Torino v Lazio
Maurizio Sarri and his Lazio side will be faced with a tough test on Saturday evening as they make the trip to the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino with Ivan Juric’s Granata awaiting them.
Both sides started the season with wins last time out – Toro’s perhaps came a little more unexpectedly against Monza after a turbulent summer that even saw their coach and sporting director filmed having a fight in a car park. But while Juric tends to bring a bit of fieriness to the clubs he’s at, he also guarantees excellent organisation and coaching.
As a result it’s hard to pick a winner in this one, and the two sides have incidentally drawn each of their last three meetings in Serie A, only once in their history sharing four consecutive draws – back between April 1976 and December 1977.
We can expect Lazio to score, at the very least, in Piemonte on Saturday, as they’ve managed to net in each of their last nine outings in Serie A. Should they find the net, it will mark the first time they’ve scored in 10 straight games since hitting a run of 19 under Simone Inzaghi in February 2021.
They have, though, just won a game while coming from behind at Bologna last time out and they might have to do that again against Toro. They’re no strangers to doing so though, as they’ve done it five times since Sarri took over, which is more than anybody else other than Inter in that timeframe.
Napoli v Monza
Despite beating Verona in the opening round of fixtures, Napoli remain something of an unknown quantity this season and they’ll be coming up against the best of the newcomers in Monza this Sunday, meaning a potential banana skin awaits the Partenopei.
Their game against Verona was wild, free flowing, and goal filled, and that might just be what Napoli are this season. Whether the goals are mostly scored by them or spread more evenly, it’s hard not to imagine there being more on Sunday.
The loss of Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer gives their backline an appearance of vulnerability, and if there’s one man who would know how to exploit any weaknesses in their defence it’s Andrea Petagna. The big forward has just joined Monza from Napoli this month, and he has scored three goals in six games against them in Serie A – theist of those coming in Naples in June 2020 as a SPAL player, which was the last time he faced them.
There are ingredients – mostly Petagna’s presence – that suggest that Monza could bloody Napoli’s noses this weekend, but the Partenopei might be able to blow the newcomers away at the same time.
A result is hard to call, but we should see goals.
Empoli v Fiorentina
This is a Tuscan derby that often delivers excitement, and it’s one that Fiorentina have about a 50 percent chance of winning if history is any guide. La Viola have won 16 of the 30 previous meetings between these two in Serie A and the Coppa Italia, with seven going the way of Empoli and seven ending all square.
This same fixture last season saw the Azzurri win 2-1 in dramatic fashion, and it won’t be a great surprise to see something similar unfold at the Stadio Carlo Castellani this coming Sunday – although you’d have to make the visitors the favourites.
While Empoli fell to a narrow 1-0 loss to Spezia on the opening day, Fiorentina played out a chaotic 3-2 win over newly-promoted Cremonese, sealing the win with a huge chunk of fortune in the 95th minute, further confirming their status as a fun team to watch under Vincenzo Italiano.
Italiano’s side had more shots than anybody last weekend – 28 – and another flurry against a not-so-good Empoli could come this time out.
Each of the last four game between these two has ended in a home win. Although that’s hard to see this time, there should be plenty of action-packed in and goals should come at both ends.
Atalanta v AC Milan
Bergamo plays host to what is undoubtedly the biggest game of matchday two of this Serie A season, with Atalanta welcoming Italian champions AC Milan to the Gewiss Stadium.
Things have turned in this fixture of late, with the Rossoneri winning each of the last three games they’ve played against Atalanta. Prior to that run, though, La Dea had gone unbeaten in 10 of 11, and they’ve not lost four straight games against Milan since between 1993 and 1996.
This is a game that tends to have goals as well. Milan won 2-0 back in May to take a giant leap towards the title in the penultimate round of last season, they won 3-2 earlier that season, 2-0 the previous May, and lost 3-0 in January 2021. Since 2018 we’ve also seen a 5-0 (in Atalanta’s favour), a 3-1 (again with La Dea winning) and a 2-2.
For the hosts, they’ll be hoping that Duvan Zapata reminds his form. The Colombian has just one goal in his last 13 in Serie A, a run that he hasn’t suffered the likes of since scoring just once in his first 13 games for the club in 2018/19.
Milan, meanwhile, will be calling upon Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic in attack. The Portuguese scored both home and away against the Nerazzurri last season, not managing to repeat that feat against any other side, while Rebic netted twice last time out.
Milan’s 4-2 win over Udinese last week also suggests there are goals to be scored in their games.
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