Susy Campanale’s Serie A column: Juventus or Inter can soar

Inter and Juventus club crests

Momentum can mean so much in a league and especially for clubs who have a history of temperamental flurries of activity, both negative and positive. Those elements should be front and centre this weekend in Serie A, when we have the Derby d’Italia between title holders Inter and the Old Lady Juventus, plus the Derby del Sole that sees unstoppable Napoli visit Jose Mourinho’s dismantled Roma.

All four of these sides historically tend to either soar or plummet, rarely just coasting along in the middle ground of form. Max Allegri is back and has swiftly swept aside the outlandish notions of the past few seasons, in which Juve tried to be entertaining and play beautiful football, getting back to what they are best at: grinding out dull 1-0 wins. That’s four consecutive 1-0 victories between Serie A and the Champions League now, sending fans to sleep with reassuring dreams of stability.

Inter, on the other hand, remain as unpredictable as ever. They can’t seem to focus on more than one tournament at a time, so after a Serie A defeat to Lazio and Champions League win over Sheriff, another dip is entirely possible this weekend. Juve are clinical, Inter are not and tend to need half a dozen chances before scoring one. Where Simone Inzaghi’s men might have the upper hand is in midfield. It probably won’t be pretty, so we might be able to expect a low-scoring affair with lots of cards.

Mourinho charm wearing off

Roma and Napoli, meanwhile, should turn on the style in the earlier Sunday kick-off. Jose Mourinho’s charisma has already worn off to be replaced by him throwing his own players under the bus after the shocking 6-1 Europa Conference League defeat to Bodo/Glimt. It’s one of those results that could spark a total collapse of confidence in a club that runs on mood.

With that defence, having Victor Osimhen and Lorenzo Insigne running at them could become a bloodbath at the Stadio Olimpico and a ninth win out of nine in Serie A for Napoli. Luciano Spalletti is deeply unpopular in the Capital thanks to his treatment of Francesco Totti towards retirement, so he certainly won’t mind making life difficult for the Giallorossi in this arena. We saw already that Bodo/Glimt realised the way to unlock the Roma defence was a quick pass through the middle, and that is frankly what Napoli excel at anyway with Osimhen’s pace.

There could be some early goals here, as the hosts desperately try to make up for Thursday and leave themselves unbalanced, but in general we should see a high-scoring encounter with Napoli coming out on top.

Upsets elsewhere

Elsewhere this weekend, Fiorentina ought to get back on track against Cagliari, in what could be another match with quite a few goals. Lazio are missing both suspended Francesco Acerbi and Luiz Felipe, so may well be running into an upset against Igor Tudor’s all-attack Hellas Verona. Atalanta used up a lot of energy in Manchester and have few options for squad rotation, but Udinese are missing both Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra, which saps them of almost all their quality.

Where goals feel like they are guaranteed is at the Stadio Dall’Ara. Bologna can’t defend to save their lives and Milan continue to drag on despite being decimated by injuries, bans and COVID. This will be end-to-end entertainment.

Serie A Week 9 fixtures

Friday October 22

Torino vs. Genoa

Sampdoria vs. Spezia

Saturday October 23

Salernitana vs. Empoli

Sassuolo vs. Venezia

Bologna vs. Milan

Sunday October 24

Atalanta vs. Udinese

Verona vs. Lazio

Fiorentina vs. Cagliari

Roma vs. Napoli

Inter vs. Juventus

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