Serie A Matchday 3: Juve hunt for first win and pacesetters collide
Juventus head to Napoli in search of their first win of the season on Saturday as life continues without Cristiano Ronaldo.
All eyes will be on the San Siro 24 hours later when AC Milan and Lazio put their 100% records on the line.
And Matchday 3 kicks off with popular newcomers Venezia hoping to get their campaign up and running against fellow promoted side Empoli.
Empoli vs Venezia (Saturday, 2pm)
Serie B champions Empoli welcome play-off winners Venezia to the Stadio Carlo Castellani in what promises to be an entertaining affair.
It will be the third consecutive away trip for the visitors with the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo still being upgraded for top-flight football.
Empoli have enjoyed the better start, recording a memorable 1-0 away win over Juventus last time out.
As for their opponents, who are appearing at this level for the first time since 2001-02, they have lost both games without reply.
The two meetings between these sides last season ended in a 1-1 draw and a 2-0 home victory for Venezia.
Napoli vs Juventus (Saturday, 5pm)
Juve have made a poor start with a defeat and a draw — and it gets no easier with a trip to Napoli, who have picked up maximum points so far.
Despite seeing their nine-year grip on the Serie A title come to end last term, the Old Lady did have the last laugh over Saturday’s opponents — pipping them to Champions League qualification by a single point.
But Napoli beat the Bianconeri 1-0 in this fixture back in February courtesy of a Lorenzo Insigne penalty and the Euro 2020 winner has scored in each of his last three appearances against them.
Victory at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona would see Luciano Spalletti become just the second Napoli manager to win his first three Serie A games in charge.
Saturday’s other game
Atalanta vs Fiorentina (7.45pm)
Sampdoria vs Inter Milan (Sunday, 11.30am)
Reigning champions Inter Milan have made a strong start with wins over Genoa and Hellas Verona.
Now the Nerazzurri face a Sampdoria side yet to score this season after losing 1-0 to AC Milan on the opening day and drawing 0-0 with Sassuolo.
There is a new man in the San Siro dugout this term in the form of former Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi, who takes charge of his 200th Serie A match.
While they ultimately finished in mid-table, Sampdoria inflicted one of Inter’s three defeats last season by winning 2-1 at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in January.
AC Milan vs Lazio (Sunday, 5pm)
After finishing as runners-up to arch-rivals Inter last season — their highest finish in nine years — AC Milan will no doubt fancy themselves as title contenders this time around.
And the Rossoneri have started the new campaign with two wins from two, beating Sampdoria 1-0 on the opening day before seeing off Cagliari 4-1 in their first home game.
No team has faced fewer shots (five) than Stefano Pioli’s side so far.
That said, Lazio rank only just above Milan for the same metric with just six shots against them — but two of those have ended up in the back of the net.
Boss Maurizio Sarri should not be too concerned as his Biancocelesti have struck nine times already — six of which came in a 6-1 trouncing of Spezia in their previous outing.
Roma vs Sassuolo (Sunday, 7.45pm)
Jose Mourinho will set a new personal record if Roma make it five wins from five in all competitions — the Portuguese boss has never won his first five games in charge at any of his previous clubs.
Even if Roma fail to win, it will still be a momentous occasion for Mourinho — who secured back-to-back Serie A titles with Inter in 2008-09 and 2009-10 — as he marks his 1000th game in management. His win rate currently stands at an impressive 63.7%.
Sassuolo won 3-2 at Hellas Verona in their Serie A opener before drawing 0-0 with Sampdoria.
Alessio Dionisi’s side had 37 shots in those two games — putting them behind only Roma (39) on that front.
The Neroverdi are currently on a club record run of five straight away wins in Serie A. They last dropped points on the road in a 2-1 loss to Inter back in April.
Sunday’s other games
Torino vs Salernitana (2pm)
Cagliari vs Genoa (2pm)
Spezia vs Udinese (2pm)
Bologna vs Hellas Verona (7.45pm)