Susy Campanale’s Serie A column: Juventus goal struggle, Milan relying on Ibrahimovic

Venezia vs. Juventus, Serie A

European football is complete for 2021 and teams can focus solely on their Serie A commitments, but the hangovers are likely to remain.

Hellas Verona and Atalanta on the attack

The most intriguing fixture of the weekend is probably at the Stadio Bentegodi, where Igor Tudor’s never-say-die Hellas Verona host the endlessly-entertaining Atalanta. These are two very similar teams, committed to a high press, always on the attack and prone to ridiculous comebacks.

Verona set the bar pretty high last week by going from 3-0 down to beat Venezia 4-3 away from home. La Dea are out of the Champions League and had their 3-2 defeat to Villarreal moved to Thursday evening due to snow, giving them very little rest time. Ruslan Malinovskyi is also suspended, so we can expect this to be a real battle. Goals and turnarounds galore await at the Bentegodi, as Tudor and Gian Piero Gasperini go in all guns blazing.

Napoli, Lazio wary of Europa League strain

There ought to be similar entertainment at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, where Napoli are decimated by injuries and wore themselves down on Thursday beating Leicester City 3-2. Empoli are surprisingly strong away from home, especially against bigger clubs who leave them room to counter, and Andrea Pinamonti can thrive against a defence sorely lacking aerial power. There have been 18 goals in Napoli’s last four Serie A games, and this should be another addition to the list of Overs.

If previous post-Europa League outings are anything to go by, Lazio will have another shocker at the Mapei Stadium. Maurizio Sarri’s men seem to just completely deflate after their continental excursions, even if this time it was a dismal 0-0 draw with Galatasaray. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is suspended, further limiting their midfield power against an always entertaining Sassuolo. Gianluca Scamacca is finding his form and a home win here is a good tip.

Goals still an issue for Juventus

Juventus are creating far more chances now than a few weeks ago, but their finishing remains largely appalling. They are on the Laguna this weekend, where Venezia have shown they take an attack first and ask questions later policy.

It allowed them to beat Roma 3-2, but their confidence will be ruined by fumbling a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 against Verona, their third consecutive defeat. Paolo Zanetti’s men are more than capable of getting a goal here, so Both Teams to Score is an option along with Over 2.5 Goals.

New Udinese boss, Milan relying on Ibra and Inter frustration

Udinese fired coach Luca Gotti and promoted his assistant manager Gabriele Cioffi for the interim, making his debut against Serie A leaders Milan. The urge will be to tighten up the defence following a spate of setbacks, but the Friulani can do real damage on the counter with the pace and power of Beto.

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the only available striker for the Rossoneri and looking increasingly fatigued after a poor midweek Champions League showing against Liverpool. This is just the kind of fixture where Milan tend to struggle and it won’t be an easy trip for Stefano Pioli’s men.

Considering Inter are up against a Cagliari side coming off four consecutive stalemates, it could be a frustrating Sunday evening for Simone Inzaghi too. However, the Nerazzurri simply have too much firepower and should find a way through to perhaps take top spot this weekend.

Serie A Week 17 fixtures

Friday December 10

Genoa vs. Sampdoria

Saturday December 11

Fiorentina vs. Salernitana

Venezia vs. Juventus

Udinese vs. Milan

Sunday December 12

Torino vs. Bologna

Verona vs. Atalanta

Napoli vs. Empoli

Sassuolo vs. Lazio

Inter vs. Cagliari

Monday December 13

Roma vs. Spezia

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