Soccer Italy Serie A 5 March 2023
Fiorentina vs AC Milan - Match Preview
An impressive 63-yard free-kick from Cristiano Biraghi helped Fiorentina end their nearly two-month wait for Serie A (SA) win as they beat Hellas Verona 3-0 last time out to secure their first league victory since January 7th. That result not only consolidated their mid-table position with an 11-point gap to the relegation zone, but it also ensured they scored 3+ goals in SA for just the third time this season.
With their road to European football next season likely going to need a UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) triumph, Fiorentina will want to continue their uptick in recent form across competitions when defending champions AC Milan come to town. However, with only one win across their last five home SA matches (D2, L2) and ten defeats in 13 SA matches against teams that start this round in top half (D3), their chances of a confidence-boosting win before Thursday’s UECL clash with Sivasspor appear slim.
A 2-0 victory against Atalanta last Sunday in Stefano Pioli’s 800th managerial game secured the first run of three league victories ‘to nil ‘ after nearly a year and ensured Milan is now hot on the tails of second-placed Inter. That match also saw the return of Zlatan Ibrahimović, who after playing his first minutes since last May, claimed he could “continue to play a few more years, not just next year”.
Milan could use his help here as their 1-0 win at Monza in their last away league match was only their second away league win in 2023 (D1, L2) and they bear the psychological scars of a 4-3 defeat here last term. Positively though, Milan remains unbeaten this term in away games against teams that started this round in the bottom half (W5, D3) and they know extending that run with a win here would see them provisionally move into second before Inter’s game on Sunday.
📋 Players to watch: Fiorentina‘s Arthur Cabral has scored five goals in his last four competitive matches and could now score in five in a row for the first time since his run of eight in 2021 for Basel! In the absence of the suspended Rafael Leão, Milan may look to Junior Messias to step up, with his last four club goals serving as the game’s last.
⚡ Hot stat: Milan have won 12 of their 13 SA matches after opening the scoring (D1).
Sampdoria vs Salernitana - Match Preview
Problems on and off the field continued to engulf Sampdoria after the Court of Genoa gave them three months to find a new owner, whilst on the pitch, they have 14 games to save their Serie A (SA) status. Nine games across all competitions without a victory (D2, L7) after a 1-0 loss to Lazio last Monday condemned them to the bottom of the points table, but manager Dejan Stanković is adamant that they will not be “raising the white flag.”
That positivity looks out of place, particularly at Stadio Luigi Ferraris where Sampdoria are yet to win a SA game this campaign (D3, L9), making them the only team without a home league victory across the top-five European domestic leagues. Addressing their scoring woes is crucial as the Blucerchiati has failed to score in seven of their last eight SA home games.
Sampdoria also failed to score in the reverse H2H (L 4-0), with that result being Salernitana’s joint-largest winning margin in top-flight football. The visitors are also coming off a big win over Monza (3-0) last Sunday which earned them a seven-point cushion over the relegation zone ahead of this round. Manager Paulo Sousa declared there’s “still a lot to do” after that win and, with three of their next four league games after this round coming against current top-eight teams, he may be raising the stakes here.
Sousa has an unbeaten personal H2H record (W1, D3), but will likely be wary of his team’s away form. Six defeats across eight league road trips (W2) won’t be happy reading, especially as his side conceded an average of 2.88 goals per game during this run.
📋 Players to watch: Sam Lammers has seen his goal contributions this league campaign (G1, A2) precede stalemates, including a strike against Salernitana for his parent club Empoli. Another loanee, Salernitana’s Antonio Candreva who is on loan from Sampdoria, is the third player since 2004/05 to have scored and assisted 75+ SA goals each, and he has won his last seven games against his parent club!
⚡ Hot stat: Sampdoria have won the fewest points this league campaign after falling behind at any stage (D2, L17).
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