Bolton v Arsenal
Bolton striker Kevin Davies may struggle to recover from his hamstring injury in time to play.
Anthony Barness (medial ligaments) is still out, while Julio Cesar (broken toe) will be missing for another week.
Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole return to bolster Arsenal's defence after recovering from ankle injuries but Lauren (knee) is again out.
Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg are also back after being rested along with Dennis Bergkamp (thigh).
Aston Villa v Norwich
Aston Villa will probably turn to either Mathieu Berson or Steven Davis in the absence of Gavin McCann.
Thomas Hitzlsperger is in contention after injury but Darius Vassell will not get a call.
Norwich will hand a debut to new £3m striker Dean Ashton, with Leon McKenzie, Darren Huckerby and Mattias Jonson in the frame to partner him.
Phil Mulryne will get a game in midfield with Thomas Helveg (calf) and David Bentley (knee) injured.
Charlton v Birmingham
Charlton's Shaun Bartlett has overcome a hamstring injury and the Addicks also hope Jonathan Fortune will recover from a hip problem.
Jason Euell (toe) and Graham Stuart (back) are doubtful but Chris Perry (groin) and Kevin Lisbie (hamstring) could feature.
Robbie Savage will be absent for Birmingham as his move to Blackburn nears completion.
Stan Lazaridis has a thigh injury and has only a 50-50 chance of being fit.
Man City v Crystal Palace
Manchester City's Nicolas Anelka is missing, and will have a scan soon to discover the extent of his injury.
Robbie Fowler missed the defeat at Oldham due to a family bereavement, but should replace Bradley Wright-Phillips
Crystal Palace will be without Danny Granville and Michael Hughes, who are both suspended after five cautions.
Gonzalo Sorondo should be in contention after a hamstring problem, but Aki Riihilahti (calf) and Joonas Kolkka (ribs) are still out.
Man City (from): James, Waterreus, Onuoha, Distin, Sommeil, Thatcher, Dunne, Bosvelt, S Wright-Phillips, Barton, Sibierski, Fowler, McManaman, Macken, B Wright-Phillips.
Crystal Palace (from): Kiraly, Speroni, Boyce, Hall, Butterfield, Popovic, Leigertwood, Sorondo, Routledge, Powell, Soares, Torghelle, Andrews, Watson, Lakis, Johnson, Shipperley, Freedman.
Fulham v West Brom
Fulham striker Andy Cole is suspended but Canadian international Tomasz Radzinski is back after injury.
Papa Bouba Diop and Zesh Rehman, rested against Watford, are in contention but the game could come too soon for Claus Jensen, Alain Goma and Ian Pearce.
West Brom will hand a debut to striker Kevin Campbell, and fellow striker Kanu should be fit after a virus.
Geoff Horsfield is available after a hamstring strain and Cosmin Contra could return but Darren Moore is out
Liverpool v Man Utd
Striker Fernando Morientes is expected to make his Liverpool debut and fellow new signing Mauricio Pellegrino should also play a part in the match.
Centre-back Sami Hyypia has recovered from flu and will return.
Winger Ryan Giggs and defender Rio Ferdinand face late fitness tests but Gary Neville is out again despite returning to training after a virus.
Giggs has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and, along with Ferdinand, is expected to play.
Liverpool (from): Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Pellegrino, Traore, Riise, Luis Garcia, Hamann, Gerrard, Nunez, Warnock, Morientes, Baros, Biscan, Diao, Harrison, Mellor, Sinama-Pongolle.
Man Utd (from): Carroll, Howard, P Neville, Silvestre, Ferdinand, O'Shea, Heinze, Fortune, Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Djemba-Djemba, Smith, Saha, Rooney
Newcastle v Southampton
Newcastle welcome back Alan Shearer, who has missed 12 games with thigh and calf injuries, and Patrick Kluivert who has been out since December.
Laurent Robert (hamstring) and Charles N'Zogbia (ankle) are named in the squad, but Nicky Butt and Stephen Carr are both missing.
Southampton midfielders Anders Svensson (dead leg) and Fabrice Fernandes (hamstring) are both fit.
Andreas Jakobsson is doubtful after pulling a muscle in his back.
Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Taylor, Hughes, Babayaro, Bernard, Boumsong, Bramble, O'Brien, Dyer, Jenas, Bowyer, Robert, N'Zogbia, Milner, Ambrose, Shearer, Bellamy, Kluivert, Ameobi.
Southampton (from): Niemi, Telfer, Lundekvam, Davenport, Higginbotham, Prutton, Delap, Redknapp, McCann, Crouch, Phillips, Dodd, Jakobsson, Blackstock, A Svensson, Fernandes, Nilsson, Ormerod, Oakley, Smith.
Sheff Utd v Brighton
Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny faces a late fitness test but Ashley Ward, Chris Armstrong and Steve Kabba are out with long-term injuries.
Paul Thirlwell and Paul Shaw come back into contention while Chris Morgan will start after a suspension.
Brighton boss Mark McGhee is likely to name an unchanged side for the trip to Bramall Lane after their performance in the 2-1 FA Cup loss at Spurs.
Brighton will come up against their former captain Danny Cullip.
Burnley v Reading
Burnley are set to be boosted by the return of of goalkeeper Danny Coyne and striker Jean-Louis Valois.
The Clarets will be without the suspended Micah Hyde while Michael Duff is doubtful with a calf problem.
Reading skipper Graeme Murty is expected to return after training all week following an ankle injury.
A last-minute decision will be made on Dean Morgan's ankle injury, while striker Les Ferdinand is a slight doubt with a thigh injury.
Leeds v Cardiff
Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell is boosted by the return from bans of centre-backs Paul Butler and Clarke Carlisle, so Michael Duberry will miss out.
Michael Ricketts could partner David Healy up front as striker Nathan Blake is out injured for two months.
Cardiff's Peter Thorne is recalled after being rested for last week's FA Cup tie against Blackburn, so Alan Lee will drop to the bench.
Willie Boland (knee), Joe Ledley (neck) and Paul Parry (shin) are all doubts.
Ipswich v Coventry
Ipswich are set to welcome back defender Richard Naylor so Fabian Wilnis will move to right-back and Scott Mitchell will drop to the bench.
Ian Westlake serves a one-match ban for collecting five yellow cards.
Coventry caretaker manager Adrian Heath will be without suspended right-back Louis Carey, while striker Neil Wood (ankle) is a doubt for the game.
Andy Whing comes back into contention but Tim Sherwood (leg) remains a long way short of match fitness.
Watford v Crewe
Watford welcome back on-loan midfielder Johnnie Jackson, while striker Danny Webber is pushing for a start.
But defenders Sean Dyche (groin) and Marcus Gayle (hamstring) are still out.
Crewe manager Dario Gradi has a fitness doubt over full-back Anthony Tonkin, who has a slight hamstring strain, so Chris McCready is likely to deputise.
Luke Varney will continue to partner Mark Rivers in attack, Justin Cochrane is pushing hard for a place in midfield but Billy Jones is still not fit.
Gillingham v Plymouth
Chris Hope is standing by to deputise for Gillingham defender Barry Ashby who has a shoulder injury.
Midfielder Alan Pouton (thigh) and Jason Brown (hamstring) are in contention after recovering from injuries and training all week.
Plymouth striker Scott Taylor is available after being cup-tied against Everton last week.
Goalkeeper Romain Larrieu had recovered from a slight knock, leaving striker Steve Milne as Argyle's only absentee
Preston v Leicester
Preston welcome back Richard Cresswell and midfielder Brian O'Neil from suspension but Claude Davis is banned.
New signing David Nugent may be on the bench, defenders Callum Davidson and Marlon Broomes are out with hamstring injuries but Tyrone Mears could figure.
Leicester boss Craig Levein could hand first starts to Alan Maybury and Mark de Vries after they came off the bench last week in the Cup.
Winger Keith Gillespie is banned and Danny Tiatto (cheek) is still injured.
Nottm Forest v Millwall
New Forest boss Gary Megson has a defensive headache as John Thompson, Wes Morgan and Jon Hjelde are banned.
Adam Nowland (hamstring) is doubtful but Paul Evans is fit and Shaun Derry returns after missing the Cup victory.
Millwall welcome back Danny Dichio and Kevin Muscat from suspension but midfielder Peter Sweeney and Dennis Wise will both miss the contest.
Scott Dobie, Andy Marshall, Darren Ward and David Livermore could also all return from illness and injury.
QPR v Stoke
QPR are set to hand starts to defender Andrew Davies and keeper Simon Royce, who joined the club on loan this week from Middlesbrough and Charlton.
Georges Santos and Paul Furlong are both back from suspension, while Marcus Bignot and Adam Miller are available.
Stoke defender John Halls is battling against back and hamstring problems.
On-loan Wigan midfielder Jason Jarrett should retain his place in midfield following his debut at Arsenal, but Clint Hill remains suspended.
Rotherham v Wigan
Rotherham's injury crisis has eased and they may welcome back Robbie Stockdale and Darren Garner after calf injuries, though Shaun Barker is still injured.
Scott Minto has shrugged off a virus and John Mullin is back in training but this game has come too soon for both.
Wigan boss Paul Jewell should start with Leighton Baines and Jimmy Bullard after resting them last week and Nathan Ellington (hamstring) should be fit.
Matt Jackson (cut hand) and Ian Breckin (broken nose) are also available.
Wolves v West Ham
Wolves boss Glenn Hoddle can once again call on the services of Paul Ince as he continues to build up to full fitness.
Vio Ganea (knee ligament) and Dean Sturridge (hamstring) are missing and Rob Edwards and George Ndah are not quite ready to make their returns.
West Ham will be without midfielder Carl Fletcher who is banned but Bobby Zamora returns from a suspension.
Steve Lomas (calf), Nigel Reo-Coker (flu), Matthew Etherington (groin) and Teddy Sheringham (ankle) are doubts
Barnsley v Huddersfield
Barnsley strikers Daniel Nardiello and Barry Conlon are major doubts but Nick Colgan has shaken off a groin problem.
Mark Stallard scored in a midweek reserve match to stake his claim for a starting place.
Huddersfield's Andy Booth is back in contention after shaking off an ankle injury but Akpo Sodje has been ruled out with a rib problem.
Nathan Clarke will undergo a late fitness test while John McCombe is ruled out with ankle trouble
Swindon v Blackpool
Swindon will be without striker Christian Roberts (hernia) while Stefani Miglioranzi is still struggling with a stomach injury.
Matt Hewlett (neck) could also miss out while defender Jerel Ifil is serving the last match of his suspension.
Blackpool striker Keigan Parker misses the trip to Swindon through suspension.
Gareth Evans returns after sitting out the FA Cup draw with Leicester through suspension, but goalkeeper Brad Jones (thigh) could miss out.
Bournemouth v Sheff Wed
Bournemouth defender Eddie Howe has recovered from an ankle injury and could play against Sheffield Wednesday.
Brian Stock is suspended but striker James Hayter could return to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in the FA Cup win over Chester.
Sheffield Wednesday winger Matt Hamshaw misses the trip to play-off rivals Bournemouth with a hamstring injury.
But fellow midfielder Paul Smith (knee) is still four to six weeks away from returning to first-team action.
Bristol City v Bradford
Defender Tony Butler is Bristol City boss Brian Tinnion's only absentee for the visit of Bradford.
Tommy Doherty, who returned to the bench for the game with Tranmere, could be in the starting line-up.
For Bradford, striker Andy Cooke has received international clearance and could make his debut.
But midfielder Tom Kearney will miss out as he faces a double hernia operation that is expected to keep him out of the side until March.
Port Vale v Brentford
Michael Cummins (knee) is out for Port Vale while Lee Matthews (calf) and Steve Rowland (knee) are doubtful for the clash with Brentford.
Nathan Lowndes returns to the squad, Craig James is in contention, while Ian Armstrong is approaching full fitness.
For Brentford, Kevin O'Connor (foot) is a major doubt while Jamie Lawrence (leg) is unlikely to play.
Sam Sodje is available after suspension, Michael Dobson could return but Steve Hunt (groin) is doubtful.
Walsall v Chesterfield
Walsall defender Ian Roper could return after coming through a reserve game while Matty Fryatt is in contention after recovering from illness.
Ryan Willetts could also return but influential defender Neil Emblen is out with an Achilles injury.
Chesterfield's Ian Evatt is suspended, Aaron Downes is away on international duty while Steve Blatherwick will have a late fitness test.
Meanwhile, striker Caleb Folan is pushing for a place in the starting XI.
Milton Keynes v Colchester
Milton Keynes manager Danny Wilson is set to hand a debut to Clive Platt at home to Colchester.
And Ben Chorley is likely to continue as captain in the absence of the injured Mark Williams.
Richard Garcia and Bobby Bowry are back in the Colchester squad while Dean Gerken continues to stand in for the injured Aidan Davison in goal.
Meanwhile, midfield duo Kem Izzet (ankle) and Karl Duguid (knee) remain long-term absentees
Oldham v Doncaster
Doncaster manager Dave Penney should name an unchanged squad for the trip to Oldham as the virus that swept through the club has finally subsided.
Penney will keep faith with goalkeeper Stuart Jones while defender Simon Marples (groin) is not quite ready.
Oldham welcome back on-loan winger Lee Croft while striker Chris Killen (groin) should also return.
However, captain Dean Holden is still seven weeks from returning after rupturing ankle ligaments.
Torquay v Hartlepool
Torquay strikers Leon Constantine and Jo Kuffour, keeper Olafur Gottskalksson and defender Lee Canoville are set to return after shrugging off a virus.
Tony Bedeau is hoping to be fit after a groin injury while midfielders Stuart Boardley and Alex Russell, who both have ankle injuries, face late checks.
Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper will name an unchanged squad after the goalless FA Cup draw with Boston.
Skipper Micky Barron (knee) needs more reserve games before being considered.
Hull v Peterborough
Kevin Ellison comes into the Hull squad for the home game against Peterborough while captain Ian Ashbee and playmaker Nick Barmby are back from suspension.
Midfielder Ryan France and defender Roland Edge return from injury but full-back Alton Thelwell (knee) and Stuart Elliott (cheek) are out.
For Peterborough, striker Richard Logan (hamstring) is a major doubt.
Peter Kennedy is back but Curtis Woodhouse (knee and flu) and Gareth Jelleyman (hamstring) remain sidelined
Luton v Stockport
Luton will be without defender Sol Davis for the match against Stockport.
The 25-year-old picked up his fifth booking of the season in the FA Cup defeat by Brentford.
Hartlepool's Darrell Clarke is set to make his debut after signing a one-month loan deal while striker Chris Armstrong could also make his bow.
However, manager Chris Turner will be without midfielders Lee Cartwright (hamstring) and Mark Robertson (thigh) for the visit to Kenilworth Road.
This is a desperate relegation battle between the bottom two teams in the table and new Siena Coach Gigi De Canio makes his debut in a must-win game.
Atalanta seem to have turned a corner with their first victory of the season and, although they lost at Roma on Sunday, the 2-1 scoreline was enough to boost confidence. Andrea Lazzari saw red in that encounter and will be suspended for this tie, but Demetrio Albertini returns to the midfield. With Giampaolo Pazzini still out injured, Igor Budan is supported by Riccardo Montolivo.
Siena also believed they had made the step up in quality with a 3-1 victory away to Chievo, but the 1-0 home defeat to Parma sent them plummeting back down to penultimate place. It's a result that cost Coach Gigi Simoni his job and new man De Canio has had less than a week to prepare for this crunch match. Fabio Pecchia is suspended for this tie, so Mattia Graffiedi returns to the starting eleven. The club is dealing with an injury crisis that has ruled out Mignani, Ardito, Nicola, Portanova and Tore Andre Flo.
Atalanta (probable): Taibi; Innocenti, Sala, Natali, Rivalta; Zenoni, Bernardini, Albertini, Marcolini; Montolivo, Budan
Siena (probable): Fortin; Foglio, Cirillo, Colonnese, Falsini; Taddei, Argilli, Di Donato, Vergassola; Graffiedi, Chiesa
Two teams in crisis face off at the Stadio Rigamonti and results are needed to keep the two Coaches in employment.
Brescia had a strong start to the season, but have really tailed off over the last few weeks with just one point from their last four games. Crucially, the Rondinelle have also scored just once over that period – during the 1-1 draw with Bologna – so it’s clear where their weaknesses lie. The attacking potential is further hit by Under-21 international Giuseppe Sculli’s ban, so youngster Dipasquale partners Andrea Caracciolo.
Fiorentina boss Sergio Buso was hailed as a saviour when he took over from Emiliano Mondonico, but a string of poor results have put the pressure on his head. The 6-0 drubbing at Milan was a warning, but the two consecutive defeats to bottom of the table Atalanta and Lazio have rung alarm bells around the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Enzo Maresca and William Viali are suspended for this trip, while Christian Riganò will play on with a protective cast for a fractured finger. The competition for places upfront has left Javier Portillo on the bench again, this time in favour of Jaime Valdes.
Brescia (probable): Castellazzi; Martinez, Di Biagio, Mareco; Stankevicius, Guana, Milanetto, Domizzi; Schopp, Dipasquale; Caracciolo
Fiorentina (probable): Lupatelli; Ujfalusi, Delli Carri, Chiellini; Maggio, Piangerelli, Obodo, Guigou; Valdes, Miccoli; Riganò
Gianfranco Zola takes on the auld enemy as Juventus come to visit on-form Cagliari in a tough test of their Scudetto credentials.
Zola has had many a battle with the Bianconeri over the course of his career, as Parma and Juve challenged for the Scudetto, UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia during the 1990’s. Now he represents his homeland and will be a key figure in this encounter, even if the veteran has been repeatedly substituted by Coach Daniele Arrigoni. It is a situation Alessandro Del Piero can sympathise with, as he has been replaced 17 times in 18 official games this season.
Cagliari’s home form has been key to their success, both in Serie B and now that they have returned to the top flight, with 20 of their total 25 points picked up at the Stadio Sant’Elia. The only team to have conquered Sardinia so far has been Milan in Week 6, so Fabio Capello has his work cut out for him.
The Turin giants may have been crowned the Winter Champions a round early thanks to Milan’s slip in Sicily, but the 4-2 victory over troubled Livorno highlighted growing problems in defence and especially midfield, where Manuele Blasi was sorely missed. It’s hoped the ex-Perugia man can be fit enough to start this tie, as the pace of Antonio Langella and Mauro Esposito can be deadly.
Cagliari (probable): Iezzo; Lopez, Bega, Maltagliati, Agostini; Abeijon, Brambilla, Gobbi; Esposito, Zola, Langella
Juventus (probable): Buffon; Zebina, Thuram, Cannavaro, Zambrotta; Camoranesi, Emerson, Blasi, Nedved; Ibrahimovic, Del Piero
Gigi Del Neri prepares for his homecoming party against a Chievo side in turmoil, but can inconsistent Roma take advantage?
The tactician shot to fame when he took Chievo to Serie A for the first time in their history, going on to qualify for the UEFA Cup and maintain regularly comfortable positions in the table. His time at Porto may have been brief, but his Roma spell has certainly been eventful.
The 3-1 derby defeat to Lazio put the pressure on and the side showed just how reliant they are on hitman Vincenzo Montella when he scored both goals in their slender win over Atalanta at the weekend. The midfield should be shored up by the return from suspension of Simone Perrotta, Leandro Cufre and Alberto Aquilani.
Chievo’s form has plummeted since President Luca Campedelli went into negotiations to sell the club and they are sliding down the standings with three consecutive defeats against Fiorentina, Siena and Bologna. Coach Mario Beretta is also forced to do without suspended trio Franceschini, Amauri and Matteo Brighi, so Simone Tiribocchi, Andrea Zanchetta and Luciano should step into the breach.
Chievo (probable): Marchegiani; Moro, Mandelli, D’Anna, Lanna; Semioli, Zanchetta, Baronio, Luciano; Tiribocchi, Cossato
Roma (probable): Pelizzoli; Panucci, Dellas, Ferrari; Mancini, De Rossi, Perrotta, Cufre; Totti, Montella, Cassano
Giuseppe Papadopulo’s honeymoon period continues with two consecutive victories, but can they break down Palermo’s notoriously solid defence?
The ecstasy of the Derby della Capitale win has carried on with a 3-2 result away to Fiorentina, albeit with some controversial refereeing decisions. Paolo Di Canio again took centre stage with the opening goal and he is creating a fine partnership with Tommaso Rocchi, but youngster Goran Pandev also hopes to break into the side following his goal. Above all, new signing Fabio Bazzani should get his debut and one of the strikers has to make way for the former Sampdoria star.
Fernando Couto remains sidelined with a calf strain, but Jose Talamonti returns, so Giuliano Giannichedda should move back to his favoured midfield role.
Palermo’s confidence was certainly boosted this weekend by holding the prolific Milan to a goalless draw in Sicily. That result moved Francesco Guidolin’s men up to seventh place, but they are only two points ahead of the recovering Lazio, so a defeat in the Capital would see them leapfrogged. Simone Barone returns from a one-match ban to bolster the midfield, while Luca Toni is supported by Franco Brienza and Lamberto Zauli.
Lazio (probable): Peruzzi; Oddo, Talamonti, Siviglia, E Filippini; A Filippini, Giannichedda, Liverani, Cesar; Pandev, Rocchi
Palermo (probable): Guardalben; Zaccardo, Biava, Barzagli, Grosso; Mutarelli, Corini, Morrone; Brienza, Zauli; Toni
These two newly promoted sides are separated by a point, and both need the win to stay clear of the relegation zone.
New Coach Roberto Donadoni takes his first training session with Livorno on Wednesday, as he returns to the side which he guided in 2002/2003 back in Serie B. The former Milan star will be hoping for the best possible start against Messina, who are still looking for just their second win on the road this year.
Fortunately, Donadoni can welcome the Lucarelli brothers back from suspension after they both sat out one match bans against Juventus. It seems certain that Igor Protti will also return from the cold, starting upfront for his new boss.
Messina stopped the slide last week with that important victory over Brescia, which included a rare clean sheet. They go into this match a point ahead of Livorno but with a game in hand. Ivica Iliev is suspended and Jose Mamede injured, so Domenico Giampà will probably get the nod in midfield. Upfront, Riccardo Zampagna and Arturo Di Napoli continue the search for goals after having managed only five each all season.
Livorno (probable): Amelia, Galante, Vargas, A Lucarelli, Balleri, Vidigal, Passoni, Vigiani, Giallombardo, Protti, C Lucarelli
Messina (probable): Storari, Zoro, Aronica, Rezaei, Parisi, Giampà, Coppola, Donati, Sullo, Zampagna, Di Napoli
Milan need to beat third-placed Udinese to maintain the pressure on Juve and to keep Luciano Spalletti’s men at a safe distance.
The Rossoneri’s draw at Palermo last week has set this tie up to be quite a contest, as Udinese’s victory over Cagliari takes them to within five points of the reigning Champions. Carlo Ancelotti’s main doubt is between Clarence Seedorf and Vikash Dhorasoo for a midfield spot. Jaap Stam could also return to the defence for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery, while Alessandro Nesta is back from suspension.
Luciano Spalletti has a more difficult task on his hands with the suspension of David Di Michele and Sulley Ali Muntari for this game, so Michele Pazienza and Stefano Mauri step in. Valerio Bertotto is on the doubtful list again due to a recurring muscle problem, but may make it back. Udinese have a great record at the San Siro, winning two of their last three trips here, so it’ll be a stern test for the Scudetto chasers.
Milan (probable): Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf, Kakà, Crespo, Shevchenko
Udinese (probable): De Sanctis, Bertotto, Sensini, Felipe, Pinzi, Pizarro, Pazienza, Jankulovski, Mauri, Iaquinta, Di Natale
Only three points will be good enough for these two sides in the lower half of the table.
After that morale boosting victory away to Siena last week, Parma return to the Tardini seeking another win which could lift them out of the relegation zone. Pietro Carmignani may be without Jorge Bolano at the weekend, while Giuseppe Cardone is another injury doubt. Parma have still only won two games at home all season, but after picking up points for the first time on their travels last week, hope that their luck is about to change.
Lecce are another side whose fortunes have been on the slide, and a home draw against Reggina confirmed their poor run of form. Zdenek Zeman’s side have now only won once in the last 11 games, slipping from their heady position in fourth spot to 11th in the table. At least he has no fitness worries to contend with, but will the former Roma boss reshuffle his trident attack once again?
Parma (probable): Frey, Bonera, Bovo, Cannavaro, Contini, Marchionni, Simplicio, Grella, Bresciano, Morfeo, Gilardino
Lecce (probable): Sicignano, Cassetti, Diamoutene, Stovini, Rullo, Giacomazzi, Ledesma, Dalla Bona, Babù, Bojinov, Vucinic
Inter have certainly turned a corner with their third consecutive victory, but Reggina are also on form and provide a tough test at the Granillo.
Under-21 international Giandomenico Mesto is suspended for this game, but Walter Mazzarri can count on the return of Emiliano Bonazzoli, who sat out the last match with a ban. The only other change from last week’s precious 1-1 draw at Lecce should be the return of Giacomo Tedesco in defence.
Inter Coach Roberto Mancini has a pleasing dilemma in attack after super-sub Alvaro Recoba’s phenomenal performance in the 3-2 victory over Sampdoria. However, he’s unlikely to drop Adriano in favour of anyone, and Christian Vieri’s goal underlined his rediscovered form.
Andy van der Meyde returns to fill in for the suspended Dejan Stankovic, while Kily Gonzalez, Carlos Gamarra and Sinisa Mihajlovic are still battling injury. There is the chance Juan Sebastian Veron could make his long-awaited comeback from a calf strain.
Reggina (probable): Pavarini; Cannarsa, De Rosa, Franceschini, Tedesco; Paredes, Mozart, Balestri; Colucci, Nakamura; Bonazzoli
Inter (probable): Toldo, J Zanetti, Cordoba, Materazzi, Favalli, van Der Meyde, C Zanetti, Cambiasso, Emre, Vieri, Adriano
Simone Inzaghi is set for his Sampdoria debut as Bologna make the trip to Marassi.
That extraordinary 3-2 defeat by Inter last week leaves Sampdoria in fifth place going into this game, so a win is crucial to allow them to keep the pressure on the clubs currently occupying the Champions’ League spots. Giulio Falcone’s thigh strain rules him out for three weeks, while Cristiano Doni is sidelined for a month, so Simone Pavan steps into defence. If new arrival Inzaghi is to start, it’ll be in place of the disappointing Fausto Rossini.
Carlo Mazzone’s Bologna achieved an impressive win against Chievo last week, but need to continue in this vein to avoid getting sucked into the relegation zone. Fabio Petruzzi’s slight back problem unlikely to keep him out of contention, while Christian Amoroso is recovering from a bout of flu. Mourad Meghni and Giacomo Cipriani are forced to watch from the stands, but it'll be an emotional occasion for former Samp legend Gianluca Pagliuca.
Sampdoria (probable): Antonioli, Zenoni, Castellini, Pavan, Pisano, Diana, Palombo, Volpi, Tonetto, Flachi, Rossini
Bologna (probable): Pagliuca, Gamberini, Torrisi, Nastase, Zagorakis, Loviso, Colucci, Sussi, Locatelli, Bellucci, Tare
PESCARA - TRIESTINA
Pescara has almost all the team fighting against the flu. They lost Calaiò, who went to Napoli, and replaced him with Varrichio.
Triestina has a deceint luneup again, and last week against a depleted Perugia they played a nice game, keeping the ball, but risked to lose on some breaks. Pascara was destroyed by in-form Crotone, and showed they have lost the form they had during late November. Pescara is a home team, although they only managed three wins, but Triestina is improving ad showed some form last Sunday. My suggestion is Triestina AH 0:0
CATANZARO - TERNANA
Both teams are in ugly form,. Catanzaro lost to in-form Verona 4-1, but they could have lost much more than that. Ternana won at home against Cesena, but they played an ugly game, scoring early then defending with ten men aganist not-so-strong Cesena. Ternana will have the full roster available, while Catanzaro will miss Carbone, Corona and Dal Canto. Catanzaro will have problems scoring with this offence, and Ternana is good at defending. A bad game to bet on, but the most probable result is an under draw.
CESENA - CATANIA
Cesena played a decent, attacking game in Terni, but didn't manage to equalise an early goal. Cesena is fighting with great strength, but has very little quality, and they are paying this.
Just the opposite of Catania, which has quality ut doesn't play as a team, and loses all its fighting spirit as soon as anything goes wrong. THis brought an unexpected draw at home against Venezia, and this speaks volumes.
This game could end any way. If Cesena manages to score first, then Catania will lose heart, but quality-wise it's Catania which has the advantage. This is a very difficult game, and I will stay away from it.
EMPOLI - BARI
Empoli found a good draw at Arezzo (and maybe there was something going behind clsed doors, seeing as the two teams are very friendly, and a draw was good for both teams). The new players made the team better, and for some moments Empoli looked like the team of yore.
Bari comes from a good win against Vicenza, totally dominating the game. Both teams are with full rosters.
Empoli showed signs of improvements, and if this game was played two months ago it wouldn't have been a contest. Based on what I saw last week, I expect Empoli to win.
MODENA - ASCOLI
Ascoli managed to win somehow a ame they shoul have lost, and this was another of a series of bad games by Ascoli. It's now a couple of months since last Ascoli played a decent gam, up to its potential. Modena won away at Treviso, against one of the most in-form teams of Serie B. Modena has never been a great away team, but latel they showed lots of improvement, and maybe they are starting to become the team they were slated to be. Modena will have forward Graffiedi on the bench after his transfer from Siena. Modena looks favorite here,and
Ascoli has to improve a lot from its latest performances in order to get points here.
PERUGIA - ALBINOLEFFE
Perugia lost five regulars just before their game at Trieste, so they played a defensive game, but went close to winning it on a couple of counters (hit the post five minutes from time). They get four of them back. ALeffe beat Torino after going down, and they deserved the win, and maybe they would even have deserved more. ALeffe is a good team, and has always been, but scores very little, and this is their biggest limt. Perugia will attack, as they have to get three points to keep pace with the other contenders for Serie A. I'll go for the home win, but I wouln't be surprised if ALeffe will manage to get points here.
SALERNITANA - CROTONE
Crotone omes from a brilliant win against Pescara, but I feel it's more a case of Pescara being ugly rather than rotone being great. Salerniatna also comes from a deceiving result, losing at Ascoli 3-2, but in a game they should have won. Salernitana made some big defensive mistakes, and missed a couple of clear goalscoring chaces, and this has costed them three points. Salernitana will miss both Bombardini and Ferrarese, and should field a more offensive forward pack. Crotone will have the same lineup that defeated Pescara. Salernitana was good before the break, but now they it on a three-games losing streak that looks very undeserved. I think they can start a new streak with wins, beginning with this game.
TORINO - TREVISO
Torino lost at Albinoleffe despite scoring first. ALeffe dominated the game and won deservingly. After that they played a good game winning at Genova against Samdoria in Coppa Italia, to no avail, since Sampdoria went through. Both Conticchio an omotto will be out for this game, and this creates some problems for the defence. Treviso has everyone availabl, and wants to resume its winning streak after losing at home to Modena a beautiful attacking game.
Treviso is playng really great, while Torino is not reliable, alternating good games with ugly ones. If Torino is in one of its ugly days, they can lose this game, as even in its better form they will have to sweat in order to beat Treviso. I cannot suggest anything, as it's not uncommon for Torino to play below its strength, and Treviso is a god
VENEZIA - GENOA
The worst Serie B team against the best. It looks like a closed game, and it probably is. But, one of the things I learned is never to bet on Venezia. They usually lose when they are supposed to win, and never lose when you bet against them.Based on team strength this is not a game :Venezia will have two missing players, same as Genoa, and this will mean nothing for oth teams: Genoa has other players of equal strength, while Venezia has everyone of the same low level. There is no way that Genoa won't win this one, but Venezia has costed me a lot of these "sure" bets, so I won't bet on this game.
VICENZA - AREZZO
Vicenza ha the complete roster available. Arezzo will miss Passiglia in midfield. Arezzo played a decent game against a very good Empoli team last Monday, but I suspect that one was a fixed draw. Vicenza got mauled at Bari, in a terribly bad day by both offence and defence. Vicenza at home is more than decent, with seven wins in nine games. Arezzo with the new players has become more solid in defence, and its counterattacks are deadly as always. Vicenza can win this game, but Arezzo is equally dangerous with counters. No suggestions here.
PIACENZA - VERONA
Piacenza should have drawn at Genova against Genoa, after a good goal was disallowed for offside. They will miss offensiv midfielder tarana. Verona is in splendid form, with four consecutive wins, all with convincing performances against in-form teams. This game will be a good one, between two solid teams, both fighting for promotion. No prediction is possible here, as really every result is possible.(joecambo/BA)
Primera Liga matches, January 15-16
Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:52 AM GMT
Printer Friendly | Email Article | RSS
By Simon Baskett
MADRID, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Barcelona are out to prove that last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Villarreal was a mere hiccup and not the beginning of a serious slide in form when they host Real Sociedad at the Nou Camp on Sunday (kickoff 1800 GMT).
"We lacked our usual spark and didn't pressure Villarreal like we have done in previous matches, but I think that we will be back to normal against Real Sociedad," said Mexican defender Rafael Marquez.
Barca's second defeat of the season allowed both Real Madrid and Valencia to close to within seven points of the leaders with one game to go before the halfway mark in the title race.
Marquez believes, however, that the Catalans should not be looking over their shoulders at this stage of the season.
"Madrid don't scare us," he said. "We have a seven-point advantage and we will be working hard to maintain that. If we have the right mental approach it is unlikely that anyone will be able to catch us."
Barcelona will be boosted by the return of fullbacks Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Juliano Belletti from suspension, while Ronaldinho has shaken off a minor back strain and will be ready to play.
Sociedad have made a poor start to the year, losing to Real Madrid in the remaining seven minutes of their held-over game last week and then going down 2-0 at home to Albacete on Sunday.
Skipper Aitor Lopez-Rekarte says his team are anxious to get back on track with a winning performance against Barca.
"We need to make up for the way we have begun the year and we will be working hard to ensure that everyone sees a different Real (Sociedad) on Sunday," he said.
Other matches this weekend (league positions in brackets, kickoff times 1600 GMT unless stated):
Saturday: GETAFE (15) v ATLETICO MADRID (11) 1900
Atletico slipped to an undeserved 3-0 defeat at home to city rivals Real last week and they face another tough derby against gritty Getafe.
Influential central defender Pablo Ibanez will miss out through suspension, but the arrival of Danish winger Jesper Gronkjaer has added some much-needed spark to the Atletico attack.
- - - -
MALAGA (18) v SEVILLA (5) 2100
A 2-1 loss away to Racing Santander - Malaga's eighth defeat in nine games - prompted the club to sack coach Gregorio Manzano at the start of the week and his successor Antonio Tapia now faces a daunting debut against fellow Andalucians Sevilla who are undefeated in five.
- - - -
Sunday: ALBACETE (16) v RACING SANTANDER (17)
An intriguing match in prospect between two sides battling to stay clear of the relegation zone. Both teams notched up much-needed victories last week and a tight contest is guaranteed.
- - - -
ATHLETIC BILBAO (9) v ESPANYOL (4)
Espanyol continued their dream start to the season with a 4-1 thrashing of Osasuna last week, but the Catalans will have to make do without skipper Raul Tamudo and highly rated midfielder Oscar Serrano who are both suspended.
Bilbao lost 2-1 at third division Lanzarote in the Cup in midweek but have a very good home record this season.
- - - -
DEPORTIVO CORUNA (12) v NUMANCIA (20)
Depor have gone six games without a win but they will be strong favourites to notch up three points against basement club Numancia who have lost all nine of their away games.
The Galicians will be missing midfielder Mauro Silva who is out with a groin strain.
- - - -
LEVANTE (14) v VILLARREAL (8)
Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme gave a masterful performance as he directed Villarreal to their 3-0 victory over Barcelona last week and his team should be capable of getting the better of an out-of-sorts Levante who have not managed a win in their last eight games.
Levante's former Leeds United defender Ian Harte will be out for six weeks after deciding to undergo surgery to deal with a groin injury.
- - - -
OSASUNA (7) v VALENCIA (3)
Right back Curro Torres is out for 10 weeks after knee surgery, but the good news for Valencia is that Argentine centre-back Roberto Ayala, the key player in last season's championship-winning side, is set to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee operation.
Osasuna bounced back from their heavy defeat at Espanyol with a 2-0 win over Getafe in the Cup and the Navarrans are a very difficult side to beat on their home ground.
- - - -
REAL BETIS (6) v REAL MALLORCA (19)
Struggling Mallorca have recruited their fourth mid-season reinforcement in the shape of Juventus defender Mark Iuliano, but Japanese striker Yoshito Okubo, who made an impressive goal-scoring debut in last week's 2-2 draw against Deportivo, is out injured.
The islanders have won on their last two visits to Betis.
- - - -
REAL MADRID (2) v REAL ZARAGOZA (10) 2000
Attention at Real has been focused on off-the-pitch matters this week with the departure of striker Fernando Morientes to Liverpool and the club's interest in Everton's Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen, but spirits are high after their 3-0 win over city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Strikers Raul and Ronaldo and centre-back Ivan Helguera are all doubtful because of minor injuries, as is midfielder Guti who has been suffering from a bout of 'flu. (BBC, Betting Advice, Sky-Sport, Reuters, Chaannel 4)