With Serie A returning after the first international break of the season, plenty of football fans will be turning their attention to a compelling round of fixtures in Italy.
Many players had the opportunity to recharge their batteries while Roberto Mancini’s side picked up two Euro 2020 qualifying victories on the road; winning 3-1 against 10-man Armenia and earning a 2-1 triumph in Finland.
With champions Juventus looking to continue their perfect start to the season alongside Inter Milan and Torino, Sportsmail looks ahead to the third weekend of fixtures in Italy’s top flight.
Italy boss Roberto Mancini advises his players during the European qualifying win over Finland
SAMP CHIEF FACES WRATH OF THE ULTRAS
Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero had to be rescued by police last week when ultras gathered around a restaurant demanding that he sell up to a consortium led by club legend Gianluca Vialli.
SERIE A FIXTURES
Fiorentina vs Juventus (Saturday, 2pm)
Napoli vs Sampdoria (5pm)
Inter Milan vs Udinese (7.45pm)
Genoa vs Atalanta (Sunday, 11.30am)
SPAL vs Lazio (2pm)
Brescia vs Bologna (2pm)
Parma vs Cagliari (2pm)
Roma vs Sassuolo (5pm)
Hellas Verona vs AC Milan (7.45pm)
Torino vs Lecce (Monday, 7.45pm)
The club owner was having lunch in Genoa last week when partisan supporters surrounded him. Local police teamed up with restaurant staff to transport Ferrero to safety.
Rumours the 68-year-old was evacuated from the building in a blue and white tablecloth (below) remain unconfirmed.
The chaos is having a detrimental impact on the team. Samp sit rock bottom of the table, following up on a 3-0 defeat against Lazio with a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Sassuolo.
Eusebio Di Francesco has the unenviable task of taking his team to 2018-19 runners-up Napoli on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been involved in back-to-back seven-goal thrillers; winning 4-3 at Fiorentina before losing by the same scoreline at Juventus.
Still, it’s not all bad news for Sampdoria. Napoli don’t even have a fully completed dressing room and Carlo Ancelotti is absolutely fuming. Maybe one of the dodgy locks will break and keep Carlo & Co from taking to the pitch?
Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero had to be rescued by police when ultras accosted him
SARRI TO MAKE EMOTIONAL FIORENTINA RETURN
After suffering with pneumonia in recent weeks, Maurizio Sarri is poised to make an emotional dugout debut for Juventus when they travel to Fiorentina on Saturday.
The 60-year-old has lived on the outskirts of Florence for many years and will be keen to embrace a warm reception at Artemio Franchi Stadium.
Sarri’s players on the other hand will be treated with hostility when they emerge from the tunnel. The rivalry stems back to 1982 when Juve won the Scudetto in Fiorentina’s back yard on the last day of the season; pipping La Viola to the title by one point.
Injured Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini also plans to sit on the bench in Florence. The captain was spotted in the dugout during the victory over Napoli but stopped short of dishing out instructions to his team-mates whilst on crutches.
There’s plenty more to look out for in the Juventus game as Aaron Ramsey looks set to make his debut for his new club.
The Welshman is yet to make his debut because of injury – can he make an impact in one of the bigger derbies in Italy?
Maurizio Sarri is set to occupy the Juventus technical area after struggling with pneumonia
BRAVE BOLOGNA BOSS TO UNDERGO CHEMOTHERAPY
Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajliovic will be unable to occupy the dugout at Brescia as he undergoes chemotherapy in his battle against leukaemia.
The 50-year-old displayed incredible bravery last month to return to the touchline between rounds of treatment.
Mihajlovic led his team during the 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona on opening day and was treated with adoration by a passionate home crowd in the 1-0 victory over SPAL.
The Serb is set to undergo a second round of chemotherapy and will remain at Sant’Orsola Hospital’s cancer unit for the foreseeable future.
Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic won’t be in the dugout against Brescia next weekend
ATALANTA BOSS GASPERINI ACCEPTS KEYS TO THE CITY
Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini was made an honorary citizen of Begamo this week, an accolade he described as ‘the most beautiful gift I’ve ever received’.
He led the Nerazzurri to the Champions League for the first time thanks to a third-placed finish last season, with their first Group C game against Dinamo Zagreb on the horizon.
The council of Bergamo bestowed the honour upon Gasperini ‘for having led Atalanta to objectives of extraordinary sporting value, which add lustre and visibility to the entire city.’
Duvan Zapata and co will no doubt be listening intently to the 61-year-old’s words of wisdom as they try to bounce back from 3-2 defeat to Torino with a win at Genoa.
Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini has been made an honorary citizen of Begamo
DONNARUMMA BOASTS BEST SAVE RATE IN EUROPE
Hellas Verona face a tough task against AC Milan and must beat the best shot-stopper in Europe (statistically) if they are to kickstart their season.
Gianluigi Donnarumma has a save success rate of 81.9 per cent this term and produced another fine display in Italy’s Euro 2020 qualifying win over Finland.
The 6ft 4in keeper edged out Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak into second place, keeping two clean sheets with a save success rate of 81.2 per cent.
AC Milan have plenty to work on at the other end of the pitch. Hakan Calhanoglu scored their only goal of the season so far in a 1-0 win against relegation favourites Brescia.
Gianluigi Donnarumma directs his defenders during Italy’s 2-1 win over Finland