Four things to watch out for in Serie A this weekend after Juve docked 15 points!

The Serie A season reaches its halfway point this weekend, with plenty of exciting sub-divisions set to play out.

After beating leaders Napoli 2-0 on Saturday, the selection for Sunday’s game will travel to Juventus after an 8-2 win over Champions League chasers Atalanta Salernitana, while their opponents were beaten 5-1. At the top of the table, 15 points were deducted for alleged financial irregularities, leaving them in 10th place, 12 points adrift of the Champions League places.

Inter will look to secure a 1-0 win at home against Empoli on Monday and head to fourth-placed Lazio on Tuesday evening to take on reigning champions Milan at the Stadio Olimpico. On Juve.

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Juve are reeling after 15 points down

After a 5-1 defeat at Napoli, the last thing Juventus will want is to face Atalanta, who scored eight goals against hapless Salernitana in their last league game.

The old lady was hit with a hefty fine for alleged financial irregularities and falsification of accounts, in which prosecutors accused Juve players of embezzling four months’ wages to help the club during the Covid-19 pandemic. in fact, the real figure was just a month’s salary.

Several board members, including former chairman Andrea Agnelli, former vice-chairman Pavel Nedved and now Tottenham director of football Fabio Paratici, have been largely banned from working in the Italian game, which Spurs are looking to do. The ban includes a request to extend the ban to UEFA and FIFA, so it is urgent to clarify whether Paratici can continue to work for them.

The points deduction, which echoes the Calciopoli corruption scandal that saw Juve relegated to Serie B in 2006, means the Italian giants have now slipped from third to 10th and may be forced to shake up their key players this month. It made a loss of £220m last quarter. Juventus are appealing the ban.

For now, Massimiliano Allegri must gather his players and find a way to contain an Atalanta full of threats, not least Ademola Lookman, who has flourished in Italy and outscored Viktor Osimhen in Serie A this season after losing to the club. Twice against Salernitana.

Junior Rasmus Hoylund also showed a bit of himself in this game, winning two spot kicks and making a great solo performance.

Lookman added a further brace in the 5-2 Coppa Italia win over Spezia in midweek, while Hoylund added to his growing reputation with a superb effort off the bar.

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It was the Dane’s fourth successive goal and will boost his chances of making it five against Juve, who are looking to bounce back from their humiliation in Naples.

Juventus traveled south on the back of a clean sheet in their last eight Serie A games, but things changed at home to the champions as the Brazilian back three of Danilo, Bremer and Alex Sandro ran rampant.

Fortunately for Allegri’s side, Atalanta have Teun Kupminers out through suspension and Davide Zappacosta out through injury, while Ruslan Malinovsky is on loan at Marseille and Zapata could be heading to the Premier League, with West Ham and Everton interested. Columbia Service.

The return of Dusan Vlahovic and Juan Cuadrado will be another boost for Allegri, while Federico Chiesa made encouraging progress from injury to curl in a slalom winner against Monza in the Coppa Italia, his first goal since an ACL. cracked last January.

However, Paul Pogba, Leonardo Bonucci and Mattia De Sciglio are all working their way back to full fitness, while Adrien Rabiot has joined the treatment table for undisclosed reasons.

If he does play, Zapata won’t be taken lightly, having scored eight goals in 16 games against Juve, and against Spezia, including against Luqman, he showed his value in goal. facing it.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s only concern was La Dea Spezia’s vulnerability to counter-attacks, but if his side’s attacks are as potent as they have been of late, the defensive frailties may not matter.

Dusan Vlahovic could be part of a firebrand deal after Juventus’ 15-point relegation this January.

It aims to revive the memories of Milan Olimpico

Milan’s poor start last time out in Lecce ultimately proved their success as second-half efforts from Rafael Leao and Davide Calabria earned the Rossoneri a point at the Via del Mare.

That means they will be left chasing Atalanta, Roma and Lazio, who take on city rivals Inter and Stefano Pioli’s men on Tuesday night, to end the final week of Serie A. Juventus are fourth and last in the Champions League after dropping 15 points.

The last time these sides met at the Stadio Olimpico was pivotal in last season’s title race, with Ciro Immobile tapping home Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s assist to give Lazio the lead four minutes from time.

However, after Olivier Giroud equalised, Sandro Tonali completed the comeback in the 92nd minute when he teed up Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Unfortunately for Milan, Ibrahimovic is one of seven Pioli players who have had a torrid season due to injury, which has undoubtedly affected the game.

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Meanwhile, Lazio beat Sassuolo and Bologna in the league and won the Coppa Italia respectively, with Felipe Anderson’s winner before former Chelsea winger Pedro scored from close range.

Alessio Romagnoli is expected to face the club who sold him in the summer, and if Inter lose to Empoli, Maurizio Sarri will win and move into third place (which is unlikely).

Former West Ham striker Felipe Anderson scored Lazio’s second goal in a 2-0 win at Sassuolo earlier this month.

Dybala played against M’Bala in a goal-scoring battle

Paulo Dybala stole the show for Roma against Fiorentina just as Jose Mourinho’s men began to give fans hope that they could finish in the top four.

After qualifying for the Champions League for five consecutive seasons between 2013-14 and 2017-18, the Giallorossi have finished sixth, fifth, seventh and sixth in the league and have found it tough under Mourinho in recent seasons.

And so the Europa League final win over Feyenoord was a feather in the cap for the Portugal international, whose side are currently in the Europa League play-offs and have two games against Red Bull Salzburg next month.

Despite five signings last summer, including striker Andrea Belotti and midfield general Nemanja Matic, it was undoubtedly Dybala who left Juventus after seven years in Turin.

The Argentina forward has remained injury-free since his move to the capital, but has so far managed 10 goals and two assists in 16 games in all competitions, a very impressive performance for a volatile side.

His last two strikes against Fiorentina both came from Tammy Abraham’s superb strike, and Abraham’s side-footed volley quickly put the 10-man visitors down.

The win saw Juventus drop to 15 points, leaving Roma in sixth place, nine ahead of eighth-placed Udinese, but behind fourth-placed city rivals Lazio on goal difference and four points behind Milan in second.

Upcoming opponents Spezia are in 15th place but are in league form with two wins and three draws in their last five league games.

The key to this streak has been M’Bala Nzola, who has scored four of the Little Eagles’ six goals.

The Angolan, who started his career in Portugal, is enjoying his best season as a professional so far and is currently tied with Lautaro Martinez and Ademola Lookman on nine Serie A goals.

It could be a tough test for Mourinho and his team at the Stadio Alberto Picco, but Spezia will be without Jakub Kivior and fellow centre-back Dimitris Nicolau (suspended) following his move to Arsenal and could be licking their wounds after the 5-2 Coppa Italia rout. Lost to Atalanta (despite a much-changed starting XI).

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Napoli’s scalp gives hope to Cremonese

Cremonese have yet to taste victory in Serie A after being promoted this season, but the bottom club had a stunning head-to-head with Napoli in midweek, knocking out Partenopei on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the Coppa Italia. .

The visitors took the lead on 18 minutes through Charles Pickel before David Okereke’s pass narrowly cleared Daniel Ciofani and the Swiss midfielder slotted home in a tense encounter that saw nine yellow cards.

In a very different eleven to their last match against Juventus, Napoli responded with a Juan Jesus header before Giovanni Simeone looked on from Alessio Zerbin’s inviting pass to put the hosts in front in stoppage time.

But for the first time since Massimiliano Alvini’s dismissal, Davide Ballardini’s Cremonese hit back as Juventus loanee Luca Zanimacchia headed in an 87th-minute assist from former Roma star Felix Athena-Gian.

So Grigiorossi called extra-time but Leonardo Cernicola was booked for the second time for blocking Andre-Franc Zambo Anguissa’s run, Simeone hit the post and Victor Osimhen missed a great chance to survive 20 minutes despite being 10 men down. , Stanislav Lobotka’s foul play allowed the underdogs to take a sensational lead with a penalty kick.

After making six changes in the game, it will be interesting to see if Ballardini, who has previously coached Genoa four times and Cagliari and Palermo three times each, names a similar starting line-up when they take on Bologna on Monday night.

Thiago Motta has had a poor spell at the Rossoblu, but a four-game unbeaten run in the league with four wins and three defeats has Bologna currently in 11th place.

If Ballardini keeps Cremonese on the same high as he did against Cagliari 15 years ago, it would be one of Serie A’s greatest escapes, with the Lombardi side nine points adrift of safety. Can the revival start at the Renato Dall’Ara Stadium?

Davide Ballardini has a huge job on his hands as he aims to stop Cremonese from falling straight back to Serie B.

Your Serie A weekend on BT Sport

Sunday

Sampdoria vs Udinese (11.30am on BT Sport 1)

Monza vs Sassuolo (2pm on BT Sport 1)

Spezia vs Roma (5pm on BT Sport 1)

Juventus vs Atalanta (7.45pm on BT Sport 1)

Monday

Bologna vs Cremon (5.30pm on BT Sport 1)

Inter vs Empoli (7.30pm on BT Sport 1)

Tuesday

Lazio vs Milan (7.30pm on BT Sport 1)

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