Friday, 21 November 2008

Serie A - Week 13: Weekend Preview

Former Chelsea coaches Jose Mourinho and Claudio Ranieri lock horns on Saturday night in a mouth-watering clash as Inter welcome bitter rivals Juventus to the San Siro for the Derby d'Italia.

Always a highly-charged match, it has added spice this time around with the pair having exchanged verbal jabs since Mourinho - who replaced Ranieri at Chelsea - arrived at Inter in the summer.

Juve, who are in blistering form having won five games on the bounce, could move level on points with the Serie A leaders if they win and President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli has predicted a repeat of last year's result - a 2-1 victory for the Bianconeri.

"(Mauro) Camoranesi will score, (Julio) Cruz - who is our nemesis - will equalise, and then Amauri or (Alessandro) Del Piero will score the decisive goal," he said. "I dreamt we will win on Saturday. The lads are a great group.

"Inter are an aircraft carrier with a lot of classy jets at their disposal. Juve are a battleship. They're younger but with character.

"It's the match that I feel the most, without taking anything from (city rivals) Torino. There has always been a healthy and intense sporting rivalry and it has to continue like that."

Cruz has scored 10 times against Juve, but all eyes will be on strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the in-form forward has never scored against his old team.

Saturday's early match sees Fiorentina play host to Udinese with both sides looking to bounce back from indifferent results recently.

AC Milan will have a keen eye on the San Siro battle, knowing that anything but an Inter win will see them move to top spot if they triumph at Torino the following night.

The Rossoneri will be eager to produce a convincing performance after they struggled to beat bottom-of-the-table Chievo 1-0 last week.

Torino are equally desperate for the points as their 3-2 defeat at Catania left them just three points outside the relegation zone.

Roma are level on points with Toro - albeit having played a game less - and they will be hoping last week's derby victory over Lazio proves to be the turning point of their season.

It was the Giallorossi's first win in six matches and saw coach Luciano Spalletti earn himself a stay of execution.

However, Roma have collected only a point away from home and on Sunday they travel to Lecce who sit just a point above them in the standings but are unbeaten at home this season.

A triumph over Cagliari could see Napoli move to third if Inter win and they could go one place higher depending on Milan's result.

Chievo fell to the bottom of the table after a controversial Ricardo Kaka penalty was all that separated them from Milan at the San Siro but they will take heart from their plucky performance as they welcome Siena to the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

Reggina moved off bottom spot as they celebrated their 300th Serie A game in perfect style by breaking a three-match losing streak with a shock victory at high-flying Udinese and they will hope to build on that when they entertain Atalanta.

Bologna are level on points with Reggina and they play host to Palermo.

Elsewhere, Lazio entertain Genoa in Rome and Catania travel to Sampdoria looking for their third consecutive victory as they aim to continue their push up the table.

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