This weekend the Rossoblu will play the Rossoblu – Gian Piero Gasperini’s Genoa travel to the island of Sardinia to play Massimiliano Allegri’s Cagliari. The visiting side have to contend with a Europa League match this Thursday before they can begin to focus on their Seria A tie. However, terrible home form has seen Cagliari fail to win a league match for five months, and the Grifoni will want to prolong that as they look to put last weeks thrashing by Inter behind them. Even last season’s records don’t favour the home side – this tie was played earlier this year in March and on that occasion it was the visitors who snatched a 1-0 win.
The home side have suffered two consecutive defeats and will need points from this game to avoid dropping into the relegation zone, which they are now only one point above. So far this campaign their form at the Stadio Sant’Elia is so bad they are still chasing their first home point – with this in mind, Genoa’s impressive goal scoring record must look daunting to Cagliari, who will desperately need their fans’ support if there are to get off the mark at home. Coach Massimiliano Allegri is likely to field the same side that narrowly lost to Catania. This means Diego Lopez will start on the bench, as he recovers from an ankle injury, while Francesco Pisano will not even be fit enough for a substitute appearance. Top scorer Jedias Jeda is almost certain to start up-front and will be looking to exploit Genoa’s weak defence.
15 Marzoratti – 13 Astori – 21 Canini – 31 Agostini
4 Dessena – 5 Conti – 10 Lazzari
32 Matri – 27 Jeda
In Serie A, the Grifoni are a totally unpredictable side. They may have had some good results, like the win over Roma and the draw with Juve, but they are also recovering from a 5-0 battering from Inter last weekend. They have the third best offensive record in the league, having scored 14 goals, but have conceded the most goals – 16 goals in eight games. They need some points if they are to remain in the top six and fight off the likes of Palermo and Milan who appear to be finding their stride. The reliability of this piece will rely heavily on Genoa not picking up any injuries in tonight’s Europa League match against Lille. Despite what happened last Saturday, Coach Gian Piero Gasperini is likely to field a largely unchanged side, with the sole Marco Rossi replacing defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The team will probably play with a 3-4-3 formation – an offensive set-up that will look to take advantage of a Cagliari side low on confidence. Genoa will hope for the recovery of Domenico Criscito and Giandomenico Mesto, and should return to fitness they may start on the bench if not start.
25 Biava – 24 Moretti – 26 Bocchetti
7 Rossi – 77 Milanetto – 21 Zapater – 23 Modesto
10 Palladino – 33 Floccari – 14 Sculli
Away games at Cagliari are traditionally not an easy affair, particularly when most of the week’s attention has been on a Thursday night European game. Thus far, the bookmakers have not placed either side as favorites, probably because they want to gauge the Grifoni’s reaction to the Inter defeat in their mid-week tie with Lille – they give both teams an equal chance of victory and a draw appears to be the least likely result. This is because both teams really need the full three points from this tie – Cagliari are rapidly falling into the relegation zone and Genoa are seeing their great start to the season being nullified by a leaky defence. One thing for certain is that this game should deliver some goals, and this writer thinks we could see Genoa once again snatch a win, not only because Cagliari have so far been woeful at home, but also Criscito and Mesto could recover in time to play for the visitors on Sunday.