Cagliari will be back in people’s minds this weekend after successfully derailing the Parma express train that looked set to reassert the Gialloblu as a legitimate Serie A side. The 2-0 win in the Stadio Ennio Tardini on Sunday not only brought Parma back to Earth with a bump, but it continued the mini-revival that Massimiliano Allegri’s men are experiencing after starting the 2009/10 so bleakly following last year’s shock 9th place finish.
Conversely, the bright start by Chievo has hit a stutter as the Flying Donkeys could only salvage a point against bottom club Atalanta at the Bentegodi. Captain Sergio Pellissier cancelling out Simone Tiribocchi’s effort saved the blushes of the men from Verona and gave them their second draw in succession. It is not all doom and gloom though for Domenico Di Carlo, eight points from the opening six games sees them over a fifth of the way to last year’s point total with the season barely even alive yet.
Cagliari– Defensive frailties could see Allegri forced to call on captain Daniele Conti to fill the void left by the suspension of Davide Astori at the heart of defence at the Stadio Sant’Elia on Sunday. However, late fitness tests for injured duo Francesco Pisano (knee) and Diego López (calf) could yet yield an alternative to the Rossoblu’s selection headache. If there is no 11th hour reprieve, Conti is likely to line up alongside Michele Canini and will be replaced in the shake-up by veteran Andrea Parola in the middle of the midfield three. Elsewhere, Allegri will be hopeful that Jeda can continue his scoring streak leading the line for the Sardinians alongside Alessandro Matri.
15 Marzoratti – 21 Canini – 5 Conti – 31 Agostini
4 Dessena – 18 Parola – 10 Lazzari
32 Matri – 27 Jeda
Chievo– Domenico Di Carlo looks set to retain the core of the team that snatched a point against Atalanta, although Albanian Erjon Bogdani could replace Pablo Granoche alongside Pellissier at the forefront of the Chievo attack. Midfielder Luca Rigoni is pushing for a place after undertaking special training sessions during the week and hopes to start for the first time since pulling out ahead of the side’s 0-0 draw with Siena. If Rigoni loses his race to be fit then Manuel Iori will continue his competent job of shielding the back four. Fabio Moro continues to miss out through injury.
21 Frey – 2 Morero – 33 Yepes – 4 Mantovani
10 Luciano – 15 Iori – 7 Marcolini
31 Pellissier – 23 Bogdani
Despite some good performances – including an impressive 3-1 defeat of Genoa – and amassing a respectable points total from their opening encounters, the steam seems to be running out a little for Chievo. Two draws on the bounce for the Flying Donkeys against beatable opponents would not have given them much confidence ahead of this clash and Di Carlo may employ a negative mentality to make sure they return to Verona with their third point in three games.
Cagliari seems to have turned the corner following a stuttering start which saw them grab only one point from 12 in the opening exchanges. Expect a much improved home performance from the Rossoblu and the smart money would seem to indicate a likely repeat of when the teams met under a year ago in the 2008/09 campaign when Cagliari ran out 2-0 winners with goals from Roberto Acquafresca and Michele Fini.