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Serie A weekend preview: AC Milan need to defy formbook in derby crunch

It's derby day in Milan on Sunday as Inter strive to cement second place in Serie A at the expense of their freefalling city rivals.

Elsewhere, Roma need to put Coppa Italia heartache behind them by beating Empoli to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place, while runaway leaders Napoli won't be expecting any slip-ups at Spezia.

Goals on the cards in Milan derby

WhatInter Milan v AC Milan
WhereSan Siro, Milan
When19:45, Sunday 5th February, 2023
How to watchBT Sport & bet365 Live Streaming
OddsInter Milan 1/1, AC Milan 11/4, Draw 5/2

AC Milan have every reason to fear the worst as they brace themselves to shackle city rivals Inter in the third Derby della Madonnina of the season.

Milan are without a win in six and have seen two pieces of silverware slip through their grasp, losing to Torino in the Coppa Italia and Inter in the Super Cup.

That 3-0 loss to their neighbours just three weeks ago will have stung and clearly left a scar because their two subsequent matches produced a 4-0 drubbing at Lazio and 5-2 home defeat by Sassuolo.

They have plunged from second to fifth in Serie A and are hard to fancy at 11/4, especially with Inter going so well.

Milan did win the first derby of the season, a 3-2 success back in September, but clearly much has changed since.

It will be tense but punters will also be aware that these two top the over/under Serie A table, their matches averaging 3.3 goals a time. Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals at 11/10 should rightly prove popular.

Miserable Mourinho in need of Empoli fillip

WhatRoma v Empoli
WhereStadio Olimpico, Rome
When17:00, Saturday 4th February, 2023
How to watchBT Sport & bet365 Live Streaming
OddsRoma 1/2, Empoli 11/2, Draw 10/3

Jose Mourinho's Roma need to pick themselves up from a shock Coppa Italia loss and see off Empoli to keep tabs on the top four.

Roma's brave 2-1 loss at Napoli last week was a setback but not half as much as Wednesday's 2-1 home defeat by bottom club Cremonese in the last eight of the Coppa, a trophy Mourinho had been hell-bent on defending.

Top scorers Paolo Dybala and Tammy Abraham will start after being left out against Cremonese and are 9/2 and 4/1 respectively to open the scoring.

Roma have won their last six Serie A clashes with Empoli and not lost to the Tuscans since 2007.

However, Paolo Zanetti's men are unbeaten in six Serie A matches so won't roll over and as one of the division's draw experts – they've had eight already – they might fancy their chances of a stalemate at the very least, with odds of 10/3 for this outcome.

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Cup kings Cremonese poised to break league duck?

WhatCremonese v Lecce,
WhereStadio Giovanni Zini, Cremona
When17:00, Saturday 4th February, 2023
How to watchbet365 Live Streaming
OddsCremonese 13/8, Lecce 9/5, Draw 21/10

Cremonese's wait for a league win goes on but Coppa Italia heroics since the resumption after the World Cup break will surely have them believe they can break their duck at home to Lecce.

New coach Davide Ballardini has presided over four matches thus far – Coppa successes over Napoli and now Roma, a 1-1 draw with Bologna and a heartbreaking 2-1 home defeat to Inter Milan.

Signs of progress are obvious but they need points and need them quickly if they aren't to get tailed off at the foot.

They will fancy their chances against Lecce, who have lost two in a row and are still blighted by a share of injuries.

That said, lowly Lecce boast a better defensive record than either Milan club so 4/5 for both teams not to score might appeal as much as a home win.

Spezia no match for Osimhen and Co

WhatSpezia v Napoli
WhereStadio Alberto Picco, La Spezia
When11:30, Sunday 5th February, 2023
How to watchBT Sport & bet365 Live Streaming
OddsSpezia 7/1, Napoli 4/11, Draw 4/1

Napoli's inexorable march towards the title shouldn't be disturbed by Spezia, who have lost two in a row and not won at home since September.

The leaders have bounced back from that Coppa shocker against Cremonese with wins over Salernitana and Roma, with Victor Osimhen scoring in each.

The Nigerian has scored 14 goals in the league, 12 since the middle of October and in each of his last four. He's 6/5 to make it five in a row at the Stadio Alberto Picco.

Elsewhere, Torino against Udinese pits eighth against seventh – Torino are 5/4 – on Sunday night, while Sampdoria, the team that are toiling for goals, are hard to fancy at 7/2 at a rejuvenated Monza on Monday.

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