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Five things to watch during Serie A Matchday 17 as ex-Inter boss Jose Mourinho takes his Roma side to title-chasing Milan - live on BT Sport!
The capital club won their first game after the World Cup against Bologna, but face a daunting trip to the reigning champions, who resumed their campaign with a 2-1 victory at Salernitana.
After the Serie A season resumed in midweek following the World Cup, weekend top-flight Italian football returns to our screens, starting on Saturday.
The game that jumps out most though is on Sunday night as top-four contenders Roma head to San Siro to face defending champions Milan.
Read on for all the major Matchday 17 storylines, as well as how to watch NINE of the matches from the competition exclusively live on BT Sport.
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Mourinho looks to upset old foes
Like with his other stints across Europe, Jose Mourinho's spell at Inter didn't lack drama as he won back-to-back Scudetti during his two years in charge, the latter triumph coming at the expense of Roma, who came just two points behind the Nerazzurri in 2009/10.
The Portuguese also won three of his four meetings against Milan during that spell, including an extremely fiery encounter which saw his side reduced to nine men as Wesley Sneijder and Lucio were given their marching orders.
Now Mourinho is at the helm in the capital, his objectives are more modest.
That said, the Giallorossi are in the mix for the top four and Champions League qualification, as well as currently being in the knockout play-off round of the Europa League following last term's Europa Conference League victory.
A win over Bologna also has Roma looking up after a period directly before the World Cup where they picked up only two points from their last three games before the tournament in Qatar.
However, they are notably less potent in front of goal than 2021/22, with Tammy Abraham, their top league scorer last season with 17, only on three league goals this time round. Chris Smalling is surprisingly level with his fellow Englishman in that regard and only Paulo Dybala is ahead of the pair in the scoring charts among the squad (five). It is no surprise then that Roma have scored by far the fewest goals in the top eight (19 in 16 games so far).
On the flip side though, Mourinho's men have just conceded 14 times, lower than Milan's 16, but the Rossoneri still have aspirations of retaining their title despite a nervy 2-1 win at Salernitana. Milan are dealing with a crippling injury list too, comprising eight important players: Alessandro Florenzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mike Maignan, Fode Ballo-Toure, Junior Messias, Ante Rebic, Divock Origi and most recently Rade Krunic, while the influential Sandro Tonali is a yellow away from a one-game suspension.
Pioli will need to rely on Rafael Leao - who netted with aplomb in Salerno - and Olivier Giroud for the firepower up front, and both men scored against Roma in a 3-1 at San Siro last January. A repeat result would do very nicely for the home faithful as Milan look to cut the five-point gap to Napoli.
Can Napoli respond after Inter defeat?
Napoli's unbeaten start to the Serie A campaign ended in an excruciatingly tense affair on Wednesday at Inter, who also handed the Partenopei their first loss last season after 12 games without defeat.
Luciano Spalletti's men have wowed audiences across Europe with their vibrant attacking, but they failed to score domestically for the first time since August at Fiorentina and struggled for inspiration at San Siro in a game that saw just three efforts on target, with Edin Dzeko's bullet header from Federico Dimarco's pinpoint cross the only effort from the Nerazzurri.
Despite the disappointment of a first league defeat since last April, Napoli can still breathe relatively easily with a five-point cushion over Milan, although Juventus and Inter are queuing up behind the Rossoneri should their title tilt fall away.
Spalletti's next task is to revive the spirits of his group, starting with the Sunday evening trip to 18th-placed Sampdoria, who secured a priceless three points in their previous encounter - a 2-1 win at Sassuolo - after four defeats without scoring before that.
Samp are enjoying an 11th successive season at Italy's top table, but despite that pivotal victory at Sassuolo, they are contending with some notable absentees. Centre-back Omar Colley, 39-year-old forward Fabio Quagliarella and attacking midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri, who was part of Morocco's sensational run to the World Cup semi-finals are all out.
Anything other than defeat against Napoli would be mightily impressive for the Genoese, who have scored fewer league goals this season - eight - than their upcoming opponents' top scorer, Victor Osimhen, who has nine.
Injury-hit Juve soldier on under Allegri
Juventus currently have significant issues both on and off the field.
Off it, the Old Lady are embroiled in a false accouting scandal, being accused of downplaying significant financial losses and of claiming that players had agreed to post-Covid salary reductions that were allegedly far smaller than had been recorded by the club.
As far as the actual football's concerned, it is an improving story, with Juve currently sitting third - higher than they finished in their previous two seasons - and with the best defence in the league (just seven conceded), having kept an incredible seven successive clean sheets in as many victories.
However, Massimiliano Allegri's men are having a torrid time with injuries.
Paul Pogba, Dusan Vlahovic, Angel Di Maria, Leanardo Bonucci, Juan Cuadrado and Mattia De Sciglio are all out, and while all those mentioned bar Di Maria should be back by the end of the month, the squad now looks wafer thin.
Teenagers Mattias Soule and Fabio Miretti were trusted to start on Wednesday at relegation-threatened Cremonese, a game that saw Arkadiusz Milik bag a 91st-minute winner from a free-kick to hold off Inter, Lazio and Roma in the top-four race.
Their next match though is against woefully-out-of-form Udinese, who in mid-September were briefly top of the table after stunning Inter 3-1 but are currently on a nine-match winless run and now lie eighth.
Despite 21 shots against Empoli in midweek, they could only manage a 1-1 draw courtesy of former Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra, but he and Tottenham loanee Destiny Udogie are only one booking from a ban, meaning the duo must tread carefully if they are to avoid missing a far more winnable fixture against Bologna.
One player the Bianconeri definitely are missing at the moment is Gerard Deulofeu, who has been heavily linked with a move to Aston Villa, and if the 28-year-old does depart, even more of the goalscoring burden will fall on the shoulders of Beto.
With just one goal in eight across all competitions, the Portuguese striker must step up.
Recent run a bitter pill to Sassuolo
Sassuolo have become admired across Italy for their ability to punch above their weight in Serie A, with the Neroverdi finishing 12th or higher in each of the last eight seasons - including three top-eight finishes - and nurturing the likes of Gianluca Scamacca, Matteo Politano and Giacomo Raspadori.
This term has been distinctly sobering however.
Four points out of the last 24 on offer have pushed Alessio Dionisi's men into an uncomfortable position, and although they are still seven points clear of Sampdoria in 18th even after losing to them, they can ill afford the continuation of their current form for much longer.
A trip to mid-table Fiorentina, without dangerous attackers Riccardo Sottil and Nicolas Gonzalez, is eminently winnable though.
La Viola threw away two points against Monza in midweek. They also haven't won any of their past five meetings against Sassuolo and have endured nightmares against Domenico Berardi, who has netted nine times in 13 editions of this fixture, including a hat-trick in the corresponding match last season. The 28-year-old has just two league goals to his name this term, but maybe fond memories of past glories will spur him into life on Sunday evening.
A real six-pointer in Verona
Marco Zaffaroni - the third Hellas Verona manager this season - may have kicked off his reign with a morale-boosting draw against Torino to end a run of 10 straight losses, but the task facing the Gialloblu still looks insurmountable.
They sit eight points adrift of 17th and safety at the foot of the table, having not won since 4 September, and threw away a rare lead in Turin as Milan Djuric's effort was cancelled out by a stunning strike from Aleksey Miranchuk.
However, Verona have the chance to end their winning drought when they host Cremonese, the only team in the division without a victory so far this campaign.
The Lombardy side came agonisingly close to securing a point against Juventus on Wednesday, but Massimiliano Alvini can cling to his fact that his men are often tough to beat - as seven draws indicates - and tightened up considerably before the World Cup, conceding just five times in as many games prior to the break.
Alvini will be hoping though that summer signings Cyriel Dessers and David Okereke can find their shooting boots, starting on Monday evening.
The pair have scored just five goals between them in 2022/23 and need to become more prolific if the Grigiorossi are to avoid an immediate return to Serie B.
Your Serie A weekend on BT Sport
Juventus vs Udinese (5.15pm on BT Sport 1)
Monza vs Inter (7.30pm on BT Sport 1)
Salernitana vs Torino (11.30am on BT Sport 1)
Lazio vs Empoli (2pm on BT Sport 2)
Spezia vs Lecce (2pm on BT Sport 3)
Sampdoria vs Napoli (5pm on BT Sport 2)
Milan vs Roma (7.45pm on BT Sport 1)
Hellas Verona vs Cremonese (5.30pm on BT Sport 1)