The excitement and action resumes this weekend in Italy, as we enter matchday 20 of the Serie A.
Napoli face herculean task at Naples as they face Lazio with an injury and suspension smeared squad to keep title hopes alive.
AS Roma and Internationale keep up on maintaining European spots. This and more as we assess the games for the week.
NAPOLI vs LAZIO
(Game of the week)
This is obviously the best game of the weekend. Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon and Dries Martens have already been involved in about 16 goals this season but the Biancocelesti seem to have woken from sleep having endured a long witless streak holding the fort well for their last three matches. Phillipo Inzaghi’s side have an lethal goal scorer in Ciro Immobile, and his pair with Caceido can be troublesome for Napoleon given the absence of Koulibaly due to suspension. Milinkovic- Savic and Luis Alberto have warmed up well into the alteration in the heart of midfield of Lazio and are enjoying playing together. Lorenzo Insigne who provides service for Araduiz Milik (who enjoys playing along with Callejon, Insigne and Martens) ineligible due to a red card, aside Hamsik being ruled out on a tigh injury with Dries Mertens likely to start from the bench. Ancelloti’s side look helpless and will have to improvise despite their wonderful winning run at Naples winning 8 of last 10 matches. With Lazio having a thing for big matches, nothing destroys the beauty of the big game only that Napoli is expected to keep the heat on Juventus who lie top of league table with a decent nine point gap.
JUVENTUS vs CHIEVO VERONA
The last time the two sides met in August last year, the Gialloblu put up a very strong performance and Juventus were lucky to have escaped with a win having benefited through a controversial VAR decision but Chievo Verona lie bottom of the Serie A table and have conceded 35 times already this season – the poor run does not seem to be ending now. To add pepper to injury, they take on Massimiliano Allegri and his free scoring Juventus side which have found the net in every game played so far this season. With talisman Cristiano Ronaldo itching for more glory with the Biaconieri after the Italian Super Cup victory over rivals Milan, Di Carlo and his Verona side may as well be bracing themselves for yet another loss.
ROMA vs TORINO
Roma after struggling to find their rhythm early on in the season seem to be finding their feet after back to back wins against Sassulo and Parma. But their performance this season has not quenched the pessimism having accumulated 30 pints in their last 19 games this season; one of their worst runs. The only thing that can calm the waters will be a win against Torino, and will have to rely on the service of Cengiz Under to please the home fans and close in on Champions League spot, with the league title now seemingly impossible. Torino has loss just 4 times this season with only Napoli and Juventus managing lesser or no losses. Iltoro have recorded draws in their last 4 matches a very worrisome trend that Coach Walter Materazzi will be eager to find answers. Super Striker Bellotiis been having a very quiet season himself and they trip to Stadio Olympico is already looking scary as they never grab anything positive there.
GENOA vs AC MILAN
The Rossoblu host AC Milan at the Stadio Communale Luigi Ferraris, having lost at their home ground in their last encounter. The only straw Genoa clutch onto is the outstanding form of Kryzyszt of Piatek who has scored 13 times this season. The stalemate against Fiorentina left them standing at 14th position as they take on the Genaro Gattuso led Rossonieri, who come into this game as injured Lions, having lost narrowly to Juventus in the Italia Super cup earlier this week. They are already having a season to forget having being eliminated from Europa cup by Olympiacos in the most cruel of ways, all they have left is the Serie A. They have conceeded 20 times this season and have an average defensive line and will once again have to depend on playmaker Suso who have scored four times this season and have 8 assists to his name. His partnership with Huguain looks highly impossible following the later’s transfer issues that makes it difficult to decide this tie.
SASSULO vs INTERNATIONALE
The Neroverdi have experienced a dip in performance after having a dream start to the season, and the 6-2 tramping by Atlanta is huge evidence. However when it comes to games against the Nerrazzuri, Inter Milan, Sassulo have a very decent record. Roberto De Zerbi’s men are unbeaten in the last 4 matches meaning Internationale have won only out of their 10 meetings with the Modena based side. De Zerbi’s unique front trio may have to be reshuffled with team news that core man Fredrico di Francesco out injured, Kelvin Prince Boating may be called to duty with Zouma Babcar. For Luciano Spalletti and his side, despite lying third on the league log, a loss may not be an option especially as they are 14 points adrift leaders Juventus. Their fine form recently has sparked a ray of hope with Ivan Perisic beginning to cough up big things for his side, Icardi may be well complemented and probably their abysmal run against Sassulo could end shortly.
By: Dampte-Larbi Godfred|UniversSports|universnewsroom.com