Cagliari v Verona
Every Serie A game is massive for Cagliari now as whilst they are not actually in the bottom three, wins for Salernitana and Genoa at the weekend mean the Sardinians are at serious risk. They are three points ahead of Salernitana who have a game in hand and three ahead of Genoa who have played the same amount of games.
Despite their poor form, Cagliari do still tend to find the back of the net in most of their matches. Given they are at home to a team with nothing to play for now, expect them to come flying out of the traps to see if they can grab an early lead.
It is worth noting though that Hellas Verona are very dangerous on the break and there will be big gaps in that Cagliari backline to exploit. Given they have the joint second worse defence in the league, Verona’s attackers will know that chances are going to come their way.
For that reason, it is very plausible to imagine both teams finding the back of the net in this game. Cagliari can not afford to waste a single chance in front of goal because they are in poor form and look as though they will be limping over the line if they do stay up.
Neither side has any key absentees and if Hellas Verona play to the best of their abilities, they will have too much for Cagliari. The home support in Sardinia will have to be right behind the team as confidence is seriously low in that squad right now.
Napoli v Sassuolo
After a seriously disappointing run of results that put an end to their Scudetto hopes, Napoli are now looking over their shoulder at Juventus and hoping that they can hold onto third place. The defeats to Fiorentina and Empoli and a draw with Roma in the last three games have left Luciano Spalletti’s side seven points behind AC Milan.
Their lead over Juventus who sit fourth is just one point so that is their primary battle now. Fourth is worth avoiding too as finishing there means you have to go through a Champions League qualification round in the summer.
Despite the drop in form, Napoli have still been scoring goals. They got two against Fiorentina, one against Roma and two more against Empoli despite only taking one point from all three games. That is why you’d still back them to score some goals against Sassuolo on Saturday afternoon. Similarly, Sassuolo have such an abundance of talented attackers that you can never convince yourself that they won’t score.
The Neroverdi are just playing to keep themselves in the top half of the table now but given so many of their players are linked with moves in the summer, every game is a chance to impress another club higher in the division or elsewhere.
This will be a tricky one for a Napoli team that desperately needs a comfortable and confidence-building win.
Sampdoria v Genoa
There is a very real possibility that this will be the last Derby della Lanterna in Serie A for at least a season. Genoa are in 19th place and despite a possible upturn in form to come, will still need a lot to go in their favour if they are to stay up.
The Genoa derby may even continue in Serie B because Sampdoria are in torrid form and are only five points ahead of 18th placed Salernitana who have a game in hand over them. In terms of keeping a famous and much-loved fixture in Italian football, many may want to see them both go down rather than just one.
This fixture does not normally have quite as much as this riding on it so it is surely going to be a very tense affair at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Sampdoria will be looking to avoid defeat primarily. The onus is on Genoa to get all three points as they are the team in the relegation zone.
Coming off of the late win over Cagliari, the Grifone will be the more confident side with momentum on their side. Sampdoria will likely need to weather an early storm and from there they can build their way into the game.
Neither of these teams score much and it certainly isnt set up as the sort of game where the forwards will get an abundance of chances. The most clinical side will take the points from Luigi Ferraris on Saturday evening.
Spezia v Lazio
Lazio will have to get the late defeat to AC Milan from last weekend out of their minds as quickly as possible if they are to secure Europa League football for next season. An away game against Spezia is a decent fixture if you want to quickly get back to winning ways. Spezia aren’t 100% out of the relegation fight yet but it would be a big surprise if they did find themselves in the bottom three.
Lazio were very good in the first half against AC Milan and if they can produce a similar display from the off on Saturday, they’ll score much more than the one goal that Ciro Immobile got against the Rossoneri that in the end proved not to be enough.
Lazio are two points behind Roma who are fifth and Maurizio Sarri’s team will be desperate to make sure they get into the Europa League rather than the Europa Conference League. There is a big chance that Segej Milinkovic-Savic will be leaving the club in the summer and every bit of tournament and television money they can get will be needed to try and give Sarri a squad that he can break into the top four with.
There are holes in the current team but with only Marusic and Pedro out for this game against Spezia, there is no excuse for them not to come away with all three points.
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