Serie A Live Week 6
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Cagliari v Siena
Cagliari are yet to gain a point from their two home games this season, a run they will be hoping to end when Siena visit on Sunday, the visiting side still awaiting their first win of the season.
The home side have skipper Diego Lopez out for around a month, while Joe Bizera remains sidelined. The strike partnership of Alessandro Matri and Argentine Joaquin Larrivey continues to offer hope for the future, leaving their young hopeful Robert Acquafresca to spend further time on the bench.
Siena were soundly beaten away to Roma, yet picked up a travelling point at Torino last week. One must question whether Massimo Maccarone will still be on penalty duty, following his two misses from the spot last weekend.
I expect Cagliari to pick up their first home points of the season.
Empoli v Palermo
Scoring goals continues to be a huge problem for Empoli, and this has to be rectified soon, before it is too late. Palermo have been shaken into action after their opening day disappointment at home to Roma.
Using Luca Saudati as a lone forward has not been particularly successful for Empoli coach Gigi Cagni so far, and he may need a further body up there with him to offer a little more support.
Palermo were winners last weekend against Cagliari, yet they were not particularly impressive. A decent start can turn into a very good start if they overcome Empoli on Sunday.
Livorno v Fiorentina
Fiorentina can continue their push towards the top of Serie A, when they visit Livorno at weekend.
The Viola will certainly fancy their chances, especially with Livorno's open all hours defence. It will be interesting to see if this young Fiorentina side can last the distance and pose a number of questions to the top sides.
Livorno are already in a dogfight, any hopes of a steady start are diminishing by the week, and they will soon be in urgent need of points on the board. Defensively they have real problems.
Milan v Catania
It has been a strangely subdued beginning to this Serie A season for AC Milan, unable to find any momentum to put the leaders under any early pressure.
The faces, as is generally the case with Milan, are still pretty much the same, but a lack of urgency in winning games they should have comfortably, is indeed a cause for concern.
Catania will arrive with ideas of continuing to keep the Rossoneri faithful disgruntled. For that to happen Gionatha Spinesi will have to regain some of last season's goalscoring form.
Milan are yet to win at the San Siro in the league this season, expect that to change on Sunday.
Napoli v Genoa
After their dismal start at the San Paolo on the opening day, Napoli have resurrected their early form with impressive wins against Udinese and Sampdoria. A point at Empoli was acceptable.
Last season's success was down to their rock solid defence, and in the first four games this term they have conceded only two, the signs defensively are good for coach Edy Reja's side. With Ezequiel Lavezzi making a big name for himself, Napoli are proving to be a side to watch.
With Genoa's problems in front of goal, the last thing they would have wanted to come up against was a watertight defence. They managed a decent point in their derby against Sampdoria last weekend, but pressure is mounting on the forwards hit the back of the net with much more regularity. Marco Di Vaio has struggled, and Marco Boriello is the only man to register so far.
Napoli is a tough place to visit, and Genoa will get no favours from their back line.
Reggina v Lazio
No wins for either of these sides in the opening four games, and both will be eager to break their duck.
Lazio's attentions have been on qualifying for the Champions League, and it would appear that their league form may suffer as a result. Only a strong squad is capable of competing on both fronts.
Reggina, however, are not exactly setting the world on fire. Their home form has been mediocre, an opening day draw now looks a fair result when you consider Atalanta's start to the campaign, and a defeat at home to Roma is no disgrace.
The home side coach Massimo Ficcadenti will have the choice of recalling defender Carlos Valdez, as he has now completed his two match ban.
A tough trip for Lazio, surely they cannot wrack up another draw, can they ?
Roma v Inter
Now here is a contest that certainly whets the appetite. The early pace setters against the Champions.
Roma have certainly played the better football this season, but Inter just appear to be finding their stride. A focus for Inter will be to improve in Europe, and that did not start particularly well for Roberto Mancini and co, when they lost their first game at Fenerbahce.
Adriano seems to be working hard to get back to the level, both he and everyone else knows he can play at. Inter have injury worries, and do not appear the unbeatable side they were last season. Christian Chivu, Marco Materazzi and Patrick Vieira are all still struggling with fitness, and the squad looks a little light on the ground.
Roma do not have such problems, and have the strength in depth to rotate the squad around, when times are a touch hectic. Francesco Totti remains the key man, and Inter Milan will need to get hold of the ex-Italian international, if they are to impose their own brand of football on the game. They will also be wary of Alberto Aquilani's strikes from distance, after his early sizzling efforts.
A gripping contest, and if I was a betting man, I would steer well clear of this game, it could go either way.
Sampdoria v Atalanta
Atalanta have started exceptionally, and will be hoping for a top six finish. Sampdoria are another where the goals are just not flowing, but the defence has helped ease their worries in front of goal.
Atalanta have generally been entertaining, Cristiano Doni has been his usual accurate self from dead ball situations, while Riccardo Zampagna looks destined to improve his goal tally from last season where accumulated 11. His finishing has been of the highest standard, and quite unorthodox at times.
Antonio Cassano will have a large part to play for Sampdoria and patience will be key while he works his way up to full match fitness.
Despite Atalanta's bright start, I predict Sampdora to end their successive goalless draws and give the home fans something to cheer about.
Torino v Juventus
It will be a highly charged atmosphere for the first Turin derby of the season.
Torino are indeed the draw specialists, all their opening four contest ended in this way, while Juventus have enjoyed more ups than downs on their Serie A return.
A surprising 1-0 defeat at home to Udinese, is Juventus only blip so far, yet their superstars have not yet fired this season. Pavel Nedved, Alessandro Del Piero, and new signing Sergio Almiron were all relegated to the bench for their midweek victory against Reggina on Wednesday. A rotation of his squad was behind Claudio Ranieri's selection, yet it is nothing they did not deserve.
Caoch Walter Novellino is building a side difficult to beat, but would certainly hope to register more victories. Alvaro Recoba and Alessandro Rossina look impressive, but they need to be a little more productive in gaining these victories.
Udinese v Parma
The visitors were still without a win in their first four fixtures (until their midweek win against Torino, and any hopes of avoiding a relegation dogfight will need to be eased soon with a couple of victories.
Udinese fans are not sure what to expect when they travel along to watch their side. Will it be the side that held Inter to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro and turned over Juventus in their own backyard, or the one that was embarrassed 5-0 at home to Napoli. The potential is quite clearly there and with a little more consistency, they can certainly be pushing for another place in Europe, but in which competition ?
It is not recognised by the goals they have scored (only four in their first four games) but Udinese are a threat when attacking. The powerful presence of Gyan Asamoah unnerves the calmest of defenders, while the craft of Fabio Quagliarella keeps back lines alert.
Bernardo Corradi has added some much needed impetus into Parma front line, and his threat alongside Ferreira Reginaldo may be integral to the outcome of this game.
, Serie A
, AC Milan
, Champions League
, Christian Chivu
, Patrick Vieira
, Francesco Totti
, Inter Milan
, Cristiano Doni