Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

David Schiavone On February - 5 - 2011

Serie A Matchday 24: Preview

The games are coming thick and fast in Serie A, and after a crucial midweek round in which Inter were the sole benefactors, they will be looking to build on that momentum but face a tough tie in the weekends standout game.

Bologna – Catania

What a baptism into Italian football management for Diego Simeone, but he remedied a 100 per cent losing record with Catania after claiming a draw against Cesena during the week. Away to Bologna though he will be expected to unleash new signings Ezequiel Schelotto and Gonzalo Bergessio. Alberto Malesani will be hoping star striker Marco Di Vaio can continue his rich run of form after another goal in midweek. Ominous for the away side is the fact that Bologna have only been beaten once at home this season, while Catania have yet to record an away win.

Brescia – Bari

A relegation battle and key match for both sides if they are to avoid the drop. Bari are adrift at the bottom and are desperate for a victory after six defeats on the bounce, though performances haven’t reflected recent results. Brescia will be in high spirits after securing a valuable point against Roma with goalkeeper Michele Arcari the star man, but they had to thank on loan striker Davide Lanzafame who was magnificent after his introduction.

Cagliari – Juventus

The away side are in a bit of a slump after gaining only five points from a potential 25 that were available. Up in arms after a blatant penalty wasn’t given against Palermo, it seems they are a wounded animal ready to strike. Cagliari have blossomed under Roberto Donadoni, four wins from five suggest a team comfortable with the way it plays while being especially impressive at the Stadio Sant’Elia. But can Alessandro Matri return to haunt his old club?

Genoa – Milan

In the midst of an injury crisis, Milan are in for a tough time at the Marassi as Genoa seem to have started to find the back of the net after a barren spell in front of goal. One to watch will be goalkeeper Eduardo who has been prone to gifting the opposition chances, so Milan be looking to test the former Braga man. Serie A’s winter champions will be hoping Zlatan Ibrahimovic finds his shooting boots after a woeful outing in front of goal against Lazio, but will be safe in the knowledge Mario Yepes is in fine form at the back.

Inter – Roma

The biggest match of the weekend as two teams look to put pressure on Milan in the race for the Scudetto. A win for Roma will put them above their title rivals and give them a psychological boost over an old adversary. One problem for Claudio Ranieri will be the forward positions, but he could have to do without Francesco Totti who has the flu. Inter are a new side since Leonardo’s inception as boss, and he showed his tactical acumen by adjusting an underperforming side at half time against Bari in midweek. This will prompt the question of whether or not it will be three up front or if he will start Wesley Sneijder instead. Giampaolo Pazzini is averaging a goal every 45 minutes for Inter, so the Nerazzurri will be hoping he keeps that up at the weekend.

Lazio – Chievo

You can always rely on the Flying Donkeys to put a spanner in the works and they did just that by beating Napoli in midweek. Now another title challenger is up and betting against Chievo is always a bad idea. One thing always in their favour is when big sides come calling, they always step up to the plate. Lazio though will be boosted by the return of Mauro Zarate, who could form a devastating partnership with Libor Kozak, the one-man defender-killing machine. Surprisingly Lazio have only beaten Chievo once at the Olimpico, 1-0 all the way back in 2003.

Lecce – Palermo

Ecstatic after a hard fought win over Juventus, Palermo will be hoping to heap more misery onto Lecce’s season, but the Salentini are in good form and are unbeaten in the last five matches, even more impressive is that Lazio, Milan and Fiorentina are all included in those matches. A turnaround so good, they have climbed out of the relegation zone. Palermo though, are on the cusp of the Champions League places but are renowned bad travellers.

Napoli – Cesena

Not taking advantage of Milan and Lazio’s draw in midweek will be sticking in the throats of Edy Reja’s team going into this match, but their performance didn’t merit anything from the match, so heading home to the San Paolo will be just what they need, 60,000 Neapolitans right behind them. Cesena shuffled the pack during January and will look to unleash Alessandro Rosina on the home team, as well as Davide Santon who will hope to improve on his recent form, especially his last game for Inter when he was subbed at half time.

Parma – Fiorentina

Pasquale Marino’s job is apparently on the line in this match with Walter Zenga primed to take over if Parma fail to take all three points. The team are in ritiro and will be hoping that is enough to lead them to victory as a strike force that includes Juventus misfit Amauri is unlikely to have the Viola defence trembling in fear. What is worry for Fiorentina is the fact they have failed to taste victory in any of their last 16 away matches.

Udinese – Sampdoria

You would have to admit, Francesco Guidolin’s men are the form team in Serie A right now, and not only that, they are the most attractive to watch. Now unbeaten in six games, they are hot favourites to continue the trend against a struggling Sampdoria side. Only one win in the last seven has created an air of disappointment around the Marassi, but boasting strikers such as Massimo Maccarone, Jonathan Biabiany and Federico Macheda. It shouldn’t be long before the Blucerchiati are on the up once more.

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