Serie A Preview: Match Day 23

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As the two prepare to go head-to-head in this weekend’s Milan derby, Inter’s Romelu Lukaku says he is looking forward to going up against former Manchester United team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“I respect him. In Manchester I could train every day with him, and that was the most beautiful thing for me,” Lukaku told Tiki Taka. “It will be nice to play against him, he’s a great champion and professional.

“For me it’s normal that he can do those things at the age of 38. He works a lot; he always gave me advice when we played together in Manchester. He’s up there with [Cristiano] Ronaldo.”

Serie A Match of the Round

Inter Vs. AC Milan, Sunday 7:45pm

There is doubt that the latest instalment of the ‘Derby della Madonnina’ is the headline-grabbing fixture of Serie A’s 23rd match day. It is not as if meetings between Milan’s two giant clubs needs any added incentive, but the fact Inter are locked in a tense title battle with Juventus is certain to add another layer of intrigue.

Antonio Conte’s men find themselves three points behind the Bianconeri going into this round of action, and that could be extended to six if Juve beat Hellas Verona on Saturday evening.

They have been impressive up to this point, but Milan boss Stefano Pioli believes his side can exploit some flaws in the Nerazzurri armour when they take to the field. “Inter are strong, they are a solid and compact team,” the Coach told reporters. “We will put our characteristics into play and all teams have weak points.”

Best of the Rest

Fiorentina Vs. Atalanta, Saturday 2pm

While the calendar is dominated by events in Milan, there is a very real danger of the actual game being overshadowed by Atalanta’s trip to Fiorentina on Saturday afternoon. The visitors are arguably Serie A’s most entertaining side, their tally of 59 goals so far totalling seven more than any other team in the Italian top flight.

Indeed, there have been over 2.5 goals in nine of Atlanta’s last ten league outings, and games between these two sides have often been high scoring affairs too, with Fiorentina netting at least two goals in 13 of their last 15 home matches against Atalanta in all competitions and over 2.5 in each of their five previous meetings.

Serie A Player To Watch

Marco Faraoni: Hellas Verona (£0.55)

Over the past few week, Hellas Verona earned some hugely surprising results, holding AC Milan and Lazio to draws and maintaining what has been an impressive campaign from the Gialloblu.

Only promoted from Serie B last summer, Ivan Juric’s men sit above Napoli, Fiorentina and Sampdoria in ninth place, a position which owes much to an excellent defensive record. Only Inter (18), Lazio (20) and Juventus (21) have conceded more than Hellas’ tally of 23, with Marco Faraoni playing a huge part in their solidity.

The 28-year-old has played every single minute of 2019/20 thus far, the right wing-back working hard to track opposition wingers but also getting forward to join the attack. He has weighed in with three goals and three assists, his latest strike coming last weekend to earn that 1-1 draw at San Siro.

Faraoni’s impressive form is sure to be tested when Hellas take on Juventus on Saturday, but even if he is beaten by Cristiano Ronaldo and company, it should not deter anyone from believing in him.

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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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