Four things to watch during Serie A Matchday 20 as Luciano Spalletti's Napoli face Roma in the Derby del Sole - live on BT Sport!

Elsewhere in the division, Milan look to get their ailing title challenge back on track against Sassuolo and Monza seek to record an historic double over Juventus.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 27 January 2023 - 11.47pm

We are now into the second half of the Serie A season, with the past matchday producing several eye-catching results, most notably Lazio's 4-0 thumping of Milan and the 3-3 thriller between Juventus and Atalanta.

The Old Lady, who are now 12 points off the top four in 11th after stunningly receiving a 15-point penalty last week, have huge motivation for this weekend's home match against Monza after being embarrassed by the newly-promoted side in September, while for Milan, three points against struggling Sassuolo is a must.

Sunday ends with the historic Napoli-Roma clash as Luciano Spalletti, formerly of the Giallorossi, bids to take his leaders even further clear of the chasing pack.

Read on for all the major Matchday 20 storylines, along with information on how you can watch EIGHT of the games exclusively live on BT Sport. 

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Milan's title defence on the brink

Milan's capitulation at Lazio on Tuesday night means that the reigning Serie A champions are now 12 points behind leaders Napoli heading into their encounter with Sassuolo. 

The Rossoneri also have fresh injury concerns, with Davide Calabria and Fikayo Tomori forced off at the Stadio Olimpico.

While it seems likely that Calabria should recover in time for Sunday, Tomori's status is less certain after he was substituted on the 23rd minute due to discomfort in his left thigh. 

If the former Chelsea centre-back is ruled out of the meeting with Sassuolo, he will join fellow defenders Alessandro Florenzi, Fode Ballo-Toure and Theo Hernandez on the sidelines, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and goalkeeper Mike Maignan are long-term absentees and Ismael Bennacer has a one-match suspension. 

All that being said, they should claim three points on their return to San Siro against a Sassuolo side languishing in 17th and without a win in eight games.

The latest of those frustrations was a 1-1 draw at Monza that saw Alessio Dionisi's men take an early lead only for woeful defending to prove their undoing as Gianluca Caprari curled home an equaliser on the hour. 

The Neroverdi's recent struggles mean they are now just five points above the drop zone, so a win for the visitors, just like for Milan, would do the world of good. The reverse fixture between the sides finished 0-0 though.

Juve bid to avoid dreaded double defeat

In the first half of a campaign fraught with issues, a 1-0 defeat to Monza was arguably the low point for Juventus (on the field at least). 

On that occasion, the Serie A new boys won courtesy of Christian Gytkjaer's close-range strike, their first-ever victory in Italy's top flight after five defeats and a draw to begin the campaign. 

Since then, the Biancorossi have hauled themselves up to 13th and look almost certain to survive, sitting 10 points ahead of 18th-placed Hellas Verona. 

The bitter irony for Juve is that after that loss in September, they went on to secure nine wins and nine clean sheets from their following 10 league matches, before a 5-1 hammering at Napoli's hands was followed by the further blow of the 15-point deduction. 

That sanction now means Massimiliano Allegri's side are firmly entrenched in mid-table and need to set out on another relentless streak of victories to have any hope of playing in Europe next term.

They are at least getting bodies back though, Juan Cuadrado having returned in the thrilling draw against Atalanta and both Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic nearing a return.

Allegri also hasn't yet lost any players in the January transfer window, although that is a situation that could quickly change, especially given the team's league position. 

Federico Chiesa is also finally getting minutes after an injury-ravaged 2022 and scored a lovely winner - his first goal in more than a year - in the 2-1 extra-time victory over Monza in the Coppa Italia earlier this month. Allegri is in dire need of somebody to be the hero again on Sunday. 

Christian Gytkjaer bagged the winner for Monza during their historic win over Juventus in September

Lazio capitalise on Serie A chaos

Last Thursday, Lazio sat fifth. However, following Juventus' points deduction and 10-man Inter's shock defeat to Empoli, Maurizio Sarri's men had the chance to move up to third with victory over Milan, an opportunity they certainly grabbed with both hands as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Mattia Zaccagni, Luis Alberto and Felipe Anderson got on the scoresheet.

It will certainly be ominous for upcoming opponents Fiorentina that the Eagles earned that 4-0 win without the presence of talisman Ciro Immobile, who suffered another hamstring problem earlier this month in a season blighted by injury (even though the team's joint-top scorer this season with eight goals in all competitions). 

He will not be back for Sunday's fixture, but Sarri will be confident that his side can overcome La Viola, who return to the Stadio Olimpico just two weeks after a 2-0 defeat to Roma. 

The Florence outfit also lost to Torino last time out and will be eager to edge back into the top half and closer to safety, but will probably have to upset the odds with four first-team regulars on the sidelines after centre-forward Arthur Cabral, centre-back Lucas Martinez Quarta and central midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli joined long-term casualty Riccardo Sottil on the treatment table earlier this month. 

Should Milan slip up against Sassuolo earlier in the day, Lazio will have the chance to end the weekend second, and although they only have a very slim chance of catching Napoli, automatic Champions League qualification would be a huge feather in Sarri's cap. 

Mattia Zaccagni, Luis Alberto and Felipe Anderson were all razor-sharp as Lazio crushed Milan to go third

Can Mourinho's Roma disrupt title race?

After trouncing Juventus 5-1, the last week couldn't have come much better for Napoli. 

Juve's 15-point deduction has removed them as a possible - albeit distant - title contender, while Milan and Inter both lost and Atalanta drew in Turin.

That means Luciano Spalletti's leaders sit 12 points clear and they could pull further clear if they beat Roma in the Derby del Sole and Sassuolo spring a surprise on the Rossoneri. 

How "great teacher of football" Spalletti is guiding Napoli's title charge

Italian football expert James Horncastle gives us an insight into the 63-year-old's revolution ahead of Sunday's showdown.

In Victor Osimhen, former Roma boss Spalletti possesses the league's top scorer this season, with the Nigerian bagging his 13th in the competition for 2022/23 with a poacher's finish in the Partenopei's latest win at Salernitana. 

Osimhen was also the man who scored a majestic late winner in the reverse fixture against the Giallorossi, shaking off Chris Smalling before slamming past Rui Patricio.

The win was a clear signal of their title-winning credentials, and the Campania side have continued to reinforce why they are the best in Italy since then.

Roma, now outside the top four only on goal difference, will be no pushovers though. 

Three league wins and a draw at the start of 2023 mean they are now well on course for a Champions League qualification spot, while the link-up play between Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala has been a joy to behold in recent games, the Englishman grabbing his fifth Serie A goal of the season with a skilful run and cool finish at Spezia. 

Jose Mourinho's men came from 2-0 down to silence San Siro earlier this month. Can they similarly stun Stadio Diego Armando Maradona to give the chasing pack hope of ensnaring Napoli?

Your Serie A weekend on BT Sport

Saturday

Cremonese vs Inter (5.15pm on BT Sport 1)

Atalanta vs Sampdoria (7.30pm on BT Sport 2)

 

Sunday

Milan vs Sassuolo (11.30am on BT Sport 1)

Juventus vs Monza (2pm on BT Sport 2)

Lazio vs Fiorentina (5pm on BT Sport 2)

Napoli vs Roma (7.45pm on BT Sport 1)

 

Monday

Udinese vs Hellas Verona (7.30pm on BT Sport 1)