While both Inter and Roma have undergone a much-talked about revival this season, it's the giallorossi performances that have impressed the most. Still, the fact remains that Roma have yet to face a truly challenging opponent this season. That streak ends with their visit to the San Siro on Saturday, where the nerazzurri will do their best to end Roma's perfect reign.
The fun continues in a surprising fashion, with Parma and Sassuolo opening Serie A Sunday. Both sides have suddenly pulled off surprising results against big-name teams. Will they have spent all their energy and leave us with a goalless draw? Let's hope not
As if that weren't enough, on Sunday evening Juventus host Milan as the world looks on in wonder, waiting to see whether it will be a questionable penalty or an offside goal that decides the match. If cursing referees isn't your thing, tune in to Lazio vs. Fiorentina, as the hosts try to prove their relevance against a side that's desperately wishing they'd spent a few dollars on a decent goalkeeper.
Saturday, October 5
Chievo Verona vs. Atalanta (6 p.m. local, 12 noon ET)
The weekend starts off with the match that has the potential to be the dullest of the round, although whenever I label a game thus it somehow manages to produce 12 goals. Atalanta did, at least, manage to produce a win last week, thanks to a brace from Germán Denis, but Chievo somehow fell to, who finally got their first win of the season.
Inter Milan vs. AS Roma (8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET)
If the first Saturday fixture fails to impress, the second should provide more entertainment -- provided Walter Mazzarri doesn't encourage his side to simply sit back against high-flying Roma. Inter's B-side couldn't break through against Cagliari last week, and the big guns that came in as substitutes couldn't manage to keep all three points, either. Despite an unbeaten record, Inter have yet to truly impress this season, not even when putting seven past Sassuolo. They'll need to turn it up against Roma, who've conceded just one goal thus far.
Sunday, October 6
all games at 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET unless otherwise noted
A couple rounds back, this fixture would've been a joke, an opportunity to mock two of the worst sides in Serie A. Well, Sassuolo remains dead last in the table, but coming up with back to back draws against Napoli and Lazio means they're no longer a laughingstock. Eusebio Di Francesco may have finally found a formula that works for the neroverdi, but he's going to have to prove it by getting a win. However, Parma are now on something of a "hot streak", having beaten Atalanta 4-3 before coming back to draw with Fiorentina in extra time on Monday.
Bologna vs. Hellas Verona
Newcomers Verona have yet to get an away win this Serie A season, but they also played Juve and Roma and came back to draw with Torino on the road. That's better than Bologna, however, who have three points from three draws and lost 5-0 to Roma at the Olimpico last week. Note to the visitors: simply approaching Mikael Antonsson will result in the defender quivering in fear, thus leaving the path to goal clear.
Catania's victory over Chievo last week lifted the elefanti out of the relegation places, but with just four points, they're likely not feeling safe yet. Genoa are in the same predicament, although as usual, they're trying to resolve matters with a coaching change. Fabio Liverani is out and Gian Piero Gasperini is back in charge once again. But with the rossoblu looking utterly clueless in nearly every match this season, it remains to be seen if Genoa's players will suit Gasperini's tactics.
Rafa Benítez will have to think long and hard about which team he sends out against Livorno. His partenopei managed a win over Milan after beating Dortmund, but his B-side could only get a draw the next time out, against Sassuolo. Underestimating Livorno and sending out another squad of substitutes will only result in Napoli's title hopes slipping further away. Fortunately for the hosts, Livorno are winnless in their last three. Unfortunately, they're rather good at grinding out draws.
Sampdoria's woes continue to worsen, with Delio Rossi's side slipping further into the irrelevant zone. Sure, they've been forced to face Juve, Roma, and Milan, but the squad didn't even look up for it against rivals Genoa. 'Doria look uninspired and downright dreary, and should provide little threat to Torino, who've actually decided to do more than just sit back and pray for safety this season. Alessio Cerci already has five goals and looks to be a definite threat for his granata side.
Udinese always seem to start off slow and then end up in the Europa League, but this season is worst than most recent years. The only zebrette victory in their last four matches came courtesy of an own goal by Genoa. Udinese rarely threatened against Atalanta in last week's defeat, and are currently even on points with this week's opponents. Cagliari are, however, Serie A's drawmasters, and proved as such last weekend with a point in their come from behind draw against Inter.
Neither side had a great showing in the Champions League. Juve cam from behind to get the lead against Galatasaray, only to see it slip away when the Turkish side equalized in the final minutes. Milan, of course, got a late (questionable) penalty call, duly converted by Mario Balotelli. The question is, with one side able to grab wins through offside goals and illegitimate disallowed goals, and the other finding points with last minute soft penalties, whose good fortunate is going to win out? Place your money on the home side, folks.
Lazio vs. Fiorentina (8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET)
Both sides thought they had three points in the bag last week, only for teams low on the table to come back and equalize. Both sides were involved in hot Europa League action on Thursday, with Lazio coming back to earn a point against Trabzonspor and Fiorentina coming away from Dnipro with a win. It's the viola that may suffer more, however, as Vincenzo Montella was forced to use many starters to even field a side -- and his injury-plagued squad is still suffering from a serious lack of striker. Another draw, anyone?