After the Coppa Italia action and international break, it’s back to business in the Italian league. This weekend brings us a Tuscan derby, relegation battlers and the title race continues.
Napoli vs Sassuolo – Saturday 11:30am GMT
Napoli really need to get some more points on the board if they are to avoid a return to Serie B. Sassuolo meanwhile, high up in third place, will be looking to maintain the gap they have on the chasing pack.
Napoli will have to plan without their goalkeeper, Catalina Pérez. The Colombian underwent knee surgery during the week, and is one of five players unavailable to manager Alessandro Pistolesi.
Despoina Chatzīnikolaou, Eleonora Goldoni and Eva Popadinova are also ruled out through injury. Isotta Nocchi is still suspended and will also miss this game. Sassuolo meanwhile will have Nicole Lauria back from injury.
While Sassuolo won their league clash 3-1 earlier this season, Napoli will take hope from their Coppa Italia clash in November. In that home game Napoli ended up with a 1-1 draw.
Pink Bari vs AC Milan – Saturday 11:30am GMT
Bottom of the table Bari haven’t picked up one league point since the opening day of the season. This weekend doesn’t look like this will change.
If it’s early goals you’re looking for, this could be the right game. Milan are the team who have scored most goals in the first 30 minutes this season, while Bari are the team that have conceded the most in the same time.
Chelsea Weston is still suspended for Bari. For the away team, Yui Hasegawa impressed when coming on as a sub in their last game and could get her first start here.
Milan will face Juventus next week, and they will want to go into that game keeping as much pressure on the leaders as possible.
When these teams met back in September in Milan, the home side recorded a 3-1 win. Valentina Giacinti scored twice in that game and she warmed up for this one with another two goals in midweek for Italy.
The in-form striker did leave the field near the end of that game and could be a doubt for this one, especially looking ahead to the next game. Bari will certainly hope so, especially as Giacinti has scored 13 goals in four games for Milan against Pink. Her career total of 21 against Bari make them her preferred victim.
Florentia San Gimignano vs Fiorentina – Saturday 1:30pm GMT
A Tuscan derby awaits when Fiorentina will take the short trip of less than 40 miles to nearby San Gimignano. In their five league meetings so far, Fiorentina have won every game. They also average four goals per game against their neighbours.
Their meeting this season in September was a closer affair than usual though. Fiorentina had Daniela Sabatino to thank when her goal ten minutes from time gave them a 3-2 win.
Florentia are one of the sides in the battle for a top four finish this season. Although they currently lie in seventh place, a win here would see them move to within just a point of their Tuscan rivals.Embed from Getty Images
Sabatino, second highest scorer in Serie A this season, also bagged a double in Florence during the week. She came on for the second-half of Italy’s win over Israel.
Both sides got knocked out of the Coppa Italia in their last games. While Fiorentina did bow out with a win over Inter, Florentia will be looking to bounce back from a 6-0 drubbing at Roma. Fiorentina will also need to put their upcoming Champions League game out of their minds. They travel to face Manchester City next Wednesday.
Florentia welcome back Tamar Dongus, Elena Pisani and Bianca Bardin from injury. Both Martina Piemonte and Stephanie Breitner returned to training this week for the Viola.
As always, you can watch the match live on the Fiorentina website.
Inter Milan vs Hellas Verona – Saturday 1:30pm GMT
In their three meetings to date, Verona have never had a win. They did get their only draw in this fixture in last season’s clash here in Milan.
Hellas have lost their last three Serie A outings and while not in immediate danger, if the sides behind them start to pick up points they could get sucked into a relegation battle.Embed from Getty Images
Inter have fared even worse, losing all four of their most recent league games. That has probably dampened their hopes of a top four finish, and with the visitors only four points behind them, they will be keen to get back to winning ways themselves.
Inter’s Brazilian defender Kathellen Sousa picked up an injury while on international duty this week.
AS Roma vs Empoli – Sunday 11:30am GMT
Just two points separate these two sides, with both clubs still in the running for a place in the top four. Although the home side are ahead in the table, when they met in September it was Empoli who came out on top. That ended 2-0 thanks to two penalty kicks.
Roma have won their last three league games, and the last six including Coppa Italia games. Empoli meanwhile have lost their last three games, all against Juventus in both league and Coppa.Embed from Getty Images
Andressa Alves has scored in all three of those recent Serie A wins. Elisa Polli is Empoli’s top scorer, with seven league goals to her name.
Roma defender Elisa Bartoli started midweek in Italy’s final qualification game. On the Empoli side, both Benedetta Glionna and Lucia Di Guglielmo were second half substitutes in that win. For Empoli’s captain Di Guglielmo, it was her debut appearance for the national team.
San Marino vs Juventus – Sunday 1:30pm GMT
Since San Marino’s second win of the season against Bari, they have since lost all three games. This leaves them still only four points ahead of Napoli in the drop zone. A game against Juventus is probably not where they will expect to pick up points.
Juventus will look to maintain their maximum point run, especially with Milan just three points behind. They did have a lot of players on international duty this week. The Italian players will have enjoyed their outing against Israel, where Barbara Bonansea, Cristiana Girelli, Cecilia Salvai, Martina Rosucci and Arianna Caruso were all on the scoresheet.Embed from Getty Images
Other players involved with their national teams included Tuija Hyyrynen, Dalila Ippolito, Lina Hurtig, Linda Sembrant and Doris Bačić.
Juventus recorded a 2-0 win when the sides met in Turin earlier this season with goals from Girelli and Caruso, after a scoreless first-half.
Sara Gama went off in Italy’s midweek game with an injury. Good news for the home side as Raffaella Barbieri returns from her injury. The striker has scored seven of their ten league goals this season.