Juventus gunning for derby glory
Leaders Juventus will be eyeing a swift return to winning ways in Serie A after suffering their second defeat of the season against AC Milan.
The Turin club fell to a 1-0 defeat against the Rossoneri to see their lead at the summit cut to two points by Napoli.
A derby against Torino awaits Juve on Saturday, and club director Beppe Marotta has issued a rallying cry to his players in a bid to reverse a sequence that has seen them win just once in their last four Serie A outings.
"Last year we won the championship with our never-say-die attitude,'' Marotta said. "From there we've continued our positive run and we're still top of the league as it stands. We know that we've got experienced competition and we can't help but acknowledge the value of our opposition. The title race is open and it's our duty to believe we can do it.''
Juve's nearest challengers Napoli stepped up their title challenge with a 1-0 win at Cagliari last weekend. Marek Hamsik scoring the only goal in that match, and the Slovakian has called on his side to continue in the same vein throughout December, starting with Sunday's home encounter with rock-bottom Pescara.
"I want four wins up to Christmas, starting obviously against Pescara; a game that is easy on paper,'' he said. "We will not just be going head-to-head with Juventus. Inter are still in the running, with Fiorentina, Lazio and Roma.''
Third-placed Fiorentina are defending an eight-match unbeaten run and will hope to continue exerting pressure on the leaders when they play host to Sampdoria.
La Viola have a string of injury problems ahead of the match, however, with Adem Ljajic, Luca Toni and Stevan Jovetic all struggling for fitness. Mounir El Hamdaoui is Fiorentina's only fit senior striker so Vincenzo Montella could turn to 20-year-old Haris Seferovic.
Inter Milan are in fourth place, level on 28 points with Fiorentina, and will be bidding to snap a three-game winless streak when they entertain Palermo, while fifth-placed Lazio welcome Parma.
Elsewhere on Sunday, second-bottom Bologna play host to Atalanta, Siena entertain Roma, Udinese bid for a first win in six when they meet Cagliari, while third-bottom Chievo are the visitors to Genoa.
The action gets under way tomorrow night as ninth-placed Catania play host to a Milan side one point and one place behind them in the standings, yet full of confidence following last week's victory over Juventus.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report