Friday, 17 October 2008

Serie A - Week 7: Weekend Preview

Roma captain Francesco Totti is set to return to action with the Giallorossi for Sunday's Serie A showdown with defending champions Inter at the Stadio Olimpico.

Totti, who has struggled with a knee injury since the start of the campaign, has been training with the rest of his team-mates this week to be fit for the encounter against the Nerazzurri.

Without Totti, who was last season's top scorer for the Eternal City outfit, Roma have struggled to make much of an impact.

With just two games won this campaign is no surprise Roma, who finished as runner's up last season, stand 14th in the table, six points behind joint Serie A leaders Inter after six games played.

"The team is trying to regroup having lost a bit of ground in recent games," admitted Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. "The players have applied themselves and I see them very motivated.

"Through their positive approach I am sure we will be able to put things right.

"In football, you need a long time to find calmness while it takes just one moment to break a good run."

Totti's presence should give a psychological boost to Roma in their most important week of the season so far with a UEFA Champions League fixture at Chelsea to follow on Wednesday.

Inter will be looking to pile more misery on a Roma side that will be without key defenders Philippe Mexes and Christian Panucci, both of whom are suspended for the encounter.

A Roma triumph would be welcomed by Lazio and Udinese, who share top spot with Inter, with the three clubs level on 13 points.

Lazio take on promoted side Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dal'Ara while red-hot Udinese will go in search of their fourth consecutive league victory at Lecce.

Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri will be under pressure to record a positive result at Napoli on Saturday night.

The Turin giants have clinched just two points in their past three games - they conceded their first defeat of the campaign in a 2-1 defeat against Palermo a fortnight ago.

Palermo coach Davide Ballardini will be in buoyant mood heading into this weekend's clash with Sicilian rivals Catania having recently signed a contract extension which will see him remain in charge of the Rossaneri outfit through until the 2009-10 campaign.

AC Milan welcome back defender Alessandro Nesta when they play hosts to winless Sampdoria.

The Blucerchiati have failed to come out of first gear this campaign and risk sinking into the relegation zone if they lose at the San Siro this weekend.

Genoa will be confident heading into their clash against Siena, having managed to win all of their games at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

In Saturday's early game, Fiorentina will fancy their chances when they entertain a Reggina side that has only managed to collect two points so far this season.

Atalanta coach Luigi Del Neri will be desperate for his side to avoid their third straight slip on the road when they travel to Verona to meet Chievo.

Bottom-side Cagliari make the journey to the mainland to visit Torino looking to clinch their first triumph of the campaign after six failed attempts.

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