Milan derby in the limelight
AC MILAN and Inter Milan meet late on Sunday in a city derby loaded with expectations as both clubs navigate through major transitions.
Inter have just hired new boss Stefano Pioli, who rejoins the Serie A fray after Lazio sacked him last season, while Milan are about to change owner after three decades under Silvio Berlusconi.
Pioli probably wished himself a softer debut after taking over from Frank de Boer and had little time to get to know the team as most players were busy in the past international weekend.
A further slip-up after De Boer’s five defeats could seriously harm the Nerazzurri’s prospects in their first season under new Chinese owners, the Suning Holdings Group.
They currently sit ninth on 17 points from 12 games; their gap from leaders Juventus is 13 points, with five separating them from the European places.
Anxiety is lower at the Devils, sitting third on 25 points, despite a modest 1915 goal difference. They sit one point behind Roma, who on 29 goals have the best attack and with 12 conceded the second best defence behind Juve.
Coach Vincenzo Montella may miss defender Alessio Romagnoli, a 21-year-old injured during Italy’s 0-0 draw in Tuesday’s friendly with Germany.
Juventus, meanwhile, expect little trouble from promoted visitors Pescara late tomorrow, while Roma risk losing ground the following afternoon away to in-form Atalanta.
The Bergamo side drew one and won six of their last seven outings, defeating Napoli and Inter; they sit fifth on 22 points, trailing Lazio on goal difference.
Napoli (21) slumped to seventh and have strikers Arkadiusz Milik and Manolo Gabbiadini unavailable away to Udinese tomorrow.
In remaining action, Chievo and Cagliari open the 13th round tomorrow, with Lazio vs Genoa, Crotone vs Torino, Empoli vs Fiorentina, Sampdoria vs Sassuolo and Bologna vs Palermo played on Sunday. – dpa