Serie A Preview: Match Day 15

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With racist incidents in Italian football once again prevalent, former Brescia and AS Roma boss
Gigi Cagni has offered a drastic solution to rid the sport of those responsible for the ugly
incidents.

“It’s simple,” the 69-year-old retired Coach told TuttoMercatoWeb Radio. “Find out who’s making
the racist chants, send them to prison and ban them from the stadiums. That’s how justice
should be served.”

It’s hard to argue against his idea.

Serie A Match of the Round: Inter vs AS Roma

The round kicks off with a huge Friday night game at San Siro, AS Roma visiting Milan to take
on table-topping Inter, with the home side seeking to maintain their slender lead over second
placed Juventus.

Central to their superb start to the season has been the form of Romelu Lukaku, and his
national team boss sees a very simple reason for the striker’s re-emergence. “It seems clear to
me that there’s a feeling between him and [Antonio] Conte,” Belgium Coach Roberto Martinez
told the Corriere dello Sport. “The transfer to the Nerazzurri made him feel more at ease. We
are talking about an essential football player, he has always scored and helped other people
score.”

They will need Lukaku to be at his best once again here, with his former Manchester United
team-mate Chris Smalling the man standing in his way. The Englishman has also been reborn
away from Old Trafford, arguably the best central defender in Serie A so far this term and
looking transformed in Giallorossi colours.

Their head-to-head battle adds another layer of intrigue to a match between the teams currently
sitting 1st and 5th in the table.

Best of the Rest

Twenty-four hours after that huge clash, the second and third-placed sides go toe to toe in
Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Juventus travelling south to take on Lazio. Meetings between them
have been hugely entertaining in recent seasons, the Bianconeri winning each of the last three
games but losing the two before that by some distance.

Simone Inzaghi’s men registered 2-1 and 3-2 victories over Juve in 2017, the latter seeing them
lift the Italian SuperCup, a trophy these two will contest once again in two week’s time. This
encounter will show what we can expect when the first silverware of the campaign is on the line,
while Maurizio Sarri will want to keep the pressure up on Inter by taking all three points.

Serie A Player to Watch: Mario Balotelli – Brescia – £0.58

Always entertaining, Mario Balotelli is undoubtedly a man to keep an eye on this week, the
striker expected to start for Brescia when they travel to SPAL on Sunday afternoon. It has
been a tough few weeks for his club, the Rondinelle losing each of their last six league
games.

They have conceded seventeen goals in that time and scored just three, meaning they need
the former Liverpool and Manchester City striker to find his best form as quickly as possible.
Brescia sacked Fabio Grosso – who took an instant dislike to Balotelli – this week, bringing
back Eugenio Corini who had built a strong rapport with the 29-year-old forward.

“I’m sure the team will respond well, because we fought hard to earn our place in Serie A,” Corini told
reporters this week.” We need to rediscover that courage and hunger, find ourselves again.”

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About Author

Chloe Beresford is a freelance Serie A writer who has been featured in Mundial magazine, Guardian Sport and in addition to Football Index, regularly contributes to The Sportsman, Tifo Football, Football Whispers and more. She supports Fiorentina and can often be found in the Curva Fiesole as well as attending as many other matches on the peninsula as possible.

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