TheHardTackle presents to you a consolidated preview of all the Serie A fixtures lined up during the midweek.
Chievo v Milan
Chievo have been a symbol of inconsistency in Serie A so far. In the season where they defeated Napoli, they have fallen prey to Bologna. A midtable finish looks on the cards as the season draws to a close. The players missing in action are Dramé, Uribe, Sardo, Jokic, Acerbi, Gulan, Moscardelli and Mandelli. Chievo are likely to field a 4-3-1-2 formation in the upcoming match with Pellissier and Paloschi leading the charge.
Milan’s sudden decline has raised quite a few eyebrows and it is high time they address those concern areas and go top of the Serie A, where they rightfully belong. A shock loss to Fiorentina last week has even raised questions of a possible sacking of Allegri, but needless to say, these rumors carry no weight. Milan will be missing van Bommel, Silva, Inzaghi, Roma, Strasser, Flamini, Pato and Mesbah. A 4-3-1-2 formation is on the cards with Maxi Lopez retaining his position in the line-up.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Chievo 1-2 Milan
Roma v Udinese
This is possibly the game of the midweek. With the race for third place heating up now more than ever, these two teams will leave nothing to chance in the upcoming match. After being shocked by Lecce in the previous matchday, Roma will leave no stones unturned to claim as many points as possible from this match. For Roma, the players missing will be Simplicio, Burdisso, Juan, Greco, Cassetti and Lobont. Enrique is likely to play a 4-3-1-2 formation with Roman General Totti playing as trequartista.
After a strong start to the season, the fire which fuelled Udinese seemed to have died down a bit. Losses to Novara and Siena are testimony to this fact. Nonetheless, they are still in the top 4 teams in Serie A, and with the chance to play in Europe only 3 points away, they will look to stop Roma on their tracks. For Udinese, the players missing in action are Floro Flores, Basta, Battocchio, Fabbrini, Badu and Isla. Guidolin might deploy a 3-5-1-1 formation in this match with Abdi and Di Natale leading the attack line.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Roma 1-1 Udinese
Catania v Lecce
Catania have not lost at home since December and are unlikely to lose that record in the upcoming match against relegation threatened Lecce. They now lie just below Inter in the league table, which speaks volumes of their achievement as compared to Inter. Catania will be missing the likes of Biagianti and Potenza through injury and Spolli through suspension. A 4-3-3 formation is on the cards with Lodi leading the midfield alongwith Izco and Ricchiuti.
Lecce’s surprise victory over Roma in the last matchday was probably the highlight of their season so far. Relegation threatened for a long time, they have to somehow overcome the 4 point deficit between them and Genoa if they plan to remain in the topmost tier of Italian football. Lecce will be missing Julio Sergio and Esposito through injury. Lecce are likely to deploy a 3-5-2 formation in this match with Muriel and Di Michele playing as forwards.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Catania 2-0 Lecce
Fiorentina v Palermo
Another interesting match for the midweek will be the clash between Fiorentina and Palermo. With only 3 points separating these two teams, both will give it their best, knowing very well that they have no prospect for playing in Europe anytime sooner. Fiorentina are coming off a surprise victory over Milan in the previous matchday, where ex-Juventino Amauri scored probably the most important goal of his career. Fiorentina will be missing Gamberini, Vargas, Cassani and Kroldrup through injury. A 3-5-2 formation is likely with Montolivo returning in action.
From playing thrilling matches against Inter (4-3 and 4-4), to loss against Cesena, Palermo have been extremely unpredictable in Serie A. In the previous matchday, they were trounced by Juventus, when Bonucci and Quagliarella scored one apiece. Palermo are likely to play a 4-3-1-2 formation with Hernandez and Miccoli upfront. Missing in action for Palermo are Aguirregaray, Balzaretti and Silvestre.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Fiorentina 2-0 Palermo
Genoa v Cesena
The battle to stay in Serie A will be on the cards when Genoa take on Cesena at home in midweek. With Cesena almost guaranteed of the drop, Genoa will leave no measures in order to ensure their survival. Genoa played horribly in their previous match against fellow strugglers Novara, where they escaped with a solitary point. Genoa will be missing Antonelli and Constant due to injury and Kucka due to suspension. Coach Malesani is likely to field a 4-4-2 formation with former Milan striker Gilardino leading the way.
After a horrible season, where they only won 4 out of 31 matches, Cesena now lie at the bottom of Serie A table. With nothing to play for but their pride, Cesena will come out all guns blazing but are unlikely to cause any sort of upset in this match. With Malonga, Parolo, Guana, Martinez, Calderoni, Pudil and Iaquinta missing due to injury, Cesena are likely to go with a 4-3-1-2 formation with all of their hopes lying solely on the shoulders of Mutu.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Genoa 2-0 Cesena
Internazionale v Siena
A rebuilding is underway in the blue side of Milan where newly-appointed coach Stramaccioni is slowly and steadily gathering the disparate forces in his team. After an exciting 5-4 victory over Genoa, Inter were held to a 2-2 draw away at Cagliari in the previous matchday. Qualification to Europe will be a bit far-fetched to even think of at the moment, but Inter will take advantage of Siena in the upcoming match. Inter will be missing the likes of Maicon, Sneijder, Castaignos and Alvarez for this match. A 4-3-3 formation is on the cards with hattrick-man Milito leading from the front.
Siena will be looking for a mid-table finish once this season comes to a close. Unbeaten in their previous 3 away games, Siena might fancy themselves against a volatile Inter side, but even to a neutral, they are unlikely to come away with anything from this match. Coach Sannino will deploy a 4-4-2 formation in this match, which Angelo and Calaiò will miss due to injury.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Inter 3-1 Siena
Juventus v Lazio
After toppling Milan to pole position in the last matchday, Juventus will look to consolidate their lead at the top. With only one point differentiating the top two teams, a slip-up of any sort will hand over the advantage to an injury-plagued Milan side. Juventus have lost none of their games so far, but on the other hand have drawn as many as 14 matches – the highest in the league this season. Conte has a full-strength squad to choose from and he is likely to field a 3-5-2 formation with Vidal, Pirlo and Marchisio running the show from the midfield.
The other team from the capital, Lazio has been pretty spectacular this season. Back-to-back victories in the Derby della Capitale and their present third place position testifies to that fact. Even in the previous match, they prevailed over Napoli, boasting of the best attack on the peninsula. Edy Reja will be missing quite a few players due to injury and is likely to field a 4-2-3-1 formation with Rocchi as the sole striker. Players missing are Dias, Klose, Stankevicius, Lulic and Cana.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Juventus 1-1 Lazio
Napoli v Atalanta
After being at the receiving end from both Juventus and Lazio, Napoli will look to bring their season back on track with an outright victory over Atalanta in the upcoming match. Napoli have been winless in their last 4 matches, but have lost only twice at home this season.The trio of Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani needs to act fast if Napoli are to retain any hopes of qualification to Europe in the next season. A 4-3-1-2 formation is on the cards with Mazzarri missing the likes of Rosati, Donadel and Maggio due to injury and Zuniga, Britos and Cannavaro due to suspension.
Atalanta have been rocked on more than one occasion this season due to match-fixing scandals and needless to say, the aftermath of those allegations have been felt in the first team’s performance. After a superb start to the season, they now find themselves in the bottom half of the table, fighting with injuries as well as lawsuits. Colantuono will play a 4-4-2 formation in this match, as he will be missing the likes of Brighi, Marilungo and Capelli due to injury and Manfredini and Doni due to suspension.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Napoli 3-1 Atalanta
Parma v Novara
Parma’s two previous matches signify their season so far. From a 3-1 victory over Lazio to a 3-1 loss to Udinese, Parma now find themselves lying fifth from the bottom. A loss in this match might not push them to the relegation zone, but might hamper their chances of remaining in Serie A for the coming season. Coach Donadoni is likely to field a 3-5-2 formation with Floccari and Giovinco leading the way. Giovinco has recently generated interest from Barcelona with his eye-catching performances this season. The players missing this clash are Ferrario due to injury and Paletta due to suspension.
The newcomers in Serie A, after having found out how tough it is to survive in one of the toughest leagues in Europe, is on their way down to Serie B next season unless something out of the blue happens. With as many as 16 defeats and a goal difference of minus 25, Novara are presently second from bottom and a rare victory might increase the pressure on Lecce to perform. A heavily defensive 5-3-2 formation will be fielded by Tesser, who will be missing the likes of Ludi, Marianini, Ujkani, Paci and Da Silva due to injury and Caracciolo due to suspension.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Parma 2-2 Novara
Bologna v Cagliari
The last action from this midweek matchday brings us to Stadio Renato Della`Ara, where Bologna will take on Cagliari. Bologna have not won at home since February and were held to a 1-1 draw in the previous fixture against Cagliari earlier in November. The inspirational Di Vaio has been unable to lift Bologna this time, and with him missing this match due to suspension, Bologna have a lot on their plate come Thursday. A 3-4-2-1 formation is likely to be fielded by Pioli, who will be missing Garics, Crespo, Casarini, Antonsson and Krhin due to injury.
Cagliari, on the other hand, held Inter to a 2-2 draw in the previous matchday, even though Inter dominated the proceedings and had a lion’s share of the possession. However, their away record is not something to be proud of, as they have won only 3 out of 15 matches played away from home. Ficcadenti will field a 4-3-1-2 formation in this match with Ibarbo leading the charge. Players missing this match are Dessena, Rui Sampaio and Eriksson due to injury and Pinilla due to suspension.