Serie A Preview: Match Day 20

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With Pepe Reina moving on to Aston Villa, AC Milan wasted little time in finding a replacement, signing Asmir Begovic from AFC Bournemouth to be the new deputy for first choice goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma

“I chose Milan because it’s a great challenge for me,” Begovic told Rossoneri TV shortly after landing in Italy. “It’s one of the best clubs in the world. I’m very excited and I can’t wait to get going.

“He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world,” he added when asked about Donnarumma. “I’m ready to help and to compete with him. Maybe there are some situations where I can help him with my experience. I think I can push him to always do his best in training every day.

“We must push ourselves to be better goalkeepers and to help the club win games and titles. It’s an honour to be here, taking the place of Reina, who is a fantastic goalkeeper and a fantastic person. I know what they expect from me.”

Serie A Match of the Weekend – Napoli vs Fiorentina

If recent meetings between these two clubs are anything to go by, this clash at the Stadio San Paolo is something of a can’t-miss fixture. Indeed, over the last three seasons, Napoli and Fiorentina have delivered some extremely entertaining games, starting with a 4-1 win for the Partenopei back in 2017.

A year later, La Viola hit back with a 3-0 triumph that effectively cost Napoli the Serie A title, while their last encounter – a 4-3 victory for the Partenopei last August – was arguably the best of them all. 

Napoli arrive in the midst of a difficult period this time around, languishing in 11th place and having lost their last three league games at home. While one of those losses was to Inter, the others were claimed by Parma and Lecce, giving hope to Saturday’s visitors that they can add to Gennaro Gattuso’s problems. 

Best of the Rest

A few hours before that Napoli-Fiorentina encounter, Lazio welcome Sampdoria to the Stadio Olimpico for a match that could be equally fun to watch. The visitors have bounced back well under Claudio Ranieri, putting their nightmare start to the season behind them and recording some excellent results. 

Having held Atalanta to a draw and pushed Juventus hard last month, they have proven to be no pushovers for Serie A’s bigger clubs and will undoubtedly look to repeat that in this game against third-placed Lazio. 

Simone Inzaghi’s men recorded two huge wins over Juve in recent weeks, performances that showed just how good this team can be. They have won 10 consecutive games in the league and will be looking to keep up the pressure on the top two with another three points against Sampdoria. 

Serie A Player to Watch: Mario Balotelli – Brescia – £0.55

“Super Mario” needs little introduction, but the former Liverpool and Manchester City star could be in for a big game this weekend when his Brescia side welcome Cagliari to the Stadio Mario Rigamonti.

Their opponents had been in the Champions League places earlier this term but have struggled of late, losing each of their last four league games and crashing out of the Coppa Italia in midweek. 

Balotelli will be looking to play his part, netting in each of his last three outings against the Rossoblu and with the Cagliari defence conceding 10 goals in their first three games of 2020, he is likely to be given chances to continue that streak.

 

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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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