Cagliari - Lazio
Pride is likely to be the only thing at stake when Lazio travel to Sardinia for a clash with Cagliari. The Biancocelesti have recently leapfrogged Cagliari in the Serie A table thanks to victories against Livorno and Bologna, while Cagliari are winless in three. Neither side can harbour any realistic European hopes and relegation is unthinkable.
Wednesday’s game is the first top-flight encounter between the sides at the Stadio Sant’Elia for over five years and, although that game finished goalless, the odds are stacked against a repeat of that scoreline as the three encounters between the sides this season have produced 13 goals.
Cagliari won 3-2 in Rome back in November thanks to goals from Antonio Langella, Mauro Esposito and Gianfranco Zola. The Sardinians also eliminated Lazio from the Coppa Italia. However, with Zola still out injured, Cagliari will have to call upon Edgard Alvarez to make up their attacking trident. Lazio have no injury worries and can call upon the same set of players who beat Bologna.
Cagliari (probable): Iezzo; Lopez, Maltagliati, Bega, Agostini; Abeijon, Conti, Gobbi; Esposito, Alvarez, Langella
Lazio (probable): Peruzzi; Siviglia, Couto, Zauri, Oddo; Giannichedda, Dabo, E Filippini, Liverani; Muzzi, Rocchi
Fiorentina - Messina
Fiorentina’s desperate season seems to go from bad to worse each week. After picking up a fantastic point against Juventus in Week 30, Dino Zoff must have felt that the tide was finally turning. But a setback last weekend at fellow promoted side Livorno has seen them slip into the relegation zone.
Failure to beat another of the promoted sides – Messina – will surely spell disaster for the Tuscans. And if reports are to be believed, it will also spell disaster for Zoff. If the Viola lose on Wednesday, Emiliano Mondonico is being linked with a shock return to Coach the side. Mondonico was previously sacked and replaced by Sergio Buso after a disastrous start to the campaign..
The Viola are fortunate in that they have no new injury worries, although the continued absence of Valeri Bojinov is a cause for concern. Messina boss Bortolo Mutti is able to welcome back Salvatore Aronica from suspension and he will take his place in the defence, but Carmine Coppola is now out through suspension so his place in midfield could go to Marco Zanchi.
The previous encounter between the two sides this season finished 1-1. Luca Ariatti opened the scoring before an Alessandro Parisi penalty ensured that the teams went away with a point.
Fiorentina (probable): Cejas; Maggio, Dainelli, Ujfalusi, Chiellini; Ariatti, Donadel, Maresca, Jorgensen; Miccoli, Pazzini
Messina (probable): Storari; Cristante, Rezai, Aronica, Parisi; Zanchi, Donati, Giampa'; D'Agostino, Iliev; Zampagna
Juventus - Inter
The Derby d’Italia is upon us once again and the stakes couldn’t be higher for Juventus. Having finally claimed top spot outright, the Bianconeri will be desperate to remain there. But standing in their way are an Inter side fresh from a morale boosting 2-0 win over Cagliari. The Nerazzurri are unbeaten in five against the Old Lady, with each game producing at least four goals.
This season’s previous encounter at the San Siro was arguably the best game of the campaign, as Inter fought back from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw. But it was the manner in which they achieved the result that was most impressive – Roberto Mancini finished the game with Adriano, Alvaro Recoba, Christian Vieri and Obafemi Martins all on the pitch at full-time.
Both teams go into the game in fine domestic form, despite their Champions’ League woes. Juve are currently on an eight match unbeaten run, while Inter have won three on the bounce. And neither Coach has any major selection headaches for the clash, with Juve’s only change likely to be Emerson for Alessio Tacchinardi. The Nerazzurri must do without the injured Marco Materazzi so Ivan Cordoba steps into his boots and Christian Vieri should be fit to start, leaving Julio Cruz to warm the bench.
Juventus (probable): Buffon; Pessotto, Thuram, Cannavaro, Zambrotta; Camoranesi, Appiah, Emerson, Nedved; Del Piero, Ibrahimovic
Inter (probable): Toldo; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Mihajlovic, Favalli; Ze Maria, Veron, Cambiasso, Kily Gonzalez; Martins, Vieri
Lecce - Bologna
Mid-table mediocrity is the only thing at stake in this clash at the Stadio Via del Mare as two of Serie A’s out of form sides go face-to-face. Zdnek Zeman’s Giallorossi were handed a beating by Juventus in Week 31, leaving them without a win in five games and Carlo Mazzone’s Bologna side have managed just one victory in eight attempts.
Neither tactician is forced into making any changes as there are no suspensions and while Lecce have a huge injury list, there are no new names added to it. The previous encounter between the two sides this season failed to produce any goals – although that had more to do with excellent goalkeeping than anything else. With nothing at stake a similar result looks on the cards. But you never can tell with Zdenek Zeman.
Lecce (probable): Sicignano; Diamoutene, Paci, Stovini, Rullo; Cassetti, Dalla Bona, Giacomazzi; Valdes, Vucinic, Pinardi
Bologna (probable): Pagliuca; Juarez, Gamberini, Torrisi, Capuano; Nervo, Giunti, Colucci, Bellucci; Meghni; Tare
Milan - Chievo
Fresh from their unexpected slip at relegation fodder Siena, Milan face another of Serie A’s strugglers. Mario Beretta’s Chievo side have won two of their last three games to push themselves out of the relegation zone but surely Milan won’t fall twice in one week?
The Rossoneri were victorious at the Stadio Bentegodi earlier this season courtesy of Hernan Crespo’s first Serie A goal for the club. The Argentine hitman is likely to start this game given that Jon Dahl Tomasson and Pippo Inzaghi are both injured. Alessandro Nesta will return to the starting XI in place of Kakha Kaladze – with Paolo Maldini reverting to left-back – in Milan’s only expected change.
The Flying Donkeys are definitely without the suspended Federico Cossato after his late red card against Parma, with his replacement likely to be the Brazilian hitman Amauri. Roberto Baronio is a welcome addition to the side in place of Paolo Sammarco. Chievo will need all of their big players to show up if they are to stand any chance of further halting Milan’s title charge.
Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso, Rui Costa, Ambrosini; Kakà; Crespo, Shevchenko
Chievo (probable): Marchegiani; Moro, Mandelli, D'Anna, Lanna; Semioli, Brighi, Baronio, Franceschini; Amauri, Pellissier
Palermo - Brescia
After their dramatic late victory against relegation rivals Atalanta, it is now time for Brescia to travel to Sicily in the search of more points to keep them in Serie A. Late goals have earned them four points from their last two outings and the weekend triumph over the Orobici moved them off the foot of the table. Three points from safety, Alberto Cavasin’s men know the trip to face Palermo must produce a positive result.
Palermo also saw their match turn on an injury time penalty on Saturday, their defeat to Sampdoria seriously denting their dream of qualifying for the Champions’ League. With a four-point gap emerging between themselves and the all-important fourth place they too will know that a loss is an unthinkable prospect.
Defeat for the Rosanero would likely make their bid to reach the Champions’ League unachievable and could also let the Roman duo of Lazio and Roma back into the race for a UEFA Cup spot. Francesco Guidolin has overseen nine home victories from 15 games at the Renzo Barbera, so he should be confident against a Brescia side who have lost on eight of their 15 away days.
The first meeting this season was a memorable one for Palermo as they recorded their first Serie A away win since 1968. Goals from Lamberto Zauli and Franco Brienza sealed the victory in Week 13 and Palermo’s domination should have earned them a much bigger win. However,[ Fabio Grosso will be suspended for the game and is joined on the sidelines by striker Davide Possanzini who is out injured.
Brescia are still without Marco Delvecchio and defender Marco Zambelli.
Palermo (probable): Guardalben; Zaccardo, Barzagli, Biava; Mutarelli, Barone, Corini, Brienza; Santana, Zauli; Toni
Brescia (probable): Castellazzi; Zoboli, Di Biagio, Domizzi, Martinez, Stankevicius; Milanetto, Berretta, Wome; Del Nero, Caracciolo
Parma - Sampdoria
Parma host Sampdoria desperate to pull away from the trap door to Serie B as they sit one point above the relegation zone. A disappointing 2-0 defeat at relegation strugglers Chievo has perhaps revealed that Gialloblu minds are not entirely focused on the scrap for Serie A survival. The impending UEFA Cup semi-final with CSKA Moscow will inevitably be on the minds of Pietro Carmignani’s players.
Sampdoria also have Europe on their minds. A late goal from the spot against Palermo at the weekend has put them back into the Champions’ League places and with third placed Inter traveling to face Juventus, there is every chance that a win for the Blucerchiati could put them within two points of the Nerazzurri.
A return to European Cup action would be a dream come true for Walter Novellino’s side, runners-up in the tournament in 1992, and with a reasonably favourable run-in, the Genoa side will be confident of hitting a run of good form after ending their three-match stretch without a win at the weekend.
Parma have defender Cesare Bovo suspended along with Sampdoria’s Marcello Castellini. On the injury front the Gialloblu are without Marco Marchionni, Damiano Ferronetti and Vince Grella, while Sampdoria lose defender Giulio Falcone.
Both sides have only one win from their last four Serie A matches. The Week 13 encounter ended in a 1-0 victory for Doria, an injury time penalty by Francesco Flachi sealing the points after a foul by Bovo. History is on the side of Parma, they have recorded seven wins and three draws against Sampdoria at the Ennio Tardini in the last 10 meetings and have never lost at home to them in Serie A.
Parma (probable): Frey; Pisanu, Bonera, Cardone, P. Cannavaro, Contini; Olive, Simplicio, Bolano; Morfeo; Gilardino
Sampdoria (probable): Antonioli; Sacchetti, Zenoni, Pavan, Pisano; Diana, Palombo, Volpi, Tonetto; Flachi, Rossini
Reggina - Atalanta
Atalanta’s resurgence took a devastating blow at the weekend as they lost out to a re-taken penalty at Brescia in the fourth minute of injury time. Before the game the Orobici could feasibly have moved to within one point of safety. But they now lie six points from salvation and with just seven games left, now appear doomed to return to the Second Division after just one term back in Serie A.
The Amaranto are probably one win away from guaranteeing safety in Serie A, a six point lead over 18th placed Fiorentina should be enough at this stage of the season, but a home tie against the bottom placed club is a gilt-edged opportunity for Walter Mazzarri’s side to clinch their third consecutive season in the top flight.
An impressive win at the Stadio Olimpico at the weekend will have boosted confidence in the Reggina camp and the side from Reggio Calabria have not lost a Serie A match to Atalanta since their first season in the top-flight in 2000. Atalanta will have revenge on their mind after losing the relegation play-off with Reggina in 2003 which sent them back to Serie A. Delio Rossi’s men would love nothing more than to inflict a defeat on their hosts in the South and drag them back into the relegation mire.
The meeting earlier in the season was decided in Reggina’s favour by an Igor Budan own goal and Atalanta’s Michele Marcolini saw red in the closing stages. Reggina’s squad has been heavily depleted, with Ricardo Veron, Nicola Pavarini, Ilyas Zeytulaev and Carlos Paredes are all on the injured list while Ivan Franceschini and Marco Borriello are both suspended.
Atalanta are without youngster Riccardo Montolivo and defender Claudio Rivalta due to suspension. Lampros Choutos is still on the injured list and is joined by Biagio Pagano.
Reggina (probable): Soviero; Cannarsa, De Rosa, Zamboni; Mesto, Tedesco, Mozart; Balestri, Colucci; Bonazzoli
Atalanta (probable): Calderoni; Capelli, Natali, Sala; Motta, Migliaccio, Bernardini, Marcolini, Bellini; Lazzari, Makinwa
Roma - Siena
Roma’s disappointing defeat at home to Reggina has done them no favours in their bid to snatch the last UEFA Cup spot. They now face a Siena side fresh from beating Milan and changing the course of the Scudetto race.
Siena’s surprise win moved them out of the drop-zone and, buoyed by their weekend triumph, will be keen to take advantage of Roma’s poor recent form and climb further up the ladder to safety. Roma have not won a game in six matches and have lost their last three home games.
However, Siena do not have fond memories of their meetings with the Giallorossi. Earlier this season they lost 4-0 in the Serie A at the Artemio Franchi and were handed a 5-1 thrashing in the Coppa Italia in January. Last season’s Serie A tie at the Stadio Olimpico saw Roma run riot and claim a 6-0 victory. Siena have conceded 17 goals in their last four meetings with Roma so it could be a busy evening for Alex Manninger.
Both sides have several players unavailable.
Roma lose Alessio Cerci, Ivan Pelizzoli, Damiano Tommasi and Traianos Dellas to injury and Leandro Cufre through suspension.
Meanwhile, Siena lose the services of hitman Tore Andre Flo with a back injury and Alfonso Camorani with a muscle problem. Rodrigo Taddei is suspended
Roma (probable): Curci; Mexes, Chivu, Ferrari; Aquilani, De Rossi, Dacourt, Panucci; Totti, Montella, Cassano
Siena (probable): Manninger; Portanova, Mignani, Tudor, Pasquale; Colonnese, D'Aversa, Vergassola, Argilli; Cozza; Chiesa
Udinese - Livorno
Udinese’s stumble at mid-table Messina at the weekend allowed Sampdoria to usurp them in fourth spot. The final Champions’ League place is now a three-horse race between Udinese, Sampdoria and Palermo. With Palermo and Sampdoria both facing teams in the bottom four, the Udine club need to take a win from this match.
Livorno are mid-table and have nothing to play for so Udinese should have a good chance of victory. The only previous Serie A meeting between the two clubs, in Week 13, ended with a 2-1 win for Udinese. Goals from Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Di Michele gave Udinese their fifth straight away win in a match that was at the time effectively a battle for third place.
However, Udinese have only won one of their last five home games so are not enjoying a good run of form at the Friuli. Fortunately for Udinese their opponents are not great travellers either, losing eight of their 15 away games so far this season.
Udinese lose Iaquinta for this game due to his suspension and Nestor Sensini, Emilson Cribari and Antonio Di Natale are all injured.
Livorno have Jorge Vargas and Dario Passoni on their injured list.
Udinese (probable): De Sanctis; Bertotto, Felipe, Kroldrup; Zenoni, Pinzi, Pizarro, Muntari, Jankulovski; Fava, Di Michele
Livorno (probable): Amelia; Melara, Galante, Grandoni; Balleri, Grauso, Ruotolo, Doga; Protti, Vigiani; C. Lucarelli
- Lense, Borges, Gabriel, Schuler -
Kauf, Dammeier - Porcello, Skela, Buckley -
Sagnol, Lucio, R. Kovac, Lizarazu -
Schweinsteiger, Demichelis, Ballack, Zé Roberto -
Elía; Izquierdo, Cuéllar, Josetxo, Clavero; Valdo, Puñal, Pablo García, Delporte; Webó y Morales.
Atlético de Madrid: Leo Franco; Velasco, Pablo, Perea, Sergi; Gronkjaer, Colsa o Sosa, Luccin, Antonio López; Ibagaza o Salva y Fernando Torres.
First Amstel cup semi final
Feyenoord Rotterdam – PSV Eindhoven
After two painful losses last week, Feyenoord certainly don’t want to lose this one; The Amstel Cup is the only price that Feyenoord can win and the only price that can make their season fairly successful. PSV, still active one three fronts, will become league champions in the upcoming three weeks. For them the cup is only ‘the cherry on the pie’, so the pressure is on Feyenoord.
PSV is just a great team, they really can control a match (well, in Holland) from start to end. Feyenoord is a team with good possibilities but they concede way to many goals this season. In the last five matches they conceded at least two goals per match, only against poor NAC Breda could Feyenoord hold a clean sheet. There will be chances for PSV, the Feyenoord defence will make mistakes and PSV is very, very likely to score. Also I rate Guus Hiddink a far better coach, in terms of motivating players and tactically, than Ruud Gullit. Note that PSV has a very experienced and balanced midfield, while Feyenoord will definitely misses Ghaly.
So Feyenoord will miss Hossam Ghaly, Patrick Lodewijks, Patrick Paauwe, Patrick Mtiliga and Christian Gyan.
PSV will miss their number one striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. Probably Gerald Sibon or Robert will play for him. I hope it will be Brazilian Robert, I rate his attacking and scoring capabilities a bit higher than good, tall teamplayer and mediator Sibon. Robert hasn’t played that many matches for PSV, so his qualities are still a bit unknown, which could work as a surprise.
Midfielder Philip Cocu and defender Andre Ooijer are still doubtfull, but will probably play. Ji Sung Park returns to the PSV selection.
History doesn’t mean much to me, but the last five confrontations were 1-3-1. It will be a bit of a surprise to me if Feyenoord wins in 90 minutes, but a draw is always possible as history shows…
Feyenoord: Babos; Östlund, Saidi, Gibbs, Bosschaart; Castelen, Ono, Hofs, Goor; Kalou and Kuyt.
PSV: Gomes; Ooijer, Alex, Bouma, Lee; Van Bommel, Vogel, Cocu; Park, Robert and Farfán.
Everton v Man Utd
Everton skipper Alan Stubbs is out of the match with a shoulder injury, while a hamstring pull rules out Italian defender Alessandro Pistone.
Defender Gary Naysmith has an ankle injury and is unlikely to play.
Manchester United have no fresh injury worries and Wayne Rooney is expected to be involved against his former club.
Darren Fletcher (knee) and Ryan Giggs (hamstring) both came through their substitute appearances in the FA Cup semi-final and are in the squad.
Everton (from): Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Watson, Cahill, Osman, Arteta, Carsley, Kilbane, McFadden, Ferguson, Bent, Wright, Plessis, Vaughan, Naysmith.
Manchester United (from): Howard, Carroll, G Neville, Brown, Silvestre, Ferdinand, Heinze, P Neville, O'Shea, Fortune, Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Miller, Kleberson, Giggs, Van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Smith, Bellion, Fletcher
Chelsea v Arsenal
Chelsea winger Arjen Robben has failed to recover after breaking a bone in his foot in February and aggravating it last month.
Captain John Terry, who limped off against Bayern Munich, is in the squad.
Sol Campbell returns to Arsenal's squad after an ankle injury but Arsene Wenger is still unsure whether to throw the centre-back into the starting line-up.
Thierry Henry (groin) is definitely out alongside Gael Clichy, Freddie Ljungberg and Matthieu Flamini.
Chelsea (from): Cech, Cudicini, Pidgeley, Johnson, Gallas, Carvalho, Terry, Smertin, Tiago, Huth, Lampard, Cole, Duff, Gudjohnsen, Makelele, Jarosik, Kezman, Drogba.
Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Taylor, Lauren, Eboue, Cole, Toure, Senderos, Campbell, Cygan, Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Edu, Fabregas, Pires, Reyes, van Persie, Bergkamp, Aliadiere
Blackburn v C Palace
Blackburn striker Paul Dickov is very doubtful with a knee injury from the FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal.
Midfielder Robbie Savage is still struggling with a persistent groin injury and may again have to settle for a place on the bench.
Crystal Palace striker Andrew Johnson is a doubt with a dead leg.
Midfielders Mikele Leigertwood (foot) and Michael Hughes (groin) will also be given late fitness tests but defender Darren Powell (flu) is definitely out.
Blackburn (from): Friedel, Neill, Flitcroft, Dickov, Pedersen, Mokoena, Reid, Thompson, Matteo, Todd, Nelsen, Amoruso, Emerton, Tugay, Short, Stead, Savage, Johnson, Enckelman.
Crystal Palace (from): Kiraly, Speroni, Butterfield, Granville, Hudson, Popovic, Hall, Sorondo, Routledge, Lakis, Kolkka, Leigertwood, Hughes, Watson, Soares, Riihilahti, Johnson, Freedman, Torghelle.
Aston Villa v Charlton
Aston Villa's Martin Laursen (knee) and Darius Vassell (ankle) are 50-50, with Eric Djemba-Djemba and rookie striker Gabriel Agbonlahor on alert.
Villa are without defenders Liam Ridgewell (suspended) and knee injury victims Olof Mellberg (knee) and Gavin McCann, but Nolberto Solano returns.
Luke Young (calf) and Kevin Lisbie (virus) are available for Charlton.
Jonathan Fortune (broken nose) is a doubt, while Paul Konchesky will miss the next two games after misconduct
Aston Villa (from): Sorensen, De La Cruz, Delaney, Laursen, Samuel, Barry, Solano, Davis, Hendrie, Berson, Whittingham, Hitzlsperger, Vassell, L Moore, Angel, Cole, Djemba-Djemba, Agbonlahor, Postma.
Charlton (from): Kiely, Young, Perry, Fortune, El Karkouri, Hreidarsson, Kishishev, Thomas, Holland, Murphy, Rommedahl, Hughes, Jeffers, Lisbie, Andersen, Johansson, Euell, Fish, Fuller
Norwich v Newcastle
Norwich will give a fitness test to skipper Craig Fleming, whose ever-present record this season is under threat from a cut on his leg.
David Bentley is expected to keep his place on the right of midfield after returning from a knee injury.
Newcastle defender Aaron Hughes is out after it was revealed he needs a hernia operation, while midfielder Amdy Faye is a doubt with an ankle injury.
Jermaine Jenas, Titus Bramble and Celestine Babayaro are all injured.
Norwich (from): Green, Helveg, Fleming, Shackell, Drury, Bentley, Francis, Safri, Huckerby, Ashton, McKenzie, Stuart, Jonson, Svensson, Charlton, Doherty, Edworthy, Holt, Ward.
Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Carr, Taylor, Elliott, Boumsong, O'Brien, Ramage, Butt, Faye, Robert, Milner, N'Zogbia, Ambrose, Shearer, Ameobi, Kluivert.
Portsmouth v Liverpool
Defenders Dejan Stefanovic (ankle) and Matt Taylor (thigh) are back from injuries but striker Aiyegbeni Yakubu is still out with an Achilles problem.
Full-back Andy Griffin is fit after recovering early from a calf injury.
Liverpool striker Milan Baros is back in the squad after a three-game domestic ban and may start in place of the injured Fernando Morientes.
The Reds are without Dietmar Hamann, Josemi, Harry Kewell, Chris Kirkland and Florent Sinama-Pongolle.
Portsmouth (from): Ashdown, Cisse, Primus, de Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Taylor, Griffin, Stone, Berger, Skopelitis, O'Neil, Hughes, Kamara, LuaLua, Fuller, Mezague, Rodic, Hislop.
Liverpool (from): Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Pellegrino, Traore, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Biscan, Alonso, Warnock, Nunez, Riise, Morientes, Baros, Cisse, Carson.
Tottenham v West Brom
Tottenham defender Thimothee Atouba is available again after serving a three-match ban for violent conduct.
Noureddine Naybet (hamstring) has a chance of playing, while Egyptian striker Mido (stomach) is training but not match-fit.
West Brom midfielder Jonathan Greening starts a three-match ban, with Kieran Richardson in the running to fill in.
Junichi Inamoto, Riccardo Scimeca, Richard Chaplow and Jason Koumas are also in the running for a start.
Tottenham (from): Robinson, Cerny, Kelly, Edman, King, Atouba, Naybet, Dawson, Ziegler, Mendes, Davies, Davis, Reid, Carrick, Bunjevcevic, Marney, Kanoute, Keane, Defoe.
West Brom (from): Hoult, Albrechtsen, Gaardsoe, Clement, Robinson, Gera, Wallwork, Richardson, Koumas, Inamoto, Scimeca, Chaplow, Campbell, Horsfield, Earnshaw, Kanu, Moore, Kuszczak. (BBC, Betting Advice, Channel 4)
PS Leikittiin vähän väreillä, kun oli kerrankin aikaa, hidastakin se on, saa nähdä onko sitten hyvä vai huono?