This past weekend was certainly disappointing for Roma’s Champions League qualification hopes. With the loss to AC Milan, Roma now sits fifth in the table and the gap with second-place Milan ballooned to eight points. On top of that Roma lost an opportunity to take advantage of dropped points by both Lazio and Juve. Meanwhile, Atalanta and Napoli were sure to take full advantage of the Giallorossi’s struggles this weekend.
With all that in mind, perhaps it’s a good thing that there’s a quick turnaround with Fiorentina on the horizon midweek. The Giallorossi will have no time to dwell on Sunday’s frustrating defeat at the Olimpico at the hands of the Rossoneri.
At the same time, Roma will hope some of its direct rivals stumble, so that the Giallorossi can find their way back into the top four. With that in mind, let’s peruse the peninsula and see who might be most likely to slip up on matchday 25.
Perusing the Peninsula: Matchday 24 Previews
The Best Non-Roma Match of the Week
Genoa (13th place) vs Sampdoria (10th place)- Wednesday 14:45 EST
Normally this slot is reserved for a match featuring one of Italy’s big boys and we usually don’t look at matches that don’t directly affect Roma in the table. However, this one is an exception to the usual rules. The Derby della Laterna is probably Italy’s most underrated derby and could be worth keeping an eye on.
Both clubs looked like they could be in danger of relegation at the outset of the season, but veteran managers Claudio Ranieri and Davide Ballardini have put that worry to the side. Genoa enters on better form, but that usually goes out the window in a derby. These teams have met twice already this season with a draw in the league and Genoa eliminating its rivals from the Coppa 3-1. Could this be Samp’s turn to take Geovese bragging rights?
Matches Featuring Top Four Challengers
Lazio (7th place) vs Torino (17th place) Tuesday 12:30 EST
Lazio is coming off a rough week which saw the Biancoceleste drubbed by Bayern Munch midweek, before falling to Bologna on Saturday. Lazio will be desperate for a win to get back on track, but this one likely won’t be easy. The Biancoceleste will be facing a Torino side that is just as desperate considering its table position.
Plus, Il Toro will be well-rested after having its last match postponed for COVID concerns. That extra rest could come in handy against a Lazio side that was worked hard last weekend. Additionally, Torino is unbeaten in its last six league matches (1 win and 5 draws).
The first time these sides met, it was a seven-goal thriller that saw Lazio snatch the victory 4-3 with two stoppage-time goals. It was a disheartening result for a side that has only won once against Lazio away from home in its last 16 tries. But, Torino will enter this one with the knowledge that it can hang with Simone Inzaghi’s side.
Juventus (3rd place) vs Spezia (15th place) Tuesday 14:45 EST
Like Lazio, Juventus are coming off a disappointing result. After dropping points to Hellas Verona again, Juve is now level with Atalanta in third place. So, they will be looking to bounce back against a tricky Spezia side.
As Roma can attest to, Spezia is no walkover and the newly-promoted side has shown no fear of the big boys. However, the first time these teams met, it was all about Juve in a 4-1 victory. We’ll see if Vincenzo Italiano has his team more prepared this time around to give the Bianconeri a tougher time and perhaps get a surprise result.
Sassuolo (8th place) vs Napoli (6th place) Wednesday 12:30 EST
It was a good weekend for Napoli, which took full advantage of dropped points by the Roman sides to draw level with Lazio and within one point of Roma. The Partenopei will be presented with perhaps the toughest task of any of the top sides mid-week when they travel to Emilia-Romagna to face Sassuolo.
Like Torino, Sassuolo will be well-rested after its match was postponed on Friday. We’ll see if the extra time off has Roberto De Zerbi’s side at an advantage over a Napoli side that played Thursday and Sunday. Plus, Napoli will be without the red-carded Kalidou Koulibaly to face the vaunted Neroverdi attack.
Sassuolo won the reverse fixture down in Naples 2-0. We’ll see if De Zerbi can mastermind a similar victory in what should be an entertaining match.
Milan (2nd place) vs Udinese (12th place)- Wednesday 14:45 EST
As we all know, Milan rebounded from its recent poor run of form by defeating Roma on the weekend. However, the victory saw the Rossoneri lose Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu in the process. The Zebrette will try to use that to their advantage by frustrating a short-handed Milan attack.
Udinese has been one of the most in-form teams in the league with 10 points in its last five matches. However, Udinese has won just one of its last thirteen against the Rossoneri. That poor run of form against Milan continued in the reverse fixture when Ibrahimovic scored a late winner.
There will be no Ibra to bail out Pioli’s men this time around, so we’ll see if Udinese can find a way to continue its good run of form.
Atalanta (4th place) vs Crotone (20th place) Wednesday 20:45EST
La Dea is rounding into form at the right time, as it took full advantage of dropped points by Roma, Juve, and Lazio this weekend. The win pushed Atalanta into the Champions League qualification places and Gasperini’s men will be keen to stay there.
And they shouldn’t have much trouble doing that against bottom feeders Crotone. Atalanta is in fine form, having won three in a row, while bottom of the table Crotone continues to struggle. The first match was closer than expected with La Dea winning 2-1. We’ll see if Crotone can at least keep this one close.
Parma (19th place) vs Inter Milan (1st place)- Thursday 20:45 EST
This one looks like another walk in the park on paper. Inter continues to roll after defeating Genoa 3-0 over the weekend. Meanwhile, Parma continues to be mired in the relegation zone after blowing a 2-0 lead to Spezia; ultimately drawing 2-2 over the weekend.
The reverse fixture ended 2-2 in the fall. However, the odds look stacked this time around for the Ducali. Inter do have a tough match next weekend, but I wouldn’t bet on Conte’s men looking ahead before taking care of business.
- Cagliari (18th place) vs Bologna (11th place)- Wednesday 14:45
- Benevento (16th place) vs Hellas Verona (9th place)- Wednesday 14:45
Derby della Laterna prediction?
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