Juventus – Sampdoria
The first five months of Massimiliano Allegri’s tenure at Juventus been a success. He achieved his biggest goal for the first half of this season by steering the Bianconeri into the knockout phase of the Champions League on Tuesday. Four points from the next two league games would be enough to guarantee that his team reaches the winter break alone atop the Serie A table.
Juventus have not dropped a point at home since January 2013 but Sampdoria were the opponents who beat them back then, and have lost just once this season. Sinisa Mihajlovic has guided them to draws with Roma, Napoli and Milan already this season, but this is clearly his toughest test yet.
Draw – 5.20
Genoa – Roma
Asked about the prospect of facing Roma, Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin insisted that his team “do not fear anyone”. And why should they? Third in the table, the Grifone are just one spot behind these opponents, and have already beaten Juventus at the Marassi. They are also on the best run of form of any team in the division, with five wins and three draws from their last eight games.
And whilst it might seem natural to expect a reaction from Roma after their Champions League defeat to City, the truth is that the Giallorossi have played poorly for several weeks. With Daniele De Rossi suspended, now would be a natural time to bring Kevin Strootman back into the side, but it speaks to how much the Dutchman has struggled since returning from a knee injury that he is likely to start on the bench, even as speculation regarding a move to Manchester United continues to swirl.
Double chance: home win or draw – 1.78
Parma – Cagliari
Parma have been sold, but we still do not know who to. The club released a statement this week confirming their takeover by a Russian-Cypriot consortium would be formalised on Tuesday. Hopefully at that point we may find out a little more about the people behind the deal.
Before then, they have a real chance to curtail their losing run. Cagliari have conceded 15 goals in their last four games across all competitions, and arrive without suspended forward Victor Ibarbo. But the odds on the home win are still too short for a team that has lost 12 times in 14 games.
Draw – 3.30
Udinese – Verona
Udinese halted their slide down the standings with a victory over Inter at San Siro last weekend.
Now Verona hope to do the same thing by beating them at the Stadio Friuli. Joint-fifth in mid-October, Andrea Mandorlini’s team have plunged down to 15th with a run of no wins in eight games.
Their squad is strong enough to do better, but recent performances have not offered much grounds for optimism.
Home win – 2.00
Cesena – Fiorentina
Vincenzo Montella apologised to supporters after his team’s Europa League defeat to Dinamo Minsk on Thursday, declaring himself “embarrassed”. Given that the Viola had already sewn up first place in their group, most fans did not really mind. They would much rather see their team beat Cesena on Sunday, and renew their push for a top-three finish.
The Seahorses have a new manager, Domenico Di Carlo, but still the same group of modest players who had sunk to 19th under his predecessor Pierpaolo Bisoli. Even with Juan Cuadrado absent through suspension, Fiorentina should be comfortable.
Away team to win without conceding – 2.05
Milan – Napoli
If Pippo Inzaghi’s results so far as Milan manager have been underwhelming, then he might draw some solace from knowing that his team is still just three points behind Napoli. Both of these teams have looked excellent at times, but neither has been able to win games consistently. Napoli are unbeaten in 11 games, but that includes six draws.
The Partenopei will at least have Kalidou Koulibaly back from suspension at centre-back, and, despite some lapses, do look more robust than their opponents in key areas. For all the talent of Stephan El Shaarawy and Keisuke Honda, Milan are still too reliant on the inconsistent Jérémy Ménez.
Away win – 2.70
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