Serie A 2012/13: Round 25 – A Showdown in Rome
January signing Mario Balottelli has notched three goals in two games since moving from Manchester City to AC Milan, and Parma’s defence will have their hands full with the Italian on Friday night.
The Rossoneri are three points behind Lazio and the final Champions League spot, while Parma are winless in their last five games. Though Milan haven’t lost since December, the team may have an eye on next week’s Champions League fixture with Barcelona prior to the Milan derby.
Palermo gained a valuable point last weekend in Alberto Malesani’s coaching début, and the Rosanero are only four points away from safety. Palermo are in desperate need of goals as the club are joint second for fewest goals this season. The Sicilian side will take on Chievo, another team that is not too far away from the relegation zone, and a team coming off two straight defeats to Juventus and Inter, respectively.
In Saturday’s late game Roma and Juventus will play at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Juventus crushed Zemanlandia back in September 4-1, but Roma are under new leadership. Unfortunately, new coach Aurelio Andreazzoli’s tenure with the capital club got off to an inauspicious start, losing 3-1 to Sampdoria last weekend. Juventus played in midweek in the Champions League beating Celtic in Glasgow 3-0, so tired legs could be a factor in this one.
Sunday’s big match will see Inter travel to Tuscany to play Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Andrea Stramaccioni got his charges back to winning ways last weekend, easily beating Chievo 3-1. Meanwhile, Fiorentina are coming off another loss and have only won once since Christmas. Fiorentina could benefit from Inter’s midweek Europa League game, but La Viola will still be without midfielder Alberto Aquilani.
A massive six-pointer will be played at the Adriatico Stadium as Pescara play sixteenth place Cagliari. The Sardinians have played well in recent weeks and have distanced themselves from the mire at the bottom of the table. A win would put Cagliari seven points ahead of Pescara, and though not insurmountable, it will be difficult for Pescara to overcome.
Genoa are unbeaten in three matches since the return of coach Davide Ballardini. However, the Ligurian side will have a tough task as the Grifone host Udinese. The two sides played out a nil-nil draw last autumn and a similar result would benefit Genoa more than their Friuli counterparts. The Grifone’s defence is much improve under Ballardini’s 3-5-2, but Antonio Di Natale is currently third in Serie A with 14 goals and should be as dangerous as ever.
Napoli lost ground on Juventus last weekend and will take on the recently free scoring Sampdoria. The Stadio Luigi Ferraris based club have tallied nine goals in three matches and are one of the most improve clubs in Serie A. But Napoli are still in the hunt for their first Scudetto since 1990. Napoli must not slip up a second week in a row, because if Juventus win, their Scudetto hopes could be all but over.
The last game of the weekend will take place on Monday night when Lazio travel to Siena. Lazio picked up a valuable point against Napoli last weekend and Sergio Floccari filled in well for the missing Miroslav Klose.
The club are coming off a Europa League game in Germany against Borussia Monchengladbach, and the extra days rest should benefit the players. Siena on the other hand, are fighting relegation and should come out firing on Monday night.
Fixtures – Kickoff times in CET
15/02/2013 (Friday) – AC Milan v Parma(20:45)
16/02/2013 (Saturday) – Chievo v Palermo (18:00), Roma v Juventus (20:45)
18/02/2013 (Monday) - Siena v Lazio (20:45)