Serie A – Week 15 Preview

After a fascinating weekend of action in week fourteen, this weekend promises to be just as enthralling with several huge clashes taking place between some of Serie A’s biggest clubs, whilst, at the foot of the table, a number of early-season relegation battles are taking place.

The most significant game of week fifteen sees third placed Juventus go up against league leaders and bitter rivals Internazionale in the Derby d’Italia in Turin’s Stadio Olimpico. Kicking-off on Saturday evening, a win for Juventus is crucial if they are to avoid consecutive defeats and lose more ground on Jose Mourinho’s side. A defeat for the Bianconeri would put their title challenge in serious jeopardy, potentially leaving Ciro Ferrara’s team eleven points off the top and hugely unlikely to overhaul their rivals from Milan. Inter will be without Maicon, Ricardo Quaresma and Davide Santon for the trip to Turin, whilst the home side will be missing David Trezeguet and, crucially, Vincenzo Iaquinta. Anything other than a win will not be good enough for the Old Lady, this really is the game upon which their title hopes rest.

On Sunday evening Roma take on Lazio in the perpetually fierce Derby della Capitale. Despite Roma being in a far better run of form than their struggling city rivals, the form book rarely applies on derby day and Davide Ballardini will be seeing the clash as a chance for his Lazio side to find some confidence and start turning their season around. Should Ballardini’s team fail to win however, he will almost certainly be sacked by the club with Sinisa Mihajlovic his likely replacement. Claudio Ranieri’s Giallorossi, on the other hand, are currently enjoying a four-match unbeaten run and are surging up the table. If Francesco Totti can continue to play in the brilliant fashion he has done since his return from injury and spur his side on in attack, then things are looking decidedly bleak for the relegation-threatened Biancocelesti.

The other big game of the weekend sees Milan and Sampdoria go head-to-head at the San Siro as second plays fourth in what promises to be an excellent match. Leonardo’s side have enjoyed something of an upturn in their fortunes of late and will be looking to this game as a chance to close the gap on Inter as their Milanese rivals take on Juve in Turin. Conversely, Samp’s form has taken a slide in recent weeks as the team now find their current spot in the top four under threat. Crucially, Luigi Del Neri’s side will be without Angelo Palombo, Marco Rossi and Fabrizio Cacciatore, three players that could have made a real difference for the Blucerchiati. A Milan win would make things much more interesting at the top, especially if Inter were to fail to beat Juve, whereas if Samp were to win it would provide a welcome boost to a team which perhaps hasn’t been getting the results its football deserves.

Week Fifteen Fixtures in Full:

Bologna v Udinese

Fiorentina v Atalanta

Genoa v Parma

Juventus v Inter

Livorno v Chievo

Milan v Sampdoria

Napoli v Bari

Palermo v Cagliari

Roma v Lazio

Siena v Catania

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Chris Mann

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