Friday, 7 November 2008

Serie A - Week 11: Weekend Preview

There may be a long way to go in the season, but AC Milan still have cause for celebration following their return to the Serie A summit after a four-year absence.

Last Sunday's 1-0 win over Napoli, courtesy of a Ronaldinho goal, lifted Carlo Ancelotti's side into first place - one point clear of Udinese and Inter.

It marks the first time since May 2004 - the season they last won the Scudetto - that Milan have topped the Serie A standings.

Inter president Massimo Moratti, whose club have won the last three Scudetti, claimed he had no idea the Rossoneri had been off the top for so long.

Moratti, whose team drew 3-3 at Anorthosis Famagusta in the Champions League in midweek, said: "I didn't realise Milan had not experienced the thrills of being in the number one spot since four years ago."

When told of Moratti's comment, AC Milan vice-President Adriano Galliani responded by pointing to his club's success in the Champions League.

"If Moratti came and saw our trophy room he would understand where we got our thrills in the last four years," Galliani said.

Milan make the journey to Lecce on Sunday night hoping to defend top spot while also being aware Inter face a bigger challenge when they host in-form Udinese, with both teams level on 21 points.

Fourth-placed Napoli will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run at home when they take on Sampdoria. The Partenopei have won all four of their games at the Stadio San Paolo this season.

Strugglers Roma have lost five games in a row in Serie A but they travel to Bologna on Saturday night buoyed by their 3-1 triumph over Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday.

A defeat would see the Giallorossi drop into the relegation zone, with Bologna two places below them in penultimate position.

The newly-promoted side have a new man at the helm in Sinisa Mihajlovic with the former Lazio star having replaced Daniele Arrigoni after his sacking in the wake of last weekend's 5-1 defeat at Cagliari.

Another coaching change this week brought Domenico Di Carlo to Verona to replace Chievo boss Beppe Iachini.

Di Carlo has a daunting task in his first game with his team hosting Juventus.

The Turin giants won 2-0 at Real Madrid on Wednesday to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage.

Claudio Ranieri's Juve are sixth in the standings, four points behind Milan.

Fiorentina, who saw their Champions League campaign stutter with a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich, will be hoping the return of Serie A's top scorer Alberto Gilardino inspires them to victory when they meet Atalanta.

Gilardino's absence through suspension hindered the Viola when they lost 1-0 at Siena last weekend.

Catania are aiming to clinch their first win on the road when they make the journey to Cagliari.

Bottom side Reggina face a huge challenge as they also seek their first away victory against a Genoa team who have won all of their games at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris this season.

Lazio have a derby with Roma coming up but before that game they play Siena at the Stadio Olimpico.

In Saturday's early game, Palermo travel to Turin to meet Torino and will be full of confidence after last weekend's 3-0 triumph over Chievo.

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