Serie A is back in action with an enthralling Gameweek 22 this weekend as Supercoppa Italiana participants return to league duties after a hot week in Saudi Arabia. Juventus took advantage of Inter’s commitments abroad to seize control of the table’s summit with a 3-0 thumping of Lecce last weekend.
With a game in hand, back-to-back Supercoppa Italiana winners are still favorites to dethrone reigning Scudetto holders Napoli. However, Simone Inzaghi’s men face a daunting-looking trip to Tuscany to meet top-four hopefuls Fiorentina on Sunday night.
By the time Inter touch down in Florence, Juventus could already be four points up as they entertain relegation-threatened Empoli at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening. Later that day, third-placed Milan will look to stay within touching distance of the leading duo, with out-of-form Bologna landing at San Siro.
Seeking mental recovery following a gut-wrenching 1-0 defeat in the Super Cup showpiece in Riyadh, Napoli head to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday to take on Lazio. Elsewhere, Biancocelesti’s arch-rivals Roma depart the capital on Monday for a trip to Salerno, preparing for their first away match under new manager Daniele De Rossi.
Without further ado, let’s look at the most exciting Serie A match-ups to watch out for this weekend.
Juventus vs Empoli
Fresh off celebrating his 300th Serie A victory, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is confident of building on last weekend’s thumping win at Stadio Via del Mare against Empoli. Expecting Gli Azzurri to halt the Turin heavyweights’ seven-match winning streak in all competitions would be wishful thinking.
But Empoli might dare to dream big after Szymon Zurkowski’s hat-trick inspired the Tuscan minnows to a 3-0 demolition of Monza on Davide Nicola’s touchline debut. On top of that, they’re no strangers to upsetting Juventus on the evidence of last season’s memorable 4-1 triumph at Carlo Castellani.
Milan vs Bologna
Milan overcame their poor habit of wasting points from winning positions last Saturday, clawing back from a 2-1 deficit to beat Udinese 3-2 after taking the lead midway through the first half through Ruben Loftus-Cheek. An incident involving racial abuse of Mike Maignan made the result at the Blueenergy Stadium pale into insignificance.
Despite making it four Serie A wins on the trot, Stefano Pioli’s men are still seven points off pacesetters Juventus and can’t afford a slip-up against Bologna. Panic might have crept in as Rossoblu’s European aspirations plunged into disarray following three consecutive games without a win.
With a meager two points separating them from fourth-placed Fiorentina, Thiago Motta’s team could issue a statement if they can only manage their first Serie A win at San Siro since January 2016.
Fiorentina vs Inter
Fiorentina’s Supercoppa Italiana journey stopped in the semi-finals as Napoli thrashed them 3-0, compounding their miserable form on Italian soil. Except for a penalty shoot-out win against Bologna in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, Vincenzo Italiiano’s men have gone winless in two of their last three competitive games (D1, L1).
Contrasting Fiorentina’s downturn is Inter’s purple patch, with Nerazzurri taking this trip in the midst of a four-match winning patch across all competitions. Seemingly in a prime position to make it five in a row, Inter will be out to complete their first Serie A double against La Viola since 2020/21 after a scintillating 4-0 victory in the reverse fixture.
Helping them achieve that goal could be Canada international Tajon Buchanan. The ex-Club Brugge winger could make his Serie A debut this weekend after sitting out a 5-1 humbling of Monza last time out.
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Lazio vs Napoli
A 3-0 battering at the hands of Inter saw Lazio’s pursuit of Supercoppa Italiana glory crumble at the first hurdle. But Maurizio Sarri’s charges have had more time to prepare for this fixture as they bid to extend an inspiring four-game winning streak in Serie A.
Having whittled down the gap on the fourth place to a single point, last season’s runners-up ought to encounter out-of-sorts Napoli in a buoyant mood. A last-gasp defeat to Inter on Monday was the tip of the iceberg as Partenopei’s wayward defending campaign continues to stutter.
A glimmer of light appeared at the end of the tunnel in Napoli’s final Serie A outing before their trip to the Middle East. Amir Rrahmani’s stoppage-time winner sealed a 2-1 win for Walter Mazzarri’s mid-table underachievers, halting their woeful run of three Serie A games without winning.