The Serie A returns to action following the winter break on Saturday with Lazio, Fiorentina and Inter Milan in pursuit of leaders Juventus.
Juventus, who capped a stellar 2012 with four wins in a row, lead second-placed Lazio by eight points with one match to play before the season reaches the halfway mark.
Fiorentina and Inter are a further point behind in third and fourth place, followed by Napoli, who occupy the final European berth, and Roma.
Juventus will continue their bid for a second straight league title on Sunday at home to Sampdoria, who slipped to 15th on the table with three consecutive losses in December.
Adding to their woes, Sampdoria have not beaten Juventus in Turin since 2005 and could drop into the relegation zone if they fail to secure at least a point from their trip to Juventus Stadium.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Fiorentina play host to 16th-placed Pescara, who climbed out of the drop zone with a crucial win over Catania last time out.
Inter, winless in their past two matches, travel to 10th-placed Udinese in what looms as a vital clash for both sides.
Napoli will entertain Roma in the pick of the action, with both teams looking to establish their European credentials.
Napoli are two points clear of Roma, who maintained the pressure on the Naples club with an impressive win against AC Milan in their final outing of 2012.
On Saturday, Lazio are favourites to account for Cagliari, who have fallen to 17th place on the back of five straight losses.
In other matches, Catania play host to Torino on Saturday, while Chievo and Atalanta meet in Verona on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, Genoa take on Bologna at home, Milan face Siena at the San Siro and Palermo travel to Parma.