Joint-top once more following their win over Roma, Inter have got this far despite not winning any game by more than a single goal. Indeed, six of their seven victories have been achieved by a 1-0 scoreline.
I find it hard to envisage another clean sheet on Sunday, given Torino’s qualities going forward. The Granata have struck 11 times in their five home games and both of their leading scorers, Fabio Quagliarella and Daniele Baselli, are present and correct. But Inter have the best away record in the league, and I do expect them to win.
As tempting as it is to imagine Juan Cuadrado’s late winner against Torino as a turning point, we still need to see a lot more from Juventus before we start to believe they are back on track. Stephan Lichtsteiner’s return from injury is a boon, and Paul Pogba has been decisive in each of the last two matches, but Massimiliano Allegri has still not found the right combination up front.
That said, the odds are beginning to catch up to Juve’s early season struggles, and might be good enough to back them for a simple victory in Tuscany. Empoli have lost at home to Atalanta, Chievo and Vicenza (the latter in the Coppa Italia) already in this campaign.
After winning three in a row at their Stadio Matusa, Frosinone now host a Genoa side that has two points from six away games. The visitors boast greater talent, but looking at the form guide I am surprised to see such generous odds being offered on the hosts.
This was supposed to be a sibling showdow, with Palermo midfielder Luca Rigoni taking on his younger brother Nicola, who plays in a similar role for Chievo. But Luca took an elbow to the face during his team’s loss to Empoli last weekend, and consequently must sit this one out with a fractured cheekbone.
His ball-winning presence in midfield will be missed, but the visitors are without first-choice centre-forward Riccardo Meggiorini themselves. Neither team has been impressive lately - scoring a mere five goals between them over the past month.
Roma might not have a single Roman in their team for this season’s first Derby della Capitale. Alessandro Florenzi injured his calf during Wednesday’s win over Bayer Leverkusen, Daniele De Rossi aggravated an existing thigh problem in the same match and Francesco Totti has been out for weeks. Either of the former two players could yet make it, but each would have to pass a late fitness test.
More damaging to Roma’s prospects, though, is the suspension that Miralem Pjanic must serve after being sent off in last Saturday’s defeat to Inter. He has either scored or set up almost half of Roma’s goals so far in Serie A. Without him, I can imagine this being a much more low-scoring game than we would otherwise expect.
Carpi’s supporters got their wish this week, the club firing manager Giuseppe Sannino and bringing back his predecessor Fabrizio Castori - the man who got them promoted to the top flight in the first place. He himself had been sacked at the end of September, after picking up just two points from five games.
Things were little better under Sannino, who won his first match in charge but only managed one draw in five games thereafter. Castori’s return might give Carpi an emotional lift, but I doubt that will be enough to fix a defence that is conceding more than two goals per game.
There was a third 5-0 win of the season for Napoli on Thursday night, as they trounced FC Midtjylland. Were it not for an inspired performance by Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin last weekend, the Partenopei would also be joint-top of Serie A.
They have kept nine clean sheets in their last 12 games across all competitions, and the only two of those that they failed to win finished as goalless draws. Udinese, with Duvan Zapata and Antonio Di Natale both injured (and the latter, in any case, showing his age) lack the tools to wound them at the Stadio San Paolo.
Level with Inter in first place and back on track in Europe, too, after a 2-0 victory away to Lech Poznan, Fiorentina go into this game as shorter-than-even-money favourites. But do those odds underestimate Samp? The Blucerchiati have, after all, not lost a home game yet in Serie A under Walter Zenga - drawing with Inter and beating Roma at the Marassi.