The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

With Napoli at Juventus, it's judgement weekend in Serie A

Associated Press Saturday, 13 February 2016, 08:39 Last update: about 5 years ago

It's judgment weekend in Serie A.

League leader Napoli takes a two-point lead over Juventus into a clash of the top two squads on Saturday. Then on Sunday, third-place Fiorentina hosts fourth-place Inter Milan, which is one point behind the Viola.

Napoli and Juventus are on club-record winning streaks.

Napoli has won eight straight while Juventus has 14 consecutive victories, and needs three more to match the Serie A record of 17 established by Inter in 2006-07.

Napoli beat Juventus 2-1 in September with goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain but that was before the Turin club found its stride and was able to overcome the offseason departures of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, and Carlos Tevez.

Having joined Juventus on a 32 million euro ($36 million) transfer from Palermo in June, Paulo Dybala has developed into the Turin squad's most dangerous weapon with 13 goals. And with only 15 goals conceded, Juventus has the best defense in Italy.

Also this weekend, it's Lazio vs. Hellas Verona; Carpi vs. Roma; Empoli vs. Frosinone; Chievo Verona vs. Sassuolo; AC Milan vs. Genoa; Palermo vs. Torino; Sampdoria vs. Atalanta; and Udinese vs. Bologna.

Here are a few things to know about Serie A this weekend:


UNSTOPPABLE GONZALO: With 24 goals in as many matches, Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain is having the season of his life.

Gino Rossetti of Torino set the league record with 36 goals back in 1929. Since then the only players to score 30 or more were Giuseppe Meazza (31 for Inter in 1929-30), Felice Borel (31 for Juventus 1933-34), Gunnar Nordahl (35 for AC Milan in 1949-50 and 34 for Milan in 1950-51), John Hansen (30 for Juventus in 1951-52), Antonio Angelillo (33 for Inter in 1958-59) and Luca Toni (31 for Fiorentina in 2005-06).

With 14 matches remaining, Higuain already has more goals than the 22 that Mauro Icardi and Toni led Serie A with last season.

"My intention is to continue scoring," Higuain said. "For myself and, most importantly, to help the squad, which is aiming for something really big."

Napoli's only two Serie A titles came in 1987 and 1990 when Diego Maradona was carrying the club.

PALERMO'S COACHING CAROUSEL: Palermo has made youth squad coach Giovanni Bosi its senior squad manager in place of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who did not have the correct coaching license.

Schelotto had been coaching from the stands for a month as he awaited confirmation from UEFA, but it did not offer approval.

Bosi becomes Palermo's fourth coach this season after Giuseppe Iachini and Davide Ballardini were fired in November and January, respectively.

Maurizio Zamparini has made more than 30 coaching changes in his 14 years as Palermo president.

Palermo is in 15th place, seven points above the relegation zone.

AN AMERICAN IN FLORENCE: Joshua Perez, a highly touted 18-year-old American, says he has signed with Fiorentina.

Perez tweeted last week, "Very happy to announce that I have officially signed with @acffiorentina and I want to thank all my friends and family for supporting me."

However, Fiorentina has not announced the signing yet. It did announce signing Greece midfielder Panagiotis Kone on loan from Udinese.

Perez is the nephew of former United States midfielder Hugo Perez.

Fiorentina recently loaned U.S.-born forward Giuseppe Rossi to Spanish side Levante.

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