Serie A Weekend Preview
With the league leaders Juventus set to host 12th
placed Parma on Saturday, it appears that their unassailable lead at the summit of Serie A
is set to last for another weekend at least. Elsewhere in Italy, 2nd
placed Napoli will attempt to slice the advantage when they host Sampdoria while Roma’s battle with Milan is the showstopper on Sunday.
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NAPOLI VS SAMPDORIA – SAN PAOLO STADIUM
The Gli Azzurri went crashing out of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday, losing their quarter-final matchup 2-0 againts AC Milan just days after they pair played out to a goalless stalemate for a share of the spoils in Serie A. Carlo Ancelotti’s side will be hopeful of a positive result on Saturday however having won the last six matches in-a-row at their San Paolo home.
Sampdoria suffered the same fate as Napoli a fortnight ago as they too were dumped out of the cup following a 2-0 loss to the Rossoneri. L Blucerchiati then exchanged blows in a thrilling 3-3 draw away to Fiorentina before returning home in fine fashion, beating Udinese 4-0 on Saturday helped along by a pair of penalties from Fabio Quagliarella – the Italian’s 15th
goals in the league this season, taking him ahead of Juve’s star summer-signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
When the sides met earlier in the season, Sampdoria came away 3-0 winners at home – ending a run of five straight defeats against Napoli in Serie A - with Gregoire Defrel twice on the scoresheet for the hosts. Sampdoria’s previous league success against them came eight years prior when Giampaolo Pazzini scored the only goal of the game in May 2010 – a run of 14 matches without a win.
JUVENTUS VS PARMA – ALLIANZ STADIUM
The Old Lady made a swift exit from the Coppa Italia on Wednesday, humbled 3-0 at the hands of Atalanta – one of only two teams to take points off of Juventus in Italy’s Serie A this season. That was Massimiliano Allegri’s first defeat from his last nine matches in all competitions since a 2-1 defeat at Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League in December.
Parma let a two-goal lead slip from their grasp last time out as they conceded three goals in the final 20 minutes of their encounter with SPAL, losing 3-2 – their second successive defeat at home. The Crociati’s last league win at the Stadio Ennio Tardini came over Sassuolo in November although Roberto D’Aversa’s men have won their last two matches on the road, beating Fiorentina and Udinese respectively.
Prior to their relegation in 2015, Parma’s last meeting with Juventus resulted in a shock 1-0 triumph ending a run of seven top-flight matches without success against L Bianconeri. Parma’s last trip to Juventus saw them ship a whopping seven goals without reply as Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata bagging a brace apiece in the process.
When they pair faced off in the reverse fixture back in September Mario Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi netted either side of a Gervinho strike for the home side to secure a hard-fought 2-1 win.
AS ROMA VS AC MILAN – STADIO OLIMPICO
L Giallorossi have some serious work to do if they are to go some way to redeeming themselves from their humiliating 7-1 drubbing at Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Wednesday. Despite pulling a goal back through Aleksander Kolarov midway through the first period, four second half strikes put to bed any Roma hopes, succumbing them to their first defeat from their last six matches.
AC Milan currently find themselves fourth in Serie A and will be in buoyant mood ahead of their trip to the capital due to their progression in the cup earlier in the week. Gennaro Gattuso knows that a victory for his side, who have suffered just one defeat in their last seven in all competitions – 1-0 to Juventus in the Italian Super Cup – would put some clear daylight between themselves and Roma in 5th
The Rossoneri are seeking their third straight Serie A victory against Roma having won the corresponding fixture last season 2-0 before following that up with a 2-1 win at the San Siro when the sides faced off earlier in the season.
Patrick Cutrone scored the winner for Milan deep into stoppage time during that last encounter – his second goal in as many appearances against Roma.
Roma have won just one of their last four home matches against AC Milan, drawing two and losing one since a 2-0 win in April 2014.
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