Serie A Matchday 27: Roman giants clash in Derby della Capitale
It is the battle of the Eternal City on Sunday as Lazio and Roma face off in a derby that could have serious implications in the race for Champions League football.
And there is plenty more in store during this action-packed Matchday 27 in Serie A. Directly after the Derby della Capitale, there is the Derby d'Italia with Inter Milan welcoming Juventus to San Siro.
Elsewhere, Napoli — fresh from their rout of Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League — travel north for a clash with Torino on Sunday afternoon.
Of further significance to the race for a European spot is Udinese's meeting with AC Milan at Stadio Friuli, as well as Atalanta's match-up with Empoli on Friday.
Game of the week: Lazio vs Roma (Sunday, 5pm)
Lazio take on city rivals Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening in the 158th edition of the Derby della Capitale in Serie A.
Maurizio Sarri's men come into this game in fine domestic form — despite suffering Europa Conference League elimination at the hands of AZ on Thursday — having only lost one of their last 10 league matches (five wins, four draws).
They won the reverse clash with Roma and will do the double over them for the first time since 2011-12 should they triumph here.
Despite sharing a stadium, the Giallorossi have struggled when Lazio have been the designated hosts in recent years — the Aquile are unbeaten in their last five Serie A derbies at home (three wins, two draws) and could reach six in a row without defeat for the first time.
Roma's joker in the pack, however, could be Paulo Dybala. The Argentine has contributed nine goals and six assists in the competition this season.
Jose Mourinho’s outfit will also be boosted by their European endeavours in midweek as they beat Real Sociedad to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.
Inter Milan vs Juventus (Sunday, 7.45pm)
Hot on the heels of one rival showdown, Inter Milan and Juventus collide when the 180th top-flight Derby d'Italia gets under way.
The Old Lady are undoubtedly the form side. Only Napoli (23) have outscored Juventus (20) in Serie A so far this calendar year, or won more games than their seven (nine for the Neapolitans).
Inter will still be riding high from their recent two-legged Champions League triumph over Porto, however.
Notably, a significant percentage of Juve's strikes have come from the centre of the park, with only Lazio's midfielders (26) scoring more times than Juventus' (18) in Serie A this season.
The odds appear to be against the Nerazzurri but in Lautaro Martinez they boast a real threat. No player has scored more home league goals in the competition than the Argentine in 2023 (four).
Torino vs Napoli (Sunday, 2pm)
Napoli want to keep the good times rolling when they travel to Torino looking to extend their 18-point lead at the summit.
The odds are certainly in the Partenopei's favour. Torino's last win against Napoli dates back to March 2015 — since then the visitors have won 11 and drawn four of the 15 clashes they have had with Il Toro.
Torino are in decent form, however. They have won back-to-back Serie A games without conceding a goal, though Sunday's hosts have not chained three victories together since March 2019.
The dynamic duo of Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will be key to the Neapolitans' hopes. They are the only two Serie A players to have been directly involved in at least 20 goals this season — 23 contributions for Osimhen and 20 for Kvaratskhelia.
And the former was on the scoresheet again in midweek, netting a brace as Napoli progressed past Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 on aggregate in the Champions League.
Udinese vs AC Milan (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Udinese and AC Milan do battle in the prime-time slot on Saturday evening at Stadio Friuli. The travelling side are battling for a place in Serie A's top four, while the hosts are lodged in mid-table.
But a stalemate could be the most likely outcome in this one. Udinese have drawn more games against the Rossoneri (36) than any other team in the competition (17 wins, 45 losses).
Milan are unbeaten in 10 of their last 11 league meetings with Udinese (five wins, five draws). They last suffered defeat in August 2019.
Things have generally been more even in Friuli, though. The two sides have an equal record in their last eight Serie A meetings there — three wins each and two draws apiece.
Atalanta vs Empoli (Friday, 7.45pm)
Atalanta lock horns with Empoli at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia tonight as Gian Piero Gasperini's outfit go in search of three much-needed points.
La Dea won the reverse fixture 2-0 in October and — if they can repeat the feat — it will mean they have done the double over Empoli for the first time since 2016-17.
A low-scoring affair could be in order, considering 15 of the teams' 21 Serie A meetings have seen at least one side fail to find the net. There have even been six scoreless draws over that period.
Gli Azzurri won in their last trip to Bergamo but have typically found points hard to come by up north — Atalanta are unbeaten in nine of their last 10 home meetings with the team from Florence (four wins, five draws).
The weekend's other games
Sassuolo vs Spezia (Friday, 5.30pm)
Monza vs Cremonese (Saturday, 2pm)
Salernitana vs Bologna (Saturday, 5pm)
Sampdoria vs Verona (Sunday, 11.30am)
Fiorentina vs Lecce (Sunday, 2pm)
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