Torino put an end to Roma’s perfect record in round 11, but the Giallarossi are still unbeaten and top of the Serie A standings. The Granata were the first team to avoid defeat against the capital club this season, securing a 1-1 draw after an inspired showing from Alessio Cerci; a boyhood Roma supporter. Despite their near-perfect start, Rudi Garcia’s side are just three points ahead of Napoli and Juventus with some tricky fixtures to come over the next few weeks.
The two sides in second and third place – Napoli and Juventus respectively – meet this weekend though, giving Roma a chance to pull away from at least one of their title rivals.
Can the Naples outfit keep the pressure up on Roma? Will Juventus be too strong for Rafa Benitez’s side on their own patch? Or will the league leaders storm clear again with a victory at home to Sassuolo?
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Here’s your rundown of this weeks matches in round 12 of Serie A:
All times Eastern.
Saturday November 9:
Catania vs Udinese, Noon, RAI
Catania are struggling down at the bottom of the Serie A standings. They lost narrowly to Napoli in their last outing and will be hopeful of picking up a result on their own patch against Udinese. Especially when you consider Francesco Guidolin’s side have not been in great form themselves as of late. To secure a win here they must overcome some poor away form, having lost four times in their last five games on the road.
Walter Mazzari has laid some excellent early foundations in his infancy as Inter manager. They sit fourth in the table and have only lost once all season to red-hot Roma. They take on a Livorno side who are in rotten form. The Amaranto have won just once in their last six games and will be tasked with stopping the Nerazzuri’s in form forward Rodrigo Palacio; the Argentinian has seven goals in ten appearances this season.
Sunday November 10:
Genoa vs Hellas Verona, 6:30am, RAI
In the eyes of many, Verona have been the surprise package of this Serie A season. The newly promoted side have excelled under Andrea Mandorlini and will be looking to accumulate as many points as possible in this superb run of form. A win at Genoa will be tough, though.
The Grifoni ended Lazio’s unbeaten home record last weekend with a 2-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico and will be in good spirits going into this one. Not to mention, despite Verona’s good start, they have been considerably better at home; they have picked up just four of their 22 points on the road.
These two sides are in respectively rotten form. Chievo have lost five of their last six and are rooted to the bottom of the table. But they might fancy their chances against Massimiliano Allegri’s Milan team, who were run ragged by Barcelona in midweek. The Rossoneri have really struggled to get going and find themselves down in twelfth position in the table. The seven-time European Cup winners will be hoping the likes of Mario Balotelli and Kaka can spark their season into life here.
The Giallarossi couldn’t quite make it eleven wins from eleven, but they’ve still had a wholly spectacular start to their Serie A campaign. Next up for them is newly-promoted Sassuolo, at the Stadio Olimpico.
Roma have yet to concede a goal at home and have averaged just shy of three goals a game on their own patch, so they will be understandably confident going into this one. Sassuolo looked the weakest team in the league at the start of the campaign. But they have shown a defiant streak, picking up a respectable 1-1 draw away at Napoli earlier in the season. Can they show similar defiance here?
Atlanta vs Bologna, 9am, No US TV/Internet coverage
Atalanta will be hoping to build on a solid 1-1 draw against Inter in midweek. Their opponents Bologna struggled to break down rock-bottom Chievo in midweek, which doesn’t bode well for them here. They are just one point clear of the relegation zone and a defeat here will drop them right into the mire.
Cagliari vs Torino, 9am, No US TV/Internet coverage
A clash between two teams in the lower reaches of the table, and both are in real need of a victory. Torino are the Serie A draw specialists, having tied six of their opening eleven games. Cagliari have been struggling to find the back of the net, with no one player having scored more than two goals. In front of their own supporters, the team will be looking to put that right.
Parma vs Lazio, 9am, No US TV/Internet coverage
After losing their first home game of the season in round 11, Lazio might be glad to get on the road. They sit seventh in the league table, seven points behind sixth place Fiorentina; a defeat here could see them cut adrift in the race for European places. The Biancocelesti could be playing Parma at the right time though, with Roberto Donadoni’s side coming into this one on the back to back 1-0 defeats.
Second and third go head-to-head at the Juventus stadium. Both teams are level on 28 points heading into this one, and a win looks essential for both sides with Roma facing an easy-looking home game.
The Bianconeri come into this one on the back of a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in the Champions League and have won al five of their home games so far on the domestic front. Summer signing Carlos Tevez has been in superb form for Conte’s side. He has scored six times in eleven games for his new employers, and his all-action style has refreshed the Juventus front line.
It promises to be a tough test for Rafa Benitez and his Napoli side, but the Spaniard’s tactical acumen and big game pedigree could yet see them through. Plus, in Marek Hamsik, Jose Callejon and Gonzalo Higuain, the Partenopei have plenty of firepower capable of causing the Juve back-line problems. Pepe Reina has been in superb form too, with Roma the only team to concede fewer goals (2) than Napoli (8) in the first eleven games.
Both teams will be after the win, so expect a cracker.
Fiorentina vs Sampdoria, 2:45pm, beIN SPORT Play
The Viola are beginning to click into gear. After wins against Juventus and Milan in recent weeks, they find themselves in sixth place in the table and hot on the heels of the Champions League places. Giuseppe Rossi looks to have fully recovered from his lengthy lay off; he leads the scoring charts on nine goals. They take on newly-promoted Sampdoria, who sit just outside the relegation zone in seventeenth place.
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Photo credit: Dan Leydon.