A.C. MILAN
vs
Lazio

San Siro, Milan
02.02.2011, 1:15 AM kick-off

On Tuesday night, Lazio pay a visit to the San Siro to face league leaders A.C. Milan in a top two clash. The Rossoneri are slowly regaining their form, with two consecutive wins in as many games. Milan have been active in the recently concluded transfer market as well, bagging Antonio Cassano, Urby Emanuelson, Mark Van Bommel, Didac and Nicola Legrottaglie to bolster their ranks.

They face fellow title contenders Lazio, who have recovered from their slump in form. The Biancocelesti sit four points behind Milan, and will look to close the gap on the Rossoneri in the race for the Scudetto with a win at the San Siro. After a patchy start to the New Year, Lazio have managed to get their title race back on track with a win against Fiorentina during the weekend.

Team News and Tactical Brief

A.C. Milan

Max Allegri will be cursing his luck after captain Massimo Ambrosini limped out of the game against Catania. He joins an astonishing list of  players, which includes Boateng, Zambrotta, Gattuso, Abate, Inzaghi, Nesta, Amelia, Seedorf and Strasser, who are unavailable to the coach. Mark van Bommel, in typical style, picked up a red card against Catania and will be serving a one match ban.

New signings Emanuelson, Cassano and Legrottaglie could feature for the Rossoneri, although the latter looks set to start from the bench. Mathieu Flamini returns to the Milan set-up, and could start against Lazio in light of all the injury problems faced by the Rossoneri. Brazilian Thiago Silva could continue in his ‘Marcel Desailly’ role in midfield.

Possible Lineup (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Oddo, Bonera, Yepes, Antonini; Flamini, Thiago Silva, Emauelson; Robinho, Ibrahimovic, Cassano

Form Guide: WWDDW

Lazio

Lazio coach Edy Reja should go into this game with inspirational midfielder Hernanes. The Brazilian was given a rest against Fiorentina, and will start against Milan. Talented Czech youngster Libor Kozak scored a brace in the win against Viola, and will take to the field alongside Giuseppe Sculli, who comes in for the suspended Mauro Zarate.

Reja will be without Del Nero, Meghni, Garrido and Tomassao Rocchi. Diakite and Floccari are doubtful for the game. Dias makes his return to first team action in the centre of defense. Reja is known for his organisation, and will look to keep Milan’s attacking trio in check.

Possible Lineup (4-3-1-2): Muslera; Lichtsteiner, Dias, Biava, Radu; Brocchi, Ledesma, Mauri; Hernanes, Kozak, Sculli

Form Guide: WLWLD

TheHardTackle’s Player to Watch Out For

Zlatan Ibrahimovic


Ibra will be looking to get his name on the score-sheet again

Ibra is Milan’s top-scorer this season with 13 goals, and although he wasn’t at his best against Catania, he managed to get his name on the score-sheet. Milan will be dependent on the Swede to maintain his form and produce something out of nothing, like he so often does.

TheHardTackle’s Prediction

A.C. Milan 2-1 Lazio

Milan will face a tough battle against Lazio, who aren’t pretenders to the title. However, at home, the Rossoneri should have a bit too much firepower for the Biancocelsti to handle, and should extend their lead over Edy Reja’s side.

PALERMO
vs
JUVENTUS

Renzo Barbera
03.02.2011, 1:15 AM kick-off

Both teams are coming off defeats from winning positions. Palermo succumbed to a defeat through a Giampaolo Pazzini-inspired Inter, while Juve were undone by a mixture of poor defending and bad luck against Udinese. Palermo are a bogey team to the Bianconeri, who have only managed one win against the Sicilians in the last six outings in Serie A. Palermo are in 8th position in the league table, and a win against Juventus will leapfrog them above the Bianconeri into 7th place.

Juventus have been in woeful form so far this New Year, and all their title aspirations have slowly faded away. The Bianconeri will be looking to get their season back on track with a win against the Aquile. The Turin based outfit requires a positive result on Wednesday night to give them the confidence they clearly lack at the moment.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Palermo

Hernandez, Pinilla and Goian are ruled out with injuries, while Munoz and Carrozzieri are suspended for the Sicilians. Coach Delio Rossi will be looking at the talented duo of Javier Pastore and Josip Ilicic to provide the ammuniton for former Juve man Fabrizio Miccoli. The manager will stick to his favoured 4-3-2-1 formation, which includes former Juve players Cassani, Nocerino, Balzaretti and the aforementioned Miccoli. Andelkovic comes in for the suspended Ezequiel Munoz in the centre of defense to partner former Roma defender Cesare Bovo.

Possible Lineup (4-3-2-1): Sirigu; Cassani, Andelkovic, Bovo, Balzaretti; Nocerino, Migliaccio Bacinovic; Ilicic, Pastore; Miccoli

Form Guide: LWLDW

Juventus

Boss Gigi Del Neri should retain his 4-4-2 formation. He will however be without the likes of Rinaudo, Quagliarella, Pepe, Traore, Motta and De Ceglie, all ruled out with injuries. Their new arrival, Alessandro Matri, who came on deadline day on loan from Cagliari, should start on the bench. Del Neri will depend on captain Alex Del Piero and Jorge Martinez to lead the attack. Leonardo Bonucci is suspended following his red card against Udinese, which means that new signing Andrea Barzagli will make his first Serie A start for the Bianconeri in the heart of the Juve defense.

Possible Lineup(4-4-2): Buffon; Grygera, Barzagli, Chiellini, Grosso; Krasic, Melo, Aquilani, Marchisio; Del Piero, Martinez

Form Guide: LDWWL

TheHardTackle’s Player to Watch Out For

Milos Krasic

Krasic has to perform at his best.

The Serbian started off the season on a high and won the hearts of the Bianconeri supporters with his incredible performance. However, he has looked tired and lethargic in the last few games. If Juve are to come away with anything against Palermo, they will need a big performance from Krasic.

TheHardTackle’s Prediction

Palermo 1-1 Juventus

Both these sides would look to get their campaign back on track after weekend losses. Palermo have had the edge over Juve in the last few games; however the Bianconeri will be determined to come away with something from Sicily. A draw is on the cards here.

BARI
vs
INTERNAZIONALE

San Nicola
04.02.2011, 1:15 AM kick-off

Defending champions Internazionale make a trip to the San Nicola to face relegation-threatened Bari. Leonardo’s side are still in the hunt for the Scudetto, and will look to close the gap on rivals A.C. Milan with a win against the Galletti. Inter are in 4th place, 9 points adrift of the Rossoneri, but they do have a game in hand.

Bari, on the other hand, have endured a terrible season and are sitting at the bottom of the table. The Galletti have lost 4 out of their last 5 games in Serie A. The Biancorossi are almost certainly going to get relegated at the end of the season barring a ridiculous miracle. Giampiero Ventura’s team have been a shadow of themselves from last season’s side that won plaudits for their performances.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Bari

Ventura will be without S. Masiello, Belmonte and Barreto, who are all injured and won’t feature. He will most likely shift from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-1-2 formation to compensate for his injury problems. Gazzi, Almiron and Donati should form the midfield trio, with Bentivoglio playing behind on loan striker Okaka and former Genoa player Rudolf, who scored on debut against Juventus. Captain Gillet will continue in goal.

Possible Lineup (4-3-1-2): Gillet; A.Masiello, Rossi, Glik, Parisi; Gazzi, Almiron, Donati, Bentivoglio; Okaka, Rudolf

Form Guide: LLLLW

Internazionale

Inter have been busy in the transfer market, having signed Pazzini, Nagatomo and Kharja. Pazzini had a marvellous debut for the Nerazzurri, coming on from the bench to score two goals and win a penalty against Palermo. Sneijder, Stankovic, Samuel, Cordoba, Cambiasso, Mariga and Lucio are all unavailable to Leonardo. Pazzini could be in line for his first start for the club, while Kharja is expected to make the starting 11 after his impressive display against Palermo.

Possible Lineup (4-3-1-2): Cesar; Maicon, Rannochia, Materazzi, Chivu; Zanetti, Motta, Kharja; Pandev, Eto’o,Pazzini

Form Guide: WLWWW

TheHardTackle’s Player to Watch Out For

Maicon

Maicon is back to his very best!

Under Leonardo, Maicon is back to being one of the best defenders in Europe. His trademark marauding runs and delicious crosses are his forte. Maicon will provide the Nerazzurri width down the right flank and will cause headaches to the Bari defense.

TheHardTackle’s Prediction

Bari 0-3 Inter

It will be a tough task for Bari to get anything out of this game. Leonardo’s men know a win here will be vital in the race for the Scudetto. Inter have a very potent attack force with the addition of Pazzini, and should come away as comfortable winners.