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26 Feb 2023 / admin

Soccer Italy Serie A 28 February 2023

Verona vs Fiorentina - Match Preview

Hellas Verona’s four-game Serie A (SA) unbeaten run (W2, D2) came to an end in the last round as they fell to Roma 1-0. And despite looking much better than they did a few weeks ago, it should be noted that relegation-threatened Verona did suffer the drop in each of the previous three seasons when they had registered 17 or fewer points after the opening 23 SA rounds, as they’ve accumulated so far.

The hosts have conceded just once in their four SA home matches in 2023 while collecting a huge ten of their total 17 points during the run (W3, D1), therefore it’s fair to say they’ll be happy to return to Stadio Bentegodi here. The arrival of Fiorentina doesn’t bode well though, as the last time Verona beat this opponent was in 2019 (D4, L2).

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano felt his side deserved more from their draw against Empoli (1-1) after accumulating 27 shots – a total bettered only against Cremonese this season. However, with only four of those hitting the target, it’s clear a more clinical edge is needed if Fiorentina is to end their winless run of six league matches (D2, L4) and keep alive their hopes of consecutive European qualifications.

Concerningly with those ambitions in mind, they’ve picked up 11 points less than at this stage of last season, with their eight away SA goals a joint-second league-low ahead of this round. Confidence in the camp could be high though after Fiorentina confirmed their progression to the UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 after beating Braga 7-2 on aggregate in midweek.

📋 Players to watch: Cyril Ngonge has found the net in his both home appearances for Verona, contributing to almost a quarter of their seasonal points (four of 17). Exactly a quarter of Fiorentina’s away SA goals have been scored by Nikola Milenković, who found the net in both of their league victories on the road.

Hot stat: Fiorentina has won each of their six SA matches this season against sides that started this round below them.

Lazio vs Sampdoria - Match Preview

The race to be crowned best of the rest in Serie A (SA) continues to intensify, but Lazio have slightly fallen off the pace in recent weeks after winning just two of their last five league games (D2, L1). Boss Maurizio Sarri will likely be glad for the extra day’s rest after their European trip to Romania saw them progress in the UEFA Europa Conference League, with the Italian praising his side for ‘avoiding difficulties’ on a low-quality pitch.

Attention now returns to securing Champions League qualification for just the third time since 2007/08, and Sampdoria may be the perfect opponents to face in pursuit of that, as Lazio are unbeaten in home H2Hs since January 2005 (W13, D3)! The six most recent meetings at the Stadio Olimpico have seen the Eagles fire in 21 goals, and they’ll hope that firepower can help them avoid consecutive SA defeats on their own turf for the first time since December 2020, after losing to Atalanta here in their last home assignment.

Sampdoria are likely to be more comfortable on their travels, as they’ve collected eight of their 11 SA points this term away from home. Dejan Stanković’s men are winless since their first game of the restart though (D2, L5), leaving them eight points adrift of safety - a gap that could increase by kick-off in the capital.

La Samp’s main issue continues to be scoring goals, with the 11 they’ve managed so far this season not just the fewest in SA, but it’s less than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues. Their struggles leave them with comfortably their lowest points total since three points were awarded for a win (11), and staring down the barrel of a first relegation since 2011.

📋 Players to watch: Back amongst the goals against Salernitana last week, Lazio marksman Ciro Immobile will be licking his lips at the sight of Sampdoria, as he’s netted a career-best 16 goals against them (W12, D5, L2). Compatriot Manolo Gabbiadini has netted four times against Lazio down the years, but he’s only lost more H2Hs against Juventus than the Eagles (JUV 12, LAZ 9).

Hot stat: Lazio are the fastest starters in SA, netting nine times without reply in the opening 15 minutes of games - no side has scored more or conceded fewer in this time period.

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