Serie A Matchday 21: Rossoneri seek revival in crunch Milan derby
AC Milan are in a downward spiral — and a derby win over Inter Milan would be the perfect antidote to their declining fortunes.
Table-toppers Napoli, meanwhile, visit struggling Spezia in the hope of extending their 13-point lead at Serie A's summit.
Elsewhere, third-placed Lazio travel to relegation-threatened Verona, while fellow top-four hopefuls Atalanta take on Sassuolo.
Juventus, on the other hand, will be hoping to avoid being leapfrogged by Salernitana after a shock defeat to Monza last time out.
Game of the week: Inter Milan vs AC Milan (Sunday, 7.45pm)
AC Milan are firefighting.
They are winless in four Serie A games, have lost their last three league and cup matches and just conceded 18 goals in January — their worst-ever record in a single month across all competitions since 1929-30 — after a humiliating 5-2 defeat at home to lowly Sassuolo.
In Inter Milan, they will not find a forgiving opponent. The Rossoneri have lost more top-flight games against their rivals (67) than any other side bar Juventus (also 67).
Furthermore, Simone Inzaghi's men have conceded the fewest home goals in the league this term (five, level with Roma) and have earned the second-most points on their own patch (24). They will also be buoyed by a commendable Coppa Italia triumph over Atalanta in midweek.
However, Milan did emerge victorious from their last two Serie A clashes with Inter — but they must be wary of the threat Argentine marksman Lautaro Martinez poses.
He has only scored more goals in all competitions against Cagliari (eight) than he has against the Rossoneri (six) since arriving in Italy.
Spezia vs Napoli (Sunday, 11.30am)
Napoli are 13 points clear at the top of Serie A and — on paper — a trip to Spezia does not look likely to cause them too many problems.
Sunday's hosts have failed to score in three of their last four league games, taking their total of blanks to nine for the season.
Meanwhile, the Partenopei have kept 24 clean sheets since Luciano Spalletti took over in 2021, with only Juventus (25) recording more in that period.
Luca Gotti's side will dread the prospect of facing Giacomo Raspadori, who has netted three times in his three league meetings with the Aquilotti.
Verona vs Lazio (Monday, 5.30pm)
Verona sit 18th in the table, five points from safety — but they are on an upward trajectory.
In their five league games since the turn of the year, the Gialloblu have picked up eight points.
Additionally, no side in the division has conceded fewer goals than their tally of three in 2023, keeping clean sheets in their last two home games and winning both.
Only one point separates third-placed Lazio from sixth-placed city rivals Roma, so the Biancocelesti know they must win to ensure they remain in the top four.
Maurizio Sarri will be relying on Ciro Immobile to inspire his side to victory — he has scored 10 goals across his 11 Serie A meetings with Verona. However, the centre forward has not scored in any of his last three league appearances.
Sassuolo vs Atalanta (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Atalanta are a team in form, going into this clash with Sassuolo.
Only Napoli (12) have earned more points in 2023 than their 11 and no side in Serie A has scored more than their 17 goals.
This game could be an end-to-end affair, with these two teams ranking in the division's top three for direct attacks this term (52 for Atalanta, 48 for Sassuolo).
La Dea will hope this fixture can reinvigorate Duvan Zapata, who has netted just one goal this season. His nine strikes against the Neroverdi is more than he has managed against any other opponent.
Salernitana vs Juventus (Tuesday, 7.45pm)
Salernitana have a rare opportunity — they could leapfrog the mighty Juventus if they can claim victory on Tuesday.
The Granata's 2-1 win over Lecce last time out saw them snap a seven-game winless streak (two draws, five defeats) and they will hope to carry that momentum into this contest.
Max Allegri's men, meanwhile, have endured a more negative change in fortunes. Having previously won eight league games in a row without conceding, they have conceded 10 times in their last three outings in the competition, earning just one point.
Though they did secure a 1-0 Coppa Italia victory over Lazio on Thursday night, their last league match was a shock 2-0 defeat at home by Monza, who moved above them in the table as a result — so the Bianconeri will be keen to avoid a repeat of that scenario against Davide Nicola's outfit.
The weekend's other games
Cremonese vs Lecce (Saturday, 2pm)
Roma vs Empoli (Saturday, 5pm)
Torino vs Udinese (Sunday, 2pm)
Fiorentina vs Bologna (Sunday, 5pm)
Monza vs Sampdoria (Monday, 7.45pm)
Follow each game with our unbeatable live scores service. Simply tap the Scores tab on the web or download the LiveScore app from the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android.