Fiorentina vs Atalanta
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Saturday, 08-02-2020 @5pm
Ref: Maurizio Mariani
Fiorentina are still fuming after their defeat to Juventus and the week has been dominated by controversy as they host fourth-place Atalanta.
Viola President Rocco Commisso was livid following a 3-0 loss in Turin, particularly with the award of the second penalty, a decision confirmed even after the VAR on-field review. A series of interviews, with piqued replies from the Juventus camp, stoked the tension further and it must’ve been difficult for the squad to focus during those days.
Atalanta weren’t exactly brimming with confidence either, as they caught Roma in fourth place, but wasted the opportunity to leapfrog them completely with a 2-2 home draw against Genoa.
Much more was expected of them after destroying Torino 7-0 the week before.
Marten de Roon is suspended, but Timothy Castagne does return to the squad following a knee injury. It might be time to see Luis Muriel in the starting XI against his former club, but Duvan Zapata remains the favourite to lead the attack with Papu Gomez and another ex-Viola star, Josip Ilicic.
Fiorentina continue to miss Franck Ribery, Christian Kouame and Alfred Duncan, though Gaetano Castrovilli should at least be back on the bench after his whiplash injury. The midfielder was sorely missed in Turin. The most important news for coach Beppe Iachini is that Martin Caceres and German Pezzella are available following suspension. Patrick Cutrone remains the favourite rather than Dusan Vlahovic to partner Federico Chiesa.
These sides clashed recently, Fiorentina knocking Atalanta out of the Coppa Italia at the Round of 16, despite seeing Pezzella sent off. Pol Lirola got the late winner, following Cutrone and Ilicic goals.
Atalanta have not won at the Stadio Franchi since a 1-0 result in January 1993, followed by nine draws and 15 defeats in all competition.
Torino vs Sampdoria
Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Torino
Saturday, 08-02-2020 @8pm
Ref: Paolo Valeri
Torino make their debut under new coach Moreno Longo after a disastrous run of results, while Sampdoria are hovering above the relegation zon.
The Granata pulled the plug on Walter Mazzarri after a spectacularly dire series of games, including a 7-0 home defeat to Atalanta, exit from the Coppa Italia against Milan and 4-0 loss to Lecce. It was eventually decided to part company by mutual consent, bringing in their former player and youth team coach Longo, who has been without a role since he was fired by Frosinone in December 2018.
It’s believed Longo will largely stick with the same tactics adopted by Mazzarri, namely a three-man defence with two support strikers behind Andrea Belotti. Simone Zaza, Cristian Ansaldi, Daniele Baselli and probably also Simone Verdi are out of action, so teenage striker Vincenzo Millico is finally given the chance to shine with Alex Berenguer. His presence and that of the new boss should placate some of the angrier figures in the Toro ultras, although they remain committed to getting President Urbano Cairo out too.
Sampdoria are already on their second coach of the campaign, having fired Eusebio Di Francesco after six defeats in his first seven games. Funnily enough, the only win was 1-0 against Torino on September 22. Claudio Ranieri had brought more solidity to the side, but even that seems to be fading fast. They were crushed 5-1 by Lazio, couldn’t break down 10-man Sassuolo and fell 4-2 to Napoli. That Monday evening game was a real thriller, as the Blucerchiati clawed their way back from 2-0 down to 2-2, only to then capitulate 4-2 late on.
It’s no coincidence that Samp’s performance in that game began to slip once Fabio Quagliarella limped off with a sprained ankle, and he remains in doubt to start, so Federico Bonazzoli could partner Manolo Gabbiadini. Ronaldo Vieira should return, though Fabio Depaoli and Alex Ferrari are injured. Bartosz Bereszynski is back after his one-match ban.
Andrea Belotti can become the only player to score at least 10 goals in each of the last five Serie A seasons.
Hellas Verona vs Juventus
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Saturday, 08-02-2020 @10:45pm
Ref: Davide Massa
Hellas Verona stalled Lazio in the midweek rescheduled fixture and now try to do the same with leaders Juventus.
That Week 17 game was postponed from December because Lazio were called to play in the Supercoppa Italiana, where they beat Juve 3-1. The Aquile extended their unbeaten run to 17 rounds, but failed to score for only the second time this season, as Verona held out for a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night.
The Bianconeri can be grateful, because a win would’ve put Lazio into second place, just two points off the Serie A leaders. Instead, Juve now face the same test, a rugged Hellas outfit that love to frustrate opponents, are very aggressive with a high press and can be deadly on the counter-attack with their False 9 approach. Ivan Juric’s side are unbeaten in seven and certainly not to be underestimated.
Sofyan Amrabat was suspended for the Lazio game, but he is back running the midfield, which means Matteo Pessina can move into a more advanced role with Mattia Zaccagni and Valerio Verre, sending Fabio Borini to the bench.
Another switch could see Pawel Dawidowicz step in for Koray Gunter in defence, as his height makes him a valuable weapon on set plays.
Juventus had all week to rest following their 3-0 win over Fiorentina, even if it was dominated by the exchange of barbed comments with Viola President Rocco Commisso. Aaron Ramsey is battling with Douglas Costa for a spot in the starting XI, as Maurizio Sarri keeps everyone guessing between a 4-3-1-2 formation, 4-3-3 or using Paulo Dybala in a free role behind the strikers.
Danilo, Merih Demiral, Sami Khedira and Giorgio Chiellini are out injured, although the captain did resume training this week for the first time since his anterior cruciate ligament surgery in August.
Verona have beaten Juventus only once since April 2000, a 2-1 result at the Bentegodi in May 2016, along with three draws (all of them 2-2 at home) and 11 defeats.
-SPAL vs Sassuolo @14:30pm
-Genoa vs Cagliari @5pm
-Napoli vs Lecce @5pm
-Brescia vs Udinese @5pm
-Parma vs Lazio @
-Inter Milan vs AC Milan @10:45pm
-AS Roma 2-3 Bologna