagged a brace against Roma at the Olimpico last time and has picked up three goals in his first four games with Bologna.
The 21-year-old is expected to start at the left side of a trio behind Rodrigo Palacio on Saturday, with Riccardo Orsolini on the right and Roberto Soriano in the middle.
The only change from the Bologna side that overcame Roma last weekend could be Mattias Svanberg, who will most likely be swapped with returning Andrea Poli.
The away side will have to cope without Paolo Ghiglione, as the wing-back will be out for a month with the injury that forced him off against Cagliari last weekend.
Lasse Schone is also doubtful for Nicola’s men, but tests have revealed it’s not serious for the Danish veteran.
Genoa will most likely hand his compatriot Peter Ankersen the nod on the right and Francesco Cassata will then be used to cope with the possible absence of Schone.
Bologna have only managed to collect 33 points after 23 games twice in the three-point era and both times they have ended the season seventh in Serie A. And both teams have scored in Bologna’s last 10 home games in Serie A – the longest streak for the team from Emilia-Romagna.
Atalanta vs Roma
Gewis Stadium, Bergamo
Saturday, 15-02-2020 @10:45pm
It is a massive head-to-head for the fourth Champions League spot, as Atalanta hope to make the most of recent Roma difficulties.
The Giallorossi had been clear in fourth only a couple of weeks ago, but one point from the last three rounds compared to Atalanta’s seven in the same period saw them switch scenarios rapidly.
Momentum seems to be with La Dea at the moment and another victory here would open up a massive six-point lead from the chasing pack. It’d technically count as seven points, seeing as they already beat Roma 2-0 at the Olimpico in September and would therefore have the superior head-to-head record.
Gian Piero Gasperini is relishing the opportunity to use a full squad, although Duvan Zapata is still a little rusty after three months out of action. There are plenty of options to come off the bench, including Luis Muriel and Ruslan Malinovskyi, while Marten de Roon returns from suspension.
On the other hand, Roma are missing Nicolò Zaniolo, Amadou Diawara, Davide Zappacosta and banned Bryan Cristante, who therefore misses the trip back to his old club. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Javier Pastore are not 100 per cent fit, so we could see Gianluca Mancini – another Atalanta old boy – moved back to midfield, a role he had impressed in during the injury crisis a few months ago, with Federico Fazio in central defence instead.
At least Lorenzo Pellegrini is back, having missed the 3-2 defeat to Bologna through suspension, in support of hitman Edin Dzeko. Carles Perez and Gonzalo Villar had good substitute appearances and are pushing for their first starts since the January transfer to the Stadio Olimpico.
Roma have won just one of their last 10 Serie A encounters with Atalanta, 1-0 away in August 2017, drawing five and losing four. However, they lost only one of their last seven trips to Bergamo, drawing three and winning three.
Sunday’s Serie A Fixtures
-Udinese vs Hellas Verona @2:30pm
-Juventus vs Brescia @5pm
-Sampdoria vs Fiorentina @5pm
-Sassuolo vs Parma @5pm
-Cagliari vs Napoli @8pm
-Lazio vs Inter Milan @10:45pm
-AC Milan vs Torino @10:45pm