Atalanta v Inter
This could well be the most entertaining game of the final Serie A weekend before the World Cup break comes into play. It is the lunchtime match on Sunday in Italy and sees an Atalanta side dropping out of form come up against an Inter side who just beat Bologna 6-1.
It has not been a secret at all for the past three or four years that there are goals in this Inter side and that is why when they smell a weak defence lacking in confidence, they can score six, as they did against Bologna. As for Atalanta, whilst they may have moved away from the style that saw them be one of the highest-scoring sides in Europe in recent years, they still pose a serious threat and they will have Duvan Zapata.
La Dea may have lost 2-1 away at Lecce in midweek but they did enjoy Zapata’s first goal since returning from a big injury lay-off. They have lost two games on the bounce now and for that reason, they will be desperate to push forward and get a big win in front of their own fans before the break.
By the same token, Inter have a lot of work to do when play resumes in late December and a draw will be of little use to them.
Roma v Torino
The early season suggestions that AS Roma could be an outside bet for the Serie A title seem to have totally dissipated now and Jose Mourinho’s side are definitely just in a top-four battle.
Having lost to Lazio in the Derby della Capitale last weekend and then conceding a late equaliser against Sassuolo in midweek, the Giallorossi look like a team that needs a break.
Injuries have not helped at all and whilst they should get Paulo Dybala back for this game, he won’t be at full fitness and will definitely have more than one eye on the World Cup.
It could be a pretty laborious affair at the Stadio Olimpico as Roma look to just get three points and get out of there without any more injuries or drama. The goals are not flowing, exhibited by them being the lowest scorers in the top eight in Serie A.
This suggestion of minimal goal-mouth action is aided by the fact that Torino do not score a lot, and they do not concede a whole lot either at the moment.
Ivan Juric’s side sit in ninth which they will be very content with and if they can get a well-earned point, they’ll see that as a job well done in the capital to round off the first chunk of the season.
AC Milan v Fiorentina
Based on the showing that AC Milan put in against Cremonese in midweek, this may not be a thriller at San Siro.
You can never totally rule out Milan getting plenty of goals at home, but against Cremonese they just could not create anything of any serious interest and the match in Cremona ended 0-0.
That will be a concern for Stefano Pioli as he had Divock Origi on the pitch who only managed to score an offside goal, and he also threw on Belgian talent Charles De Ketelaere for the last 20 minutes or so and the former Club Brugge man made no impact at all.
They are the two players brought in during the summer transfer window to bring more quality depth to the Rossoneri attack and it has not panned out that way so far.
It is assumed that Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud will both start this game which wasn’t the case against Cremonese, so expect Milan to win, but they don’t seem to be in the right sort of form right now to stick lots of goals in.
As for Fiorentina, whilst they do not have a defensive reputation, they have enjoyed an upturn in form that could mean they cancel Milan out quite effectively if the Rossoneri are blunt in attack again.
Juventus v Lazio
In terms of the stature of both clubs and where they are in the table, this is a fascinating match to end the first part of the season with. In terms of goals though, it may not be a thriller.
This is the two best defences in Serie A coming up against each other when a host of players on the pitch know that one injury can put them out of the World Cup that starts just a few days later.
Juventus have only conceded seven goals this season and fascinatingly, they have now won five games on the bounce and are into the top four. Lazio meanwhile, have only conceded eight goals and are up to second place, albeit eight points behind league leaders Napoli.
The tactical battle between Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri could well be a sight to behold but for those who want end-to-end action, this may not be the right game to tune into. Serie A throws up mad games when you least expect it, but the figures do not point to loads of goals at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday night.
There is a chance that Ciro Immobile will be back from injury for Lazio to give them some more firepower but he won’t be at 100% readiness.
Juve meanwhile are still ravaged by injuries and will not be at full strength, as has been the case all season long.
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