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Five things to watch during Serie A Matchday 10 as struggling Juventus limp into Turin derby - live on BT Sport
Massimiliano Allegri's men have endured a difficult campaign, which plumbed new depths on Tuesday when they lost 2-0 to Maccabi Haifa in Israel, all but ending their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League last 16.
It's rare a thing to say that Juventus are not obvious favourites to win this Saturday's Turin derby, but in this case, it is absolutely true.
The Old Lady are going through arguably their toughest period since the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal that resulted in their demotion to Serie B in the mid-00s.
Even though they are languishing in eighth place in Serie A currently, Massimiliano Allegri's men were expected to do the double over Maccabi Haifa, having beaten them in the reverse fixture last week to secure their opening Champions League victory of 2022/23.
However, the Italian giants were porous in defence and insipid in attack as a first-half double from Omer Atzili was enough for the hosts to cause an upset.
Now, Juve face a daunting trip to city rivals Torino sitting just two points above the Maroons, who are looking for their first victory in the Derby della Mole since 2015.
Read on for the lowdown on this mouthwatering clash, plus four other intriguing Serie A storylines and all the televised fixtures from Italy this weekend.
Juve facing worst run in 11 years
Juventus haven't lost three games on the trot in all competitions since March 2011, but that is starting to look a distinct possibility as they head to the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.
The defeats to Milan and Maccabi saw Juve fire off 21 shots but convert none of them.
Dusan Vlahovic seems a shadow of the player that tore up the league with Fiorentina as the 22-year-old finds himself regularly isolated, while Mattia De Sciglio is out for an indefinite period with a hamstring injury sustained at San Siro and Angel Di Maria suffered a similar issue in Israel and is sidelined for three weeks.
The one good bit of news for Allegri is that Federico Chiesa is nearing a return to fitness.
However, hoping your fortunes can be transformed by a player who has been out since January after a cruciate ligament rupture would be wishful thinking.
The hosts head into this encounter 10th - the position they finished last season - having rebuilt effectively.
Talisman Andrea Belotti and Serie A Defender of the Year joined Roma and Juve respectively, while Tommaso Pobega, Josip Brekalo and Marko Pjaca all returned to their parent clubs in the summer.
However, the likes of Nikola Vlasic - on loan from West Ham - and centre-back Per Schuurs have slotted in seamlessly, and although the goals haven't been flowing, the team is solid enough that relegation is unlikely.
That said, they will be looking to end a run of four games without a win (although two of those matches were against Inter and Napoli). What better time to do that than in the biggest match of the year?
Verona say ciao to Cioffi after bad start
Hellas Verona thrilled neutrals last season, finishing ninth and scoring 65 Serie A goals, but after a summer of upheaval that saw boss Igor Tudor quit and key attacking players Antonin Barak, Gianluca Caprari and Giovanni Simeone all leave the Gialloblu on loan, the team have really struggled.
Gabriele Cioffi succeeded Tudor over the summer having just guided Udinese to safety, but he was sacked on Tuesday after barely 100 days in charge at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentagodi with the club mired in 18th.
Only Cremonese have conceded more in the division this term and new striker Thomas Henry, on whom much hope was placed, is in the midst of a seven-game scoring drought after two goals in as many games at the start of his Verona career.
Salvatore Bocchetti, who has been the head coach of Verona's U19s, has replaced Cioffi, and his first task is a daunting one as he pits his wits against reigning champions Milan, who despite not being at their best are only three points off leaders Napoli.
The 35-year-old first-team managerial novice also has injuries to contend with as Darko Lazovic and Kevin Lasagna picked up muscle problems in last weekend's defeat at Salernitana, while Federico Ceccherini is suspended after a red card in the same game and Henry and Isak Hien are one booking away from a one-game ban.
If Bocchetti can triumph on Sunday triumph, he will instantly have his name written into club folklore.
Serie A novices Monza begin to motor
Monza secured promotion to the top flight for their first time ever via the play-offs in late May and quickly set about building a squad fit to compete.
In came a raft of players on loan with Serie A pedigree, including Inter's Stefano Sensi, Hellas Verona forward Gianluca Caprari and Atalanta's Matteo Pessina, while centre-backs Pablo Mari and Marlon have arrived from Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively.
The first six matches for the newcomers were a rude awakening, with just one point taken, but three wins on the bounce since against Juventus, Sampdoria and Spezia have seen the Biancorossi bag six goals without reply, and they head to Empoli in 12th, two points above their opponents.
Depending on how other results go, Raffaele Palladino's men could move up to ninth by the end of the weekend. A remarkable turnaround in form.
Lazio looking to hunt down top two
Five Serie A victories in succession - including three consecutive 4-0 wins - have put Lazio firmly in contention to catch both Atalanta and Napoli.
Beating fourth-placed Udinese on Sunday would see the Eagles draw level with Luciano Spalletti's leaders, who host Bologna later that day.
Maurizio Sarri has arguably the most potent attacking force in the division when everyone is fit, and currently boasts the league's best in terms of goal involvements, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
The imposing but technically accomplished Serbian has seven assists and three goals to his name so far this term and his link-up with Ciro Immobile continues to be lethal, with the 32-year-old Italian sitting at the top of the league's scoring charts alongside Marko Arnautovic on six goals apiece.
Udinese are a team transformed under Andrea Sottil and are on eight-game unbeaten run of their own though.
It may be far-fetched to expect a repeat of last season's 4-4 thriller at the Stadio Olimpico that saw three players sent off, but an entertaining fixture is almost guaranteed.
Bottom two still seeking first win
Cremonese and Sampdoria are without a victory in their first nine games, and although not yet cut adrift, both teams will surely feel that a long-overdue win needs to be secured in the next few weeks.
Cremonese, who travel to 15th-placed Spezia on Sunday, can point to reasons for optimism in October as they drew 1-1 at Lecce and then held Napoli at bay for long spells before the floodgates opened late on.
Sampdoria have been on a downward trajectory for a while. They finished six places lower in 2021/22 than 2020/21 (15th compared to ninth), and currently prop up the table with just five goals scored, the lowest figure in the league.
New boss Dejan Stankovic can at least reference a 1-1 draw at Bologna in his opening game in charge last weekend as a sign of hope, but it looks like Samp face an uphill task of securing that precious three points in Matchday 11 as they host Roma on Monday evening, exclusively live on BT Sport.
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