Goals galore as Juve, Roma distance Napoli
Title chasers Juventus and Roma piled on the goals on the final Serie A matchday before the festive break on Sunday to leave misfiring Napoli frustrated with a 1-1 draw against Cagliari.
Champions Juventus conceded their first goal in nine games but saw Carlos Tevez, Paul Pogba, Fernando Llorente and Arturo Vidal all hit the net in a 4-1 win away to Atalanta.
Early season pacesetters Roma had no trouble disposing of basement side Catania, with Mehdi Benatia hitting a brace and Mattia Destro and Gervinho adding one apiece in a 4-0 win at the Olympic Stadium.
Juventus's 15th win in 17 games means Antonio Conte's men will enjoy a five-point lead over Roma during the Christmas break.
The champions host Roma on January 5, and Llorente said: "It was a difficult game but we were able to play the way we wanted to.
"Atalanta are a very strong side at home, so we're very happy with the win. Now we'll try to enjoy some holidays before starting to prepare for the visit of Roma."
Roma sit second with a five-point lead on Napoli, who saw Fiorentina edge to within three points of third place after Giuseppe Rossi hit an 80th-minute winner for La Viola away to struggling Sassuolo.
With Francesco Totti back from injury and making his first start since October, Roma coach Rudi Garcia sent out a 4-2-3-1 formation designed to score goals.
"In the second half we were great, that's the Roma I want to see all the time," said Garcia.
"We've used this formation several times since the start of the season, it's not an experiment. With Totti, Gervinho and Destro all playing, it's a lot easier to win games."
Juventus and Roma were not the only sides in goalscoring mood, however, with Verona claiming a 4-1 win at home to Lazio and Torino beating Chievo by the same scoreline at the Olympic Stadium.
Ciro Immobile also struck twice, with further goals from Giuseppe Vives and Alessio Cerci, as Torino outclassed Chievo 4-1 to reinforce their grip on seventh place.
Elsewhere, Bologna claimed a precious 1-0 home win over Genoa, their third win of the season, to move out of the relegation zone.
Parma were one of the biggest winners on the day, Roberto Donadoni's men securing a 1-1 draw away to Sampdoria which, thanks to results elsewhere, moved them from 13th to eighth.
Two weeks after exiting the Champions League group stages at the hands of Galatasaray and ahead of beginning their Europa League campaign, Juventus turned their attention firmly back on winning a third consecutive scudetto.
Atalanta had conceded defeat only once at home this season, but when a bobbling, low strike from Tevez beat goalkeeper Andrea Consigli in the sixth minute the Bergamo-based side looked to be in for a long afternoon.
The hosts were back on level terms less than 10 minutes later when Maxi Moralez sent a superb curling strike past the outstretched Gianluigi Buffon to end the goalkeeper's eight-match, 745-minute unbeaten streak.
Juve, however, moved up a gear after the interval and after just a minute Pogba beat Consigli from close range after Kwadwo Asamoah's cross from the left was chested down into the Frenchman's path by Llorente.
Llorenta made it three on 75 minutes when he collected Giorgio Chiellini's pass inside the area and turned his marker before beating Consigli at his far post.
Four minutes later Vidal virtually sealed Juve's ninth win on the trot when he was given space at the back post to first-time Stephan Lichsteiner's weighted pass beyond the 'keeper.
Inter will reclaim fifth place if they at least draw with Milan in Sunday's late game although the Rossoneri, languishing in 13th, will be motivated by the chance to move up to eighth in the event of a win.