While the other major European leagues have already resumed action following the lengthy break, Serie A is keeping its followers waiting for few additional days, as per custom. Nonetheless, our beloved league will restart this Wednesday much to the delight of Calcio fanatics.
On the 4th January all twenty top-tier teams will be action for the first time in 2023 in what should be a marathonic day filled with thrilling matchups. So here are our full predictions for Serie A Round 16, which will feature a top clash at the Giuseppe Meazza between Inter and Napoli.
Salernitana vs Milan
The curtain jerker of the new year will take place in Salerno, where defending champions Milan will be looking to collect three points at the expense of Davide Nicola’s men and hope that their crosstown rivals Inter manage to derail Napoli’s momentum later in the evening.
However, Salernitana are one of the toughest sides to crack when they play at home in front of their passionate supporters, and Guillermo Ochoa will be eager to shine on his Serie A debut. On the other hand, some of Stefano Pioli’s key players may not be in their optimal physical condition due to their late return (Leao, Giroud and Theo Hernandez).
Prediction: An exciting draw
Sassuolo vs Sampdoria
Although Sassuolo aren’t enjoying their finest campaign, they remain head and shoulders above Sampdoria who endured a calamitous first half of the season. Nevertheless, Dejan Stankovic remains hellbent on turning the tide in his favor, and starting the year on a positive note is of paramount importance.
The Blucerchiati displayed glimpses of improvement during the winter camp and they might just pull off an upset at the Mapei Stadium.
Prediction: Sampdoria snatch a surprising win
Spezia vs Atalanta
Atalanta will try to make it three wins in a row when they travel to Liguria for a meeting against perennial relegation battlers Spezia. Gian Piero Gasperini’s had an almost full squad at his disposal during the winter break, hence, there’s no reason for La Dea to drop points away from home.
Prediction: Convincing win for Atalanta
Torino vs Verona
After ending 2022 on a miserable note, Verona will be desperate to end their losing as soon as possible. However, their trip to Turin will be complicated to say the least.
This will be a dugout battle between ex-Genoa teammates Ivan Juric and Salvatore Bocchetti. While the former has already established himself as a competent tactician, the latter is trying to make his bones in the midst of a full-blown crisis.
Perhaps the Gialloblu will eventually succeed in turning their campaign upside-down, but the Granata remain the far superior side at this point.
Prediction: Torino for the win
Lecce vs Lazio
At the Via del Mare Stadium in Lecce, Ciro Immobile should make his return to action after spending several weeks on the sidelines. The reigning Capocannoniere is surely starving for goals and will looking to announce his return to the race by bagging one or two at the hosts’ expense.
However, the Southerners aren’t an easy nut to crack, especially when playing at home. So while it won’t be easy, the Eagles should eventually prevail.
Prediction: Slim win for Lazio
Roma vs Bologna
Following a slow start to the season, Bologna had been enjoying an uprising form that saw them climb to the 11th spot in the Serie A standings before the winter break. On the other hand, Roma lost the plot in November and currently sit 7th in the table.
Therefore, the pressure is mounting on the Giallorossi who can’t afford another misstep. The tense situation at the Stadio Olimpico may not play in hosts’ favor, but José Mourinho should still have enough talent at his disposal to earn a hard-fought victory.
Prediction: Roma hold on to their lead
Fiorentina vs Monza
Interestingly, only three points separate between Fiorentina in 10th place and Monza who are four spots behind the Tuscans. Since taking charge of the club, Raffaele Palladino has been collecting positive results that allowed the Biancorossi to escape the relegation zone and aspire for a warm mid-table finish.
Nonetheless, the Serie A newcomers have a mediocre record on the road, and the trip towards the Artemio Franchi Stadium is never a pleasing one for the visitors. Vincenzo Italiano and his men should do enough to gain the win.
Prediction: Fiorentina to seal a comprehensive win
Cremonese vs Juventus
Following an abysmal start to the campaign, Massimiliano Allegri and his men managed to put together an impressive six-match winning streak all while maintaining clean sheets. The Bianconeri currently find themselves third in the Serie A table, keeping their remaining Scudetto hopes alive.
On Wednesday, Juventus will resume their campaign in a trip to Cremona, which will be the club’s first official match following the departure of resigned president Andrea Agnelli. On the other hand, Cremonese are still searching for their maiden Serie A victory.
Even though the visitors will be missing key players between injuries and all, the writing is on the wall.
Prediction: Juventus to kickstart a new era with a confident win
Udinese vs Empoli
During the earlier weeks of the campaign, Udinese had cemented themselves as the Dark Horses of the Serie A campaign, but their momentum has faded afterwards. Nonetheless, Riccardo Sottil still has a brilliant crop at his disposal, one that is able to outclass smaller sides.
Whether Empoli should be considered an inferior team to Udinese or on par remains a matter of debate, but surely the visitors remain one of the most exciting teams in the league thanks to a bandit of young and promising stars, and they’re definitely able to produce a positive result if they play their cards right.
Prediction: An entertaining draw
Inter vs Napoli
Round 16 will come to a close when Inter and Napoli clash heads at the Giuseppe Meazza in one of the most anticipated clashes in Serie A. With the newly-crowned world champion Lautaro Martinez unlikely to start, Simone Inzaghi will most likely rely on an unusual combination upfront, pairing up the returning Romelu Lukaku with Edin Dzeko.
On the other hand, Luciano Spalletti should be able to deploy his tried and trusted lineup spearheaded by Victor Osimhen. On paper, the Partenopei have undoubtedly been the better side since the start of the campaign, and claiming their second win at the San Siro (after beating Milan in September) would be a major achievement as they continue their charge towards their long-awaited Scudetto triumph.
But with a significant gap that separates them from the chasing pack, Napoli might be willing to settle for a draw and return home unharmed, and the same goes for Inter who need to avoid a morale-blowing defeat on their return to action.
Prediction: A cagey affair that ends in a draw
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