Atalanta v Cremonese
Top of the table Atalanta welcome a Cremona side making a relatively short trip across Lombardia for Sunday’s early Serie A kick off, and the top-flight newcomers know that they won’t have it easy in Bergamo.
The two sides haven’t met in Serie A since March 3, 1996, drawing 1-1 on that occasion again in Bergamo. But that they’ve not faced off in the top flight for so long shows the different paths they’ve followed, particularly in recent years.
The hosts have won nine of their last 10 against newly-promoted sides, drawing the other, not losing to any newcomers since Empoli back in November 2018. Top of the table after five games, Atalanta are enjoying something they’d never previously managed in their history, though they have never won five of their first six.
Defensively, though, Atalanta have been excellent. They’re scored nine goals and conceded just twice, with Juan Musso particularly impressing in goal last time out. With Cremonese having scored four goals from their five games, it’s hard to see them posing too many problems to their hosts.
Atalanta should pick up the points here, and they’ll want to do it to nil.
Bologna v Fiorentina
Although Bologna hosting Fiorentina may not seem like much of a fixture to a football fan perhaps a little unfamiliar with Serie A, this game has a bit of unexpected spice to it being the Derby dell’Appennino. This particular edition has some intriguing subplots as well.
Bologna come into this game as hosts and fresh after sacking Sinisa Mihajlovic as coach following a slightly underwhelming start to the season, but with just two losses from their five games – and those coming against Lazio and AC Milan – the decision and its timing caught many off guard.
Fiorentina have called way short of expectations so far this season and sit 11th with just one win to their name, drawing three times and losing once. Having done well under Vincenzo Italiano last term and qualified for Europe, more was expected of La Viola. They also drew their Europa Conference League opener in midweek.
So with both teams having drawn three of their respective five first matches, it’s tempting to say that this will represent a fourth such outcome for both. To make things a little more interesting, perhaps, both teams scoring should be a safe enough bet at the Stadio Renato dall’Ara, as neither team can be trusted defensively for 90 minutes.
Juventus v Salernitana
Juventus might just be the least enjoyable team in Europe’s top-five leagues to watch this season, as they were for much of last term. That, along with them hosting Salernitana on Sunday night, means that this is a game that should be avoided at all costs if entertainment is being sought.
That, though, lends itself to a bet. Boring as they are, Juventus have conceded just twice in Serie A this season – scoring just seven times. Although Salernitana have performed above expectations so far and have lost just once, they are exactly the kind of opponent that Juventus can see off just by having better players on the pitch.
But Massimiliano Allegri doesn’t like fun or leaving anything to chance, so the priority for the Bianconeri will be, as ever, not conceding in Turin.
In their past six Serie A games against Salernitana, Juventus have won four times and kept five clean sheets.
They almost certainly will keep a clean sheet, and if they score once they’re not likely to go hunting for more. Juventus might win 2-0, but this will not be a thriller and both teams aren’t scoring on Sunday night, even if Juventus score in the opening 10 minutes for the fourth consecutive time.
Empoli v Roma
With Juventus looking to bounce back from midweek Champions League disappointment, Jose Mourinho takes his Roma side on the road to Tuscany to face Empoli looking to put two bad results behind them. It’s hard to think of many worse results than their 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Udinese last time out in Serie A, then losing 2-1 to Ludogorets in the Europa League.
They might just be coming up against the perfect opposition in the Azzurri to get back on track. Roma haven’t lost any of their last 12 against Empoli in Serie A – winning nine of those and each of the last five – and they’ve kept a clean sheet in four of their last six against them.
Although Roma have won just two of their last seven in Serie A, Empoli have drawn four in a row at the beginning of this 2022/23 season and haven’t put together five straight draws since January 2015.
Paulo Dybala is likely to play a big part for the visitors and he’s been involved in more shots than anybody this season – taking 17 himself and teeing up 16 more for his teammates.
One such teammate on Monday could be Andrea Belotti – with whom he had a fine partnership at Palermo – and he hs had a hand in six goals in four games against Empoli, scoring four times and assisting twice more. In fact, his last goals in Serie A came in the form of a hat-trick on May 1 of this year, coming off the bench for Torino.
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