The current number one and number two teams in Italy meet Sunday, as Fiorentina welcomes Roma to the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
League leaders Fiorentina are enjoying their first spell atop the Serie A table since 1999. Roma, meanwhile, are in a position that they’ve grown accustomed to, having been the one team that’s managed to chase Juventus over the past couple of seasons. A win for Rudi Garcia’s men could see them move into first place, depending on how Internazionale’s game with Palermo goes on Saturday.
But standing in Roma’s way is a Fiorentina team that’s defied expectations this season. La Viola announced its intent on the opening day of the season, with a 2-0 defeat of AC Milan; they lost their next match to Torino before going on a five-game winning streak in Serie A that included a 4-1 thrashing of then-undefeated Inter.
But there’s a sense that the wheels might just be coming loose for Fiorentina: They lost 2-1 to Napoli last weekend before losing to Lech Poznan in the Europa League by the same scoreline on Thursday.
That also means Fiorentina have had two fewer days to recover from their European excursions than Roma, who drew 4-4 with Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday. Undefeated in Serie A in their last three matches, and with only one loss in the league on the season, Roma have nonetheless managed to fly under the radar somewhat this season.
However a win against Fiorentina could see them emerge as the latest favorites to win the Scudetto. Roma have a good record against Fiorentina, not having lost to them in the league since April of 2012.
Juventus looks to continue ascendency against Atalanta
Elsewhere, struggling Juventus will look to continue its uptick in form as it welcomes Atalanta to Juventus Stadium. Currently sitting in 14th place, Juve are undefeated in their last four matches in all competitions.
A win against Atalanta could see Max Allegri’s team break into the top half of the table for the first time this season.
But Atalanta are no pushovers, having lost only twice this season – to Inter and Fiorentina. What’s more, La Dea have no European competition to contend with and will go into Sunday’s match rested, unlike Juve who played out a taxing 0-0 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.
AC Milan’s Mihajlovic under pressure
When asked about the future of AC Milan manager Sinisa Mihajlovic this week, club President Silvio Berlusconi replied cryptically, “Who knows?”
This came following the Rossoneri’s latest loss to Inter in the Luigi Berlusconi Trophy at the San Siro. Milan currently sits 13th in the table and have taken just 10 points from eight matches. Some in the Italian media have speculated that in order to save his job, Mihajlovic must win his next two matches, beginning Saturday as Milan welcomes Sassuolo to San Siro.
But Sassuolo has been a nuisance for Milan and its managers in the past; a loss to Neroverdi cost Max Allegri his job back in early 2014. What’s more, Sassuolo has only lost once this season and have taken some big scalps with a win over Napoli and a draw away at Roma.
Mihajlovic will certainly have his work cut out for him and it things don’t go his way, could find himself the latest Milan manager to fail to guide Milan back to the summit of Italian football.