• Friday, 29 January 2010

    Serie A round 22

    Bari v Palermo
    Napoli v Genoa
    Cagliari v Fiorentina
    Milan v Livorno
    Chievo v Bologna
    Roma v Siena
    Sampdoria v Atalanta
    Catania v Udinese
    Parma v Internazionale
    Juventus v Lazio

    At time of writing, Ciro Ferrara remains boss of Juventus, but a Coppa Italia defeat to Inter in the week may prove his last game in that role. Mario Balotelli scored a last-minute winner for the league leaders prompting the board of The Old Lady to summon Ferrara to a meeting. Rafa Benitez is being linked strongly to the job and Alberto Zaccheroni has also been mentioned. Ferrara, if he does succumb to the pressure, will not be the first nor the last coach to suffer from being too close to the players. It's not that long since he was team-mates with half this squad and going from buddy to boss is a difficult move. Both Benitez and Zaccheroni offer a level of authoritarianism that Ferrara cannot, at this stage of his career, hope to offer. And lord knows those players need a firm hand. They've been rotten lately and if Champions League football is to be on next year's agenda, then it needs changing soon. Mind you, Lazio are a terrible football side so they probably won't have an issue this week.

    The other big Serie A story this week concerns Firoentina striker Adrian Mutu. He's failed another drug test and is facing a ban of between one and four years, and given that he's already 31, that could well be that for the Romanian's career. Needless to say, he won't feature for La Viola at improving Cagliari this weekend. Elsewhere, Roma have been rocked by injuries to both Luca Toni and Francesco Totti and both are facing six weeks out of the game. Fortunately, they only have to face Siena this week.

    The top two should both win through easily enough. Inter are at fast fading Parma while Milan are at home to Livorno. Palermo are fast on the rise, but go to Bari this week which is always a tough place to pick up points. Inter were held there a couple of weeks ago, but Bari will have their hands full to contain a Rosanero side that looks full of verve and brio. Napoli versus Genoa is a real battle of European contenders. This won't settle a place in the Champions League, but will go some way to determining the outcome. Sampdoria were looking good for the top four or five early in the season, but have suffered a massive blip. Dropping Antonio Cassano looked the counter-intuitive thing to do, but Samp won last week. They are at home to lowly Atalanta this week and look good for a second straight win.

    Two important clashes down at the bottom this week. Catania host Udinese and Bologna go to Chievo and points are essential for all four of them. Catania start the round in the bottom three, a point behind Udinese. Chievo have a bit of a buffer back to the danger zone, but Bologna are only one place below and should they win then Chievo will be dragged right back in.

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