The top 4 in Serie A all won their respective fixtures last weekend with Roma sustaining a creditable 1-0 victory over Napoli. Napoli have another battle on their hands as they welcome Fiorentina whilst Juventus travel to relegation bound Parma. Cesena crept up one place above Cagliari last weekend with a point and will be hopeful of adding to their dismal 22 points as they take on 16th placed Chievo at home.
Parma v Juventus: Juventus have serious injury concerns in central midfield. Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba have been out through injury and Arturo Vidal hobbled off in the latter stages of the 2-0 victory over Genoa on Sunday. Nevertheless he successfully came through their midweek victory over Fiorentina as did Marchisio on his first start since suffering a knee injury on international duty for Italy. For Parma, French winger Jonathan Biabiany has been a massive loss to them since losing him in September and he’ll still be ruled out.
The 2 point deduction handed to Parma hasn’t really made much difference to their season as they’re a massive 12 points adrift of Cagliari in 19th place but have played fewer games than all of the other 19 sides in the league. Juventus have come out on top between these 2 sides on the previous 4 meetings. Although Parma have come desperately close on 3 of those defeats, losing by the odd goal. However, in the clash where they didn’t come close they were severely punished with a traumatic 7-0 mauling. A major boost for Parma could be the number of injuries that Juventus are having to contend with as Carlos Tevez had to sit out the midweek 3-0 victory over Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia so his presence against Parma is also very doubtful.
Napoli v Fiorentina: The home side are on a very poor run of late, going 4 games without a single win. That included 2 defeats in Serie A to Roma and Verona and they laboured to a 1-1 draw with Atalanta at home. Meanwhile, Fiorentina were enjoying some very good momentum. Knocking out fellow Italian side, Roma, in the Europa League 4-1 on aggregate followed up by Serie A victories over AC Milan and Sampdoria. However, they suffered a setback midweek as Juventus overturned a 2-1 1st leg aggregate score line in Fiorentina’s backyard with a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
There is form with both sides however, Napoli only losing 1 in their last 13 home Serie A fixtures whilst Fiorentina have only lost 1 in their last 12 Serie A matches. Both sides have injury problems, Napoli are slightly depleted in central midfield with the likes of Gokhan Inler and Walter Gargano being ruled out. For Vincenzo Montella, he is unable to call upon Josip Illic, Manuel Pasqual, Stefan Savic and of course, Giuseppe Rossi who has been out injured since January. Montella however will have been delighted with how his side have coped with the loss of Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea in January and that has been largely down to the form of the player who came in from Chelsea the other way, Mohamed Salah.
AC Milan v Sampdoria: There are currently 7 points separating these two clubs and you definitely wouldn’t have predicted that Sampdoria were the side sitting 7 points higher than their opponents on Sunday. A usually daunting trip to San Siro is less so given AC Milan’s troubles this season which sees them lie in 8th position. Milan have looked extremely vulnerable at set pieces and given that Sampdoria are pretty strong aerially despite not boasting the biggest of sides it could be a weakness that is exploited by the away side.
AC Milan were left cursing their luck as Japanese captain, Keisuke Honda sprained an ankle during training at the beginning of the month. He joined Stephane El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo on the casualty list but good news for under fire boss, Filippo Inzaghi is the return of Adil Rami, Cristian Zapata and Giacomo Bonaventura to training. Sampdoria also lost a key player at the start of April with the injury sustained to Stefano Okaka who has 4 goals this campaign.