League leaders Roma travel to Milan Saturday to face fourth-place Internazionale in another top-of-the-table Serie A clash. While Roma maintains a two-point lead at the summit, the chasing pack behind them is tight. Inter is currently tied on 21 points with second-place Napoli and Fiorentina in third.
Roma beat Udinese midweek to remain in the driver’s seat in the Italian title race. With Juventus languishing in mid-table, the Giallorossi are many peoples’ favorites to win the Scudetto. While goals were a problem for Roma last season, Rudi Garcia’s team is the top-scoring outfit in Italy this season with 25 goals: Gervinho, Mohamed Salah, and Miralem Pjanic have racked up five each.
Inter, on the other hand, have struggled to find the net despite excellent early season form. Coach Roberto Mancini will be looking for more production out of Argentine striker Mauro Icardi, who has only three goals despite leading Inter in scoring last season. Stevan Jovetic, on loan from Manchester City, has also found it slow going in Italy so far.
What Inter does have going for them is defense: The Nerazzurri have conceded just two goals in their last four matches and owe much of their good standing in the league to Mancini’s well-organized defensive mindset and a backline marshaled by the likes of Miranda and Juan Jesus. Inter have conceded more than one goal only once this season, in a 4-1 loss to Fiorentina.
Juve Face Torino in Turin Derby
Juventus saw their five-game undefeated streak in all competitions snapped this week when they lost to Sassuolo on Wednesday. The Serie A champions will be looking to bounce back quickly as they face city rival Torino on Saturday.
In recent seasons, the result of this match would have been a foregone conclusion. However, Torino currently sit two places above Juve in the table and have already taken some big scalps this season, with wins against Fiorentina and Sampdoria.
Even last season, when Juve were flying high, Torino managed a surprise upset, beating The Old Lady 2-1 in April to register their first derby win in 20 years. Despite the strong start, Toro haven’t won a game since beating Palermo in September and have collected just two points out of a possible 12 since then.
While a title challenge may be a bridge too far for Juventus, Max Allegri’s team will fancy its chances to reignite its season with a win over Torino that could see them climb into the top half of the table.
No Roman Holiday for AC Milan
Struggling AC Milan has seen an uptick in form in recent weeks. The Rossoneri beat Chievo on Wednesday to extend their unbeaten record to three matches in a row for the first time this season.
There have been signs of life at Milan of late. Against Chievo, they kept their first clean sheet of the season, thanks to the heroics of 16-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Carlos Bacca continues to be Milan’s biggest threat going forward, although the Colombian striker missed a gilded chance to add to his five goals on the season against Chievo.
But embattled coach Sinisa Mihajlovic faces a stern test when he takes his team south to Rome to face Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. Currently sitting in sixth place, Lazio have yet to lose at home this season and will fancy their chances against a Milan side that despite its recent run of form, is very much still a work in progress.