Carpi - Juventus
After stunning Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday, Carpi should be brought crashing back down to earth this weekend. Juventus have been nigh unstoppable of late - winning six in a row in the league, as well as demolishing Torino 4-0 in their own mid-week cup tie. They have restored themselves to the title race after a slow start, and will be wary not to let those gains slip away before the turn of the year.
Juventus to win with a one-goal handicap - 2.14
Atalanta - Napoli
It speaks to how well Napoli had been performing under Maurizio Sarri that their present run of two league games without a victory has been discussed as a noteworthy slip. It should go without saying that there is no real crisis here. The Partenopei were caught out by a surging Bologna team, and then held at home by a diligent (and desperate) Roma. In-between those two games, Napoli beat Legia Warsaw and Verona by three goals each in the Europa League and Coppa Italia respectively.
Atalanta, eighth in the table, are no pushovers, but they are missing a number of starters - including Maurico Pinilla and Jasmin Kurtic. They will have a hard time breaking down Serie A’s joint-second stingiest defence.
Napoli to win without conceding - 2.80
Fiorentina - Chievo
Paulo Sousa fielded a strong Fiorentina line-up for that Coppa Italia defeat to Carpi, and made no secret of his disappointment at the result. He blamed his players of taking the appointment too lightly, but several also showed signs of fatigue - mental, more than physical - from their taxing recent schedule. They will welcome the forthcoming winter break.
Before that, though, Fiorentina will need all their focus against Chievo. The Flying Donkeys are soaring again, with three wins in their last four games, and boast the sixth-best away record in the league.
Draw no bet: away win - 5.40
Roma - Genoa
Rudi Garcia’s position as Roma manager is reported to be hanging by a thread, his team winless in seven games across all competitions. Gazzetta dello Sport claimed on Friday that the Frenchman’s future rested less on the Giallorossi’s performance this weekend than it did on the club’s ability to identify an adequate replacement.
Nevertheless, both manager and team could only benefit from a victory. Genoa ought to be obliging. The visitors have lost their last four across all competitions, as well as their last eight games against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. They are also missing their top scorer, Leonardo Pavoletti, and the influential Diego Perotti through suspension.
Half-time/full-time: Home/home - 2.38
Verona - Sassuolo
Verona are doomed to finish 2015 bottom of Serie A, and unlikely to even salvage a morale-boosting first win of the season against Sassuolo. The visitors not only sit 14 places ahead of them in the standings, but also arrive with fresh legs - having not played a match in two weeks due to the postponement of last Saturday’s appointment with Torino.
Away win - 2.60
Frosinone - Milan
The positive spin on Milan’s recent performances would be to say that they are unbeaten in five matches across all competitions and just made it through to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals. But their opposition during this stretch has been weak, and they have drawn their last two Serie A games against the bottom two teams in the division.
Frosinone are not much better than Carpi or Verona, sitting 18th in the table, but they have won more often than they have lost at the Stadio Matusa this season. They will not be pushovers.
Draw - 3.70
Sampdoria - Palermo
The winter break cannot come soon enough for Vincenzo Montella, who has so far collected just a single draw from his first five matches in charge of Sampdoria. The manager desperately needs some space to reflect on his team’s approach.
He would prefer, of course, to sign off the year with a first win, but that is hardly something that can be taken for granted. Samp are missing Eder, the player who has scored 45% of their league goals this season. They have also not beaten Palermo in any of their last 10 meetings.
Double chance: draw or away win - 1.75
Torino - Udinese
Not since 2008 have Udinese won away to Torino. Their chances of doing so this weekend do not look too hot, either. The Granata have only lost once at home all season, and that against an Inter team who presently occupy first place. Even without the suspended Bruno Peres, I expect Torino to find plenty of openings against opponents who have conceded nine times in their last three games.
Over 1.5 goals scored by home team - 1.89
Inter - Lazio
Whatever happens on Sunday, Inter will finish 2015 top of the Serie A table. The parallels between this team and the one that won the Scudetto under José Mourinho in 2009-10 are striking. Then, as now, Inter had 36 points from their first 16 games. That team, just like this one, had suffered two defeats by this stage - with the first of those coming in its sixth game of the season.
If Roberto Mancini is to continue following in his predecessor’s footsteps, then Inter will win their last game of the year by a 1-0 margin. That has been their favourite scoreline this season, but against a Lazio side that has earned just two points from its last seven league games, I think things might be even more straightforward.
Correct score: 2-0 - 9.50