Posts Tagged serie a

Lazio vs. AC Milan Preview


S. S. Lazio have the chance (again) to make a bit of a statement in the Serie A, with a match against AC Milan coming up for l’Aquile at the Stadio Olimpico.

Having lost woefully at Napoli just a month ago, third placed Lazio will see Milan’s visit not only as a chance to keep pace with the league’s pacesetters, but also as an opportunity to show that it can get the points against the big teams.

Vladimir Petkovic’s side will also be motivated by the fact that a win over Milan will see Biancocelesti reduce the four point gap between it and one or both of league leaders Juventus and second placed Napoli, as both clash at Turin in Saturday’s evening kick-off.

Saturday’s late kick-off in Rome remains a high profile match despite Milan’s misfortunes this season. The Rossoneri finds itself down in 11th place, with just seven points from as many matches.

Milan have also had to deal with head coach Massimo Allegri in a reported heated exchange with youth coach Filippo Inzaghi, continuously backing Allegri’s position as coach inspite of a poor start to the season as well as fending off rumours of a sale of the club to Qatari investors.

On the flip side, the Rossoneri played well for large spells in the loss to Inter Milan last time out. Days before that loss, Milan held their nerves to gain a crucial 3-2 Champions League at Zenit St. Petersburg after throwing a two-goal lead away.

The biggest boost for Allegri’s side however will be the return to fitness of Brazilian forward Alexander Pato from an injury sustained on international duty at the Olympics.

Milan’s main threat however will be Italian youngster Stephen El-Shaarawy. With four league goals so far, the 19 year old has proved an unlikely pillar for Milan in the absence of Pato and lack of form from the likes of Robinho, who is out injured, or Ricardo Montolivo.

With a difficult trip to face Champions League Group C leaders Malaga coming after Saturday’s trip to Rome, the next five days are crucial to Milan’s season.

Likewise to Lazio’s season, though coach Petkovic believes Lazio should only be considered contenders for the Scudetto or otherwise by Christmas while urging his players to be at their best in the league and in Europe.

The Bosnian tactician also believes Lazio at the moment can beat Milan, a view echoed by midfielder Cristian Brocchi who stated Milan is “wounded” at the moment.

And indeed Lazio, hardly ever so, is favourite going into the encounter and will be banking on Hernanes and Miroslav Klose to deliver the goods upfront, with Klose in a rich scoring streak having hit home five league goals so far; including a brace last time out at Pescara.

Lazio players celebrating a goal recently.

Lazio players celebrating a goal recently.

He also scored a brace for Germany in Tuesday’s thrilling 4-4 draw against Sweden in a World Cup qualifier to come within two goals of Gerd Muller’s record of 68 goals for the German national team.

Petkovic will hope he maintains his form on Saturday and ensure Lazio secure a result similar to last season’s corresponding fixture. A win for Milan however will help ease the pressure weighing on Allegri.

P.S: FORZA BIANCOCELESTI!!!

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Down to the Last Laugh: Chelsea or Newcastle?


Chelsea welcomed Newcastle United to the Bridge with quite a lot of imperative side stories attached to the encounter between sides gunning for a finish in Champions League places.

Though the Blues are in the Champions League final; where a win over ‘hosts’ Bayern Munich will secure a place in next season’s competition regardless of their league position at season’s end, a win last night would put them a point off 4th place and two off third.

But interim manager Roberto di Matteo had an eye and a bit of the other on this weekend’s cup final against Loserpool as evident with the line-up devoid of Lampard, Juan Mata and the Drog from start.

Admittedly though, Chelsea’s line-up was strong enough with Fernando Torres apparently off the hook regarding whatever kept his scoring boots from him along with Mikel, the midield -eses among others.

As for Newcastle, they came into this encounter off of a thumping from my club of April Wigan. And with Manchester City visiting on Sunday, their performance at the Bridge would largely if we should look forward to a City romp or a thrilling affair.

Papiss Demba Cisse hit a drill past Cech just under 20 minutes and let Kompany and company know what to expect on Sunday. And if they missed that memo, the Senegalese bargain made sure they got the message with a speculative, moment of ‘what the sporting fuck did he just do??’ four minutes into the dozen minutes of stoppage time given.

Alan Pardew’s celebration(s) almost summed it up. Coupled with the goal against Swansea, Cisse in my opinion will get the goal of the season award… apologies to my captain vantastic, you get second place here.

So, with Newcastle coming away 2-0 winners, it’s a three-way fight for two Champions League places in the league along with Arsenal (66points) and the Sillywhites (65points) that is ahead of the Magpies on goal difference.

Here’s the juicy twist though, Chelsea on 61 points isn’t mathematically out of it from the league point of view with two games to play. But last night’s loss makes the date at Munich even more crucial for them and for the three ahead of them.

I’ve always loved Mario Gomez and his crew!

Last night’s result also set up what I hope will be an engrossing encounter between Newcastle and Man. City. I did tweet that City would win the derby but not the league and anything other than a win for City on Sunday would likely vindicate that tweet.

Other Side Stories
Cisse’s brace made it 13 in a dozen for the Senegal international, a record goal return equal with Kevin Phillips and Micky Quinn (BBC).

You have to feel a bit sorry for Demba Ba then, who was denied a goal by Cech’s bar last night to extend his goal drought past the thousand minute mark. Demba’s become a Fernando :(.

Meanwhile, we’ve witnessed a number of scary moments this season and one would’ve thought Mikel Obi had loosened the screws holding Tiote’s head last night.

So the 12 minutes of stoppage time wasn’t a ‘PDP’ move to let Chelsea back in the game (if you didn’t watch the match), though John Terry did see a goal bound effort cleared off the line just before Cisse’s fantasy strike.

While hoping Tiote’s all good, the Sillywhites were kind enough to push Bolton deeper into the relegation water with a 4-1 win at the Reebok… not minding how it’d go with Muamba’s heart.

Either way it was good seeing Muamba in the stadium, his first time in public since his heart stopped while playing same opponent couple months ago.

Over at Firenze though, hearts raged in the 2-2 draw between Fiorentina and Novara. By the end of the night, Delio Rossi had been relieved of his job as Fiorentina manager.

For a neutral, it may have been comical when the incident occured after 30 minutes of the match. With Novara 2-0 up, Rossi substituted Adem Ljajic.

The Serbian, bemused by the sub, applauded his manager’s decision. Rossi was not so pleased by this and menacingly confronted the player down the tunnel.

While it was wrong of Rossi to outrightly lose his cool, I feel the Fiorentina president should have imposed a heavy fine on the manager and player for the confrontation.

Sacking Rossi is a bit heavy handed, especially in light of the Violas sadly precarious place on the Serie A table at 15th position. Que sera…

On a final note, I thought I’d clear it up. Punkenstein is an alter ego of @_deleke, same one that writes occasionally for @goonermemoirs.

Have a pleasant day.

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