Serie A – Week 22 Preview

by Chris Mann

A new week and a new era for Juventus in the aftermath of Ciro Ferrara’s sacking following the club’s elimination from the Coppa Italia at the hands of Internazionale in mid-week. The Turin club have appointed Alberto Zaccheroni until the end of the season and week 22 is the former Torino manager’s first chance to turn the Bianconeri’s fortunes around.

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Juventus begin life under Zaccheroni at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night as they take on Lazio in what is a crucial game for both sides. Juve have lost nine of their last twelve games, have slipped to sixth in the table and are desperate to salvage their wretched campaign. Lazio, on the other hand, have lost their recent momentum and are stuck in fifteenth place with little prospect of anything other than survival. The Biancocelesti will be looking to capitalise on Juve’s instability by coming away from Turin with a valuable victory, something which looks very possible considering the absences of Buffon, Grosso, Camoranesi, Marchisio, Trezeguet and Iaquinta. Juve are on the canvas, it is up to Zaccheroni to get them fighting again.

Another of this weekend’s eye-catching fixtures sees Parma take on table-topping Internazionale at the Stadio Tardini. Despite currently sitting in twelfth place, Francesco Guidolin’s side are just four points off the European spots and capable of giving the clubs at the top of the league a real scare. Having said that, fresh from wins over Milan and Juventus, Jose Mourinho’s Inter have returned to form this week and will be overwhelming favourites against a Parma side which has been inconsistent of late.

At the San Siro, title contenders Milan will look to get their championship challenge back on track after defeat to Inter last week with what should be a regulation win over struggling Livorno. Leonardo will be hoping for a spirited performance from his side, Milan requiring near-faultless form from now on if they hope to catch and ultimately overtake their great rivals at the top of the league. Clarence Seedorf looks set to miss out through injury, but Gianluca Zambrotta is likely to take part having shaken off his fitness problems to bring an added experience to the Rossoneri back line.

Third-placed Roma take on bottom club Siena at The Olimpico on Sunday afternoon as the Giallorossi try to keep their dreams of the league title alive. With Luca Toni out injured, Claudio Ranieri will probably start with Francesco Totti and Mirko Vucinic up front, a duo that should be too good for a makeshift Siena defence. This should be a straightforward victory for a Roma side looking to keep pace with the leaders.

Week 22 Fixtures In Full

Saturday

Bari v Palermo

Napoli v Genoa (Live on ESPN)

Sunday

Cagliari v Fiorentina

Catania v Udinese

Chievo v Bologna

Milan v Livorno

Parma v Inter (Live on ESPN)

Roma v Siena

Sampdoria v Atalanta

Juventus v Lazio (Live on ESPN)

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