Friday, 25 January 2008

Serie A Week 20: Weekend Preview

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has called on his side to be more ruthless when they face Genoa this weekend.

Despite a disappointing campaign so far, the Rossoneri could climb as high as sixth with a win in Sunday afternoon's home game.

The European champions exploded into life after the Christmas break with a 5-2 win over Napoli but have slipped back to their old ways since, needing a last-minute winner against Udinese and falling to a 2-1 midweek defeat against Atalanta.

Ancelotti said: "Now we have to look ahead because there are still many games and we can still recover.

"Now we must think on a match-by-match basis but we definitely have to learn to be more clinical in certain games."

Genoa have climbed to eighth place after three consecutive league wins, but Croatian midfielder Ivan Juric said the trip to Milan will be difficult.

"(Milan) have rediscovered their faith and conviction. We will look to impose ourselves without committing any errors," said Juric.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini will be hoping for an improved performance against surprise-package Udinese after the league leaders squeezed past struggling Parma last weekend.

Inter ran out 3-2 winners in a controversial game at the San Siro, and were then held by Juventus to a 2-2 draw in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals in midweek.

The champions will need to perform better on Sunday to make it nine consecutive wins in Serie A.

Udinese may have suffered recent defeats against Catania and Milan but sit in a comfortable fifth place, just two points behind fourth-placed Fiorentina.

Roma will hope there is no repeat of the off-pitch violence which marred their 2-0 victory over Catania last weekend, when three Catania fans were stabbed outside the Stadio Olimpico before the game.

The Giallorossi must instead focus their attention on keeping in touch with Inter as they host Palermo on Saturday evening.

Roma should welcome back captain Francesco Totti from a virus, and hope he inspires them to their fourth straight league win.

Palermo come into the game in ninth place, the lowest of four teams on 25 points, and without a point in 2008.

Fiorentina make the short trip to Empoli, hoping for a repeat of their season-opening 3-1 win over their local rivals. The Viola have been in fine form, with nine goals in their last three wins to recover confidently from their pre-Christmas troubles.

Empoli are lying in 19th with only one win since October, but are unbeaten at home in six in all competitions, including a 2-1 win over Juventus in a Coppa Italia tie in December.

Juve go to Livorno on Sunday evening. Claudio Ranieri's men are unbeaten in 10 games, while Livorno have not tasted defeat since October. Forward Francesco Tavano has scored all of Livorno's goals in 2008.

After winning only one of their first 15, Reggina are now unbeaten in three and show signs of recovery but face an Atalanta side buoyed by their midweek win over Milan, which helped the Bergamo club jump to sixth.

Basement boys Cagliari, who have the worst home record in Serie A, host a Napoli side in 11th who have struggled on the road this season.

Elsewhere, Sampdoria entertain Siena in the opening match of the round in Saturday's early game while Catania host Parma and Torino meet Lazio with both looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone when they meet in the north-west.

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