Serie A 9/1/2022: Roma collide with Juventus, Inter Milan’s title defence continues against Lazio
After a relaxing Christmas break, Serie A returns deluged with fixtures. All teams will play twice in the space of three days, and there’s plenty to look forward to. In this preview, we will focus our attention on two big games — Roma v Juventus, and Inter Milan v Lazio, which both take place on Sunday. Check out our thoughts below.
Juventus hoping to get a flying start in 2022
During the first half of the season, Juventus were a shadow of their former selves. Dropped points and their inability to cling onto leads were very frustrating for the fans. However, before Christmas, Juve looked to have turned a corner, as they won four Serie A games on the trot. Currently, the Bianconeri are fifth in Italy’s top flight.
Just four points separate Juve from a top four spot, which only a few months ago seemed like a highly improbable situation. This is a make-or-break week for Juve, as the Roma game is sandwiched in between clashes against Napoli and Inter Milan. If they can get at least five points, then they will be on track for a top four finish.
Allegri sweating on Leonardo Bonucci ahead of Roma clash
Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri may have to reshuffle his defence against Roma. Giorgio Chiellini tested positive for COVID and Leonardo Bonucci has a thigh issue, making him a doubt to face Roma. Were Bonucci to sit this one out, he’ll be sorely missed. The 34-year-old has made 21 appearances across all competitions this season, and he has helped his side keep eight clean sheets.
Roma facing COVID crisis ahead of Juventus meeting
COVID has been sweeping through clubs across Europe, and Roma aren’t immune. Currently, three Giallorossi stars have been beset by the virus. Jose Mourinho will have plenty to think about ahead of his side’s meeting with Juve. A win could see his side climb above Juve in the table.
Roma eyeing loan deal for Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles
With the January transfer window in full swing, there will be a flurry of deals. Jose Mourinho had hinted what business his club might do. Reports have suggested they are interested in taking Gunners midfielder Ashley Maitland-Niles on loan, with the potential to make a deal permanent at the end of the season.
Inter Milan on a mission as title race intensifies
At the halfway point of the season, Inter can be pretty happy with where they are sitting. They are four points clear at the top of Serie A, and they have only lost one game to date. They have recorded seven victories on the bounce in the league, and they are on the verge of surpassing a tally of 50 goals.
Of course, nothing can be taken for granted, and they face a crucial run of games. Apart from taking on Lazio, they also face Juve and Atalanta, who have top four hopes of their own. Winning breeds confidence though, and Inter have to keep striding forward. Otherwise, the likes of AC Milan and Napoli could pounce on any errors.
Lazio, meanwhile, are looking to put themselves back in the European picture. After a bit of a wobble in November, Lazio looked to have recovered in December. In fact, before Christmas, they enjoyed back-to-back wins. As things stand, they are eighth in the table with 31 points to their name and are a point off sixth spot.
Inter Milan v Lazio: A tale of past encounters
This game will have huge ramifications in terms of the title race. As far as Inter are concerned, it is a match riddled with difficulty. Indeed, when the two sides last met back in October, Lazio ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. Although Ivan Perisic gave Inter the lead, Lazio fought back in the second half.
Strikes from Ciro Immobile, Felipe Anderson and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic put the game to bed. Immobile and Anderson will have a big role to play, although Lazio will have to be wary of Edin Dzeko, who is a threat in the air. This is simply an unmissable game, and Inter could come out on top in this one.
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