Serie A Matchday 7: Milan and Napoli battle for top spot
Serie A is set for a titanic clash this weekend as reigning champions AC Milan take on Napoli.
Atalanta — level on points with the duo at the top of the table — travel to face Jose Mourinho’s Roma, while Inter Milan visit fourth-placed Udinese in yet another heavyweight encounter.
Elsewhere, Juventus will be eager to bounce back from their Champions League loss to Benfica against rock-bottom Monza, while Lazio meet 18th-placed Cremonese.
Game of the week: AC Milan vs Napoli (Sunday, 7.45pm)
Milan and Napoli have almost identical records after six Serie A games — four wins and two draws have yielded 14 points — but the latter’s superior goal difference puts them top of the pile.
The Rossoneri’s unbeaten run in the competition stretches to 22 games (15 wins, seven draws), including six victories in a row at home.
And only Stefano Pioli's side have gained more points from losing positions (seven) than Napoli’s six so far this term, demonstrating an impressive level of resilience in both camps.
The Serie A leaders will hope that midfielder Piotr Zielinski can add to his goalscoring record against their opponents from Lombardy.
He has scored more goals against them (four) than against any other team in the competition.
Roma vs Atalanta (Sunday, 5pm)
Second-placed Atalanta have made their best-ever start to a Serie A season and only goal difference keeps them from the top of the table.
Having won each of their last three away league outings to nil, they travel to the capital full of confidence.
However, Roma have kept a tight ship in home matches of late, claiming victory in their last two Serie A fixtures at the Stadio Olimpico without conceding.
Atalanta may look to Luis Muriel for inspiration as they seek to breach the Giallorossi rearguard. The striker has seven career league goals against Roma but is yet to open his 2022-23 account.
Udinese vs Inter Milan (Sunday, 11.30am)
Sixth-placed Inter go into this game below Udinese in the table — the last two times that happened, the Friulians emerged victorious.
However, recent history will give the Nerazzurri confidence in this fixture.
They have not been beaten by Udinese since 2017 — a run of nine games (seven wins, two draws) — and have lost just two of their last 19 away meetings in the competition (11 wins, six draws).
Udinese have equalled their best-ever start to a Serie A campaign, however, winning each of their last four games.
Monza vs Juventus (Sunday, 2pm)
This will be the first ever Serie A meeting between Monza and Juventus, with their four previous encounters coming in the Coppa Italia.
Monza have just one point after six games and sit bottom of the table having scored the joint-fewest goals in the division (three). They rank second-bottom for both shots (54) and shots on target (15).
Juventus, on the other hand, are unbeaten but only sit eighth after four draws in their first six league outings — and will be reeling from their 2-1 midweek home defeat to Benfica.
On paper, this appears to be a routine win for the Bianconeri as they look to get back to winning ways and close the gap to the top of the table.
Cremonese vs Lazio (Sunday, 2pm)
Lazio travel to face Cremonese on the back of three successive away draws in the league, so they will be hoping to snap that run.
However, while this is their first meeting with Cremonese since 1996, the Lombardy outfit have a decent record against the Biancocelesti.
They have won more Serie A matches (four) and scored more Serie A goals (16) against Lazio than against any other opponent.
The pair have met 14 times in total — with Lazio claiming seven victories.
The weekend’s other games
Salernitana vs Lecce (Friday, 7.45pm)
Bologna vs Empoli (Saturday, 2pm)
Spezia vs Sampdoria (Saturday, 5pm)
Torino vs Sassuolo (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Fiorentina vs Verona (Sunday, 2pm)