Three-goal hero Fabio Quagliarella is hoping to show Juventus he is the man to boost their title defence when the Italian champions travel to Fiorentina on Tuesday.
The fifth round of Serie A fixtures takes place over three days in midweek and after seeing a host of fellow frontrunners stumble over the weekend Juve have a chance to consolidate their position.
Quagliarella has been used sparingly by caretaker coach Massimo Carrera so far this campaign having endured a difficult time last season after his return to action following surgery on a knee ligament.
Against Chelsea last week, however, Carrera took a chance on the striker, sending him on late for Sebastian Giovinco – and was not disappointed.
Quagliarella came off the bench to score Juventus’s second goal in the 2-2 Champions League draw, nutmegging Petr Cech to help Juve grab a share of the points at Stamford Bridge.
And the big striker showed he could be the man to boost the champions early season title bid when he hit a brace in a precious 2-0 win over Chievo on Saturday.
“This has been one of the greatest weeks of my life. Today I wanted to show that I’m ready and I think I did that,” Quagliarella said.
Tuesday 25 September
Fiorentina v Juventus
Wednesday 26 September
Pescara v Palermo
Thursday 27 September
It was a result whose true value came to light by the end of Sunday evening.
Napoli’s draw away to Catania, Lazio’s shock defeat at home to Genoa and Sampdoria’s 1-1 draw away at Torino meant for the first time this season Juventus pulled ahead of the pack and now have a two-point lead on Napoli.
Milan giants AC and Inter also stumbled although it is AC Milan’s situation which is the most worrying of the two.
While Inter sit sixth, six points adrift of Juve, Milan’s third defeat of the season has dropped the seven-time European champions to 15th place in the table ahead of Wednesday’s home fixture against Cagliari.
Despite their 2-1 reverse against Udinese and finishing the match with nine men following red cards for Cristian Zapata and Kevin Prince Boateng, team coach Massimiliano Allegri has been given the backing of the club.
“Allegri has my confidence and that of (club) president (Silvio) Berlusconi,” said club CEO Adriano Galliani.
“Milan played far better, I saw a team improvement.”
However the fact that neither AC nor Inter have won at their shared San Siro home this season, either in the domestic campaign or Champions League, is likely to weigh.
Allegri, whose side was stripped of several big names during the summer including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, has also had a number of key players injured.
But Wednesday’s home fixture could see the return of Brazilian international forward Robinho, who has been out since the start of the season.
In the event of a fourth league defeat, more doubts on Allegri’s tenure are likely to be raised.
Inter, meanwhile, will be looking to get over their shock 2-0 reverse, their second of the campaign at home, to bottom of the table Siena when they travel to Chievo.
For entertainment value, arguably the plum fixture on Wednesday is Lazio’s trip to Napoli.
The clubs boast arguably the most passionate fans in the league and after their weekend setbacks both will be looking to get back to winning ways.
Roma’s weekend game away to Cagliari was postponed in controversial fashion a few hours before kick off on Sunday and Zdenek Zeman’s capital side will be favourites when they host Sampdoria.
After their giant-killing exploits on Sunday, Siena host Bologna on Thursday.