Will Juventus have a letdown game against Empoli? While Max Allegri has won many trophies since arriving at Juventus, Wednesday night’s win against Porto has to go down as one of his sweetest victories. The Tuscan manager was bold enough to suspend Leonardo Bonucci for one match, then he nailed his substitutions since both Pjaca and Dani Alves scored and his new 4 2 3 1 formation showed proved to be very effective in Europe.
But when you consider that Juventus has a commanding lead in the Serie A title race could they have a letdown game when they face Empoli at home on Saturday? Allegri will likely rotate a bit and could partner Daniele Rugani (who would be facing his former team) with Leonardo Bonucci while replacing Lichtsteiner and Alex Sandro with Dani Alves and Asamoah. Marchisio and newly acquired midfielder Tomas Rincon could also give Pjanic and Khedira a day off- these excellent alternatives speak to the quality of Juventus’ depth.
While Empoli isn’t nearly as exciting to watch as when Sarri managed them, the Tuscan club still has some intriguing players, especially keeper Skorupski (on loan from Roma) who has been amongst the best at his position this season as well as midfielder El Kaddouri who arrived last January.
Will Fiorentina bounce back from a horrific loss in Europa League when they face Torino?Few clubs have underachieved more this season than the Viola, who tried to give a jolt to the team with an active January transfer window in which they acquired two reclamation projects in keeper Sportiello and midfielder Ricky Saponara. But the results have been mixed up until the disastrous 2-4 home loss against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Europa League on Thursday which may cost manager Paulo Sousa his job.
Fiorentina will look to get back on track when they face Torino on Monday; the Tuscan club will look to take advantage of the fact their considerable offensive talents could overwhelm a Torino defense (that has struggled to begin with) that will likely be without center backs Rossettini and Castan. The match should be a great opportunity to shine for Bernardeschi, who is going through the best stretch of his career, as well as Chiesa and Kalinic, who recently turned down a big offer from China.
Can Inter finally make up some ground in race for a CL spot when they face Roma? While Inter has gone on a great run in which they won 9 out of 10 games they haven’t been able to make up much ground for the last Champions League spot. But on the Sunday night’s game Inter can get three points closer to Roma when they face the giallorossi at San Siro.
Inter will get Mauro Icardi back after he served a two game suspension which is great news for manager Stefano Pioli since they’ll be facing Roma’s excellent defense which features Rudiger, Fazio (maybe the best new acquisition in Serie A when you factor cost) and Kostas Manolas who is likely joining Inter next season. Roma will have the advantage of facing Inter while Miranda is suspended, Salah and Dzeko have been as good an offensive duo as any in Serie A this season and they could capitalize. Just do yourself a favor and watch this game bro…
Will Atalanta’s remaining jewels impress Napoli? This has been a magical season for the Bergamaschi and manager Gasperini who is on the short list for Serie A coach the year. Atalanta already cashed in on midfielder Gagliardini, who could be a great long term partner for Verratti in Italy’s midfield, and defender Caldara who will stay at the club on loan from Juventus through next season.
But Atalanta has plenty of others intriguing players including Frank Kessie (who recently expressed once again his desire to play for Manchester United), striker Petagna and 22 year old right back Andrea Conti who is on the radar of many top clubs in Italy and abroad. Gasperini’s team will have a very tough test when they travel to the San Paolo to face Napoli.
Can Berardi regain his form against his favorite opponent Milan? To say that Sassuolo missed Berardi while he recovered for multiple months from an injury is like saying M Night Shyamalan’s films after “Unbreakable” were pretty good. But now the winger often described as the Italian Robben is finally back and he’s ready to reestablish himself.
Berardi, who grew up as an Inter fan, will face his favorite opponent Milan on Sunday. A few years ago he famously scored four goals in a game against the rossoneri that ended up costing manager Allegri his job. Berardi could take advantage that Milan’s defense will almost certainly be without two starters on defense in Romagnoli and De Sciglio. Berardi does have some talent around him as well in Defrel and Pellegrini, two players that are on Roma’s radar. Montella will likely start Carlos Bacca, who recently turned down a rich offer from China, along with the red hot Deulofeu and Suso (set to sign a contract extension) up front.