SERIE A WEEKEND PREVIEW: Juventus look to avoid Rome ruin and Inter Milan host league’s top scorers

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Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates in Juventus
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Juventus have not had many mental tests in the last eight years as they have picked up title after title but their Scudetto credentials will go through a work out in the Italian capital on Sunday.

The Bianconeri head into the latest round of fixtures level on points with Inter Milan at the table’s summit having lost just one game this term.

But that defeat came at high flying Lazio in the run up to Christmas, and now Maurizio Sarri’s side return to the Stadio Olimpico to take on Roma… who are also enjoying a strong campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates in Juventus’s 4-0 win over Cagliari where he scored a hat-trick

But Juve now return to the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma, where they were beaten 3-1 by Lazio in December as Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala stand dejected during the Serie A clash

But Juve now return to the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma, where they were beaten 3-1 by Lazio in December as Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala stand dejected during the Serie A clash

Cristiano Ronaldo’s treble helped sweep aside Cagliari in the champions’ return from the winter break on Monday and the pressure will be on them to secure a result on the back of watching title rivals Inter Milan who play 24 hours earlier.

It’s not just recent form though that should concern Sarri and Juventus in Rome.

Despite nearly a full decade of Serie A domination, the Old Lady have only won twice at Roma in the last 10 years – the last of which was back in 2014, and that was only courtesy of a last minute strike from Dani Osvaldo. 

Juventus have not won at Roma for six years when Dani Osvaldo struck in the final minute

Juventus have not won at Roma for six years when Dani Osvaldo struck in the final minute

One positive for Juventus heading into the encounter is they may have just caught Paulo Fonseca’s side when they are off the boil. 

The winter break came at a bad time for the Champions League chasing side, having won four of their five games leading up to it and securing a credible 0-0 draw away at Inter.

Yet their return to action on Monday brought a surprise 2-0 defeat by Torino on home soil – proving at least one Turin side is capable of securing all three points in the capital. 

That defeat though could act as a wake up call for the club who head into the weekend holding the fourth and final Champions League spot by just one point.

It looks like being a key fixture in the title battle but it is worth noting that the return meeting between the sides could have even more at stake on the final day of the season.

Roma head into the Serie A game following a surprise 2-0 defeat at home by Torino

Roma head into the Serie A game following a surprise 2-0 defeat at home by Torino

Inter host five-star Atalanta

If Juventus have it tough this weekend then it is not much easier for league leaders Inter Milan. 

A home clash with Atalanta may seem an easier task than a trip to Roma but this is likely to be a far from straight forward affair for Antonio Conte’s outfit.

Inter may be top of the table thanks to the lethal strike partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez but it is Atalanta who have been the most devastating team in front of goal this term.

No side have netted more than their 48 goals, and they head to the San Siro with an average of well over two goals per game and in arguably their best form of the campaign.

Inter Milan duo Lautaro Martinez (left) and Romelu Lukaku will hope to gun down a free-scoring Atalanta at the San Siro this weekend

Inter Milan duo Lautaro Martinez (left) and Romelu Lukaku will hope to gun down a free-scoring Atalanta at the San Siro this weekend

Much of that is down to their sensational form before and after Christmas where they trounced AC Milan and Parma 5-0 respectively.

Despite not winning at Inter since 2014 – a period that has included a 7-1 hammering in that time – they are starting to get a taste for the San Siro having progressed to the Champions League last-16 this term while using the Milan stadium as their home ground. 

Inter will still be favourites to take three points, with Monday’s 3-1 win at Napoli a welcome return to form following an uncertain December that saw them dumped out of the Champions League group stage inbetween draws with Roma and Fiorentina.

Atalanta's 48 goals scored this term is more than any other team in Serie A

Atalanta’s 48 goals scored this term is more than any other team in Serie A

Lazio target perfect 10

Is there a more in-form team in Europe right now than Lazio? Ok, I’ll give you Liverpool who are blitzing the Premier League and are near certainties to end the season as champions. 

The Biancocelesti though are showing form that comes very close to matching the European champions having won their last nine league games, leaving them third in the table and emerging as genuine title contenders.

There is a fear factor to the Rome based outfit these days who have shown incredible resilience to win their last four domestic fixtures with goals in the final minute – two of those victories coming against champions Juventus.

It’s baffling how a side showing form this formidable took until the end of October to put together back-to-back league wins and four victories in general.

So is this is a flash of form from Simone Inzaghi’s side or can they maintain it alongside a Europa League run to earn their first Scudetto since 2000? It’s a trip to Gennaro Gatusso’s Napoli side who are in flux next, and they will be favourites at the Stadio San Paolo – a close to unthinkable thought at the start of the season. 

Lazio have won their four most recent domestic games with last minute goals, including Ciro Immobile's winner on Monday in the 2-1 success at Brescia

Lazio have won their four most recent domestic games with last minute goals, including Ciro Immobile’s winner on Monday in the 2-1 success at Brescia

Are Parma still European contenders?

Over at Parma there is an all too familiar tale emerging, one that involves a promising squad losing their best players and slipping into obscurity.

It happened to the late 1990s and early 2000s side as the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianfranco Zola, Lillian Thuram, Juan Sebastian Veron etc were all picked off leaving one of Serie A’s most iconic outfits without a title. They were perhaps the equivalent of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United, minus a ‘I would love it if we beat them’ rant.

Dejan Kulusevski will join Juventus on a permanent deal at the end of the season

Dejan Kulusevski will join Juventus on a permanent deal at the end of the season

SERIE A FIXTURES 

SATURDAY

Cagliari vs AC Milan (2pm) 

Lazio vs Napoli (5pm)

Inter Milan vs Atalanta (7.45pm)

SUNDAY

Udinese vs Sassuolo (11.30am)

Fiorentina vs SPAL (2pm)

Sampdoria vs Brescia (2pm) 

Torino vs Bologna (2pm)

Hellas Verona vs Genoa (5pm)

Roma vs Juventus (7.45pm)

MONDAY

Parma vs Lecce (7.45pm) 

All KO times are GMT 

To a lesser extent it may be happening again. It was Juventus who pinched Buffon, Cannavaro and Thuram from Parma many years ago and it’s taken them less than six months this season to grab their best player.

What’s worse for Parma is the £30million Juve have paid for Dejan Kulusevski will see them not gain a penny, with the Sweden midfielder only on loan at the club, initially from Atalanta.

The good news for manager Roberto D’Aversa is that the 19-year-old will remain at Parma on loan from the champions for the remainder of the season. The bad news is his side’s first game since the deal was announced was a 5-0 trouncing away at Atalanta – with Kulusevski playing the full 90 minutes.

Just a blip or is this the start of another Parma decline? Up next is a home clash with struggling Lecce. Lose again and they will be looking down the table rather than leading a charge for a first appearance in Europe for 13 years.

Elsewhere in Serie A…

After an unconvincing AC Milan debut in the goalless draw with Sampdoria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will hope for an improvement as his side visit an out-of-form Cagliari who have not won in Serie A in over a month.

Sampdoria have steadily improved since Claudio Ranieri came in but they are far from clear of the relegation zone as they host third from bottom Brescia, with just two points separating them at the start of the weekend.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will travel with his struggling AC Milan side to take on Cagliari

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will travel with his struggling AC Milan side to take on Cagliari

Likewise Fiorentina are also not clear of the scrap to avoid Serie B football next term as they entertain rock bottom SPAL.

Hoping to take advantage of rivals snatching points off each other are Genoa who in the relegation zone could exit the bottom three with victory at Hellas Verona. 

Torino and Bolonga battle it out to continue their respective pushes for a Europa League place next term while Udinese will target a third straight win to maintain their best form of the season when they entertain Sassuolo. 



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Juventus have not had many mental tests in the last eight years as they have picked up title after title but their Scudetto credentials will go through a work out in the Italian capital on Sunday.

The Bianconeri head into the latest round of fixtures level on points with Inter Milan at the table’s summit having lost just one game this term.

But that defeat came at high flying Lazio in the run up to Christmas, and now Maurizio Sarri’s side return to the Stadio Olimpico to take on Roma… who are also enjoying a strong campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates in Juventus’s 4-0 win over Cagliari where he scored a hat-trick

But Juve now return to the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma, where they were beaten 3-1 by Lazio in December as Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala stand dejected during the Serie A clash

But Juve now return to the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma, where they were beaten 3-1 by Lazio in December as Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala stand dejected during the Serie A clash

Cristiano Ronaldo’s treble helped sweep aside Cagliari in the champions’ return from the winter break on Monday and the pressure will be on them to secure a result on the back of watching title rivals Inter Milan who play 24 hours earlier.

It’s not just recent form though that should concern Sarri and Juventus in Rome.

Despite nearly a full decade of Serie A domination, the Old Lady have only won twice at Roma in the last 10 years – the last of which was back in 2014, and that was only courtesy of a last minute strike from Dani Osvaldo. 

Juventus have not won at Roma for six years when Dani Osvaldo struck in the final minute

Juventus have not won at Roma for six years when Dani Osvaldo struck in the final minute

One positive for Juventus heading into the encounter is they may have just caught Paulo Fonseca’s side when they are off the boil. 

The winter break came at a bad time for the Champions League chasing side, having won four of their five games leading up to it and securing a credible 0-0 draw away at Inter.

Yet their return to action on Monday brought a surprise 2-0 defeat by Torino on home soil – proving at least one Turin side is capable of securing all three points in the capital. 

That defeat though could act as a wake up call for the club who head into the weekend holding the fourth and final Champions League spot by just one point.

It looks like being a key fixture in the title battle but it is worth noting that the return meeting between the sides could have even more at stake on the final day of the season.

Roma head into the Serie A game following a surprise 2-0 defeat at home by Torino

Roma head into the Serie A game following a surprise 2-0 defeat at home by Torino

Inter host five-star Atalanta

If Juventus have it tough this weekend then it is not much easier for league leaders Inter Milan. 

A home clash with Atalanta may seem an easier task than a trip to Roma but this is likely to be a far from straight forward affair for Antonio Conte’s outfit.

Inter may be top of the table thanks to the lethal strike partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez but it is Atalanta who have been the most devastating team in front of goal this term.

No side have netted more than their 48 goals, and they head to the San Siro with an average of well over two goals per game and in arguably their best form of the campaign.

Inter Milan duo Lautaro Martinez (left) and Romelu Lukaku will hope to gun down a free-scoring Atalanta at the San Siro this weekend

Inter Milan duo Lautaro Martinez (left) and Romelu Lukaku will hope to gun down a free-scoring Atalanta at the San Siro this weekend

Much of that is down to their sensational form before and after Christmas where they trounced AC Milan and Parma 5-0 respectively.

Despite not winning at Inter since 2014 – a period that has included a 7-1 hammering in that time – they are starting to get a taste for the San Siro having progressed to the Champions League last-16 this term while using the Milan stadium as their home ground. 

Inter will still be favourites to take three points, with Monday’s 3-1 win at Napoli a welcome return to form following an uncertain December that saw them dumped out of the Champions League group stage inbetween draws with Roma and Fiorentina.

Atalanta's 48 goals scored this term is more than any other team in Serie A

Atalanta’s 48 goals scored this term is more than any other team in Serie A

Lazio target perfect 10

Is there a more in-form team in Europe right now than Lazio? Ok, I’ll give you Liverpool who are blitzing the Premier League and are near certainties to end the season as champions. 

The Biancocelesti though are showing form that comes very close to matching the European champions having won their last nine league games, leaving them third in the table and emerging as genuine title contenders.

There is a fear factor to the Rome based outfit these days who have shown incredible resilience to win their last four domestic fixtures with goals in the final minute – two of those victories coming against champions Juventus.

It’s baffling how a side showing form this formidable took until the end of October to put together back-to-back league wins and four victories in general.

So is this is a flash of form from Simone Inzaghi’s side or can they maintain it alongside a Europa League run to earn their first Scudetto since 2000? It’s a trip to Gennaro Gatusso’s Napoli side who are in flux next, and they will be favourites at the Stadio San Paolo – a close to unthinkable thought at the start of the season. 

Lazio have won their four most recent domestic games with last minute goals, including Ciro Immobile's winner on Monday in the 2-1 success at Brescia

Lazio have won their four most recent domestic games with last minute goals, including Ciro Immobile’s winner on Monday in the 2-1 success at Brescia

Are Parma still European contenders?

Over at Parma there is an all too familiar tale emerging, one that involves a promising squad losing their best players and slipping into obscurity.

It happened to the late 1990s and early 2000s side as the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianfranco Zola, Lillian Thuram, Juan Sebastian Veron etc were all picked off leaving one of Serie A’s most iconic outfits without a title. They were perhaps the equivalent of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United, minus a ‘I would love it if we beat them’ rant.

Dejan Kulusevski will join Juventus on a permanent deal at the end of the season

Dejan Kulusevski will join Juventus on a permanent deal at the end of the season

SERIE A FIXTURES 

SATURDAY

Cagliari vs AC Milan (2pm) 

Lazio vs Napoli (5pm)

Inter Milan vs Atalanta (7.45pm)

SUNDAY

Udinese vs Sassuolo (11.30am)

Fiorentina vs SPAL (2pm)

Sampdoria vs Brescia (2pm) 

Torino vs Bologna (2pm)

Hellas Verona vs Genoa (5pm)

Roma vs Juventus (7.45pm)

MONDAY

Parma vs Lecce (7.45pm) 

All KO times are GMT 

To a lesser extent it may be happening again. It was Juventus who pinched Buffon, Cannavaro and Thuram from Parma many years ago and it’s taken them less than six months this season to grab their best player.

What’s worse for Parma is the £30million Juve have paid for Dejan Kulusevski will see them not gain a penny, with the Sweden midfielder only on loan at the club, initially from Atalanta.

The good news for manager Roberto D’Aversa is that the 19-year-old will remain at Parma on loan from the champions for the remainder of the season. The bad news is his side’s first game since the deal was announced was a 5-0 trouncing away at Atalanta – with Kulusevski playing the full 90 minutes.

Just a blip or is this the start of another Parma decline? Up next is a home clash with struggling Lecce. Lose again and they will be looking down the table rather than leading a charge for a first appearance in Europe for 13 years.

Elsewhere in Serie A…

After an unconvincing AC Milan debut in the goalless draw with Sampdoria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will hope for an improvement as his side visit an out-of-form Cagliari who have not won in Serie A in over a month.

Sampdoria have steadily improved since Claudio Ranieri came in but they are far from clear of the relegation zone as they host third from bottom Brescia, with just two points separating them at the start of the weekend.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will travel with his struggling AC Milan side to take on Cagliari

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will travel with his struggling AC Milan side to take on Cagliari

Likewise Fiorentina are also not clear of the scrap to avoid Serie B football next term as they entertain rock bottom SPAL.

Hoping to take advantage of rivals snatching points off each other are Genoa who in the relegation zone could exit the bottom three with victory at Hellas Verona. 

Torino and Bolonga battle it out to continue their respective pushes for a Europa League place next term while Udinese will target a third straight win to maintain their best form of the season when they entertain Sassuolo. 



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