Serie A Matchday 8: Struggling giants clash at San Siro
Two giants of the Italian game meet as Inter Milan host Roma at the San Siro with both looking to improve on inconsistent starts to their respective seasons.
Joint-league leaders Napoli and Atalanta are in action at home hoping to extend their unbeaten league starts against Torino and Fiorentina, respectively.
Reigning champions AC Milan will feel they have a point to prove as they visit Empoli having slipped out of the top four, sitting behind Lazio on goal difference.
Juventus, meanwhile, are down in eighth and need a win at home to Bologna to spark some life into their season.
Game of the week: Inter Milan vs Roma (Saturday, 5pm)
Both sides will be desperate for a big win to inject some positivity into their league campaigns — but Inter will fancy their chances.
The Nerazzurri have won more games (75) and scored more goals (290) in Serie A against Roma than any other opponent in their history.
Additionally, Inter have not lost any of the last 10 meetings between the pair in the competition (four wins, six draws), with Roma last triumphing in 2017.
While the hosts sit seventh in the table, they can rely on their strong home form having won each of their last seven league outings at San Siro — keeping four clean sheets in that period.
Roma will rely on striker Andrea Belotti to turn the tide in their favour — since 2016, no player has scored more away goals against Inter than he has (four).
Napoli vs Torino (Saturday, 2pm)
Napoli are one of just two teams yet to lose in Serie A this season — and they will be intent on keeping it that way against Torino.
In fact, the Azzurri are unbeaten in their last 11 outings in the competition (nine wins, two draws) and also boast a 14-game unbeaten record (10 wins, four draws) against Saturday's opponents.
The Partenopei may be forced to wait to score, however. Torino have only conceded one goal in the first half of matches — and five of the other six have come in the 80th minute or later.
Luciano Spalletti’s men can also expect plenty of set-piece situations to exploit, with Torino committing the second-most fouls in the division (108) while Napoli have won the second-most (99).
Empoli vs AC Milan (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Milan will be out to right some wrongs after losing their unbeaten status in a 2-1 defeat to title rivals Napoli last time out.
In Empoli, they face an opponent against whom they boast a strong record. The Rossoneri have won the last three league meetings in a row and have only lost one of the last 11 in the competition (six wins, four draws).
The 2021-22 champions will be wary of Empoli striker Mattia Destro, however, who has scored the joint-most Serie A goals against them of any player since 2019 (four).
Atalanta vs Fiorentina (Sunday, 5pm)
Atalanta come into this game unbeaten in Serie A this season and level on points with league leaders Napoli as they welcome Fiorentina.
Remarkably, though, most of their success has come on the road this term. In fact, Atalanta have only won one of their last nine Serie A games at home (five draws, three defeats).
Conversely, Fiorentina have not travelled well of late. They have lost five of their last six league games on the road (one draw), scoring just three times in that run.
La Viola have attempted the second-most crosses of any team in Europe’s top five leagues this term (138) but have failed to convert any of those into a goal.
They will need to be more creative if they are to break through the team with the best defensive record in Serie A this season (three goals conceded).
Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi, meanwhile, has two goals and two assists in his last five league appearances against Fiorentina and will be keen to add to his tally.
Juventus vs Bologna (Sunday, 7.45pm)
A glance at the history books makes it almost inconceivable that Juventus should slip to defeat against Bologna.
The Bianconeri have lost only once in the last 39 league meetings between the pair (28 wins, 10 draws) and Bologna have not drawn (49) or lost (78) more Serie A games against any other opponent.
Bologna’s recent away form in the Italian top flight leaves much to be desired, managing just one win in their last 13 matches on the road (five draws, seven defeats).
Additionally, Juventus boss Max Allegri has 15 wins against Bologna — the second-most of any coach against a team since the 1994-95 season.
The weekend’s other games
Lazio vs Spezia (Sunday, 11.30am)
Sassuolo vs Salernitana (Sunday, 2pm)
Lecce vs Cremonese (Sunday, 2pm)
Sampdoria vs Monza (Sunday, 2pm)
Verona vs Udinese (Monday, 7.45pm)