Friday, 11 September 2009

[Preview] Serie A - Week 3

Lazio coach Davide Ballardini has called on his players to show they are worthy of their lofty league position when they play Juventus on Saturday night.

LazioTwo consecutive victories have placed the Roman side as joint Serie A leaders with the Bianconeri, Sampdoria and Genoa.

But this weekend's encounter in Rome should prove if Lazio have what it takes to remain in the higher echelons of the top flight having so far come up against Atalanta and Chievo, who did not really test Ballardini's men.

"I think Lazio up to now deserves to be in the top positions," said Ballardini, who replaced Delio Rossi at the helm of the Roman outfit this summer. "We have shown hard work and quality on the pitch.

"But on Saturday we come up against Juventus, a team that is the fittest in Serie A and that has plenty of enthusiasm and team spirit."

A draw in the Italian capital could see Ligurian sides Sampdoria and Genoa take command in Italy's top flight provided they win their respective matches on Sunday.

Samp travel to Bergamo to meet Atalanta while Genoa face a more challenging task when they welcome Roberto Donadoni's Napoli to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in the big evening match.

Defending champions Inter take on Parma determined to build on their derby win.

Jose Mourinho's side were held to a 1-1 draw by promoted side Bari in their league opener but made amends a week later by thrashing AC Milan 4-0 at the San Siro.

City neighbours Milan meet promoted side Livorno licking their wounds following their sound beating by Inter in the last round.

Leonardo's side expect to answer their critics by claiming three points in Leghorn against the newly-promoted side in Saturday's early game.

Roma became the first Serie A side to part company with their coach this season after Luciano Spalletti resigned after five years at the club.

Rome-born Claudio Ranieri was unveiled as Spalletti's successor and the former Juve coach will have a challenge on his hands.

A poor start to the campaign has left the Giallorossi rock-bottom of the table having lost their opening two games.

Ranieri begins his adventure with the Eternal City outfit at Siena.

Fiorentina will again be without Romania striker Adrian Mutu for their clash against Cagliari. Mutu, who missed the Viola's opening two games, has been ruled out for 10 days with a muscular injury.

Bologna and Chievo will battle it out at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara with both teams seeking their first win of the campaign.

Bari are eager to maintain their unbeaten start in Serie A when they travel to La Favorita to meet Palermo. The promoted outfit have collected two points so far.

Udinese coach Pasquale Marino knows his side will be in for a battle when he takes on his former club Catania.

Marino guided the Sicilian side for two seasons before joining the Friuli outfit in 2007.

Both teams go into the encounter at the Stadio Friuli looking for their first success of the campaign.

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