Serie A Preview: Week 23

Serie A

Benevento vs Napoli

The Campania derby between the league leaders and the division’s bottom club takes place on Sunday evening at the Stadio Ciro Vigorito. Napoli will be extremely confident of taking all three points back to the San Paolo and considering the Stregoni have never even scored a goal against Napoli its hard to see any alternative outcome.

Napoli have won their last 7 in Serie A and haven’t dropped a single league point since December 10. Although they’ve at times failed to entertain the way they did earlier on in the campaign their ability to grind out results of late has earned them much praise.

Benevento will start Alberto Brignoli, their goal scoring goalkeeper this weekend but will have to replace Raman Chibsah who left for Frosinone during the January window. Maurizio Sarri welcomes back Spanish central defender Raul Albiol after he missed their victory versus Bologna last week.

Juventus vs Sassuolo

The visitors have endured a difficult season up until now and their form of late has caused some concern amongst onlookers. Sassuolo boss Giuseppe Iachini is likely to ask his full backs to sit deep and protect the spaces out wide and with three defensive midfield players on top of that it’ll be interesting to see whether they will be able to get out at all.

Juventus have been in brilliant form of late and having gained an advantage in their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg during the week they’ll be fully focused on applying further pressure to Napoli’s lead. Sassuolo have yet to avoid defeat at Juventus in Serie A history so the Neroverdi getting any sort of result will be a tough ask indeed.

Juventus are expected to line up with a strike force that includes both Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic but their real strength is in the middle of the park where Khedira, Pjanic and Matuidi will likely prove too strong for their 13th placed opponents.

Udinese vs Milan

Two former team mates take charge of these two on Sunday afternoon, Massimo Oddo & Gennaro Gattuso. Both of these sides have seen some improvement since they decided to axe their previous managers and Milan have a real shout of making the Coppa Italia final despite the turmoil at San Siro this season.

Milan have struggled to score goals this season and their attack has been referred to as a blunt knife at times. It’s hard to see how they’re going to score given the way Udinese defend, I expect them to line up with a back 5 and isolate Nikola Kalinic up front meaning the likes of Suso and Calhanoglu will need to support the front man.

Udinese’s key player is Rodrigo De Paul, the Argentine winger has had a fantastic season so far and could cause the Milan defense all sorts of issues with his trickery and explosive pace. I predict a draw, 1-1.

Other fixtures:
Atalanta vs Chievo, Bologna vs Fiorentina, Cagliari vs Spal, Inter vs Crotone, Lazio vs Genoa, Sampdoria vs Torino & Verona vs Roma.