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Serie A preview, matchday two

Italian top-flight football returned with a bang last week as the 2022-23 Serie A season commenced with matchday one seeing 10 wins and not a single draw.

The big guns also fired warning shots with early signs showing what will be a serious fight for the title and European places.

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Defending champions AC Milan is the target of everyone.

Stefano Pioli’s team came from a goal down to beat Udinese 4-2 at Giuseppe Meazza to open the campaign.

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The next task for them is a big clash with Atalanta on Sunday night.

The Bergamo side also kicked off their season with a 2-0 win at Sampdoria, however, facing Milan will present a much tougher task.

Milan are on a winning run of three games against Atalanta and they have scored first in four of their last five meetings. A run which was extended with a 2-0 win on May 15 last season.

Of the two Milan giants, Inter will have a less difficult task when they welcome Spezia to San Siro.

Although Spezia began their campaign with a 1-0 win against Empoli, Inter will hope to avoid any repeat of last week’s win against Lecce as they dug deep thanks to Denzel Dumfries’ last goal.

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The return of Romelu Lukaku will be an added advantage for them in the title race, with the Belgian netting a minute into his Serie A return as he opened the scoring against Lecce.

Inter are unbeaten in four games against Spezia and will be heavy favourites to extend that run when they lock horns on Saturday.
Last time out: Serie A 15/04/2022 – Spezia 1:3 Inter

Napoli will return to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as they host newly-promoted Monza in Sunday’s first game.

Luciano Spalletti’s team showed flashes of brilliance while also showing some defensive flaws in the 5-2 win over Hellas Verona on Monday.

Fans of the Naples outfit will definitely be pleased at how their front three fared superbly in their last outing.

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Victor Osimhen, Hirving Lozano and new signing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia all contributed four of the five goals in their last game – with Osimhen scoring and providing and assist, Kvaratskhelia doing same and Lozano providing an assist.

Spalletti will ask for more of the same when they face Monza for the first time.

Record champions of the division, Juventus will once again play under the lights on Monday when they travel to the Luigi Ferraris to face Sampdoria.

The ‘Old Lady’ began their season with a dominant 3-0 win against Sassuolo with new man Angel Di María making all the headlines.

The Argentine will however miss Monday’s game due to an adductor injury, joining Paul Pogba, Wojciech Szczesny, Federico Chiesa and Kaio Jorge on the sidelines.

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Hence, star poacher Dusan Vlahovic – who netted twice in Juve’s opener – will now have the major task of leading Massimiliano Allegri’s team to victory.

Also, Juve will look to extend their current run of seven wins on the bounce against Sampdoria.
Last time out: Serie A 12/03/2022 Sampdoria 1:3 Juventus

Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma will play their first Serie A game at the Olimpico this season when they entertain newly-promoted Cremonese.

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The Rome outfit began their campaign with 1-0 win at Salernitana and will look to build on that win when, for the first time, they face a Cremonese team who lost their opening game, 2-3 to Fiorentina.

Lazio will make a trip to Turin as they begin this round of Serie A games against Torino on Saturday evening.

Both sides kick-started their season with wins, however, their last three meetings have ended in draws – with Lazio unbeaten in their last six against Torino.

Fiorentina will be guests of Empoli at Carlo Castellani on Sunday. Afterwards, Bologna and Hellas Verona will look to bounce back from their respective opening day losses when they trade tackles.

There is also a chance at redemption on Saturday as teams with opening day losses have a chance to record their first wins.

Udinese will welcome Salernitana to Dacia Arena while Sassuolo will clash with Lecce at Mapei Stadium.

Serie A matchday two fixtures in full

Saturday, August 20, 2022
Torino vs Lazio – 5:30pm
Udinese vs Salernitana – 5:30pm
Inter vs Spezia – 7:45pm
Sassuolo vs Lecce – 7:45pm

Sunday, August 21, 2022
Napoli vs Monza – 5:30pm
Empoli vs Fiorentina – 5:30pm
Atalanta vs Milan – 7:45pm
Bologna vs Hellas Verona – 7:45pm

Monday, August 22, 2022
Roma vs Cremonese – 5:30pm
Sampdoria vs Juventus – 7:45pm
(All times in WAT)

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