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Serie A schedule and preview, Week 17: Derby d'Italia highlights the round

The first Serie A round of the new year kicks off Monday.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

After a brief Christmas break, hostilities in Italy's top flight are resumed Monday and Tuesday so the people of the peninsula can catch some calcio during the Epiphany public holiday. If you're afforded a similar luxury (or fancy catching the highlights), here are the games that should be topping your list of priorities:

Lazio vs. Sampdoria

Monday's only match sees high-flying Lazio take on the almost-as-high-flying Sampdoria in Rome. The hosts are currently sitting third in the table after a bright start to life under Stefano Pioli, and a return to European competition looks very much in the cards. However, they are only above overachieving Samp (and Napoli) by virtue of tiebreakers, so they'll be desperate to put some daylight between themselves and their Ligurian visitors in this one. Sampdoria, meanwhile, will be looking to get back to winning ways after developing a frustrating propensity for draws before the Christmas break.

Udinese vs. AS Roma

Tuesday's early kickoff sees second-placed Roma travel to play mid-table Udinese, who have been as average as ever since Andrea Stramaccioni took over from the long-serving Francesco Guidolin in the summer. However, for the Friulians, average is just about an improvement on last season's miserable 13th-place finish, and Strama is at least managing to get the best from elderly striker Antonio Di Natale -- he's only a couple of goals behind the league's top scorer Carlos Tevez. Roma should know better than to expect an easy game at the Friuli.

Juventus vs. Inter Milan

Serie A is certainly saving the best until last this round, as Tuesday's late fixture sees league leaders and three-time reigning champions Juventus welcome their old adversary, Internazionale, to Turin. Both literally and figuratively, the reception is sure to be a frosty one, despite Inter having been comically inconsistent throughout the season so far. The nerazzurri are yet to show any improvement under new (and old) coach Roberto Mancini, whose only win since returning has been a 2-0 victory over Chievo. Heading into the round, Inter are down in the bottom half. It's just as well the form book is thrown out of the window in derby games, as otherwise they'd be in for a shoeing.

Serie A, Week 17

All times ET.

Monday, January 5

Lazio vs. Sampdoria - 2:45 p.m.

Tuesday, January 6

Udinese vs. AS Roma - 6:30 a.m.

Chievo Verona vs. Torino - 9 a.m.

Empoli vs. Hellas Verona - 9 a.m.

Genoa vs. Atalanta - 9 a.m.

AC Milan vs. Sassuolo - 9 a.m.

Palermo vs. Cagliari - 9 a.m.

Parma vs. Fiorentina - 9 a.m.

Cesena vs. Napoli - 12 p.m.

Juventus vs. Inter Milan - 3 p.m.