Preview: Hosts Juventus hope to move closer to another Scudetto against relegation-threatened Bologna
Although Juventus currently lead Roma by eight points, it is still not enough for La Vecchia Signora to take their foot off the gas in the Scudetto race. Any potential slip-up by the reigning title holders, coupled with a positive result for the Giallorossi and they could find themselves in a very uncomfortable position with just five league matches remaining.
And naturally, Bologna, who rests in an uncomfortable 17th place with just 28 points earned, will try to make the Bianconeri's task as hard as possible. The Rossoblu have had a torrid time this season, with their highest place--15th--coming back on matchday two. However, they have spent the vast majority of their domestic campaign either in the drop zone or uncomfortably hovering above it.
Preview: Rossoneri look to keep up winning momentum against relegation candidates Livorno
Last weekend, Milan achieved something that they have not done all season: win four consecutive matches. In teams from past seasons, this would not be anything worthy of note, but given how the Diavolo have floundered during much of this year's domestic campaign, any positive result is something that will definitely make fans a tad less disgruntled and take a bit of pressure off new manager Clarence Seedorf.
However, it is also important to recognize that Seedorf's troops really struggled against basement-dwellers Catania, despite having a man advantage and only were able to earn all three points thanks to Riccardo Montolivo's long range strike in the first half. That is certainly not something that is encouraging to the team's fans nor management, and the rumour floating around Italy is that the Rossoneri hierarchy have demanded a fifth place finish to secure European football for next season.
Preview: The Bianconeri resume their Scudetto challenge against the Zebrette
On Thursday, Juventus moved one step closer to the Europa League final in Turin by defeating Lyon 2-1 on the night, 3-1 on aggregate. Yet, while the score-line may look like a straightforward win for the side that has yet to lose a game at home, Bianconeri midfielder Claudio Marchisio admitted that his side were fortunate to have secured their position in the semi-finals.
"It wasn't easy. We started off well tonight, but then Lyon equalized and fortunately I was able to score a goal...but it was really lucky," the 28-year-old remarked to Mediaset following the game. Nonetheless, the team is still on course to lift two trophies in May, but will be keen on staying far ahead of second-placed Roma with a win later this evening.
Preview: The Rossoneri look to make it three straight wins against the Grifone
It's not something that many fans would have anticipated after last season's miraculous turnaround, but Milan has yet to win three consecutive games in Serie a all season. They can do so against Genoa, a side that they have not lost to since back in September 2008, but due to their dismal form this season, their opponents are just three points behind them in the league table in 13th place.
Additionally, despite their 39 points, Gian Piero Gasperini's men have fared well at home, with seven victories out of ten at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. However, Milan, who are well out of contention for a Champions League berth, could close the gap on city rivals Inter to just five points with a win against the Grifone. The Nerazzurri were held to a 2-2 draw with Bologna and sit just eight ahead of the 11th-placed Rossoneri in fifth--showing how close the teams ranging from just outside the top four to fourteenth place are presently.
Preview: League leaders look to get back to winning ways against the relegation candidates
Juventus has nearly triple the total points of their opponents, with their haul of 81 giving them a 56 point lead over struggling side Livorno. Hence, this should be an easy way for Antonio Conte's men re-establish a comfortable margin over Roma after their 22-match streak was snapped by Napoli this past weekend.
Suffice it to say, history is not on Livorno's side. The Amaranto are currently in 18th place with a dismal 25 points earned from 31 games, and one would have to go back to a time well before many Serie A fans--or even their parents--were born to find out when they were able to defeat the Bianconeri. In fact, they have only won four times against Juventus, with just one in Turin, and the last time they were able to emerge victorious against La Vecchia Signoria was in 1942, the same year in which they earned their best ever result in Italian football--a second place finish behind Torino.
Preview: Giallorossi take on Europa League hopefuls Parma at home in a replay match
The clash between Roma and the Crociati was scheduled to take place exactly two months ago on 2 February, only to see Mother Nature have other plans and as a result, was suspended due to a downpour. As is the case in football, both sides will play out the remainder of the game rather than restarting at the full 90, but their objectives could not be any more different.
For Rudi Garcia's men, they will be looking to keep out of range of a hungry Napoli side and ensure they keep their lock on second place and automatic Champions League qualification. Meanwhile, for Roberto Donadoni, his team, are hoping to get back on track after their impressive 17-game winning streak snapped by Juventus. Interesingly, the Bianconeri have halted their winning runs twice this season: first ending a 7-match one in the first half of the season followed by the result on 26 March.
Preview: Partenopei look to close gap on second-placed Roma against the runaway Serie A leaders
On Wednesday, a double from Carlos Tevez was enough to give the Bianconeri yet another three points and set a new Serie A record of 15 straight home wins in one season. The victory also ended Parma's 17-match unbeaten run and moved the Bianconeri to a comfortable14-point lead with eight matches remaining.
With Antonio Conte's men comfortably cruising towards a third successive Scudetto, the focus for the other teams is to secure second place and automatic Champions League football next season. Whilst Roma presently occupies that spot, with 67 points and a game in hand, Napoli will be keen on closing that six point difference.
Preview: Champions League hopefuls Fiorentina welcome a floundering Milan to the Stadio Artemio Franchi
The last time Milan won a match was on 23 February, a 2-0 victory on the road against Sampdoria that saw them move into the top half of the table. Since then, they have been dumped out of the Champions League and have just picked up one point from their last four league games--and have slipped into 12th place as a result.
Fiorentina, on the other hand, are riding high thanks to their 1-0 victory over Napoli on Sunday that saw the gap between the two teams closed to just seven points. And, as a result, coach Vincenzo Montella is still hopeful that his side will be able to continue moving up the table.
Preview: Rudi Garcia's men look to widen the gap between them and third-placed Napoli
14 points currently separate league leaders Juventus from Roma, although the Giallorossi still hold a game in hand. However, coach Rudi Garcia has already admitted that his side are out of the title race and that Champions League football is their ultimate goal.
"Second place is not locked up yet, so we have to keep focused. Right now we have 64 points and I would like that to improve to 67 [after the Torino match]. But I think our sole realistic goal should be to retain that second-placed spot come end of this season."
Preview: The Biancocelesti will be going for all three points against a Rossoneri side devoid of confidence
Seven days. That is reportedly the amount of time new coach Clarence Seedorf has to salvage his already difficult career with his former side. After a seemingly bright start, he retired midfielder has lost seven out of his dozen games so far in charge--including both legs of the Champions League and four out of nine in Serie A.
Of course, Seedorf continues to remain defiant, stating in his press conference that he is "not responsible for everything that he has inherited...but I take responsibility for what has happened over the past few games."
Preview: Viola will be hoping to get the best of the Bianconeri in their third consecutive meeting
Only one side in Serie A has defeated Juventus all season--Fiorentina--back on mach day eight on 20th October. And this feat was accomplished at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, something that will be on the back of the players' minds as they attempt to keep their European campaign alive against a side that will be keen to knock them out of the competition once and for all.
Of course, heading into the match, Juventus coach Antonio Conte attempted to diffuse any pressure on the league leaders, noting that, "there's no pressure on us to win the Europa League because our real place is in the Champions League." But with the final set to be in Turin this May, obviously the reigning Scudetto champions would very much like to be one of those sides contesting the trophy in front of their own fans.
Stating that the 2013-2014 season is a rough time to be a Milan supporter would be merely an understatement.
After last season’s miraculous turnaround that saw the Rossoneri move from flirting to relegation to qualifying for the Champions League, fans could not be blamed for, well, thinking that the roller coaster ride had finally stopped and smoother sailing was on the horizon.
After Massimiliano Allegri’s dismissal following the Diavolo’s embarrassing 4-3 reversal to Serie A newbies Sassuolo, in came ex-midfielder Clarence Seedorf in a decision that had many observers scratching their heads. After all, the former Dutch international had zero managerial experience and was just coming off a stint wrapping up his storied career at Brazilian side Botafogo.
Preview: Roma set to welcome Francesco Totti back to the squad
The talismanic captain is set to feature during Monday’s encounter after missing out for over a month due to an injury he suffered in the Rome derby against Lazio back on the 9th of February.
The Italian’s timely return will be a major boost to Roma and Rudi Garcia has claimed that his captain’s return will allow the team to be more dangerous in the attacking third.
Preview: The Grifone look to cause the Bianconeri problems at their home stadium
Although flying high in Serie A, Juventus's European ambitions hit yet another snag as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina on Thursday evening. With the Scudetto pretty much already wrapped up, they head to Genoa to take on a potentially tricky opponent as the Grifone have lost just one in ten of their home fixtures.
And despite the fact that the Bianconeri hold a 37-point advantage, more than the 35 points Gian Piero Gasperini's men have accumulated this season, the hosts are still hopeful to cause an upset in front of their own fans.
Preview: Parma look to consolidate European football at expense of ragged and wounded Milan
What a difference a season can make.
Last year, Parma finished the league campaign in 10th place, all in all, a good showing for a club of its size with 49 points. Milan, on the other hand, completed their topsy-turvy season in third, with their 70 points just enough to earn Champions League football at the expense of Fiorentina.
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.