Soccer Italy Serie A 13 March 2023
AS Roma vs Sassuolo - Match Preview
A narrow 1-0 victory over Juventus boosted Roma’s chances of claiming a top-four spot in Serie A (SA) come to the season end, which José Mourinho’s men then backed up with a 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last 16 ties. Consecutive victories without conceding made the Portuguese strategist happy as he claimed ’he couldn’t ask for more.
With the Stadio Olimpico hosting its fourth game in eight days, Mourinho may fear that a wearing pitch will hold his side back as they welcome Sassuolo to the capital. However, with Roma winning each of their last five SA home matches ’ to nil’, the Giallorossi will believe that they can go six in a row for the first time since 2014.
Sassuolo make the trip in good spirits though, winning four of their last six SA matches to move away from relegation danger and into mid-table (D1, L1). Only Napoli has earned more points in the position in that period, and another win would match their three-match winning streak from March 2022 - their longest under current coach Alessio Dionisi.
Their 3-2 last-gasp win over Cremonese saw Armand Laurienté (G1, 2A) perfectly filling in for banned captain Domenico Berardi who is set to return here, which is a good sign as Sassuolo is unbeaten in each of the last five matches Berardi appeared. Extending that record would see the Neroverdi stretch their unbeaten run on their SA travels to five matches - their longest such streak since January 2022.
📋 Players to watch: After netting the winner against Juventus, seven of Gianluca Mancini’s eight goalscoring appearances for Roma turned out to be victorious (D1). For the opposition, Laurienté’s goal in the win over Cremonese was his fifth free-kick league goal across the last three seasons - Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse is the only player across Europe’s top five leagues to score more in this period with 11.
⚡ Hot stat: Ahead of this round, Roma has won a joint-league-high nine matches by a single-goal margin this season.
Juventus vs Sampdoria - Match Preview
Juventus’ pursuit of the Serie A (SA) European places hit a stumbling block last week as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Roma, but the Bianconeri steadied the ship with a 1-0 victory over Freiburg in midweek UEFA Europa League action. Massimiliano Allegri praised the “intensity” of his side in that win and that’s something he’ll be looking to maintain as Juve return to the Allianz Stadium on the back of just one home defeat since November (W8, D2).
Unsurprisingly then, only Inter and Napoli have won more home points than Juventus ahead of this round, and if it weren’t for their 15-point deduction, the Old Lady would be sitting inside the top four. Ahead of this weekend’s fixtures though, Juve sits seventh and seven points adrift of Atalanta in sixth, but that margin is unlikely to intimidate them gave their solid SA form since October (W12, D1, L3).
This, therefore, looks an unlikely destination for Sampdoria’s faltering SA survival bid to take off, but considering La Samp are nine points adrift of safety ahead of this round after failing to win any of their last nine league games (D3, L6), they’re now at desperation stage. Manager Dejan Stanković responded to their 0-0 draw with Salernitana by stating that his side “won’t give up as long as there’s hope” but that may be fading fast, with Sampdoria winless in ten matches against sides currently in SA’s top seven (D3, L7).
Sampdoria’s woes are compounded here by Juventus’ current form while failing to win any of the last seven H2Hs (D1, L6) including defeat in each of their last eight trips to the Old Lady, only serves to compound their misery. This is certainly a fixture Sampdoria dread with just five wins from 67 visits overall (D19, L43), while 40 conceded goals across their last 13 such trips (W1, D2, L10) indicates they could be in for a long evening.
📋 Players to watch: After scoring the winner against Freiburg, Ángel Di María said “I’m showing what I’m worth”, a statement that’s backed up by a return of five goals in as many appearances from the Argentinian World Cup winner. Sampdoria forward Manolo Gabbiadini is primed to return from suspension to face Juventus, a side he’s scored twice against in SA meetings, including an equaliser in a 1-1 draw at this ground in 2014/15.
⚡ Hot stat: Juventus are the only team in SA yet to concede a goal between the 76th minute and full-time this season, while they’ve netted eight home goals in this period - the most in the position.
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