Serie A Preview: Week 7 (Oct 16-17)
Serie A returns after the international break with Roma looking desperately for a win against Genoa, and Milan trying to establish themselves as true Scudetto contenders.
Serie A action resumes with Sampdoria versus Fiorentina and Roma versus Genoa as the two most compelling games. Coach Claudio Ranieri recently appraised himself as a winner, but Roma have to prove that on the field. They are still in a precarious position, having won only one game thus far.
Meanwhile, Milan host Chievo in an encounter that will prove a test of their Scudetto credentials. Milan have two consecutive victories under their belt, and if they notch up a third against Chievo, then they can begin to be rightfully considered as one of the favourites for the ultimate domestic honour.
Milan's Swede striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was an injury doubt, but Massimiliano Allegri will most likely start up up front with him and Pato, who returns from an injury lay-off. The Brazilian starlet was in fine touch during international duty, scoring against Iran and Ukraine in friendly matches.
Clarence Seedorf is also available to Allegri, so he is spoiled for choice, which is not always a welcomed luxury for coaches. Milan will most likely field Ronaldinho, Pato, and Ibrahimovic up front.
Meanwhile, Marco Amelia will replace the injured Christian Abbiati in goal.
Chievo will rely on Sergio Pellissier in attack to guide them past Milan, but the probability of a Chievo win is slim. 2-0 Milan.
Roma lie one better than last in the Serie A table, a grim reading for any Giallorossi fan. Coach Claudio Ranieri will have to do without Daniele De Rossi, who is injured, while Genoa will miss Miguel Veloso.
This match has the potential of being a pivotal one for Roma, who have just won one game all season. Francesco Totti and Marco Borriello should start up front, while Genoa will rely on Luca Toni and Giuseppe Sculli.
An interesting game awaits, and given how desperate Roma are for a win, they may just get one at home. 3-1 Roma.
Inter will travel to Cagliari in the knowledge that a slip-up could potentially mean that loathed city rivals Milan end up three points ahead of them. Inter are missing the indefatigable Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito through injury, so Samuel Eto'o will get a chance to play in his preferred role close to goal.
Cagliari have not won since the first round of matches, so a victory against Inter seems unlikely. 2-1 Inter.
Juventus are still on a high after drawing with Inter, a draw that confirms them as a team capable of tussling with Serie A's best. Further, the 0-0 draw was witness to a very exciting game.
In Vincenzo Iaquinta and Fabio Quagliarella, the two to start up front, Juve have a very capable attack, while the likes of Di Michele and Corvia have kept Lecce unbeaten in three.
Beating or drawing Juve is an insurmountable task for Lecce, so Juve will win 2-0.
Palermo have seven points from their last three games with Javier Pastore stealing all the headlines. The Argentinian has been in scintillating form, reportedly prompting interest from Milan and Barcelona.
Bologna have also been competitive, gathering five points in the last three games, and veteran striker Marco Di Vaio is a perennial scourge for Serie A teams.
Palermo know the importance of this game to their campaign, so they will not slip. 3-1 Palermo.
After starting the season with three wins, Brescia have been unable to collect any points from their last two games. Udinese, meanwhile, got their first win in the last round, so they will want to string together two consecutive wins. 1-0 Udinese.
After defeating Milan and holding Roma to a draw, many thought Cesena would be the true surprise package of the season. However, three losses in the last three games have meant that they are now embroiled in a crisis.
Their opponents Parma are also under pressure to get results, as they are winless this season.
This game will be an intriguing affair between two teams desperate to bounce back. However, both will find the other a tough proposition for that very reason. 1-1.
Napoli are enjoying the dizzying heights of fourth place, sitting with an impressive tally of 11 points. Catania have only collected one point from their last two games, but they have the capacity to set that right at home.
Lavezzi, Marek Hamsik and Edison Cavani will lead Napoli while Maxi Lopez and Mascara are the Catania forwards.
While Napoli have won their last two encounters, they could stumble against a Catania side eager to get a result. The game will end 1-1.
Sampdoria have drawn their last three games, while Fiorentina have won only one fixture, which came against Parma.
This game, then, will be between two teams trying to rescue their season from catastrophe. Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini will start for Sampdoria, while Alberto Gilardino will try to get the Viola much-needed goals.
This game will probably end in a 2-1 Fiorentina win, earning coach Sinisa Mihajlovic some reprieve.
Bari lost to Genoa 2-1 in the last round, and if they are hoping to redeem themselves against Lazio, they have a significant amount of work cut out for them. Lazio were the sole leaders going into the weekend, a position that they can retain if they notch a win.
It is the form of Brazilian Hernanes that has seen him become a much vaunted figure in the Lazio formation. He plays alongside Mauri, who got a call-up to international duty for Italy recently, and Mauro Zarate--two extremely capable players. Sergio Floccari leads the attack.
Bari defeated Lazio 2-0 in this fixture last season, but they will find it difficult to repeat that feat. 1-0 Lazio.