Cagliari - Fiorentina
Cagliari entertain Fiorentina at fortress Sant’Elia, as the Viola’s new boss Dino Zoff looks to mark his debut with a win.
The Rossoblu have consolidated their place in mid-table thanks to their stunning home form, which has only seen them lose on the island once all season. Last week produced another away defeat, this time against Bologna, but it’s hard not to bet on Cagliari at the Sant’Elia.
Zoff will be hoping to spoil the party having taken over from Sergio Buso on Monday. The former Italy boss is one of Serie A’s more experienced figures, having coached at Lazio for seven seasons as well as enjoying a spell at Juventus in his time.
Daniele Arrigoni’s main doubt going into this game is over inspirational captain Gianfranco Zola, who hobbled off with an injury last week but still has an outside chance of making it back. Zoff is without two suspended players, Luca Arriati and Fabrizio Miccoli, whilst Tomas Ujfalusi is out for another month through injury.
Cagliari (probable): Iezzo, Lopez, Bega, Maltagliati, Agostini, Conti, Brambilla, Abeijon, Esposito, Suazo, Langella
Fiorentina (probable): Lupatelli, Maggio, Viali, Dainelli, Chiellini, Di Livio, Obodo, Maresca, Fantini, Nakata, Rigano
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Brescia - Lecce
Struggling Brescia entertain mid-table Lecce, seeking revenge for the 4-1 thrashing they received in Week 2. Lecce won that fixture with a brace from Valeri Bojinov, plus strikes from Sasa Bjelanovic and Giacomazzi.
The Lecce goal machine has stuttered recently, however, with last week’s win over Atalanta representing a rare victory for the side. Brescia lost again in Week 20, this time to League leaders Juventus, which confirmed their status as relegation candidates.
Gianni De Biasi has a couple of injury problems going into this game, with Markus Schopp and Simone Del Nero both unavailable. Maurizio Domizzi is suspended.
Zeman must do without Bojinov, suspended for this tie, and could put Erminio Rullo back in the trident attack. Francesco Marianini and Vincenzo Sicignano are both doubts with the flu, whilst Babu and Alex Pinardi are absent through injury.
Brescia (probable): Castellazzi, Zambelli, Di Biagio, Adani, Dallamano, Stankevicius, Guana, Milanetto, Mannini, Di Pasquale, Caracciolo
Lecce (probable): Sicignano, Cassetti, Diamoutene, Stovini, Abruzzese, Giacomazzi, Ledesma, Dalla Bona, Vucinic, Bjelanovic, Rullo
Atalanta - Juventus
It is bottom meets top as Atalanta seek a crucial win against Fabio Capello’s Juventus. Defeat away to Lecce last week saw the Nerazzurri cast still further adrift at the foot of the table. They have picked up just 11 points so far, and with their nearest relegation rivals already seven above, Atalanta seem certain for the drop this year.
Meanwhile, Juve are in the enviable position of standing five points clear of their closest challengers, Milan, and a win against Atalanta could reinforce their dominance. Capello has a number of injury concerns though, as well as the usual dilemma about whom to field in attack.
After twisting his knee against Brescia last week, Pavel Nedved sits out this tie, but is hopeful to be back within a month. Gianluca Zambrotta also has a muscle problem that may keep him sidelined on Sunday. Emerson and Gianluca Pessotto are both suffering from knocks and are unlikely to play.
Meanwhile, Manuele Blasi’s suspension should almost certainly see Alessio Tacchinardi return to the midfield. Up front, Alessandro Del Piero looks destined for the bench again, as David Trezeguet and Zlatan Ibrahimovic continue in attack.
Atalanta must do without the injured Giampaolo Pazzini, Stefano Lorenzi and Claudio Rivalta. Coach Delio Rossi must also replace the suspended Riccardo Montolivo. The Bergamo boys will be without Demetrio Albertini too after he joined Barcelona.
Atalanta (probable): Taibi, Innocenti, Sala, Natali, Bellini, Zenoni, Bernardini, Migliaccio, Marcolini, Lazzari, Budan
Juventus (probable): Buffon, Zebina, Thuram, Cannavaro, Birindelli, Camoranesi, Appiah, Tacchinardi, Olivera, Ibrahimovic, Trezeguet
Chievo - Livorno
The two teams who stopped both Inter and Milan in their tracks last week meet in this clash of the giantkillers at the Stadio Bentegodi.
Chievo ran out 2-1 winners in the first half of the season but Livorno have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks to stabilise their position in mid-table. However, they are still looking for just their second win on the road after accumulating most of their points at home.
This week, the Flying Donkeys signed Massimiliano Fusani from Perugia to reinforce the midfield. Chievo Coach Mario Beretta must manage without the suspended Marco Malagò, but Siqueira Luciano should start the game. Federico Cossato is still unavailable with a muscle problem but is being continually assessed this week.
Livorno Coach Roberto Donadoni has to decide whether to keep faith with the side which beat Milan last week, having the luxury of a full squad at his disposition. The main quandary seems to be whether to start with goal hero Corrado Colombo in attack, or go with the more experienced Igor Protti.
Chievo (probable): Marchegiani, Moro, Mandelli, D’Anna, Lanna, Semioli, Baronio, Brighi, Luciano, Tiribocchi, Pellissier
Livorno (probable): Amelia, Melara, Vargas, A Lucarelli, Balleri, Vigiani, Passoni, Grauso, Doga, Protti, Lucarelli
Milan - Bologna
Milan return to the San Siro to take on Bologna, still reeling from that defeat away to Livorno last Sunday.
Back in Week 2, the Rossoneri managed a 2-0 win at the Dall’Ara thanks to strikes from Andriy Shevchenko and Kaka. Carlo Ancelotti needs to get his side back on track and only three points will do to give Milan any chance of keeping pace with Juventus at this stage.
Dario Simic is out for another month, while Serginho and Kakha Kaladze are still sidelined with their long-term problems. Alessandro Nesta was sent off in their last outing and is suspended, so Giuseppe Pancaro should return to the defence. Pippo Inzaghi could feature after he returned to training following ankle surgery.
Bologna have been dogged by patchy form this season which has seen them slip into the lower half of the table, although they did snatch a precious win last week against Cagliari. Carlo Mazzone has a whole host of injury problems with Fabio Petruzzi, Mourad Meghni, Giacomo Cipriani, Nicola Legrottaglie, Carlo Nervo and Igli Tare all sidelined. In this state of emergency, Carletto will have to use a bit of imagination to pick his starting XI.
Milan (probable): Dida, Cafu, Stam, Maldini, Pancaro, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf, Kaka, Crespo, Shevchenko
Bologna (probable): Pagliuca, Juarez, Gamberini, Torrisi, Sussi, Zagorakis, Colucci, Giunti, Amoroso, Locatelli, Bellucci
Palermo - Inter
Palermo could catch up with fourth placed Inter if they beat Roberto Mancini’s men this weekend. A win for the Rosaneri would take them to 32 points, marking the continuation of a fabulous season for the Serie A new boys.
Inter have stalled in the League in recently. Despite still being unbeaten, they amazingly collected their 14th draw of the Serie A campaign against Chievo last week. To make matters worse, Francesco Guidolin’s side have one of the best home records in the top-flight, having lost just once at the Renzo Barbera this term.
Palermo are missing injured players Kewullay Conteh and Pietro Accardi but new signing Davide Possanzini is available. The former Albinoleffe striker is likely to start on the bench.
Inter are without Sinisa Mihalovic, Julio Cruz and Adriano. In the absence of the latter, the club’s top scorer, Obafemi Martins and Christian Vieri should start in attack. Troubled enigma Alvaro Recoba is likely for a bench role.
Palermo (probable): Guardelben, Zaccardo, Biava, Barzagli, Grosso, Morrone, Corini, Barone, Brienza, Zauli, Toni
Inter (probable): Toldo, J Zanetti, Cordoba, Materazzi, Favalli, Veron, Cambiasso, C Zanetti, Stankovic, Martins, Vieri
Parma - Udinese
Two sides desperate to get their seasons back on track meet at the Tardini in search of points. Defeat away to Messina last week saw Parma remain in the drop zone, whilst Udinese stalled at home against in-form Reggina. Only a win will help the Gialloblu claw back lost ground, and Luciano’s Spalletti’s men need three points to maintain their assault on Milan and Juventus.
Back in Week 2, Udinese thrashed Parma 4-0 with goals from Antonio Di Natale, Marek Jankulovski, David Di Michele and Dino Fava. Parma’s Daniele Bonera was sent off, making it a difficult evening for the Gialloblu.
Fabio Simplicio is suspended this week, which means that Parma boss Pietro Carmignani must decide between Jorge Bolano and Alessandro Budel to shore up the midfield. In terms of injuries to the side, Filippo Savi is still out of action but Alessandro Rosina, Ianis Zicu, Alfonso De Lucia and Domenico Morfeo have resumed training.
Spalletti has a full squad at his disposal with the exception of Cribari, who will not be back for another six weeks.
Parma (probable): Frey, Cannavaro, Bovo, Bonera, Contini, Marchionni, Bolano, Grella, Bresciano, Morfeo, Gilardino
Udinese (probable): De Sanctis, Bertotto, Sensini, Felipe, Pinzi, Pizarro, Muntari, Jankulovski, Di Michele, Iaquinta, Di Natale
Reggina - Lazio
Struggling Lazio make the long trip south to a Reggina side who have stopped both Udinese and Inter in recent weeks.
Giuseppe Papadopulo’s men lost again at home last week, and they will probably be relieved to have a trip away after two successive defeats at the Olimpico. Inspirational captain Paolo Di Canio has looked below par recently, after that explosive display in the Rome derby. His form and the whole side’s state of mind have come into question as Lazio slip ever closer to the relegation zone.
Reggina meanwhile are sitting pretty in mid-table after a string of gutsy performances, which has seen them win five matches at home. Coach Walter Mazzari is suspended for this one after receiving a red card in the last match. Assistant Aldo Cerantola should take the bench.
Reggina have no injury worries though, while Papadopulo is without the suspended Ousmane Dabo and Antonio Filippini. He is also deprived of Luciano Zauri, Matias Lequi and Roberto Muzzi who are all injured.
Reggina (probable): Pavarini, Cannarsa, De Rosa, Franceschini, Mesto, Paredes, Mozart, Tedesco, Balestri, Nakamura, Bonazzoli
Lazio (probable): Peruzzi, Oddo, Siviglia, Giannichedda, E. Filippini, Manfredini, Liverani, Cesar, Di Canio, Rocchi
Roma - Messina
Roma return to the Olimpico to take on Messina in a real six-pointer. After two successive matches on the road, in which the Giallorossi have picked up a useful four points, Luigi Del Neri will be looking to continue this run of form on home turf.
Last season games in the capital virtually guaranteed three points, but the Olimpico has been less kind this year, seeing only four Roma victories to date. Messina are still looking for just their second away victory of the season, and need the points to consolidate their position in mid-table.
The Roma treatment room is still packed with the usual suspects, meaning that Cristian Chivu and Damiano Tommasi all sit this one out. Christian Panucci and Simone Perrotta have both been struggling with injuries, but are hopeful for a return. Amantino Mancini is in Brazil for family reasons but could be back by the weekend.
Messina Coach Bortolo Mutti must manage without Mamede, Riccardo Zampagna and Luca Fusco.
Roma (probable): Pelizzoli, Ferrari, Mexes, Dellas, Cufre, Aquilani, De Rossi, Dacourt, Totti, Montella, Cassano
Messina (probable): Storari, Zoro, Aronica, Rezaei, Parisi, Iliev, Coppola, Donati, Sullo, Amoroso, Di Napoli
Sampdoria - Siena
Both sides are contemplating different prospects in Serie A this year, as Sampdoria battle to reach the top four and Siena fight for survival.
Another win last week left a smile on Walter Novellino’s face as he picked up three points away to struggling Lazio. Sampdoria will be hoping to do the same against Siena, who are relegation candidates and still without a victory under new Coach Gigi De Canio.
Last week the Bianconeri managed a 0-0 draw against in-form Palermo, which did little for their position near the foot of the table. Meanwhile, Sampdoria are continuing their assault on the Champions’ League as they are now just a point of the final qualifying place.
Novellino must manage without the suspended Francesco Flachi though. Cristiano Doni is still out injured and Simone Inzaghi has picked up a muscle problem. Siena’s injury list is much more formidable, with Andrea Ardito, Davide Nicola, Daniele Portanova, Gianluca Falsini and Alfonso Camorani all sidelined.
Sampdoria (probable): Antonioli, Zenoni, Castellini, Falcone, Pisano, Diana, Palombo, Volpi, Tonetto, Kutuzov, Rossini
Siena (probable): Fortin, Cirillo, Argilli, Colonnese, Pasquale, Pecchia, Di Donato, Vergassola, Taddei, Flo, Chiesa (Channel 4)