Arsenal v Wolves
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira will both start.
Kolo Toure is suspended but Freddie Ljungberg (hamstring) will return, while Jose Antonio Reyes, Robin van Persie and Jens Lehmann may also start.
Wolves team news to follow later.
Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Almunia, Lauren, Hoyte, Eboue, Cole, Clichy, Campbell, Cygan, Vieira, Fabregas, Flamini, Pires, Reyes, Ljungberg, van Persie, Henry.
Blackburn v Colchester
Blackburn midfielder Barry Ferguson has recovered from a groin injury and will be fit to start.
Paul Dickov is back from suspension but is doubtful (groin), while Tugay is available after a one-match ban and Garry Flitcroft is also fit again.
Colchester striker Guylain Ndumbu Nsungu could start after signing on loan from Sheffield Wednesday.
Richard Garcia Kem Izzet (ankle) and Karl Duguid (knee) are all out with long-term injuries.
Blackburn (from): Friedel, Enckelman, Todd, Johansson, Emerton, Thompson, Stead, Neill, Matteo, Savage, Pedersen, Gallagher, Tugay, Dickov, Ferguson, Nelsen, Jansen, Amoruso, Mokoena, Douglas, McEveley, Bothroyd, Gray.
Brentford v Hartlepool
Brentford defender Andy Frampton has passed a fitness test and returns to the squad after a three-match lay-off.
Midfielder Chris Hargreaves could again miss out with a calf injury while Andy Myers, Kevin O'Connor and Jamie Lawrence are all still sidelined.
Hartlepool are without Darrell Clarke after he underwent knee surgery.
But captain Micky Barron came through a reserve-team match on Tuesday night unscathed following a cartilage operation and is in the squad.
Burnley v Bournemouth.
Burnley were boosted by the return of Graham Branch (ankle) and Danny Coyne (hamstring tendon) for the reserves against Shrewsbury in midweek.
James O'Connor has returned from a loan spell at West Brom but Michael Duff is struggling with a calf problem.
Bournemouth's Portuguese striker Dani Rodrigues could be out with a knee injury but Brian Stock is available after a ban and Eddie Howe may be fit.
Veteran defender Neil Young is out for six weeks after a hernia operation.
Charlton v Yeovil
Charlton will have Radostin Kishishev (virus) and Jason Euell (toe) available but Graham Stuart (knee) misses out.
Kevin Lisbie and Chris Perry continue rehabilitation but Mark Fish is in contention to play.
Yeovil team news will appear here.
Charlton (from): Kiely, Hreidarsson, Young, Fortune, El Karkouri, Hughes, Holland, Murphy, Thomas, Konchesky, Bartlett, Kishishev, Rommedahl, Euell, Andersen, Fish, Jeffers, Johansson.
Derby v Fulham Derby defender Richard Jackson has been ruled out of the FA Cup clash with Fulham after suffering a groin injury.
Jamie Vincent remains sidelined by a calf injury and Paul Peschisolido is doubtful with a hamstring strain, but Tom Huddlestone is expected to play.
Fulham trio Claus Jensen, Alain Goma and Ian Pearce are all fit again.
Mark Pembridge and Moritz Volz are expected to have recovered from knocks but Papa Bouba Diop, Zesh Rehman and Carlos Bocanegra are all suspended.
Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Crossley, Volz, Pearce, Goma, Fontaine, Knight, Pembridge, Jensen, Legwinski, McBride, John, Hammond, Rosenior, Clark, Boa Morte, Cole.
Everton v Sunderland Everton will be without midfielders Steve Watson (stomach muscle) and Li Tie (shin) against Sunderland.
Richard Wright continues to deputise for injured Nigel Martyn, while Kevin Kilbane will figure in midfield against his former club.
Sunderland midfield man Carl Robinson is a doubt after being sent home from training suffering from illness.
Stephen Wright has shaken off a knee injury and Michael Bridges should be available after an ankle injury.
Everton (from): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Naysmith, McFadden, Carsley, Osman, Cahill, McFadden, Beattie, Bent, Ferguson, Chadwick, Turner.
Man Utd v Middlesbrough Alan Smith is a doubt for Manchester United, with an ankle injury that is taking longer than expected to heal.
Darren Fletcher (ankle) is definitely out but apart from other long-term absentees, Sir Alex Ferguson has a fully-fit squad to choose form.
Michael Reiziger will play for Boro despite a hairline fracture of the toe.
But Ugo Ehiogu, Mark Viduka, Stuart Parnaby, Gaizka Mendieta, George Boateng, Chris Riggott and Malcolm Christie are all sidelined.
Man Utd (from): Howard, Carroll, G Neville, P Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Brown, O'Shea, Heinze, Fortune, Ronaldo, Rooney, Keane, Scholes, Djemba-Djemba, Miller, Giggs, Saha, Smith.
Middlesbrough (from): Schwarzer, Southgate, Cooper, Reiziger, Queudrue, Zenden, Parlour, Doriva, Downing, Hasselbaink, Job, Nemeth, McMahon, Morrison, Graham, Nash
Newcastle v Coventry Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy has been left out, while Jean-Alain Boumsong (hamstring) misses out.
Amdy Faye is in the squad for the first time since joining from Portsmouth, while Stephen Carr and Celestine Babayaro are back after injury.
Louis Carey could be missing from the Coventry line-up, as a move back to Bristol City beckons.
Left-back Stuart Giddings is out but loan signings Richard Duffy and Christian Negouai are available.
Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Carr, Babayaro, Bernard, Hughes, Taylor, Bramble, O'Brien, Dyer, Jenas, Faye, Robert, Shearer, Ameobi, Kluivert.
Nottm Forest v Peterborough
Nottingham Forest defender Jon-Olav Hjelde returns from a three-match ban and may replace Michael Dawson if he is ruled out with a knee problem.
Adam Nowland has been passed fit and on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder Shaun Derry is clear to play.
Peterborough will be without Andy Legg, who is suspended, but striker Richard Logan has returned from injury.
Danny Sonner could play some part, but Chris Plummer is out while Wayne Purser and Guy Branston are cup-tied
Reading v Leicester
Reading's Nick Shorey is a doubt after injuring a knee, while Bermudan Shaun Goater is on international duty.
Steve Sidwell and Dave Kitson are out but Glen Little (calf), Les Ferdinand (hamstring) and Nicky Forster (cold) should all be fit.
New signing Lars Hirschfeld goes straight into the Leicester squad as cover for goalkeeper Ian Walker.
Long-term absentee Jason Wilcox misses out alongside fellow knee injury victims Matt Elliott and Lee Morris.
Southampton v Portsmouth
Southampton's Nigel Quashie is Cup-tied after signing from Portsmouth.
Saints are expected to field the same side that defeated Liverpool last weekend, with Kevin Phillips unlikely to be risked due to an ankle problem.
Portsmouth's two new Greek signings midfielder Giannis Skopelitis and goalkeper Konstantinos Chalkias have been registered in time.
Arjan de Zeeuw (flu) returns but Steve Stone (hamstring), Andy Griffin (thigh) and Gary O'Neil (ankle) are doubtful.
Southampton (from): Niemi, Telfer, Lundekvam, Davenport, Higginbotham, Nilsson, Prutton, Redknapp, Delap, A Svensson, Crouch, Ormerod, Jones, Jakobsson, Oakley, Blackstock, van Damme, Kenton, Smith.
Portsmouth (from): Chalkias, Hislop, Primus, de Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Taylor, Kamara, Cisse, Hughes, Skopelitis, O'Neil, Harper, Yakubu, Fuller, Mezague, Stone, Ashdown.
West Brom v TottenhamWest Brom boss Bryan Robson must decide whether to continue with Robert Earnshaw alongside Kevin Campbell.
Darren Moore is available again after injury but midfielder Andy Johnson is still recovering from a knee problem.
Simon Davies returns to the Tottenham squad after proving his fitness in the reserve team's win at Norwich.
Fredi Kanoute and Rohan Ricketts are also in contention after recovering from injury, as is Michael Brown, who returns from suspension.
West Brom (from): Hoult, Albrechtsen, Purse, Clement, Robinson, Gera, Scimeca, Wallwork, Greening, Earnshaw. Campbell, Gaardsoe, Horsfield, Moore, Contra, Kanu, Kuszczak.
Tottenham (from): Robinson, Pamarot, King, Naybet, Edman, Marney, Brown, Carrick, Mendes, Defoe, Keane, Kanoute, Davies, Atouba, Yeates, Gardner, Kelly, Fulop.
West Ham v Sheff Utd
West Ham's Bobby Zamora and Anton Ferdinand are available for selection after recovering from ankle injuries.
But Gavin Williams misses out, joining senior players Don Hutchison, Steve Lomas, Christian Dailly and Matty Etherington on the injured list.
Striker Ashley Ward is expected to be named among Sheffield United's substitutes for Saturday's tie.
Midfielder Alan Quinn is suspended, while striker Paul Shaw is struggling with a knee injury.
Chelsea v Birmingham (Sun)
Chelsea are still without injured duo Scott Parker and Ricardo Carvalho, while Jose Mourinho is expected to rotate his team.
Alexei Smertin and Glen Johnson could come in, while Eidur Gudjohnsen may replace Didier Drogba.
Birmingham's David Dunn, Stan Lazaridis and Muzzy Izzet are all out injured, while Damien Johnson is suspended.
Captain Kenny Cunningham (hamstring) and on-loan Liverpool player Salif Diao (calf) also miss out.
Chelsea (from): Cech, Cudicini, Johnson, Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Lampard, Smertin, Jarosik, Cole, Geremi, Tiago, Robben, Kezman, Gudjohnsen, Drogba, Duff, Makelele, Bridge, Huth.
Birmingham (from): Maik Taylor, Vaesen, Tebily, Melchiot, Martin Taylor, Upson,Clapham, Anderton, Carter, Clemence, Gray, Heskey, Morrison, Blake, Yorke, Till.
Oldham v Bolton (Sun)
Oldham have signed Manchester United reserve striker Kenny Cooper on a month's loan and he is in the squad.
Scott Vernon is out with a thigh strain while Will Haining (groin), Danny Hall (hamstring) and Les Pogliacomi (ankle) are having treatment.
For Bolton, Jay-Jay Okocha (knee), Gary Speed (knee), Kevin Nolan (calf) and Nicky Hunt (Achilles) are doubts.
But Tunisia defender Radhi Jaidi could return following a hamstring injury for the visit to Oldham.
Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Hunt, N'Gotty, Jaidi, Gardner, Campo, Okocha, Speed, Nolan, Giannakopoulos, Pedersen, Diouf, Davies, Fadiga, Poole, Hierro, Ben Haim, Vaz Te, Kaku, Laville.
Leeds v Brighton
Leeds could have Seth Johnson back after nine months on the sidelines, but Julian Joachim is likely to be out with a suspected torn hamstring muscle.
On-loan keeper Paul Harrison is on stand-by should Neil Sullivan be unable to play due to ligament damage.
Brighton manager Mark McGhee plans to make changes, despite taking 12 points from their last six league games.
Dean Hammond and Alexis Nicolas are expected to come in, while Adam Virgo could also return.
Bristol City v Chesterfield
Bristol City boss Brian Tinnion welcomes Craig Ireland back into the squad after a one-match ban.
Ryan Harley's ankle injury means he is still three weeks away from a return.
Chesterfield will be without midfielder Mark Innes, who suffered a calf injury in the first half of the 4-2 defeat against Wrexham last weekend.
Jordan Fowler, who signed on a month's loan from Arsenal, should replace him. Steve Blatherwick (Achilles) is out and Adam Smith (knee) is still struggling
Wrexham v Doncaster
Wrexham strikers Hector Sam and Chris Armstrong have both recovered from leg injuries and are fit to play.
Midfielders Carlos Edwards (hand) and Dean Bennett (thigh) both came through training sessions and are available, but Juan Ugarte serves a one-match ban.
Doncaster boss Dave Penney will hand striker Andy Campbell his debut at the Racecourse Ground.
Midfielder Paul Green has undergone treatment on a bruised foot all week but is likely to be passed fit.
Walsall v Huddersfield
Walsall midfielder Kris Taylor has been recalled from his loan spell at Burton Albion in time to face Huddersfield.
The 21-year-old could replace Jorge Leitao, who is doubtful after picking up an ankle knock. Matty Fryatt remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Chris Brandon is expected to return to Huddersfield's starting line-up after sitting out a one-game ban last week.
Tony Carss and Andy Holdsworth both had hernia operations this week, and David Mirfin is out with a thigh injury.
Luton v Tranmere
Luton boss Mike Newell will have to manage without Paul Underwood against promotion rivals Tranmere.
Underwood picked up a hamstring strain in the draw against Colchester last week, but Ahmet Brkovic should return after injury.
Tranmere manager Brian Little could again be without defender Ian Sharps, who missed the LDV Vans Trophy defeat by Oldham with flu.
Skipper Jason McAteer will again be absent with hamstring trouble.
Milton Keynes v Sheff Wed
Milton Keynes manager Danny Wilson is boosted by the news that Wade Small is fit to start after being involved in a car accident last weekend.
Shola Oyedele, also involved in the incident, is fit for selection.
Sheffield Wednesday defender Paul Heckingbottom serves a one-match ban, so Adam Green will make his debut after signing on a month's loan from Fulham.
Lee Peacock will be on the bench as he continues his comeback from injury.
Swindon v Stockport
Swindon have no new injury worries ahead of the game against Stockport.
Manager Andy King may be keen to ring the changes after his side went out of the LDV Vans Trophy to Southend on Tuesday night.
Stockport manager Chris Turner is likely to have Danny Adams available after a virus forced him to leave the defender on the bench against Barnsley.
Lee Cartwright is still out with a hamstring problem, and Mark Robertson has yet to recover from a thigh injury.
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
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)
AREZZO – TREVISO
Arezzo is standing on three draws in a row, while Treviso has found its winning ways again and stays on two wins. Both teams in good form, with Treviso shooting for something bigger. Zaninelli will be out for Treviso defence, but no problems there, while Arezzo can pick from its full roster.
Arezzo has gained stability behind with the arrivals of Torricelli and Conte. In the first leg Arezzo won in Treviso 4-1 with its light, quick attackers. The teams’ style has not changed, so Arezzo has to be considered favourite here. But, with Treviso in such form, other solutions are not out of the world. The only possible suggestion here is under, as I think the only possible way for an over is a 2-1.
CATANZARO – TRIESTINA
Catanzaro showed signs of improvement last Sunday with their draw at Bari. They are now in desperate ondition: next to last with nine games without a win, and in a must-win situation, as the Coach (second one this season) will be out if they won’t win. Triestina is going from bad to worse. Last week they managed to lose at home to Cesena, despite making all the playing. But, they never shot, so they couldn’t score.
Catanzaro will field all its forwards to get a win; Mirtaj has a strong desire to show to Verona they made a mistake to trade him, so he will be even more dangerous.
Triestina has been terrible recently, so I feel Catanzaro can get the win they need, thereby dragging Triestina down with them.
CESENA – CROTONE
Cotone with two consecutive draws is aiming for the third, to move the standings. Everyone available for both teams (one suspended for Crotone, but nothing irreplaceable).
Cesena is now on two wins, and the possibility that a team so poor can get its third in a row is mind blowing. Cesena has little quality but lots of heart, and will suffer against similarly poor teams but with lots of conviction. Crotone will defend desperately and try the counter one or two times each half. They can lose the game, as defending tactics can do that to you, but they can also get either the 0-0 they’ll aim for, or even more if they manage to score and hold on. Best bet here is under, as scores won’t be abundant here.
MODENA – ALBINOLEFFE
Both teams with a similar destiny: both too good for middle table mediocrity, but both keep failing when called to step up and change gear. Modena especially alternates great results with horrible blunders. Last week they played a scoreless draw in Genoa where they were probably the better team. ALeffe fresh from two wins in three games, playing well as usual, but scoring little. Now they have sold Possanzini, so they will have even more trouble than before.
They have lots of faith in Brazilian Joelson, but he has to prove himself quickly, and it won’t be easy, especially playing alongside Araboni, who is good for the team, but scores rarely. Both teams can win, and both teams can refrain from scoring. I won’t bet on this game, and I recommend to stay away from it.
PERUGIA – BARI
Perugia has “only” four missing players for the game against Bari. Perugia settled for the easy draw at Crotone last week, since they were missing way too many players to risk going for the win. They have now found a steady rhythm, winning every game they can, and most cynically approaching every possible game.
Bari is in good form, seven games without losing, but five draws in this span. They tend to be a bit too cautious, and that’s why sometimes they don’t get what they would deserve. For this reason they can be very erratic in their result, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to get a draw here. I will still bet on Perugia to win, though, as they are playing more and more like a true Serie A team.
PESCARA – GENOA
As it usually happens when a team’s best players get disqualified, or sold, so Pescara players rose to the occasion and managed to pull out some good performances despite having virtually no offence. They last won at Piacenza, despite not being at the same level.
For this game they will miss four startes, and think they are overdue for a back-to-earth crash. Genoa is still the best team in Serie B, coasting t an easy promotion. They tend to slow down in games where they have to sweat to get the result, so this is the one reason I’m not suggesting to bet 10-10 on the away win. But, Genoa is much better, Pescara is missing lots of players: what else do we want?
TORINO – ASCOLI
Torino is playing hot and cold, and trying to stay on top of their performance can cost a lot of money. Last week they had to miss a penalty before they stopped playing and lost to Verona. No shame in that, since Verona is really flying right now, but they were the better team until the miss, so one must question the brain, more than the quality of gameplay.
Ascoli is another solid team on the border of becoming a contender, but until now uncapable of shifting gears. Torino will miss Marinelli in midfield, while Ascoli is more or less all OK. I’ll go with Torino here, hoping they won’t let me down again, but only from @1.70 upwards, as there is an inherent risk.
VENEZIA – PIACENZA
After losing at home to Pescara in a surprising game (but they kept the ball all the time without scoring) Piacenza has to make up for lost ground by winning here.
Venezia, coming from two loses, is the perfect place to get points. The teams plays just plain bad football, no inspiration, no style, no individualities. They have bought six players in the last few days, and will play some of them, so their team is a bit of a question mark, especially with new coach Glerean. I still think Piacenza will try its best to win, but I understand they have Beghetto and Pepe out, so their offense is in shambles too. No bet, as there are a lot of question marks over this game.
VICENZA – CATANIA
Both teams come from 1-1. Vicenza after playing only one draw in the first 20, have now two draws in a row. This means that they have settled their style, and play a more controlled style of football.For this game Vicenza will miss almost the entire midfield through suspensions, while Catania has three suspended, cut two, and will sell Ferrante as soon as they find someone willing to take him. Seeing the linups I wonder whether there will be any shot. Or, on the converse, this game could end 4-4 as the defences are not settled. My suggestion is to leave this game alone.
FRANKFURT, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich will be relieved to have Michael Ballack back on Sunday when they travel to the capital to face Hertha Berlin, a side they regard as one of their main rivals for the Bundesliga title (kickoff 1630 GMT).
Bayern held on to top spot with a 3-0 home win over Hamburg SV last Friday, a victory achieved despite the absence of suspended Germany captain Ballack.
They now have an eight-point lead over fifth-placed Hertha, who drew 2-2 at VfL Bochum following the winter break, but Felix Magath's side will still be wary of the trip to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where a 74,000 full house is expected.
"Hertha Berlin are my dark horses," Bayern commercial manager Uli Hoeness said. "They have no distractions, they're on a roll, and you can see something's coming together. We'll have to keep an eye on them."
Ballack's return is likely to mean Bastian Schweinsteiger will have to be content with a place among the substitutes.
Owen Hargreaves, the most defensive of Bayern's midfielders, will be the man charged with looking after Hertha's brilliant Brazilian forward Marcelinho.
"It's vital for the team that we shut out the opposing playmaker," Hargreaves said. "It increases our chances of winning."
Other matches being played in the Bundesliga this weekend (league positions in parentheses):
Playing Saturday (kickoff times 1430 GMT):
ARMINIA BIELEFELD (11) v HANOVER 96 (8)
Bielefeld looked unusually sluggish in a 1-0 defeat by Borussia Moenchengladbach last weekend and coach Uwe Rapolder will hope leading striker Delron Buckley has recovered from illness.
Hanover were even worse in their first game back, a 3-0 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen, as they missed the chance to climb into the top four. - - - -
Aufstellung: 1 Hain - 22 Owomoyela, 32 Langkamp, 3 Borges, 4 Gabriel - 5 Kauf, 6 Dammeier - 14 Küntzel, 11 Skela, 7 Buckley - 10 Vata - Trainer: Rapolder
Aufstellung: 1 Enke - 6 Cherundolo, 29 Mertesacker, 3 Zuraw, 35 Halfar - 8 Lala, 5 Dabrowski, 22 de Guzman - 17 Krupnikovic - 24 Stajner, 11 Stendel - Trainer: Lienen
BAYER LEVERKUSEN (6) v VFL BOCHUM (16)
Leverkusen looked to have made the most of the holiday break as they posted a 3-0 win over Hanover but will be missing injured Brazilian defender Roque Junior. Bochum claimed a morale-boosting 2-2 draw at Hertha Berlin last week. - - - -
Aufstellung: 1 Butt - 25 B. Schneider, 4 Juan, 5 Nowotny, 35 Placente - 28 Ramelow - 10 Freier, 7 Ponte, 16 Krzynowek - 9 Berbatov, 12 Voronin - Trainer: Augenthaler
Aufstellung: 13 Vander - 5 Colding, 6 Kalla, 15 Knavs, 3 Meichelbeck - 8 Zdebel, 4 Maltritz - 10 Wosz - 9 P. Madsen, 11 Lokvenc, 21 Trojan - Trainer: Neururer
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (14) v BORUSSIA MOENCHENGLADBACH (15)
Dortmund eased their relegation fears with a 2-1 win at Wolfsburg last week but Moenchengladbach also looked to have a new spring in their step as they beat Arminia Bielefeld. Defender Jeff Strasser is suspended for Moenchengladbach in a game that looks too close to call. - - - -
Aufstellung: 1 Weidenfeller - 7 Demel, 4 Wörns, 28 Bergdölmo, 17 Dede - 6 Kringe, 5 Kehl, 22 Kruska - 14 Smolarek, 9 Koller, 18 Ricken - Trainer: Van Marwijk
Aufstellung: 26 Keller - 14 Fukal, 18 Moore, 15 Pletsch, 3 Daems - 16 Thijs - 24 Kluge, 11 Böhme - 29 Broich, 9 Sonck, 27 Neuville - Trainer: Advocaat
SC FREIBURG (18) v VFL WOLFSBURG (4)
Wolfsburg need a first win of the year against the bottom club if they are to get back in the title race but will miss injured Argentine playmaker Andres d'Alessandro. - - - -
Aufstellung: 1 Golz - 22 Riether, 4 Khizaneishvili, 3 Mohamad, 19 Ibertsberger - 20 Antar, 7 Tskitishvili - 8 Cairo, 10 Coulibaly - 9 Iashvili, 12 Koejoe - Trainer: Finke
Aufstellung: 1 Jentzsch - 18 Quiroga, 5 Schnoor, 29 Hofland, 7 Weiser - 36 Menseguez, 27 Karhan, 6 Thiam, 21 M. Petrov - 13 Brdaric, 14 Topic - Trainer: Gerets
HAMBURG SV (9) v FSV MAINZ (12)
Hamburg will expect an easier afternoon after being comprehensively outplayed by Bayern Munich last week but will have to cope without the suspended David Jarolim. Mainz performed rather better against Stuttgart but sill lost and they will be without new striker Michael Thurk because of flu. - - - -
Aufstellung: 1 Pieckenhagen - 24 Brecko, 21 Boulahrouz, 5 van Buyten, 16 Klingbeil - 7 Mahdavikia, 6 Wicky, 22 Beinlich - 10 Barbarez - 25 Mpenza, 32 Takahara - Trainer: Doll
FSV Mainz 05
Aufstellung: 1 Wache - 18 Nikolic, 10 M. Friedrich, 4 Noveski, 17 Rose - 8 F. Gerber, 6 Balitsch, 19 Babatz, 25 da Silva - 21 Casey, 7 Auer - Trainer: Klopp
FC KAISERSLAUTERN (10) v SCHALKE 04 (2)
Schalke kept pace with Bayern Munich thanks to a good second-half display against Werder Bremen and now have the chance to move top, with Bayern not in action until Sunday.
Schalke have won at Kaiserslautern this season in the Cup and another victory should be within reach, despite injuries to four players, including Thomas Klaesner and Gustavo Varela. - - - -
1. FC Kaiserslautern
Aufstellung: 21 T. Ernst - 2 Lembi, 5 Hertzsch, 32 Mettomo, 16 Blank - 23 Riedl, 13 Sforza, 20 Engelhardt - 8 Grammozis - 19 Halil Altintop, 17 Seitz - Trainer: Jara
FC Schalke 04
Aufstellung: 1 F. Rost - 6 Hamit Altintop, 5 Bordon, 20 Krstajic, 24 Pander - 2 Poulsen - 14 Asamoah, 3 Kobiashvili - 10 Lincoln - 11 Sand, 9 Ailton - Trainer: Rangnick
VFB STUTTGART (3) v FC NUREMBERG (13)
Stuttgart have captain Zvonimir Soldo suspended and Philipp Lahm and Marco Streller injured as they look to stay on the shoulders of the leaders. - - - -
Aufstellung: 1 Hildebrand - 17 Delpierre, 3 Stranzl, 5 Babbel - 7 Meißner, 6 Fernando Meira - 13 Tiffert, 10 A. Hleb, 12 H. Gerber - 22 Kuranyi, 18 Cacau - Trainer: Sammer
1. FC Nürnberg
Aufstellung: 18 Klewer - 5 A. Wolf, 13 Cantaluppi, 7 Nikl, 17 L. Müller - 24 Lagerblom, 16 Larsen - 11 Mintal, 6 S. Müller - 33 Vittek, 21 Schroth - Trainer: Wolf
Playing Sunday (kickoff 1630 GMT):
WERDER BREMEN (7) v HANSA ROSTOCK (17)
Werder, unlucky to lose 2-1 at Schalke 04 last week, cannot afford another defeat if they are to stay in contention to retain their title.
Midfielder Fabian Ernst misses out through suspension, but they should still be far too strong for Hansa Rostock, who will not be able to give a debut to Finland playmaker Jari Litmanen until next week.
Aufstellung: 1 Reinke - 5 Davala, 25 Ismaël, 2 Fahrenhorst, 27 Schulz - 24 Borowski, 6 Baumann, 20 D. Jensen - 10 Micoud - 11 Klose, 17 Klasnic - Trainer: Schaaf
Aufstellung: 1 Schober - 2 Tjikuzu, 3 Möhrle, 20 Hill, 6 Maul - 8 D. Rasmussen, 14 Persson, 17 Lantz, 27 T. Rasmussen - 24 Allbäck, 19 di Salvo - Trainer: Berger
Primera Liga matches, January 29-30
Fri Jan 28, 2005 12:08 PM GMT
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By Simon Baskett
MADRID, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Barcelona will need to be on top form if they are to end the unbeaten home record of Sevilla and maintain their seven-point cushion at the top of the Primera Liga this Saturday (kickoff 2030 GMT).
The Catalans recovered from their mid-season wobble with an emphatic 3-0 win over Racing Santander last week, but are certain to face much stiffer resistance from a Sevilla side that have dropped just four points at their stadium this season.
"Sevilla have one of the best squads in the league," says Barca striker Samuel Eto'o. "They have a very tough defence who don't mind putting it about a bit, but if we want to be the best we have to get past players like them.
The Cameroon international, who leads the Primera Liga scoring charts with 15 goals, is confident his team are capable of resisting the pressure from the chasing pack led by arch-rivals Real Madrid.
"No matter what happens in Seville we'll still be leaders -- it's the teams that are behind us that have to worry, not us."
With a string of players still out with long-term injury problems, Barca have reinforced their squad with experienced Italian midfielder Demetrio Albertini, who could make his debut against the Andalucians.
But Argentine striker Maxi Lopez, who is set to sign for the club on Friday, is unlikely to get a run-out just yet.
Sevilla will be without centre-backs Pablo Ruiz and Javi Navarro, but the equally intimidating pairing of Aitor Ocio and Pablo Alfaro will step into the breach.
New signing Adriano Correia may get a chance to make his debut, while fellow Brazilian Julio Baptista will be looking to add to his tally of eight goals when he leads Sevilla's attack.
Other matches being played this weekend (league positions in brackets, kickoff times 1600 GMT unless stated):
ATLETICO MADRID (11) v ALBACETE (17) 1900
After four games without a win, Atletico will be glad to be taking on Albacete at the Calderon where they have lost just once this season. Danish winger Jesper Gronkjaer has settled in well and new signing Richard Nunez has further boosted Atletico's attacking options.
- - - -
ESPANYOL (5) v REAL BETIS (6)
Betis are on a roll after their 4-0 thumping of Numancia last week and have the added incentive of knowing that a win will see them leapfrog their opponents in the standings.
Espanyol lost 4-1 at Depor last week, but have been strong at home this term.
- - - -
OSASUNA (9) v DEPORTIVO CORUNA (10)
Depor are hoping that their resounding 4-1 victory over Espanyol -- their first win in eight outings -- will signal a change in fortunes.
They will need to be on their guard, though, against an Osasuna side still licking their wounds after surrendering a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 at Athletic Bilbao.
- - - -
NUMANCIA (20) v REAL MADRID (2) 1800
Real should have little problem making it five wins in a row when they take on basement side Numancia.
David Beckham had his best game of the season after returning to the right wing last week, but it is not yet clear if coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo will retain the new diamond formation in midfield.
Argentine defender Walter Samuel is a doubt after breaking his nose during last week's 3-1 win over Mallorca.
- - - -
RACING SANTANDER (18) v LEVANTE (13)
Relief for Levante boss Bernd Schuster after his side claimed their first win in 10 games with a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad and he should have a good chance of repeating the trick against struggling Racing.
- - - -
REAL MALLORCA (19) v GETAFE (14)
Hector Cuper's Mallorca are in serious trouble after taking just one point from their last six matches and must win this one if they are to revive their hopes of avoiding the drop.
Getafe claimed a handy 3-0 victory over Zaragoza last time out, but have not won away from home all season. The islanders will be without Italian defender Mark Iuliano who was sent off in last week's 3-1 defeat at Real Madrid.
- - - -
REAL SOCIEDAD (15) v VILLARREAL (7)
Resounding victories over Barcelona, Valencia and Levante, make Villarreal the form side in Spain.
With the brilliant Juan Roman Riquelme directing affairs in midfield and the in-form Diego Forlan leading the attack, they should prove too strong for Sociedad who have not gained a point so far this year and are without striker Nihat Kahveci.
- - - -
REAL ZARAGOZA (12) v MALAGA (16)
Malaga moved out of the drop zone and made it two wins out of two under new coach Antonio Tapia with last week's 1-0 victory at home to Atletico, but they are likely to find it harder going against a Zaragoza side who are anxious to bounce back after a stinging 3-0 defeat at Getafe.
- - - -
VALENCIA (3) v ATHLETIC BILBAO (8) 2000
Valencia produced an uncharacteristically lame performance in their 3-1 defeat against regional rivals Villarreal last week and can ill afford another slip-up if they want to remain within striking distance of second-placed Real Madrid.
Athletic will be without inspirational midfielder Fran Yeste, who was the architect of last week's stunning 4-3 comeback win over Osasuna.
(BBC, Sky-Sport, Kickers, Reuters, Channel 4. BA)