Serie A Preview: Week 22

Serie A

Chievo vs Juventus

Juventus travel to Chievo in a rich vein of form and will fancy themselves to come away with all three points. Chievo sit in 13th place but only six points separate themselves and the danger zone. These are worrying times for Rolando Maran’s side and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see how they’re going to stop an in form Juve side.

The champion’s injury problems continue and they will be without Benedikt Howedes, Claudio Marchisio, Blaise Matuidi and Paulo Dybala. However, despite the lengthy injury list they’ve been able to string together a fine run of results and I don’t envisage that changing this weekend.

Chievo aren’t without injury concerns of their own, they’ll be without Lucas Castro and Roberto Inglese whilst Alessandro Gamberini, Ricardo Meggiorini and Gianluca Gaudino will face late fitness tests. Given the Bianconeri are chasing the Scudetto this is a must win game and I expect nothing less from Allegri’s men.

Napoli vs Bologna

It’s no secret that Napoli attempted to sign Bologna star Simone Verdi in recent weeks. However, the player himself decided against the move, a decision that left many onlookers surprised. Napoli managed to keep Juventus at bay last week when they managed a victory at Atalanta, a team who has often proven to be their bogey side.

Marek Hamsik was missing for the league leader’s last time out due to a case of tonsillitis but he’s expected to return to the starting XI this weekend however, Spanish defender Raul Albiol could be left out as a precaution due to a reported muscular issue.

There are no new injury concerns for Bologna who could prove stubborn opponents, I expect Simone Verdi to face the wrath of the Napoli faithful and they are said to be deeply offended by his decision to reject the proposed transfer. Napoli should prove too strong for Roberto Donadoni’s men but this is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Milan vs Lazio

The weekends standout fixture in the division and they meet again next Wednesday in the Coppa Italia semi-final. The Rossoneri have had an extremely disappointing season despite spending vast amounts of money during the summer transfer window. The best they can realistically hope for is Europa League Qualification, not quite what they had hoped for pre-season.

Gennaro Gatusso’s side have struggled for consistency whereas Lazio have managed to put an outstanding run together that’s seen them leapfrog Inter and move into third place. Lazio’s ability to score at will has been most impressive, only Man City, Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain have scored more goals across Europe’s top five leagues.

Simone Inzaghi has publicly spoken of his dislike for the new VAR system and claims the inconsistent use of the tool has cost his side seven points up to now. Ciro Immobile’s involvement is in doubt after he limped off last weekend and Felipe Caicedo has been ruled out for sure. The last time Lazio won at the San Siro in a top flight fixture was back in 1989, Paolo Maldini’s own goal that day was the difference but I wouldn’t be surprised if that run comes to an end this weekend.

Other fixtures:
Crotone vs Cagliari, Fiorentina vs Verona, Genoa vs Udinese, Roma vs Sampdoria, Sassuolo vs Atalanta, Spal vs Inter and Torino vs Benevento.