AC missing Honda’s drive for Milan derby

Parma caused the biggest shock of the season last weekend as they sensationally beat Juventus 1-0 which will only likely delay Juventus another Serie A title a week longer but for Parma it could potentially give them the momentum to cause a ‘Houdini’ style escape. Unfortunately for them, Atalanta also won at home to Sassuolo which kept the distance at 13 points. Fiorentina will also be disappointed; they laboured to a 3-0 defeat to Napoli which saw the clubs switch positions in Serie A.

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Juventus v Lazio

Massimiliano Allegri’s side restored some dignity midweek as they won their respective Champions League quarter-final 1st leg tie against Monaco thanks to a penalty from Arturo Vidal. Gianluigi Buffon pulled off some fine saves to deny Monaco and gave Juventus the 1-0 victory which is also the same score line on which they were on the receiving end against Parma last weekend.

Lazio are the in-form team in Serie A with 8 straight victories but Juventus are unbeaten in their 43 home matches in Serie A. The away side in the last 3 meetings between these 2 sides have had a man sent off.

Andrea Pirlo was back in midfield for Juventus against Monaco and he’ll no doubt be present once again as Lazio come to Turin. Lazio are the only side to outscore Juventus so far this season and their goals have been distributed equally throughout the team. Miroslav Klose and Felipe Anderson have 10 goals each whilst Stefano Mauri has 9 and they have 3 players who’ve all chipped in 7 goals this campaign.

Lazio were dealt a triple blow though as they’ve sustained injuries to Stefan De Vrij, Marco Parolo and Diego Novaretti and all are serious doubts to face Juventus.

Roma v Atalanta

Rudi Garcia’s men will be looking to capitalise on the Juventus v Lazio game as they sit just 1 point behind Lazio in 3rd place. Roma have beaten their opponents on Sunday in their last 6 meetings in Rome but Atalanta can take some confidence from defeating Sassaulo in their previous Serie A fixture. That win gave them a crucial 3 points to take them away from the relegation zone and they’ll take anything they can get against high flying Roma.

Maximiliano Moralez and Mauricio Pinilla have been injury concerns for Atalanta in the past week and their places are in serious jeopardy. Roma meanwhile aren’t short of their own long term absentee’s but their strength in depth still enables them to field a strong side that should see the visitors off.

Francesco Totti was only fit enough for a place on the bench in their draw with Torino last weekend and he could be set for a return to the starting line up at the expense of Victor Ibarbo who has yet to open his account for his new side. Gervinho has been severely missed by Roma and his pace and ability to go past defenders hasn’t quite been emulated by Juan Iturbe and Seydou Doumbia since the Ivorian winger was injured at the end of March on international duty.

Inter v AC Milan

The Milan derby has lost some if it’s reputation given the struggles of both clubs in recent years. Unfortunately neither side are quite up to the standards that Italian football demands and Juventus have taken full advantage of the slump of both Milan clubs. Nevertheless, the derby still generates one of the best atmospheres and is one of the world’s fiercest rivalries. A win for either side could give them impetus to maintain an unbeaten run till the end of the season and threaten to take one of the qualification spots for the Europa League.

Inter Milan were dealt a cruel injury blow recently with central defender, Hugo Campagnaro suffering a calf injury that looks set to rule him out for the next month. However, a central defensive partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Andrea Ranocchia is a worthy enough duo to keep AC at bay despite having the talents of Alessandro Cerci, Mattia Destro and Jeremy Menez in advanced positions.

AC had to rely on Nigel de Jong to score their leveller against Sampdoria and the supporters of the red and black side will be disappointed that the January signing of Destro hasn’t quite been as successful as they hoped with the former Roma forward scoring just 2 goals since his move. Keisuke Honda, Riccardo Montolivo and Stephan El Shaarawy are all out through injury and will be despairingly watching from the side lines for the Milan derby.

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