WINDHOEK, JAN 17 – The 2018/19 Serie A season resumes Saturday 19 January after a three-week break, with the big question being whether anyone can challenge Juventus’ dominance of the Italian top flight.
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Massimiliano Allegri’s charges enjoy a nine-point lead over nearest chasers Napoli at the summit of the log, and remain the only undefeated team in the league this season. Such is their dominance that most news around the ‘Old Lady’ is focused on whether Allegri will be poached by struggling Real Madrid.
Quite why the tactician would swap his well-oiled machine in Turin for the pressure and madness of Madrid has yet to be explained, but Juve fans can rest assured that Allegri will be in charge of his team when they resume Serie A duties with a match at home to Chievo next Monday night.
And given that the Verona-based team has won just once all season and sit at the bottom of the log, it’s likely Juventus will begin 2019 with yet another three-point haul.
The 20th round of the season gets underway on Saturday afternoon at the Stadio Olimpico, where Roma will chase a third successive league win when they host Torino. ‘Il Toro’ will hope to see African defenders Nicolas N’Koulou and Ola Aina continue their fine form. In fact, the latter Nigerian wingback has been strongly linked with a permanent move to the Italian club (where he is currently on loan from Chelsea).
The pick of Saturday’s games comes from the San Siro, where Internazionale will take on a Sassuolo side looking to get out of a lean run of form which has seen them pick up just one win from their last five Serie A matches.
Inter are comfortably placed in third (seven points ahead of fourth-placed Lazio) and hoping to bridge the five-point gap to second-placed Napoli. The Neapolitans will only be in action on Sunday night, but their clash at the Stadio San Paolo against Lazio could be a real thriller.
Napoli have dominated their matches against the Rome-based team in recent years (their 2-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico back in August 2018 was a fourth straight victory in the rivalry and extended their unbeaten run to seven games), but Simon Inzaghi’s team are in tough scrap with Roma and Milan for the final spot in the top four and will be determined to cling onto the hope of Champions League football.
Milan, whose manager Gennaro Gattuso is coming under increasing pressure, will look to put some spark back into their Serie A campaign when they take on Genoa at the Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris on Monday night for the final match of the round. The Rossoneri have won just once in their last five league matches and will need a victory over Cesare Prandelli’s side to revive their hopes of a top-four finish.
Key match stats
Napoli v Lazio – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 40
Napoli wins 17
Lazio wins 14
Juventus v Chievo – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 31
Juve wins 23
Chievo wins 1
Internazionale v Sassuolo – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 11
Inter wins 4
Sassuolo wins 7
Serie A fixtures, 19-21 January
Saturday 19 January
16:00: Roma v Torino ¬– LIVE on SS8 & SelGo5
19:00: Udinese v Parma – LIVE on SS8/SS10, Max360 & SelGo2/SelGo5
21:30: Internazionale v Sassuolo – LIVE on SS8, Max1 & SelGo5
Sunday 20 January
13:30: Frosinone v Atalanta – LIVE on SS8 & SelGo5
16:00: SPAL v Bologna – LIVE on SS5
16:00: Fiorentina v Sampdoria – LIVE on SS8 & SelGo5
16:00: Cagliari v Empoli – LIVE on SS8 & SelGo5
21:30: Napoli v Lazio – LIVE on SS8/SS10, Max360 & SelGo2/SelGo4
Monday 21 January
20:00: Juventus v Chievo – LIVE on SS8 & SelGo5
22:00: Genoa v Milan – LIVE on SS8 & SelGo5 – Multichoice Namibia