Serie A leader Juventus will look to get over last week’s disappointing draw at Hellas Verona when it takes on Chievo Verona on Sunday. Roma — Juventus’ only realistic challenger to the title — will also be hoping to recover from a poor week when it welcomes Sampdoria.
Third-placed Napoli visits lowly Sassuolo, needing to win to maintain a healthy advantage over Fiorentina and Inter Milan, which play each other on Saturday.
Here are five things to know about the Italian league this weekend:
It has been somewhat of a miserable week for Rudi Garcia and his Roma team.
Roma was dumped out of the Italian Cup on Wednesday after a humiliating 3-0 defeat at Napoli in the second leg of its semifinal.
It was the club’s second defeat in all competitions this season and came days after a 0-0 draw at Lazio in the capital derby, which would have seen Roma slip 11 points behind Juventus had the Serie A leader not drawn 2-2 at Hellas Verona.
This weekend sees Roma host Sampdoria, which is clambering its way away from danger after two successive victories.
“We need to be more clinical in attack and also in defense,” Garcia said. “The start of the second half was awful; we need to improve. We will do everything to win on Sunday against Sampdoria.”
Roma does have a game in hand on Juventus after its match against Parma was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
After slipping up against Hellas Verona last weekend, Juventus will be hoping not to fall foul of another Verona team on Sunday.
Juventus squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at promoted Verona and missed the chance to extend its Serie A lead to 11 points.
Carlos Tevez scored twice to take his tally to 13 for the season and he will be looking to fire his team to victory against Chievo Verona.
“I’m not happy because I like winning,” Tevez said. “I haven’t been thinking about my two goals against Verona, just the fact that we weren’t able to come away with the three points.”
Juventus has won all 11 of its home league matches this season.
NO LIMITS FOR MAZZARRI
Inter Milan will be hoping it has its season back on track after beating lowly Sassuolo for its first win of 2014.
It faces a much trickier test when it visits Fiorentina on Saturday hoping to reignite its faint Champions League hopes.
Inter is fifth, just one place behind Fiorentina, but eight points separate the two teams. Third-placed Napoli is 11 points ahead of Inter.
“This Fiorentina is a very dangerous side, especially at its own ground,” Inter coach Walter Mazzarri said. “But we are confident we can give a certain continuity to our results.
“There are 45 points at stake; I would like to get most of them. I can’t put limits on myself and I would be happy if the team goes into each game with my spirit.”
MILAN FOCUSED ON BOLOGNA
AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf claims his team isn’t thinking about the upcoming Champions League match ahead of its league game against Bologna.
After losing 3-1 at Napoli last weekend, Milan will be hoping to celebrate Saint Valentine’s day with a win on Friday against relegation-threatened Bologna.
Spanish leader Atletico Madrid visits Milan for the first leg of its last-16 clash on Wednesday.
“We’re clearly only focused on Bologna,” Seedorf said. “We haven’t given the slightest thought to the Champions League yet.
“Every match helps us improve and the Bologna one could put us in a good state going into the Champions League match.”
Milan is the only Italian team left in the Champions League after both Napoli and Juventus were knocked out of Europe’s elite club competition.
Fiorentina forward Mario Gomez could return to action on Saturday after nearly five months out with a left knee injury.
The Germany start was an unused substitute in Tuesday’s Italian Cup semifinal victory over Udinese but is likely to make a long-awaited reappearance against Inter Milan.
Gomez was Fiorentina’s marquee signing when he joined in the summer from Bayern Munich for a reported 20 million euros ($26 million).
He scored twice in his second league match for Fiorentina but was injured on his next Serie A appearance, against Cagliari on Sept. 15.
Gomez, who scored 112 goals in 172 games for Bayern, was initially expected to be sidelined for around six weeks with damaged knee ligaments but complications extended his recovery time.
Fiorentina’s other star striker, Giuseppe Rossi, is still out with a long-term knee injury.