Friday, 20 February 2009

Serie A - Week 25: Weekend Preview

Inter coach Jose Mourinho believes the only way his team will not win a fourth straight Scudetto is if they "give it away".

Mourinho's team beat AC Milan 2-1 last weekend, a result which, coupled with second-place Juventus' 1-1 draw against Sampdoria, pushed the league-leading Nerazzurri nine points clear of Juve.

"If we lose the Scudetto it will be because we have given it away," said Mourinho. "Our destiny is in our hands.

"It's difficult to imagine that Milan and Juventus will win all of their remaining games.

"There is still some way to go as there are 14 games left to play. But our win against Milan has been very important for us not only because it has increased the gap but because it is a psychological blow for our Scudetto opponents."

With the UEFA Champions League last 16 kicking off next week, all three of Italy's representatives in Europe's pemier club competition will play their Serie A matches on Saturday.

Inter travel to Bologna in an early 16:00 (local time) kick off having to do without suspended duo Cristian Chivu and Nicolas Burdisso.

Claudio Ranieri's Juventus take on Palermo in Sicily in the late 20:30 match desperate to return to the winning ways.

The Turin giants have won only once in their last four encounters and will face a challenge as Palermo have tasted victory in all of their games at La Favorita since November 15.

Roma will be eager to bounce back from last Sunday's surprise 3-0 defeat at Atalanta when they host Siena at the Stadio Olimpico in the early evening 18:00 match.

Last weekends outcome marked a massive setback for the Giallorossi who are chasing a Champions League spot. The capital giants are two points behind fourth-placed Fiorentina.

All the rest of the Week 25 matches takes place on Sunday afternoon at 15:00 as AC Milan entertain in-form Cagliari looking to bounce back from last week's derby defeat.

The visiting Sardinians have been going well, and will be looking to further improve their chances of qualifying for the UEFA Cup with a win at the San Siro.

Fiorentina will fancy their chances against relegation-threatened Chievo. The Viola have collected 10 points of a possible 12 in their last four league games and have lost just one encounter at the Stadio Artemio Franchi this season.

Fifth-placed Genoa will be hoping Fiorentina's positive run comes to an end this weekend as they attempt to climb to fourth in the standings.

Gian Piero Gasperini's men are just one point behind Fiorentina, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot.

However, Genoa will be put to the test when they travel to Napoli, despite the Azzurri's poor form in the new year.

Lazio coach Delio Rossi will be under pressure to get a victory at Lecce. Like Napoli, the Biancoceleste have struggled to make an impact this year and have collected just two points in their last six games.

Their poor run of form has seen the Romans drop to 11th in the standings, eight points behind neighbours Roma, who hold the last European qualifying spot in sixth.

Torino will have an added motivation to beat Udinese this weekend as a victory could see them climb out of the relegation zone.

The Granata are two points clear of Lecce, who hold the last safety position.

Red-hot Atalanta take on Sampdoria in Genoa looking to make it four wins in a row. The Bergamaschi have beaten Catania, Cagliari and Roma to climb to eighth in the table.

Bottom side Reggina meet Catania hoping to clinch their second win on the road this season.

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