As we discussed earlier in the week, last weekend was a mixed bag of results for the Giallorossi. While Roma’s loss to Juventus certainly didn’t help its bid for a Top four finish, dropped points by Napoli and Atalanta meant that the weekend wasn’t a complete disaster. However, Lazio continued to stay hot and drew level with Roma on the table.
This weekend, Roma hosts mid-table Udinese at home. This group of Bianconeri should be a more manageable task for Roma, as the Giallorossi look to remain perfect against sides from the bottom half of the table. If Roma can find a way to replicate or better its 1-0 victory in Friuli then the Giallorossi could take advantage of guaranteed dropped points by its competitors in places one through seven.
This weekend features two match-ups of top seven sides when Napoli hosts Juventus and Inter hosts Lazio. It’s a certainty that at least two, if not all four of those sides will drop points. That means a win could allow Roma to stretch its lead over some teams or makeup ground on others. The opportunity will be there, but it’ll be up to Roma to make the most of it on Sunday morning.
So, as you prep for the upcoming weekend of Serie A action, take a look at some of the key match-ups and how Roma could benefit.
Perusing the Peninsula: Matchday 22 Previews
The Best Non-Roma Match of the Week
Inter Milan (2nd place) vs Lazio (4th place): Sunday 2:45 EST
Almost any other week it’d be a given that Napoli vs Juventus would be the marquee match-up of the week, but not this one. This Inter vs Lazio showdown at the San Siro edges it out this time around. And Romanisti should keep a close eye on this one.
Lazio enters this one in scintillating form having won six straight league matches. In that time frame, the Biancoceleste managed to climb all the way from seventh to joint fourth with Roma on the table. In that stretch, Lazio has taken points from Roma and Atalanta—two of its direct competition for the coveted Champions League qualification.
For its part, Inter enters on a five-match league unbeaten run (3-2-0) but will be coming off its Coppa Italia elimination in the semifinal to Juventus. Despite having less rest than the Biancocleste, expect Antonio Conte to have his side ready for the in-form side from the capital.
After crashing out in the Coppa, Inter now can set its sights firmly on the league. The Nerazzurri are also the only top seven side not facing a European tie in the coming week. Conte and company know that the league is the only chance to win some silverware this season, as they enter just two points behind rivals Milan.
Keep an eye on how each side’s defense deals with the opposing striker—Ciro Immobile and Romelu Lukaku continue to score at will. Meanwhile, the midfield battle between Nicolò Barella and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic—arguably the two best in the league—should be compelling as well.
Other Matches Featuring Top Four Challengers
Napoli (6th place) vs Juventus (3rd place): Saturday Noon EST
The match months in the making will finally happen this weekend. The first match between these clubs was initially handed to Juve after Napoli was told it couldn’t travel to Turin due to regional Covid restrictions. That result was later overturned by a judge to be made up at a later date.
The two teams still haven’t met in the league this season but did square off in the Supercoppa just a few weeks ago. That match was won comfortably by the Bianconeri 2-0 at Sassuolo’s home ground. This time around Napoli will enjoy the comforts of home, but without the advantage of its raucous crowd.
Juve enters having won three straight in the league, including last week’s 2-0 win over Roma. Napoli, for its part, has lost two of its last three in the league to Hellas and Genoa. Both teams are coming off midweek Coppa Italia semifinal ties which saw Juve eliminate Inter and Napoli crash out to Atalanta.
This could be a big match in determining the trajectory of these two sides going forward. Napoli has slipped in recent week and now sits three points off of the two Roman clubs for fourth. A loss could see the Partenopei fall as far as six off the pace and likely add to the heat on Gennaro Gattuso. Meanwhile, another marquee win from Juve could see the Bianconeri continue to put pressure on the Milanese clubs in the race for the title.
Spezia (16th place) vs AC Milan (1st place): Saturday 2:45 EST
Top of the table Milan is presented with a potentially golden opportunity this weekend. With its closest title challengers, Inter and Juve, facing difficult matches, the Rossoneri may have a chance to widen their lead at the top.
Milan enters this one coming off a 4-0 beatdown of bottom of the table Crotone. That result should have the league leaders feeling good about themselves as they travel to Liguria to face a pesky Spezia side.
For its part, Spezia sits 16th on the table, five points off the relegation zone. As Roma can attest to, the first-time Serie A side has been far from a walkover this season. Spezia enters this one coming off an impressive 2-1 victory over Sassuolo on the road and will look to carry the momentum into this one.
The first time these two sides met back on matchday three, Milan defeated Spezia at the San Siro. We’ll see if Vincenzo Italiano’s side, which has been praised for its style of play this season, is more prepared for the Rossoneri this time around.
Cagliari (18th place) vs Atalanta (7th place): Saturday 2:45 EST
For the second week running, Roma will be hoping for some help from old boss Eusebio Di Francesco’s side. Last week, Cagliari wasn't able to help out the Giallorossi as it fell to Lazio 1-0. It was the Sardinian side’s 16th straight league match without a win and things are starting to look desperate on the island. Cagliari now sits firmly entrenched in the relegation zone.
Things won’t get any easier for i Sardi when they host 7th place Atalanta at the Sardegna Arena. Atalanta may sit 7th, but is just three points off of 4th place. La Dea will be looking to bounce back from a surprising blown two points against Torino where Atalanta led 3-0 only to see Torino level the match late.
The first time these two sides met back in October, Atalanta hung five on EDF’s side in a 5-2 victory. Cagliari will have to shore things up this time around to avoid another embarrassing defeat.
- Bologna (13th place) vs Benevento (14th place)- Friday 14:45 EST
- Torino (17th place) vs Genoa (12th place)- Saturday 9:00 EST
- Sampdoria (10th place) vs Fiorentina (15th place)- Sunday 9:00 EST
- Sassuolo (8th place) vs Crotone (20th place)- Sunday 12:00 EST
- Hellas Verona (9th place) vs Parma (19th place)- Monday 14:45 EST
Which match will you tune into this weekend?
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Inter v Lazio
Napoli vs Juventus