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Serie A preview: Juventus, Napoli aim to extend lead at top

Juventus and Napoli will look to extend their unbeaten starts to the Serie A season this weekend.

It has been a tough week for the Naples side. On top of a 3-0 loss at PSV Eindhoven in Thursday night’s Europa League fixture, they head into Sunday’s home clash with Udinese having to deal with the club’s offices being raided by Italian police during the week as part of an investigation into player contracts.

Despite the issues, Napoli remain unbeaten in Serie A this campaign with five wins and a draw to their name, just behind table-topping Juventus on goal difference.

It would seem unlikely, though, that those positions will change too much this weekend as both sides should take maximum points, with Udinese sitting in 15th on the Italian table while Juve’s opponent Siena is 19th.

Siena’s position is somewhat misleading, however, as the Tuscan club was stripped six points heading into this season due to last year’s betting scandal, with the club having lost just twice so far this term.

However, despite drawing their midweek Champions League clash with Shakhtar, the Bianconeri have been in impressive form in the domestic competition, most recently routing Roma 4-1 last weekend.

Outside of the top two, substantial interest will also be in the Milan derby this weekend as Inter look to keep track of the table leaders when they take on the struggling AC Milan.

Last weekend, Inter held on for a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina that saw them stay in third on the table, while AC Milan dropped to 11th following a 1-1 come-from-behind draw over 15th-placed Parma.

Inter are coming off a tough Europa League road trip to Azerbaijan where they beat Neftchi 3-1, but if they are feeling the jet lag and do slip up, fourth-placed Lazio will be looking to take advantage.

The Roman club are even on 12 points with Inter heading into Sunday’s trip to 13th-placed Pescara but they are also under some pressure from Sampdoria (fifth) who travel to Verona for Saturday’s clash with Chievo.

This clash shapes as no easy task for Sampdoria as Chievo’s players will be looking to hit back following the sacking of coach Domenico Di Carlo on Tuesday and the appointment of Eugenio Corini as his successor.

Fresh off a 5-1 win over Atalanta last weekend, sixth-placed Torino will take the competition’s worst side, the winless and 20th-placed Cagliari.

Seventh-placed Fiorentina take on a Bologna side that should be fired up by last week’s 4-0 thrashing of Catania.

Genoa (eighth) will play Palermo (17th) after the Sicilian club climbed out of the relegation zone through a 4-1 thrashing of Chievo last weekend, a result that cost Di Carlo his job.

Tenth-placed Catania will be looking to rise up the table when they play Parma (14th), while Roma (11th) will be looking to hit back hard after last week’s thrashing by Juve, when they face Atalanta (16th).

Fri 5 Oct, 2012
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