Juventus in Sassuolo test as Serie A returns

first_img Tags: juventusSassuoloSerie A Juventus have won all their last 7 games against Sassuolo. (PHOTO/Courtesy)Brescia vs Atalanta Stadio Mario Rigamonti. BresciaSaturday, 30-11-2019 @5pmAfter claiming their first Champions League win in midweek, Atalanta visit bitter rivals Brescia on Saturday.La Dea will be in a positive mood following the 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday at San Siro following goals from Luis Muriel and Papu Gomez. Gian Piero Gasperini will be hoping his side can carry this form into Serie A this weekend and bounce back from a disappointing spell, having not won in their previous four matches.Last weekend Atalanta hosted current leaders Juventus at the Gewiss Stadium and took the lead after 56 minutes through a Robin Gosens header, but Maurizio Sarri’s side soon fought back with two goals from Gonzalo Higuain and an injury time finish from Paulo Dybala to win 3-1. Muriel was not quite fit to start against the Bianconeri, however he recovered in time to face Zagreb and opened the scoring from the spot after 27 minutes.Duvan Zapata will be assessed ahead of this weekend after picking up a thigh injury on international duty, but it is likely the Colombian will miss out and fellow compatriot Muriel will retain his place alongside Gomez. Centre-back Rafael Toloi will also be unable to play following a suspension and Berat Djimsiti will be the favourite to replace him.Brescia face a difficult task, but newly appointed coach Fabio Grosso will be desperate for his side to bounce back following a poor performance away to Roma last weekend. The 3-0 defeat at Stadio Olimpico was their fifth straight loss and haven’t won since September 21 against Udinese. Mario Balotelli was left out last weekend following a training ground bust-up.Grosso has insisted the forward needs to work harder for the team to reclaim his place, but he could feature on the bench against Atalanta. Grosso is expected to name the same front two this weekend with Ernesto Torregrossa and Alfredo Donnarumma. Ales Mateju becomes available following suspension, but Daniele Dessena remains out with a long term injury.These two sides have not played in Serie A since April 2005, which ended in a 1-0 win for Brescia following an injury time penalty winner from Gigi Di Biagio.Atalanta have only ever won one Serie A trip to Brescia, drawing three and losing seven. That outlier was a 3-0 victory in March 2001.Genoa vs TorinoStadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, GenoaSaturday,30-12-2019 @8pmTorino are waiting on injury news from star man Andrea Belotti in their trip to a Genoa side in the relegation zone.These two cities are steeped in Italian football history with the first Italian friendly match documented between Genoa and a mix of two teams from Turin on January 6, 1898.Il Grifone are fighting for their lives in 18th place and have shown signs of life with two draws in their last two matches, but haven’t won since Thiago Motta’s debut with rock bottom Brescia, who incidentally Toro’s last win also came against.Toro’s form has been up and down recently, although they’ve had some of the country’s top sides to contend with over the last few rounds.Walter Mazzarri was angry with his players after what he described as “serious and naive errors” in the 3-0 home defeat to Inter, however this is the kind of match they will think can get them back on track for European contention.Torino’s star man Andrea Belotti will be looking to get back on the scoresheet after his brace before the international break, however he remains an injury doubt for this match, with Simone Zaza waiting in the wings.In the same fixture last year, Torino managed to come away with a 0-1 victory, the only goal scored by Cristian Ansaldi.There will be no emotional return for Diego Laxalt, who spent several happy seasons in the port city, as he is injured along with Lyanco and Iago Falque. Daniele Baselli and Kevin Bonifazi’s conditions will also need to be monitored.Domenico Criscito was available again for the draw with SPAL and the captain will look to redeem himself if given the nod after giving away a clumsy penalty, converted by Andrea Petagna.Genoa will be hoping their own forwards weigh in with more goals and that young striker Andrea Pinamonti can find more consistency during Christian Kouame’s long injury lay-off.Torino have won their last three Serie A meetings with Genoa, the longest success streak since five in a row in 1982.Fiorentina vs LecceStadio Artemio Franchi, Florence Saturday, 30-11-2019 @10:45pmFiorentina have completely lost their way again with one point in three rounds, but host fired-up Lecce.The Viola are an extremely difficult team to figure out this season. One week they’re fun to watch, another week, they’re abject. Their lack of consistency puts them 10th with a total of 16 points. This weekend at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, they will hope to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome newly-promoted Lecce.Vincenzo Montella’s men lost away to Hellas Verona in their last league game, but are just four points behind the Champions League spots. Defensively, Fiorentina are vulnerable, as they’ve conceded nine goals in their last five league fixtures, scoring six.It’s been a draw too many for Fabio Liverani’s side, who are without a win in their last eight games. Lecce managed an improbable 2-2 draw against high flying Cagliari in the last league fixture and badly need a win to steer away from relegation blues.Gianluca Lapadula was sent off in that match for a tussle with Robin Olsen and handed a two-match ban, joining injured Filippo Falco and Zan Majer in the stands. Khouma Babacar and Marco Mancosu are not 100 per cent fit either, but Diego Farias returns to bolster the attack with Andrea La Mantia.Lecce have a stronger away record than at the Stadio Via del Mare, earning two wins and two draws compared to just three home stalemates. That included victories at Torino and SPAL, taking points off Milan and Sampdoria.The home side don’t have issues with injury, as only German Pezzella missing for three weeks after fracturing his cheekbone. Federico Chiesa should be back in the side after muscular issues, reuniting with Franck Ribery.It is a homecoming for Lecce boss Liverani, who played 64 Serie A games for Fiorentina.Fiorentina have picked up only one point from their last six Serie A games against newly-promoted teams.Juventus vs SassuoloAllainz Stadium, TorinoSunday, 01-11-2019 @2:30pmJuventus will look to continue their winning streak at the top against a Sassuolo side missing talisman Domenico Berardi.Maurizio Sarri is still under criticism for the Old Lady’s playing style, although the Bianconeri managed to seal top place in their Champions League group following their home victory against Atletico Madrid, thus maintaining this season’s unbeaten record intact.The Bianconeri won thanks to a splendid free-kick from Paulo Dybala, the 26-year-old now scoring in Juve’s last three official matches. And with Cristiano Ronaldo still struggling to regain his lethal form, Dybala is quietly proving how decisive he can be for the Italian champions.When Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi was topping the Capocannoniere charts with five goals in his first two games back in September, many hoped this year would prove decisive for him. But the lack of consistency is once again overshadowing his immense talent, which is also a problem for the Neroverdi, who are only three points shy of the relegation zone.Playing at home against a side that has never won here will force the Bianconeri to not only win, but also provide a convincing display of force against Sassuolo, with Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain expected to lead Juve’s attack. Sassuolo is Higuain’s favourite victim in Serie A, against whom he scored six goals in four matches for the Bianconeri.Veteran Gigi Buffon should start in goal, while Alex Sandro is not fully fit for a place on the left flank. Giorgio Chiellini and Douglas Costa are sitting out injuries.Domenico Berardi picked a thigh muscle strain and is unlikely to travel to Turin, while Gregoire Defrel and Vlad Chiriches are longer-term absentees. Brazilian defender Rogerio and Gian Marco Ferrari will still have to be evaluated.Sassuolo have lost each of their last seven Serie A meetings with Juventus, conceding a total 21 goals. They’ve also been defeated in each of their six top flight trips to Turin.Inter Milan vs SPALStadio Guiseppe Meazza, MilanSunday, 01-12-2019 @5pmSecond from top host second from bottom as strugglers SPAL make their second trip of the season to San Siro to face Scudetto challengers Inter.Inter are coming off a 3-1 away win in the Champions League against Slavia Prague, with strikers Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez both getting on the scoresheet for the Nerazzurri.It was a nervy affair for Antonio Conte’s side, as the goal that put them ahead was only scored in the 81st minute.The home side are without Nicolo Barella and Kwadwo Asamoah, both of whom are nursing knee injuries, while Alexis Sanchez is still out with the ongoing foot issue he suffered while on international duty with Chile. However, Danilo D’Ambrosio looks set to reenter the starting XI after not playing against Slavia.SPAL, meanwhile, are winless in their last six matches and things are looking bleak for them. They’ve scored a meagre eight goals this season, the lowest in Serie A. The Biancazzurri will need seasoned hitmen Alberto Paloschi and Andrea Petagna to step up and find the net if they are to avoid the drop.It is hard to imagine a scenario where Inter don’t pick up all three points, but if SPAL are to take anything back with them, it would likely be late on as the Beneamata’s legs could tire from their midweek match.With that in mind, Conte could opt for a slightly more-cautious approach late on.SPAL’s last win against Inter came in February 1962, a 1-0 victory.Lazio vs UdineseStadio Olimpico, RomeSunday, 01-12-2019 @5pmLazio welcome Udinese and look to equal their best ever form under Simone Inzaghi of six consecutive wins, a feat last achieved back in October 2017.The Biancocelesti have a full squad available for selection, apart from Valon Berisha, who looks like he will be sidelined for another week after returning from international duty with an injury. Adam Marusic should shake off his knock to make him available if called upon. Lazio will have only had three days of recovery time for this fixture after beating Cluj 1-0 in the Europa League on Thursday night.Lazio have won their last six Serie A meetings with Udinese, averaging 2.2 goals per match. Taking this into consideration, the hosts will be confident that their team can secure all three points this weekend.With one eye on the following game against Juventus, Inzaghi will be hopeful that Francesco Acerbi does not pick up a yellow card, as he would be a big miss against the champions.Udinese have continued to struggle after sacking coach Igor Tudor, as the honeymoon period for caretaker manager Luca Gotti is already wearing off. He won his debut, 3-1 away to Genoa, but has since been held by SPAL and lost to Sampdoria. The Friulani currently have one of the worst records in Europe’s top five leagues, only Huddersfield (38) have lost more games than the Bianconeri (37) since January 2018.The Dacia Arena club sit just four points above the relegation zone. Despite all this, Udinese have managed to score in their last three away fixtures. Gotti will be hoping he can inspire his side to do the same in Rome and that Lazio lack preparation for the fixture due to their European commitments.Mato Jajalo was sent off against Sampdoria and is therefore suspended, while Ken Sema requires a fitness test due to a muscular issue. The good news for Udinese is that Stefano Okaka and Rodrigo Becao return from their bans.Lazio have scored at least two goals in each of their last eight Serie A matches. They have never in their history managed nine in a row.Parma vs AC MilanStadio Ennio Tardini, ParmaSunday, 01-12-2019 @5pmMilan come into this weekend four points behind Parma, showing just how urgent their need for results has become.Going unbeaten in their last three matches has really helped in lifting the spirit of the Ducali, especially following an impressive home 2-0 home win over Roma. Now returning to the Tardini following their most recent draw with rivals Bologna, Parma are confident and have the belief they can collect points.Roberto D’Aversa will be happy to welcome back star man Gervinho, but Roberto Inglese, Yann Karamoh, Andreas Cornelius and Matteo Scozzarella are on the treatment table. Mattia Sprocati could therefore step in to complete the trident with hugely-impressive Atalanta loan starlet Dejan Kulusevski.Stefano Pioli has had a hard time since taking over the Coaching position in Milan over Marco Giampaolo, as the former Fiorentina coach has managed only one win in his six matches and will look to this trip to his hometown of Parma to take three precious points.Sitting on 14 points in 12th spot, it’s safe to say I Rossoneri have underwhelmed most fans with their lack of intensity on the pitch and are in need of a big performance to regain control of their season.Fabio Borini and Samu Castillejo are still out in the midfield, while Ante Rebic, Ricardo Rodriguez and Leo Duarte all require fitness tests. There are strong reports Krzysztof Piatek could be dropped in favour of Rafael Leao.On the positive side, Spanish playmaker Suso looks set to return to the line-up to provide that extra spark upfront. Hakan Calhanoglu returns from suspension, but is not guaranteed a starting spot, as Giacomo Bonaventura got the equalizing goal against Napoli last time out. Bonaventura could also be dropped further into midfield, replacing Lucas Paqueta. Ismael Bennacer is also back after his ban against Napoli.Milan have fumbled six points this season by conceding goals in the final 20 minutes.Napoli vs BolognaStadio San Paolo, NaplesSunday, 01-12-2019 @8pmThe atmosphere at Napoli might be calming down a little, but they are still seventh in Serie A and without a win in five league games as they host Bologna.The Azzurri have been in crisis mode in recent weeks with the players refusing to return to a training retreat after their draw with Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League a few weeks back.President Aurelio De Laurentiis has issued fines to all players involved, with Captain Lorenzo Insigne and Brazilian midfielder Allan receiving the heaviest penalties. The Partenopei travelled to Anfield mid-week to take on Liverpool in the Champions League and put in a decent defensive performance to leave with a point in a 1-1 draw.Coach Carlo Ancelotti will hope that his players knuckle down and prove themselves on the field again in the league, but is without injured Arkadiusz Milik, Faouzi Ghoulam and Kevin Malcuit, while Insigne requires a fitness test after a painful elbow injury.Bologna aren’t doing much better, as they sit just three points above the relegation zone and are on a four-game winless run.I Veltri drew 2-2 at home to Parma last weekend thanks to Blerim Dzemaili’s 95th-minute equaliser, which halted a run of three defeats in a row.Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men have only won three times so far this season, at home against SPAL, Sampdoria and then away to Brescia. The coach has been dealing with his leukaemia diagnosis since July, but has been released from hospital following three courses of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. He spent time at the training ground this week and could well be on the bench.Bologna are without Roberto Soriano, Mitchell Dijks and Federico Santander due to injury. It remains to be seen whether Mattias Svanberg or Andrea Poli is chosen to fill in with Riccardo Orsolini, Nicola Sansone and veteran hitman Rodrigo Palacio.Expect this game to be played on Napoli’s terms, as the home side will hope to use their good performance at Anfield as a launchpad to reignite their league campaign. Ancelotti will need his side to start winning games soon before they fall too far off the top four.Bologna have lost each of their last five visits to the San Paolo, conceding 18 goals and scoring four. Their most recent Serie A victory here was 3-2 in December 2012.Hellas Verona vs RomaStadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, VeronaSunday, 01-12-2019 @10:45pmVerona host Roma on Sunday evening, as Ivan Juric’s side look to build on an impressive victory over Fiorentina last weekend.Samuel Di Carmine’s second half winner lifted Verona up to ninth in Serie A, as the Gialloblu bounced back from defeat to Inter before the International break.The form of Portuguese veteran midfielder Miguel Veloso has been promising for Juric, as he has contributed two goals and two assists in 10 games this season. Injury has ruled the midfielder out of this fixture on Sunday, and he will be a big miss for Verona.Goals haven’t flowed so far for Verona, but their defensive record has helped lift them into the top half of the league. Concerning are the underlying statistics, with Verona conceding only 11 despite an xG of 18.70, and Roma will be confident of capitalising on this.The last newly-promoted Serie A side to concede so few goals in the opening 13 rounds was Bari in 2009-10 on 10.Verona have a lengthy injury list, with midfielders Emmanuel Badu, Daniel Bessa and Miguel Veloso amongst those expected to miss out. Lubomir Tupta and Marash Kumbulla are also on the treatment table.Roma shook off back-to-back defeats with two comprehensive victories last week, firstly over struggling Brescia before dismantling Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir 3-0 in the Europa League.Goals courtesy of Chris Smalling, Gianluca Mancini and Edin Dzeko in their win over Brescia lifted Paulo Fonseca’s side up to fifth in the league, two points behind Rome rivals Lazio in third, and the Giallorossi will be hoping for more of the same come Sunday evening.Jordan Veretout, Justin Kluivert and Dzeko found the net on Thursday night, as Fonseca opted for a full strength side for the trip to Turkey, so fatigue may be an issue come Sunday. Boosting their qualification hopes, it has left Roma second in the group with a game to play, and will give the side confidence heading into Sunday’s clash.Roma were boosted by the return of Lorenzo Pellegrini in last weekend’s victory, but they will still be without a number of players. Nicolò Zaniolo is suspended, whilst Bryan Cristante, Davide Zappacosta, Javier Pastore and Antonio Mirante are all injured. Alessandro Florenzi requires a fitness test, but Cengiz Under, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nikola Kalinic are back in the fray.Verona’s last win against Roma in Serie A was back in October 1996, followed by five draws and 10 defeats.Cagliari vs SampdoriaSerdegna Arena, CagliariMonday, 02-12-2019 @10:45pmHigh-flying Cagliari face a revitalised Sampdoria on Monday night as they aim to keep their place in the top four.Rolando Maran, who has been long associated with Chievo, has been enjoying a solid season thus far in charge of the Rossoblu as they have so far proven to be the surprise packages of Serie A 2019-20.The Sardinians are usually content with finishing somewhere in mid-table at best, but this campaign has seen them surge ahead of teams like Milan, Napoli, and Roma to force their way into a Champions League berth.It remains to be seen if they can keep up this pace throughout 38 rounds but, for now, they’re definitely giving their fans something to cheer about and they will want to head into the midway point on a high note.Cagliari have not lost a League fixture since September 1, when they were beaten 2-1 by Inter. The hosts come into this game having settled for a point in a 2-2 draw with a Lecce side doing everything they can just to stay clear of the drop zone, and they will be welcoming an opponent who have slowly started to spring to life under new boss Claudio Ranieri.Sampdoria were firmly rooted to the bottom of the table for much of this season but, since the veteran’s arrival, are now on a four-game unbeaten streak. That includes wins in two of those matches, which have helped lift them out of the relegation zone – but only narrowly.A reversal of fortunes will see the Blucerchiati straight back into the bottom three, however, and it’s still a major concern that they have only scored nine goals this season.However, the fact that the hosts will have to do without first-choice goalkeeper Robin Olsen due to a four-match ban may give Sampdoria some hope, but only just, perhaps.Although they earned a draw at this same ground last season, Samp haven’t actually won against Cagliari on their home turf in well over a decade.Sampdoria have won only four times at Cagliari’s home ground (D12, L17) in Serie A, with their last victory coming all the way back in November 2007 (3-0).Comments last_img

Leave a Reply