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David Schiavone On January - 14 - 2011

Serie A Matchday 20: Preview

Week 20 has a lot to live up to after last weekends goalfest. Many have proclaimed week 19 to be the best of the season so far, and they would not be wrong. But with Inter looking ominous, Napoli looking superior and Juventus forever stumbling, it seems Milan might have to work a little harder in the race for this years Scudetto.

Brescia – Parma

The ups and downs for Parma continue after a thumping win over Juventus, a 2-1 defeat to Cagliari last weekend brought them back down to earth. They sit perilously close to the relegation dogfight and defeat at the Stadio Rigamonti will pull them right into it. Brescia might have an ace up their sleeve in the form of on-loan Juventus forward and former Ducali front man Davide Lanzafame.

Cagliari – Palermo

Derby delle Isole is upon us and as always it promises to be a fiery affair. Roberto Donadoni’s Cagliari side are performing reasonably well and sit nicely in mid-table but their opponents Palermo are head and shoulders above, sitting comfortably in sixth position. The home side are without Andrea Cossu, who has more assists to his name than any other player this season, and Andrea Lazzari. The Rosanero might find it tough but they can always rely on talisman and captain Fabrizio Miccoli to get them out of a tight spot, just as he did in the Coppa Italia in midweek.

Catania – Chievo

The Flying Donkeys continue to defy the odds against the bigger sides. They were much the better team against Palermo last weekend and only succumbed to a 1-0 defeat in the Coppa Italia to the Rosanero. Kevin Constant has been a revelation this season for them and they can always rely on Sergio Pellissier for goals. Catania are the ultimate example of a home and away team, great at home but dire away from the Massimino. Luckily that’s where they are this weekend.

Cesena – Roma

Unbeaten in three games, Cesena will be hoping the Roma of last weekend turn up. When they traveled to the Olimpico they managed a draw and they will be happy with a reverse at the Stadio Manuzzi. If Claudio Ranieri drops Juan, it could be the first time that the Burdisso brothers start together in a Roma shirt as Philippe Mexes. Goalkeeper Doni also has the chance to reclaim his spot in the team as Julio Sergio is suspended.

Genoa – Udinese

It seems Genoa are destined for a season of transition after the initial promise under Davide Ballardini. They have only won one from their last six in the league and were dumped out of the Coppa by Inter. Scoring is the issue having only netted 13 times this season. Udinese cannot be more different having scored double what Genoa have.

Inter – Bologna

The Nerazzurri are going from strength to strength under Leonardo. Last weekend’s comeback, an excellent Coppa win and a resurgence of the team spirit that was so prevalent under Jose Mourinho. They are looking ominous and a victory over Bologna will mean their neighbours will be looking over their shoulder with a little more purpose. Bologna though, are undefeated in their last three away matches, but were deducted a further two points following financial irregularities.

Juventus – Bari

Hoping to get a faltering Scudetto challenge back on track after a humbling at the San Paolo there is probably not a better side to face than basement dwellers Bari. The injury to Fabio Quagliarella is key and Felipe Melo’s suspension disrupts what was a functioning Juventus midfield unit. Giampiero Ventura could be out of a job soon though the derby victory over Lecce may have given him a stay of execution, for now at least.

Lazio – Sampdoria

Have the Blucerchiati turned a corner after the win against Roma? Who knows? But they will have Federico Macheda to call upon and the Manchester United loanee was close to scoring on his debut, so will be hoping that is rectified on his first start for the club. Lazio have been struggling since the break and have only scored one point since the restart. Could it be that teams have worked out Edy Reja’s side?

Lecce – Milan

On a high after defeating Lazio last week and takes them close to safety, while also welcoming back David Di Michele, Milan may find the Stadio Via Del Mare a more intimidating task than once thought. However, the league leaders will be hoping for Antonio Cassano to start his first Milan game after another week on the training field. Alessandro Nesta is back, so the leaky Rossoneri backline may be more water resistant than against Udinese.

Napoli – Fiorentina

Edinson Cavani has been the name on everyone’s lips following his first Serie A hat trick against Juventus. The Partenopei have propelled themselves into second place and are the new ‘anti-Milan’. Whether or not they can maintain this form remains to be seen. Fiorentina have had more false starts this season than Adrian Mutu has had second chances. However, a magnificent comeback against Brescia last week could well be the kick La Viola need and want.

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