I will readily admit that last weekend’s Milan v. Juve match had me steaming for a good 3 or 4 days.
And I’d love to prattle on about the need for goal-line technology but that’s a pretty convenient rant when your club is the victim.
But it’s a new day in Serie A, and a big one at that. Milan are still top after all (though Juve have a game in hand) and the intensity of the remaining matches will continue to increase with each round.
The fixture list this weekend features the Bianconeri trying to remain unbeaten, the city of Milan taking on the island of Sicily, and perhaps the most explosive derby in all of world football.
Yes, we’re in for another huge weekend of calcio on that big, beautiful boot. Just the way we like it.
Saturday, March 3
Palermo v. AC Milan – Palermo fell weakly away to Siena last round but make no mistake, they have plenty of firepower.
It’s in the back where they are lacking, but Milan will have questions of their own with Nesta still crocked and Mexes suspended. Bonera will likely fill in, or attempt to.
The good news for the Rossoneri is that Ibra returns, and should combine with first choice strike partner Robinho for what has been Milan’s most potent pairing thus far. I expect young standout El Shaarawy to see action late on as well.
Milan will need to score to take this one, but luckily Palermo are prone to defensive lapses.
2-4, in a thriller for Milanisti and neutrals alike.
Juventus v. Chievo Verona – Why couldn’t Matri have been as ineffective against Milan as he was against the USMNT midweek?
He’s Juve’s in form striker at the moment, and the most likely to test Chievo’s defense on Saturday. Their supremely talented midfield should give him plenty of opportunities.
As a Milan fan I have scoured Juve’s fixture list looking for where that first loss in going to come from. I’ve circled a stretch where they play Inter, Napoli, Palermo, and Lazio, followed by Roma two weeks later as the most likely to trip them up.
That doesn’t mean Chievo can’t go into Turin and win, I just think they are highly outgunned.
I will give some props to Michael Bradley. I don’t rate him highly and the best I’ve ever said about him is that he is solid. But since that is really what he is usually asked to be, he has grown extremely well into the role for Chievo and it showed against the Azzurri.
Unfortunately, his Flying Donkeys come up short. 2-0 to the hosts.
Sunday, March 4
Parma v. Napoli – US soccer fans are well aware of Napoli’s attacking threats already, but many may have gotten their first taste of Parma’s Sebastian Giovinco on Wednesday. I don’t see how they could have been disappointed.
The little man is always full of running, has a marvelous touch, and always finds a way to squirm into the right areas. He is Parma’s best scorer by a mile which means he is often given full attention from opposing defenses.
Napoli’s backline is not great, but one of his teammates will need to pitch in or else they’ll have a hard time keeping pace with the visitors’ attack. With Sergio Floccari out injured, this doesn’t seem likely.
AS Roma v. Lazio – When Roma are bad, they’re bad. Like crushed 4-1 by Atalanta bad.
But surely Luis Enrique will have his men up for what Giallorossi fans consider a must win every time out.
Yes it’s Derby della Capitale time again, and with both teams fighting for European positioning as always, it’s sure to be a fun one.
Lazio stole the corresponding fixture in the first half thanks to a 93rd minute winner from evergreen Miroslav Klose, but they are by far the more physically wounded side coming into this one.
Young Borini continues to impress (he was another bright spot for Prandelli on Wednesday) and he and his young teammates will be itching to etch their names into Roma lore in this one.
Expect a deep-lying Lazio to wait for the break, and an epic, hard-nosed Serie A encounter to unfold.
3-2 to Roma.
Bologna v. Novara – With all the great matches on this weekend, why would you watch this one?
Novara are currently second only to Genoa as the worst defense in Serie A. Di Vaio and Diamanti will crack them.
2-1 to the home side.
Fiorentina v. Cesena – If you paired Cesena’s offense with Novara’s defense, you’d have one atrocious team. Snatching up Iaquinta in the transfer window was a positive move, but he’s far past his prime and Mutu is just far too inconsistent.
Fiorentina have had a disappointing season as well, but they are strong at home.
Far more worrying for Viola fans than the visiting Seahorses is that Montolivo’s hints of exiting have returned, with the 27-year old looking ever more likely to join Milan in the summer.
1-0, Fiorentina’s Jovetic on target.
Lecce v. Genoa – I actually think this could be a fun match. Neither side defends particularly well, and Lecce are a desperate side.
For Genoa, Palacio should give the hosts fits, and I hope to see Corvia feature for Lecce as he is capable of some magic moments.
2-2 at the final whistle.
Siena v. Cagliari – 5 points apart in the table, these two sides are actually pretty well matched. Both are consistent in defense, and while they won’t wow anyone up top, both feature serviceable strikers for a bottom of the table side.
I like Siena’s pairing of Destro and Calaio best. A second home win in a row for Robur, 3-1
Udinese v. Atalanta – Another under the radar tilt with the potential to turn into a thriller.
Udinese are in good health and will be thrilled with Di Natale’s return to goalscoring ways last week. They are missing Isla but I am quickly becoming a fan of the dynamic Antonio Floro Flores, who I never paid much attention to before this season.
I’d like to see Guidolin start him with the talisman up front more often.
German Denis responded to my claims he was cooling off in a big way with a hat trick against Roma, with speedy youngster Guido Marilungo also pitching in.
Both sides are solid at the back as well, with Udinese’s Benatia deserving special mention for his campaign so far.
2-2, somebody equalizes late.
Internazionale v. Catania – Catania are no pushovers. If they could have taken full points from 2 or 3 of their 9 draws, they’d actually be ahead of Inter.
The Nerazzurri have had a torrid time of late, winless in their last 6 in all competitions, with just one point earned in the league.
The talent is still their, but the heart and the legs are in serious doubt. Inter’s old guard just hasn’t been able to hack it, as passionate as they may still be. Everyon but Sneijder that is, who just does not look like he could care less.
Inter are in for another close one here, and I think they’ll be pleased in the end with a point earned.
1-1 at the San Siro.