Serie A Preview: Match Day 16

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Having lost their first three Champions League group games, few gave Atalanta – who had never qualified for the tournament before – any hope of progressing to the last-16. Yet, thanks to a 3-0 win away at Shakhtar Donetsk, they did just that and left everyone connected to the club delirious.

“It’s just incredible, there are no words for this unique sensation I am feeling right now,” skipper Papu Gomez told Sky Italia. “It will remain in the history of football and of this club. I think it’ll also stay long in the memory of everyone who was in the stadium tonight.

“All of us here at Atalanta came from humble roots, nobody here can be called world class or a superstar name, but we achieved this result through hard work and sacrifice.”

Serie A Match of the Weekend – Fiorentina vs Inter Milan

Unlike their near-neighbours, Inter could not secure progress to the latter stages of the Champions League, but Antonio Conte’s men will return to domestic matters with a crucial match away at Fiorentina this weekend.

The Nerazzurri go into this clash one point ahead of second-placed Juventus in the Serie A table, and will be hoping to at least maintain that advantage by earning a positive result at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Recent matches between Inter and La Viola have often been hugely entertaining affairs, their last six meetings in Tuscany seeing them share no fewer than 26 goals, 34 yellow cards and three reds as tempers often flare.

Fiorentina have won three of their last four home games with Inter, and will be hoping to add to that record when they take to the field in front of their passionate supporters in the final match of the round. 

Best of the Rest

Elsewhere, the best matches to watch will be ones featuring teams that need a reaction to recent events. Juventus host Udinese and will be seeking to bounce back after losing to Lazio last weekend, but the side in most need of a win will be Napoli and their new coach Gennaro Gattuso. 

The former AC Milan midfielder has replaced his mentor Carlo Ancelotti at the helm of the Partenopei, inheriting a team who have failed to win any of their last six Serie A fixtures. They ironically secured their first victory since October in Ancelotti’s final game at the helm and will look to replicate that Champions League form when they take on Parma this Saturday.

Serie A Player to Watch: Luis Alberto – Lazio – £2.95

Last weekend’s huge victory over Juventus has seen Lazio discussed as title contenders, and while that talk is undoubtedly premature, the Biancocelesti deserve immense credit for their recent form.

Ciro Immobile and Sergeij Milinkovic-Savic tend to dominate the spotlight whenever the Rome-based outfit gain a positive result, but there is little doubt that their surge up the table owes much to the performances of midfielder Luis Alberto.

The former Liverpool man has been superb, already recording 11 assists as he supplies a steady stream of scoring opportunities to Lazio’s forwards. They will need him to be at his creative best once again on Monday evening, the side facing a tough encounter as they travel to fourth-placed Cagliari.

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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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