Susy Campanale’s Serie A column: Season resumes with all to play for

Juventus and Napoli club crests ahead of their Serie A fixture on October

Serie A resumes for 2022, or at least at the time of writing we assume most of the games will go ahead, depending on the latest COVID-19 surge through the squads and whether the local health authorities get involved. It is the second half of the season and for the first time in Serie A history, it won’t simply be a mirror image of the first set of fixtures.

Juventus, Napoli in Champions League showdown

There are two huge games to kick of the New Year, none more so than Juventus vs. Napoli, a real showdown for those precious Champions League places. The Partenopei are decimated by COVID-19, injuries and Africa Cup of Nations duty, with even coach Luciano Spalletti forced to self-isolate. Lorenzo Insigne should start, despite having already signed for Toronto FC from July, with Dries Mertens also getting the sense this’ll be his final campaign in the Azzurri jersey.

Juve have a similar situation with Alvaro Morata, desperate to join Barcelona, but the big problems are in defence with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini out of action. This many absentees on both sides suggests goals and mistakes, even with a Juve team that largely struggles to find the net. Over 2.5 Goals is worth a look, but with so many players out of action, the Bianconeri should still get the victory.

Roma ready to trouble Milan

The other big fixture is at San Siro, where Milan host Jose Mourinho’s Roma. Again, team selection will depend on the latest swab results, but the Giallorossi are the kind of defend and counter team that could really trouble Stefano Pioli’s men. Both Teams to Score feels like a good approach for this game, as they usually tend to find the net at least once.

Inter to run riot, Empoli can upset Lazio

Inter can run riot away to a Bologna team missing numerous players through Africa Cup of Nations duty and COVID, including Aaron Hickey, Nico Dominguez and Musa Barrow. Edin Dzeko is out and Hakan Calhanoglu suspended, but the leaders should still have more than enough firepower to get the away victory.

We could see a potential upset at the Stadio Olimpico, because Empoli are far more effective on their travels than at home and Lazio are already focusing on the weekend’s clash with Inter. Add in Francesco Acerbi doubts in defence with a muscular issue and you have a recipe for another Aurelio Andreazzoli surprise against a big club. The Tuscans already shocked Juventus, Sassuolo, Fiorentina and Napoli, they can do it again.

Udinese are another side with numerous players out of action and could really struggle away to impressive Fiorentina, while there seems to be precious little chance for Genoa to pick up anything at Sassuolo or Cagliari to avoid defeat at Sampdoria.

Serie A Week 20 fixtures

Thursday January 6

Bologna vs. Inter

Sampdoria vs. Cagliari

Spezia vs. Verona

Lazio vs. Empoli

Atalanta vs. Torino

Sassuolo vs. Genoa

Milan vs. Roma

Salernitana vs. Venezia

Fiorentina vs. Udinese

Juventus vs. Napoli

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