Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Serie A Week 12: Midweek Preview

Inter and Lazio head into their midweek game both having endured injury-plagued seasons - the only difference being that the hosts have kept on winning in both Serie A and the Champions League while the visitors have struggled.

The Nerazzurri have secured a place in the last 16 of Europe's elite club competition while also keeping their title defence on track having remained unbeaten in 13 Serie A games.

Inter go into their midweek encounter at the San Siro - a game which was postponed last month following the death of a Lazio fan - with a three-point advantage over Scudetto contenders Roma.

However, coach Roberto Mancini's side are well aware that a defeat against Lazio could see the Giallorossi join them at the top of the standings, provided Roma beat Cagliari in Wednesday's other game.

"I am very satisfied with my team's performance," said Mancini. "But we must continue on the same path and hope that Roma start giving away points."

Mancini will be looking to win for the second time in four days against a former team after his side's 2-0 triumph at Fiorentina on Sunday.

Lazio coach Delio Rossi has not had his full squad available for a single game this campaign.

Injury woes have hindered the Romans, whose hopes of progressing to the next round of the Champions League have all but vanished after last week's 2-1 home defeat to Olympiakos.

More worryingly, Lazio have been unable to show the same form that saw them finish third in Serie A last season.

Lazio have won just once on the road this campaign while their results at home have been equally disappointing, with just two victories earned in seven games at the Stadio Olimpico.

Sunday's 1-1 draw at Siena left the Biancoceleste in 15th position in the standings, just four points clear of the drop zone.

"We wanted to win so the draw cannot fully satisfy us," admitted Rossi. "My players need to understand one thing - that right now we are close to the danger zone and we must behave accordingly."

Roma will be boosted by the return of captain Francesco Totti for their clash against Cagliari.

Totti is set to play after recovering from a foot injury as the Giallorossi aim to keep pace with Inter.

"It has been a month and a half that I haven't played," said Totti. "It's a long time but now I'm ready to play and I have been able to train regularly. When I come back, Roma will have another player available."

The absence of the team's top scorer has not hindered Roma in Europe or in the domestic front, however.

With Totti unavailable, Luciano Spalletti's side have ensured qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League and are still on course for the Scudetto.

Opponents Cagliari make the journey to the Italian capital knowing that anything but a defeat would see them climb away from the relegation zone.

Sunday's goalless draw against Livorno saw the Sardinians go level on 10 points with Siena, who hold the last position of safety.

With their last victory dating back to September 30 and having only managed to collect two points in their last five games, the visitors know they must get their act together.

No comments:

Post a Comment