Preview: Giallorossi and Partenopei look to close gap on runaway leaders Juventus
Last time these two sides met, it was billed as a clash between two high-flying sides in which Roma was enjoying their best Serie A start to date. Fresh off trouncing Inter 3-0, the Giallorossi, inspired by talismanic captain Francesco Totti were on top of Serie A after winning their first seven matches.
They were to make it eight after powering past the Partenopei thanks to a Miralem Pjanic double but it was also in that game that Totti suffered an injury, thus nullifying his side's creative threat. As a result, Roma ground out tough 1-0 victories over Udinese and a determined and defensively minded Chievo before being held to four consecutive draws--the most surprising being with Serie A debutants Sassuolo.
Preview: Bianconeri keen to wrap up Scudetto race against a potentially tricky opponent
Juventus and Fiorentina have a long and contentious history dating back to the 1981-1982 season when the Viola saw a second half goal discounted against Cagliari, forcing them to have to settle for a 0-0 stalemate. Meanwhile, the Bianconeri went on to win their clash with Catanzaro thanks to Liam Brady's second half penalty and their 20th league title as a result.
Anyway, history lesson aside, the last time these two sides met was certainly a day that Fiorentina's tifosi will remember for a long time. Not only was it the first defeat Juventus had suffered all season but also it was the first time that La Vecchia Signoria had conceded four goals in one match under Antonio Conte's reign.
Preview: Both teams looking to respond after defeats
Both sides finished in the top five last season but have been struggling to replicate their form this time around. Milan are positioned 10th in the league table and have lost thrice in their last five outings in all competitions. A Champions League defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid was followed by a 2-0 win over Sampdoria. But Milan failed to build upon their victory as Juventus subjected them to a 2-0 loss in the subsequent match.
Preview: Roma poised to continue fine run against Internazionale
Inter Milan have recorded just a single win against the capital club in the last nine meeting between the two clubs with the last three matches ending in a victory for La Maggica. Owing to their current form the hosts will definitely be considered the favourite for the tie.
Rudi Garcia’s men second in Serie A, trail leaders Juventus by nine points and talismanic midfielder Daniele De Rossi among others is optimistic that the Old Lady will drop points in their coming fixtures.
Preview: Seedorf looking for a quick response after first league defeat
The Dutch manager suffered his first league defeat last Saturday, when a rampant Napoli side subjected the Rossoneri to a 3-1 defeat. Adel Taarabt gave the visitors a lead at Naples only for Gokhan Inler to level the scores and Gonzalo Higuain sealed the victory for Rafa Benitez’s side with a brace in the second half.
But despite of managing just two victories in his last five games, Milan’s 38 year old tactician seemed to be in a buoyant mood and remained confident that his team would respond against Bologna when the two sides meet on Friday.
Preview: Lazio confident of putting an end to Roma’s win streak
Rudi Garcia’s men have enjoyed an incredible start to the season and currently occupy the second position in the Serie A trailing leaders Juventus by nine points with a game in hand.
The Lupi are on an incredible run having won all of their last five matches and will be looking to record their sixth consecutive win as they hope to keep their Scudetto hopes alive.
Preview: Benitez and co looking to respond after a disappointing week
The Partenopei have lost both of their last two matches and will be hoping for a positive response as they aim on closing down the six point gap between themselves and second placed Roma. Roma got the better of Benitez’s side last time out as they gunned down Gli Azzurri 3-2 courtesy of a late goal from new signing Gervinho.
Napoli are now left with a slender disadvantage as they will hoping to turn around the deficit in their favour in the second leg, but despite the defeat Benitez remained optimistic and spoke of the positives from the match.
Preview: Mazzarri keen to have a say in the Scudetto race
Internazionale’s chances of once again being champions of Italy might be the same as Stevenage’s chances of qualifying for Europe for next season but that does not mean that the Nerazzuri will not be having some say as to who wins this year’s Scudetto.
Although they have improved quite a lot under Walter Mazzarri, Inter are still far from a side in a position to fight for a top three place let alone mount a serious title assault.
Preview: Seedorf looking for third consecutive league victory
The Rossoneri have shown signs of improvement under new manager Clarence Seedorf and two wins in their last two league outings has allowed them to climb to the ninth spot as Milan look to close down the gap on the top four.
The San Siro outfit secured signings of four new players without spending much as of all of Adel Taarabt, Adil Rami, Keisuke Honda and Michael Essien completed their moves to Milan and most of them will be hoping to get involved during Saturday’s encounter against Torino.
"To win the Champions League, you need a budget of at least €300 million", Bayern Munich legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn stated to German publication Kicker when asked his opinion on what it takes for a side to lift European continental football's highest trophy.
He then went on to add that it was thanks to their lavish spending that saw Chelsea lift the trophy in 2012, the first in the club's history but conceded that "it doesn't make them any different than Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich".
Still, no one can dispute that since Chelsea's July 2003 takeover by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich that the Blues have not enjoyed an upswing in success, notably winning the league title three times (their first since the the 1954-1955 campaign).
Preview: Champions looking to respond after midweek defeat
The Old Lady suffered a 1-0 loss at the same stadium when Roma played host to Juventus in a Coppa Italia tie. A solitary goal from former Arsenal forward Gervinho subjected the bianconeri to only their second domestic defeat of the season.
Last time Antonio Conte’s men lost to an Italian side, they embarked on a 12 match unbeaten run and Juve will now return to “the Eternal City” hoping to bounce back from the defeat and in the process record their 13th straight win in the Serie A.
Preview: A mouthwatering match, worthy of a final
When you think of AS Roma taking on Juventus in the Coppa Italia, you would more than likely think it was a final. But unfortunately, one of these two sides will go out of the competition on Tuesday night at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Rudi Garcia's side got through to the quaterfinals after they defeated Sampdoria just a week ago. An early goal from Torosidis was enough to see Roma through to the next round, where they will face a Juventus side that handed them their only defeat in Serie A this season.
Juventus had an easier path into the next round, as they brushed aside Avelino in the Round of 16. Three first half goals from Giovinco, Caceres and Quagliarella were enough to see off the the Serie B outfit.
Preview: Seedorf set for managerial debut at San Siro
Much has been spoken about the former Milan legend’s appointment as the head coach of the San Siro side and even though opinions remain divided the former Real Madrid midfielder has seemed to earn the confidence of Vice President Adriano Galliani among others, who has hailed Seedorf as being the right man for the job.
"My feelings are only positive," he said.
"I can sense that Clarence is really motivated. If he can do as a coach what he did as a player, then we will be very, very happy. Seedorf is going to provide the spark to ignite this squad.”
Preview: Hosts looking for sixth consecutive win in all competitions
The bianconeri have been on a red hot streak having won all of their last five matches in all competitions. Following their European heartbreak which saw the Old Lady getting knocked out of the competition at the expense of Turkish side Galatasaray, Juventus have picked themselves up in exemplary manner and look destined to clinch their 30th league title by the end of the season.
Despite the fact that Juve have made it look rather easy with the comfortable eight point lead they hold over second placed AS Roma, summer signing Carlos Tevez has praised the competitiveness of the Italian league and has labelled it as the ‘toughest’ league in the world.
Preview: The Rossoneri should have the upper hand against a struggling Sassuolo
AC Milan's campaign has not gone according to plan, which has left some Milan officials and their fans asking for change. Galliani was nearly one of those changes, but now it appears that Allegri will leave the club after the current season.
But until then, the Milan manager will try to get his side closer to the top. The Rossoneri are 11th in the Serie A table, with only 22 points in 18 matches. They are closer to the relegation zone, than they are to the top of the table, which is something AC Milan is not used to dealing with.
On 27 October, Rossoneri coach Massimiliano Allegri announced that Milan had come to an agreement to sign playmaker Keisuke Honda on a Bosman from Russian outfit CSKA Moscow. The deal was made official on 4 January when the Japanese international arrived much to the excitement of many of his compatriots who had made the journey to welcome him to the Italian fashion capital.
Nicknamed the “Prince of Osaka” by his new club in their promotional materials, he has now been given the no. 10 jersey which had become vacant following the sale of Kevin-Prince Boateng to Schalke this past summer.
Juventus stronger than ever
Who so ever thought that Roma would be matching Juve blow for blow in the race for this season’s Scudetto will definitely have to reassess their stance after the events that transpired last night at the Juventus Stadium. When the biggest Scudetto challenge ends up with a 3-0 win for Juventus, it simply means that at present, there is not team in the country that can overcome Antonio Conte’s side that has been assembled to dominate Italian football for a few more years at least.
In the game against Roma, the Old Lady got her tactics right, was smarter and every member of the starting XI was aware of their responsibilities.
Preview: Inconsistencies and bad defending have hurt both Milan sides
Both AC Milan and Inter Milan are two clubs who have enjoyed success over the years, but this season in Serie A, neither has been all that impressive.
Inter comes into Sunday's derby having conceded four goals against Napoli in their latest defeat. From their last three matches, the Nerazzuri have conceded nine, which currently has them fifth in the table, with 28 points from 16 matches.
They have not won a Serie A match since November 9th, when they defeated Livorno 2-0 at home.
Raja Casablanca, the shock finalists of the Club World Cup, squared off against Bayern Munich at Stade de Marrakech yesterday. The game took place ahead of the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday and the reason why the final is being discussed is that just a few years back, Inter overcame another African giant in TP Mazembe to lift this unique trophy. That trophy was the last time Internazionale lifted something of any significance as Rafa Benitez was sacked soon afterwards (apart from the Coppa Italia in the same season).
At that time, Inter were eight points off league leaders Milan. Though Inter narrowed down the gap to just two points before the Derby in April, Milan won the game 3-0 and went on to claim the Scudetto.
“We certainly could’ve drawn worse,” AC Milan club director Umberto Gandini mused after learning that his side had been paired off with La Liga’s Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. The Rossoneri, who had finished second in their group could have faced off against the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester United, or Chelsea as their opponents.
So, in light of the terrorizing prospect of dealing with last year’s Champions League winners or a Los Blancos spearheaded by the rampaging Cristiano Ronaldo, who set a new tournament record with nine strikes in just five appearances, then, yes, one could say, theoretically that the “other” Madrid club isn’t the “worst” draw they could’ve gotten.