Serie A weekend preview: Juve-Inter duel returns, Napoli looks to snap winless run

While Juventus and Inter have easy fixtures ahead of them, Napoli will want to channel its resilience at Anfield into better results in the Serie A.

Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri have a crucial weekend ahead of them and will go seeking wins to strengthen their positions in the Serie A.   -  Getty Images

Juventus and Inter Milan return to their duel at the top of Serie A after midweek European successes, with Napoli carrying the momentum of a 1-1 draw at Liverpool as it looks to snap a seven-game winless run and climb up the table.

Serie A leader Juventus is at home to 14th-placed Sassuolo on Saturday after ensuring it will finish top of its Champions League group with a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in Turin.

The eight-time reigning Serie A champion is unbeaten this season and is one point ahead of Inter Milan, who kept its European ambitions burning with a 3-1 win at Slavia Prague.

Juventus has a perfect home record against Sassuolo with six wins in as many games.

“Right now, we are only showing flashes of what we feel we can achieve and we would like to show more consistently,” said Juve coach Maurizio Sarri.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has returned after a slight knee problem, giving Sarri a selection dilemma with Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain in top form.

Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, 41, could start in place of Wojciech Szczesny, as he looks to close in on Paolo Maldini’s record for Serie A appearances.

Antonio Conte’s Inter has a chance to keep the momentum going as it hosts lowly SPAL, which has never won in the San Siro.

But Conte sees the side from Emilia-Romagna, which is second-bottom of the league, as “another test” as it builds towards its Champions League clash with Barcelona.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli hosts Bologna after a 1-1 draw at Anfield left the side well-placed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Italians had travelled to Merseyside in disarray with Ancelotti seemingly on the brink of being sacked after a slump to seventh in Serie A.

President Aurelio De Laurentiis has also threatened to sell the entire squad and take legal action against the players after they refused his orders to be confined to a week-long training camp earlier this month.

But Ancelotti declared that “coming out of Anfield alive,” had pleased De Laurentiis and boosted morale.

“We are united and there is determination on the part of everyone to return and demonstrate our potential,” said Ancelotti.

Napoli has taken just four points from its last five league games, but has won its last five home games against 15th-placed Bologna.

Atalanta hosts the ‘Derby of Lombardy’ against Brescia after creating history with its first ever Champions League win, 2-0 over Dinamo Zagreb.

Atalanta star striker Duvan Zapata’s injury absence has seen the team slip to sixth, three points off the Champions League places.

Lazio will be looking to hold third place at home against Udinese, at the expense of Cagliari, two points behind in fourth, which hosts Sampdoria on Monday.

Joint-fourth, Roma’s good form will be tested at Verona, as AC Milan, struggling in 12th, travel to Parma.

Fiorentina hosts promoted Lecce looking to avoid a third consecutive league defeat.

One to watch:

Dries Mertens scored for Napoli at Liverpool to bring his tally to 117 goals for the southerners, just four goals off Slovak Marek Hamsik’s all-time club record of 121.

The Belgian striker has a good opportunity at the weekend against Bologna, a team he has got 11 goals past in nine Serie A matches, more than against any other opponent.

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