Serie A schedule and preview, week 14: tough matches for top sides
The Serie A weekend is spread out over four days, so we’re giving you three matches on which to focus.
Fans of Serie A get an early Christmas present this weekend — four days of glorious, glorious calcio. Well, four days if you consider matchups between Sampdoria and Verona or Cagliari and Chievo to be glorious. But no matter what, we should be in for at least three days of intriguing games.
If you’re pressed for time, here’s three matches in particular you should keep an eye on:
Fiorentina vs. Juventus
Everyone gets fired up when they play Juventus, but Fiorentina in particular should be going into this game on a high. They’ve not only won two in a row for the first time this season, but they’ve also scored six goals in those two matches, accounting for 37 percent of their season total. Mario Gómez is finally back from injury and although he didn’t look quite up to speed against Cagliari, he did get the ball in the back of the net. Perhaps more importantly, Juan Cuadrado has netted two in two. Combine their hot streak with the viola hatred of Juventus and the fact that the Old Lady need to conserve some energy for their final Champions League match next week, and this one could get quite tasty.
Roma vs. Sassuolo
Sassuolo, the side that most assumed would be heading for Serie B next season. Roma, the ones everyone thought would challenge Juventus for the scudetto. Well, the capital club, three points out of first, are keeping up their end of the bargain, but Sassuolo are making the doubters look foolish. Since drawing with Juve on October 18, they’ve gone seven unbeaten. Eusebio Di Francesco has moved away from his all-out attacking ethos, and if the 7-0 loss to Inter is ignored, they’ve got one of the best defensive records in Serie A. Of course, keeping Roma quiet won’t be as simple as beating Parma or Empoli, but the recent neroverdi results will have Rudi Garcia on his toes. Does he ensure a win in the league, or does he concentrate on the upcoming Champions League match with Manchester City, in hopes of advancing his side?
Genoa vs. Milan
Wait, it’s Genoa that are sitting higher in the table? Yes, yes, not only Sassuolo are surprising this year. The gialloblu are even on points with Napoli in third, while Milan are a mere two points back. But while the rossoneri managed a 2-0 win over Udinese last weekend, that was their first in their last six matches. It’s not been an easy time of it for Filippo Inzaghi, who’s had difficulties deciding who is very best attack might be — he seems compelled to start Fernando Torres at times — as well as coping with a rag-tag bunch of what might generously be called defenders. Now Milan have to go to the Marassi, never a happy destination for any side, to take on a team for whom Gian Piero Gasperini’s famed 3-4-3 finally seems to be clicking. Genoa are eight unbeaten, and that tally includes Juve’s only defeat of the season. Godspeed, visitors.
Serie A, Week 14
results updated as available
Friday, December 5
Fiorentina 0-0 Juventus
Saturday, December 6
Stadio Olimpico, Rome | 6 p.m. CET, 12 noon ET
Stadio Olimpico, Turin | 8:45 p.m. CET, 2:45 p.m. ET
Sunday, December 7
Stadio San Paolo, Naples | 12:30 p.m. CET, 6:30 a.m. ET
Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, Bergamo | 3 p.m. CET, 9 a.m. ET
Stadio Marassi, Genoa | 3 p.m. CET, 9 a.m. ET
Stadio Tardini, Parma | 3 p.m. CET, 9 a.m. ET
Inter Milan vs. Udinese
Stadio San Siro, Milan | 8:45 p.m. CET, 2:45 p.m. ET
Monday, December 8
Stadio Sant’Elia, Cagliari | 7 p.m. CET, 1 p.m. ET
Stadio Bentegodi, Verona | 9 p.m. CET, 3 p.m. ET