Serie A, Week 21 preview and fixtures: It may be cold outside, but Italy has some hot matches ahead

Paolo Bruno

With Juventus struggling, the battle for the top of Serie A is heating up, and both Lazio and Napoli have the chance to catch the leaders this weekend. But how willing is their opposition?

Round 21 in Serie A brings a few exciting match-ups, and for once, those games are being played throughout the weekend. None of that open-three-browser-windows and hope you catch the exciting bits of each match nonsense this weekend.

Read on for a quick run-down of what to expect from each match, and check back with this StoryStream for full previews and reports from the SBN Italia team.

Saturday, January 19

Palermo v Lazio (6 p.m. local / 12 noon ET)

The visitors, unbeaten in 9 Serie A matches, are currently tied for second in the league. Meanwhile, Palermo sit deep in the relegation zone and look determined to play in Serie B next season. The one bright spot for the Rosanero is that Miroslav Klose may not be available for Lazio.

Juventus v Udinese (8:45 p.m. local / 2:45 p.m. ET)

Juve, so long the champions-elect, are now only three points clear at the top, thanks to picking up just a point in their last two matches. But it won't be easy for the visiting bianconeri, despite the fact that the squad finally seems to have clicked, and hasn't lost in their last six in Serie A.

Sunday, January 20

All matches at 3 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET unless otherwise noted

Fiorentina v Napoli (12:30 p.m. local / 6:30 a.m. ET)

This just might be the big match of the weekend, although it held more drama just a few short weeks ago. Since the break, the Viola have fell apart, losing their last two league matches and getting kicked out of the Coppa. Napoli, however, are riding high, particularly after having their two lost points re-instated this week, pushing them up into second.

AC Milan v Bologna

Bologna absolutely decimated Chievo last weekend, then narrowly lost to Inter in the Coppa. With Milan still feeling fragile -- which, of course, is absolutely not connected to the fact that Stephan El Shaarawy last scored in the league a month ago -- this could be another chance for Bologna to show off against a big club.

Atalanta v Cagliari

A couple of relegation-fighting sides that rarely win and seem to feel the ball doesn't have to go into the net. But, hey, if you want to watch...

Chievo Verona v Parma

Did you know that Parma are just a point off Milan in the standings? No wonder the rossoneri are looking to replace Massimiliano Allegri with Roberto Donadoni. The crociati tend to make their matches fun, but fun is forbidden at Chievo, so this one could be a drag.

Genoa v Catania

Alejandro Gómez scored to lead his side to a win against Roma last weekend, but the elefanti aren't looking as strong as they should. Up against a Genoa side desperate, once again, to avoid relegation, their dreams of slipping into Europe will likely continue to slide away.

Pescara v Torino

Let's all hope that the lively dolphins can overcome Torino's desperately dull approach to the sport of football. Pescara may still be learning to swim, but at least they bring an element of excitement to matches.

Siena v Sampdoria

I've been pondering this for over 24 hours and I still can't come up with anything positive to say about this match. And, as Thumper said, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

AS Roma v Inter Milan (8:45 p.m. local / 2:45 p.m. ET)

These two sides will face each other twice in four days, so let's hope they don't disappoint -- although both seem to enjoy giving their supporters reason to cry. After the break, Roma haven't re-discovered their attack, while Inter's defense has started to disintegrate. We'll either see a goal-fest or an overly cautious game of football.

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