Ones to watch in Week 17

Christmas is approaching, in what is usually a quiet period for Serie A. Yet with the winter break not until January 6, the Scudetto race is as hot as ever.

All of the top five dropped points in Week 16, so none of the challengers can afford to get it wrong this weekend.

Here’s what to watch out for in Week 17 of Serie A.

Inter bells

Inter kick the weekend off against Udinese at home, knowing a win will see them stay top of Serie A for another seven days.

Having scraped past Pordenone in the Coppa Italia with a second string, the first teamers will be keen to impress in front of, what is expected to be, a bumper San Siro crowd.

What’s more, that crowd will be doing a rendition of the Nerazzurri’s very own Christmas carol – make your own mind up about whether that’s a good thing…

Can Napoli find their mojo?

While suggestions that Napoli are in some kind of crisis are patently ridiculous, with Maurizio Sarri’s side just a point off the top, they have been lacking something in recent weeks.

There are signs that the Partenopei’s fluid attacking machine might just need a bit of oil, with only three goals in their last five Serie A games.

Lorenzo Insigne is back in the squad after missing Feyenoord and Fiorentina – can he be the catalyst to get Napoli firing again?

Schick and Dzeko against Cagliari

Patrik Schick has barely had a chance to make an impact following his move from Sampdoria to Roma, but the Czech played 90 minutes against Chievo last week.

Edin Dzeko was introduced just after the hour mark in a goalless draw, but Eusebio Di Francesco hinted in his pre-match Press conference that both could start against Cagliari.

It’s not a guarantee, but with the Giallorossi struggling for goals, what better medicine than deploying two of last season’s best strikers?

Will Dybala bounce back?

Juventus Coach Massimiliano Allegri caused a stir when he dropped Paulo Dybala for the Derby d’Italia against Inter last weekend.

In truth, though, ‘La Joya’ hasn’t been at his best for several weeks, and both Gianluigi Buffon and Pavel Nedved offered him a pep talk this week.

The Bianconeri are at Bologna on Sunday afternoon, and all eyes will be on Dybala to see if he can get back to his best.

The refereeing in Atalanta-Lazio

Even by Serie A standards, there was quite a furore after Lazio’s loss to Torino on Monday night.

The Aquile were so incensed by referee Piero Giacomelli that club officials suggested there was a campaign against them, and there were even rumours the Roman club were considering forfeiting Serie A.

Sunday night brings a tricky trip to the Azzurri d’Italia, where Lazio face Atalanta, and you can bet the pressure will be on Massimiliano Irrati.

A wrong call in the hosts’ favour, and Laziale will say the campaign continues. Get it wrong the other way, and he’ll be accused of bowing to pressure.

This should be a fascinating match between two sides who qualified for the Europa League Last 32, and now there will be an extra edge to it.