The title race in Italy has been one of the most captivating aspects in European football this season, but Juventus have finally seized the initiative in the battle. Inter Milan will be hoping to respond this weekend when they travel to Udinese, while Juventus host Fiorentina.
Juventus vs Fiorentina
Juventus’ pursuit of a ninth straight Serie A title have improved over recent weeks as Inter Milan have begun to drop points. Their dropped points and Juventus’ form has ensured that a three-point lead is what they currently have. However, it could have been much better for the Old Lady if they could have got three points in their last outing.
Juventus travelled to Napoli in their last outing in the league, but they were beaten 2-1 by their inconsistent opponents. Napoli opened the scoring in the first half before they doubled their advantage in the second half. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late goal for Juventus, but there wasn’t any time for Juventus to salvage a point. Prior to that defeat, the Old Lady had won their last four in all competitions. Ronaldo has been in incredible form this season as he has scored 17 goals in 18 matches. Maurizio Sarri will hope that the Portuguese star will be the difference against Fiorentina.
Meanwhile, Fiorentina have recovered from a poor start to the season to hold a place in 13th. They have been in decent form since the turn of the year as they have won twice and drew twice in their last five games. They beat Napoli in their last away game but were held to a 0-0 draw last time out against Genoa. If they can continue with their excellent defensive performances, then they will have a glimmer of hope. However, punters will be expecting Ronaldo to get on the scoresheet and lead Juventus to a comfortable win.
Udinese vs Inter Milan
Inter Milan led the Serie A going into the new year, but their form has nosedived over recent weeks. They have drawn their last three games in the league, with their last victory coming on the 6th January against Napoli. Since that victory, they have drawn against Atalanta, Lecce and Cagliari.
The latter of those draws was their last outing in Serie A. They were held 1-1, with Lautaro Martinez scoring for the hosts. Inter were unable to hold onto the lead as they conceded with ten minutes remaining as Radja Nainggolan scored against his former club. Inter can ill-afford any more slip-ups if they have hopes of ending the dominant reign of Juventus in Serie A.
Their opponents on the weekend have struggled this season and may have one eye on the teams below them as they look to steer clear of relegation fears. Their form over the last five games highlights why they are in a desperate position, as they have won just once in this run. That success came against Sassuolo as they registered a 3-0 win. Since then they have lost their last three in all competitions and have conceded nine goals. Their last league match was against Parma, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat. Udinese were extremely poor in that fixture and only managed four shots on target in the match.
Inter will be the first favourites for this fixture as they look to end their recent run of three draws on the bounce. Romelu Lukaku will be a key player for the visitors, as he looks to add to his tally of 14 goals so far this season. Punters will be betting on Lukaku to score and Inter Milan to win.