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Serie A preview: Juve, Napoli hit the road

Serie A table-toppers Juventus face a tricky trip to Inter on Sunday while second-placed Napoli travel to Torino.

Juventus sit nine points clear of Napoli and look well-placed to claim their second successive title.

But with the club still involved in the UEFA Champions League and facing a difficult run home in the league, they can ill-afford to keep the Naples-based club involved in the title race with a defeat at the San Siro.

Juventus will head to the San Siro in sensational form, having won seven of their last nine matches in all competitions.

They have conceded just three goals in that period and although they have not been able to rely on one prolific striker this campaign, eight players have scored five league goals or more.

Inter have struggled in the Serie A this season and sit fifth, 18 points behind Juventus.

And while they are firmly in the top half, Inter are involved in a battle for European places and must finish the season strongly.

Andrea Stramaccioni’s side beat Tottenham 4-1 in their last fixture, but the second-leg Europa League win was not enough to see them progress into the last eight of the competition.

They lost their two matches before that and have only won three of their last 12 Serie A fixtures.

The three-pronged attack of Rodrigo Palacio, Diego Milito and Antonio Cassano has served Inter relatively well this season but they are not getting enough goals from midfield.

Stramaccioni will be hopeful of rectifying that before the season’s end.

If Inter can topple Juve at home, Napoli have a chance to cut their lead to six points in the evening kick-off at Torino.

Torino sit 15th on the table but beat Lazio 1-0 in their last Serie A match while Napoli finally returned to the winners’ list in their last outing.

After seven games without a triumph in all competitions, they beat Atalanta 3-2 thanks to Edinson Cavani’s double.

The Uruguayan forward had not scored in eight matches for Napoli before his brace and coach Walter Mazzarri badly needs the Serie A’s top scorer to return to form.

AC Milan have been in magnificent form recently and are unbeaten in their last 11 Serie A matches.

The arrival of Mario Balotelli from Manchester City in the January transfer window has significantly boosted the club, while prodigy Stephan El Shaarawy continues to impress.

They are at 14th-placed Chievo, who have won their last two league fixtures.

Elsewhere, fourth-placed Fiorentina are in action at Cagliari while Lazio welcome the visit of Catania.

Bottom-placed Palermo have a difficult home match against Roma while fellow strugglers Pescara and Siena travel to Parma and Genoa respectively.

Atalanta battle Sampdoria while the day’s other match sees Udinese welcome the visit of Bologna.

Fri 29 March, 2013
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