Serie A 2016/17 Match Day One Preview

Serie A action starts back up this weekend

Serie A 2016/17 Match Day One Preview
Serie A preview | Photo: Cammy Anderson/VAVEL

The 2016/17 Serie A season gets underway this weekend with two games on Saturday and the remaining eight on Sunday.

Roma-Udinese - Saturday 17:00GMT

Last season's bronze medalists get the season underway as they play host to an Udinese side looking to improve on a poor 15/16 season. It is almost impossible to look past the giallorossi to come out on top in this fixture despite losing Miralem Pjanic over the summer. Edin Dzeko is likely to be key to the home sides success after a fine pre-season where he was scoring in numbers. For the visitors, Duvan Zapata will heavily be relied to take every chance he is afforded, which won't be many. Neither Mario Rui or Antonio Rudiger will play any part at all for the giallorossi while recent signing Bruno Peres could be in line for his debut. Cyril Thereau will miss the game for the zebrette as he serves a suspension which has carried on from last season, asides from his exclusion there is no real major team news.

Juventus-Fiorentina - Saturday 19:45GMT

Juventus get their fifth consecutive title defence underway in what is easily the pick of the match day one games when Fiorentina come to Turin. As with any game against Juventus, picking up any points is a bonus and they are clear favourites for the game despite La Viola being a strong side themselves. Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala are likely going to be too hot to handle for Fiorentina who will be relying on whomever starts in between the sticks to deny Juventus an easy victory. Claudio Marchisio's name is the standout one for absentees from the Juve side while Stefano Sturaro will also miss out. Paulo Sousa has his full squad barring Borja Valero at his disposal and can rely again on Cristian Tello, who recently arrived back on loan after a successful spell last season.

Milan-Torino - Sunday 17:00GMT

Milan and Torino kickstart Sunday's offering of calcio at tea time. Milan are out to put mediocrity behind them this year while Torino have made some shrewd signings and could be a team to watch this term. This match also pits Torino boss Sinisa Mihajlovic against his former employers, whom he was sacked from at the tail end of the 15/16 season. Carlos Bacca will be expected to carry on last terms form where he netted double figures while Torino's new look front trio of Adem Ljajic-Andrea Belotti-Diego Perotti could cause the rossoneri problems. Milan have no injury worries or suspensions coming into the tie while Torino will have to do without full back Danilo Avelar who is still recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.

Ljajic and Perotti upon joining the granata | Photo: voti-fanat.com
Ljajic and Perotti upon joining the granata | Photo: voti-fanat.com

Chievo Verona-Inter - Sunday 19:45GMT

Chievo Verona's start to the season is anything but kind and they first welcome Inter, who will be pushing for a Champions League spot this term having missed out for the past few years. Inter's Mauro Icardi will be expected to put in a captain's performance and get his journey to eclipse last year's goal tally underway while Valter Birsa will unsuprisingly be the one orchestrating the play for Chievo from the centre of the park. Dario Dainelli will be the sole absentee from Rolando Maran's Chievo side while Cristian Ansaldi, Caner Erkin, Marco Andreolli and Eder will be missing from Frank De Boer's first competitive match in charge of Inter through injury. Jeison Murillo is also suspended for the visitors, leaving Inter with a very suspect defence, if it wasn't already like so.

Pescara-Napoli - Sunday 19:45GMT

Pescara are in for a tough tough test as they return to the top flight after a few years abscence when they welcome last year's runners up, Napoli to the Stadio Adriatico. Pescara will have to hope goalkeper Vincenzo Fiorillo plays out of his skin to avoid an embarassing defeat. Arek Milik will be out to get his Serie A goals account opened following his Summer move and will be largely expected to deliver against the delfini who're one of the favourites to be relegated. Michele Fornasier will be missing out for the hosts through injury while Maurizio Sarri has a full squad to choose from.

Genoa-Cagliari - Sunday 19:45GMT

2015/16 Serie B champions Cagliari start life back in the top flight with a tricky tie away to Genoa. Having narrowly missed out on a spot in Italy's EURO 2016 squad Leonardo Pavoletti will be raring to push his way into new national team coach Giampiero Ventura's plans and could start his tally against the promoted side. Marco Borriello will be key, almost every week of the season for Cagliari and announced his arrival at the club in spectacular fashion netting four times in their Coppa Italia win over SPAL. Genoa will remain without long-term absentee and number one goalkeeper Mattia Perrin for this fixture, which will certainly give Cagliari a boost with them not needing to deal with one of the league's best 'keepers. The standout of three absentees from the visiting Sardinian's is Bruno Alves, who arrived from Fenerbahce having been part of the triumphant Portugal side at the Euro's.

Borriello nets one of his four against SPAL | Photo: corrieredellosport.it
Borriello nets one of his four against SPAL | Photo: corrieredellosport.it

Atalanta-Lazio - Sunday 19:45GMT

Both sides are equally as ambitious to improve on last season's finish, particularly the visitors who've fallen by the way side in recent years and never really came consistenly close to the scudetto since their 1999/00 victory. Tricky winger Alejandro Gomez impressed on a regular basis last term for hosts Atalanta and will be expected to do so the same. Ciro Immobile is the man to watch for the visiting aquile as he looks to recapture the form that earned him his big move to Borussia Dortmund having won the 2013/14 season capocannoniere award. Stefan Radu and Senad Lulic will miss the game for Lazio through injury as will Felipe Anderson who is representing Brazil at the Olympics. Atalanta on the other hand are fortunate to have no injuries or suspensions.

Bologna-Crotone - Sunday 19:45GMT

Bologna welcome minnows and Serie A debutants Crotone. It is by no means an easy fixture for the latter side but they could have had a far worse welcome to the top flight. Mattia Destro will be keen to start scoring from the word go and has the perfect opportunity to grab more than one against the rossoblu. Odds are heavily stacked against Crotone whose squad is very thin on numbers but the veteran presence and experience of Raffaele Palladino will be a difference maker for the side. Neither side has any suspensions or injuries coming into the game at the Stadio Renato Dell'Ara.

Palermo-Sassuolo - Sunday 19:45GMT

Having survived by the skin of their teeth last year, Palermo again have the opportunity in Serie A but will face an always improving and impressive Sassuolo side. For the second straight summer Palermo's star man left and leaves a squad lacking a standout star, if there was ever a time to stand up and be counted on like so, the first game of the season is certainly that time. There is no doubt however, who the star in the neroverdi side is, Domenico Berardi. Sassuolo have done ever so well to keep a hold of the forward and another superb season is no doubt on the horizon for him and the club alike. Both sides respective managers have full squads to use, with no injuries or suspensions.

Berardi celebrates | Photo: bleacherreport.com
Berardi celebrates | Photo: bleacherreport.com

Empoli-Sampdoria - Sunday 19:45GMT

A depleted Empoli play host to Sampdoria in one of the eight games on offer on Sunday. Empoli have lost the majority of the squad that defied the odds again last term and will have a very different lineup when Sampdoria, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, come to town. Riccardo Saponara, who has surprisingly remaind in Florence over the Summer will be the focal point of Empoli for most of their attacks. Whomever Marco Giampaolo starts up top will be key for Sampdoria on his return to the ground where he occupied the dugout of last term. There are plenty options available to him but it's anybody's guess as to who'll get the nod. Marcel Buchel and Federico Barba are both doubts for Empoli while Sampdoria have no worries.