Serie A Preview: Match Day 22

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After Juventus blew an opportunity to increase their lead at the top of the Serie A table, Maurizio Sarri was happy to praise his former club Napoli for their performance in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over the Bianconeri.

Earlier that day, Inter had been held to a draw by a resilient Cagliari side but rather than increase their lead, Juve saw it cut after being soundly beaten at the Stadio San Paolo in a game where they looked off the pace from the outset.

“We put Napoli into a situation where they only had to do the bare minimum to beat us,” Sarri told Sky Italia. “We were always late to every ball. It was as if we were in slow motion and nothing worked, it was all through the team.

“When you aren’t fired up, this sparks a chain reaction with tactical and technical problems, but it all stems from there. I’m happy for the Napoli lads, as I will always be fond of them. If you have to lose, I guess I’d rather it be here to help them get out of their current problems. I’d rather they started winning next week, of course…”

Serie A Match of the Round – Juventus vs. Fiorentina

The Old Lady will have chance to immediately return to winning ways on Sunday lunchtime, when Fiorentina visit the Allianz Stadium just a few days after their Coppa Italia defeat at the hands of Inter. 

That result brought a positive string of results to an end for La Viola, Beppe Iachini having overseen a five-game unbeaten run that included impressive victories over Napoli and Atalanta. They will need to be at their best in Turin however, Juve having not lost at home in 31 consecutive games while Fiorentina’s last win there came back in 2015.

Yet the rivalry between the two ensures this will be a hard-fought encounter that should see both teams deliver the best possible performance, making for an entertaining clash that should not be missed. 

Best of the Rest

Elsewhere in Serie A, the rest of the fixture list is – at least at first glance – somewhat bland, but the meeting between Cagliari and Parma on Saturday could well prove to be an exciting clash. The two teams go into this fixture level on points (31) but the league’s sixth and seventh-placed sides could not be arriving for a game in the midst of more contrasting fortunes after their most recent results. 

Cagliari may have earned a draw with Inter, but they are in their worst spell of 2019/20 to date, dropping out of the top four following a run of eight games without a win. The fixture list has been unkind however, that streak including games against Juve, Milan, Inter and Lazio but they know a positive result is now even more essential. 

Parma lost 3-1 to the Rossoblu earlier this season, but their own recent form has been excellent, storming up the table by taking care of business in matches against the sides around them in the table. 

Serie A Player to Watch: Ciro Immobile – Lazio – £2.24

Lazio star Ciro Immobile needs little introduction after a breathtaking start to the season, already sitting on a tally of 23 goals after just 21 rounds of Serie A action. That is more than he bagged during the 2013/14 campaign when he won the league’s top scorer honour with Torino, but there is every indication that the 29-year-old is not done yet. 

His next opportunity to keep this run going will come at home against SPAL on Sunday, a team Immobile enjoys a superb record against. Since they came into the Italian top flight in 2017, the Biancocelesti front man has struck seven times past them, three more than any other player during the same period, while his total for this season is eight more than SPAL’s entire squad so far this term. 

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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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