Friday, 19 September 2008

Serie A - Week 3: Weekend Preview

All eyes will be fixed on the fortunes of Luciano Spalletti and Carlo Ancelotti during the third round of Serie A fixtures this weekend.

Spalletti & AncelottiSpalletti, the Roma coach, and Ancelotti, boss of AC Milan, have each presided over dismal starts to the new Italian domestic season.

Roma have looked a shadow of the team that pushed Inter for the Serie A title last season before finishing as runners-up, being held to a 1-1 draw against Sampdoria before losing 3-1 at Palermo last weekend.

Milan, meanwhile, have lost both of their opening Serie A fixtures.

Spalletti's woes appear to run a touch deeper than those of Ancelotti, however, after the Giallorossi's poor form spilled over to the Champions League in midweek with a shock 2-1 home defeat to unfancied Romanian outfit CFR Cluj.

That result triggered a response from Roma club president Rosella Sensi, who has demanded better against Reggina on Saturday night.

"Enough," she declared. "Against Reggina, we must prove our worth, we cannot play so badly."
In Milan's boardroom the mood is equally tense - despite the 3-1 UEFA Cup win against FC Zurich on Thursday - and earlier this week Ancelotti was summoned to a meeting with club executives to discuss the future after Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Genoa, a result which left Milan bottom of the table.

"In that meeting with [vice-President Adriano] Galliani, we were all critical of our work," Ancelotti said. "I was as well as I have made mistakes.

"But there is the common wish of both the club and the players to come out of this situation."

Milan face a tricky test to turn things around, however, with early league leaders Lazio the visitors to the San Siro on Sunday night.

The Rossoneri's city rivals Inter might be winning games but that has not stopped coach Jose Mourinho from courting controversy.

Mourinho upset Catania in his post-match remarks last weekend by claiming that the Nerazzurri would have won even if he had played in goal during the 2-1 victory.

Catania's club administrator Pietro Lo Monaco reacted by saying Mourinho should be "hit on the teeth", which in turn led to more sniping between the clubs.

The petty squabble has not affected Inter's form on the pitch, however, and they meet Torino this weekend in buoyant mood after a 2-0 Champions League win at Panathinaikos.

Atalanta enjoy a 100 per cent record after two games and travel to Sicily to meet Catania in Saturday's early game while Fiorentina, who drew 2-2 at Lyon in the Champions League, will be looking to bounce back from last Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Napoli when they host Bologna.

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero will be hoping his winner against Zenit St Petersburg in midweek will see him earn a starting place against winless Cagliari in Sardinia, while Palermo will have to overcome the absence of striker Fabrizio Miccoli when they take on Genoa.

Elsewhere, Udinese entertain Napoli, Sampdoria will bid for their first win against Chievo, and Lecce take on Siena.

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