Club Focus – Chievo Verona – The Flying Donkeys lose out to the weather, but all focus is now on the Coppa Italia.

It was unfortunate for the Gialloblu, but theirs was the only Serie A game to fall to the weather this weekend. The weekend trip to Bologna was always likely to be a tough one but a heavy snow storm all weekend put paid to any hope of another great result following last week’s astonishing 2-1 home win over defending champions Inter. The game began, but both captains soon agreed play could not continue in those conditions and the referee called both sets of players back into the changing rooms whilst the lines were cleared in the hope the storm would blow over.

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Unfortunately it didn’t and after half an hour the decision was made to call the game off. Luckily it didn’t dampen spirits as both sets of supporters opted to have a snowball fight to pass the time, which both sets of players joined in with. It could be said the Gialloblu had the edge in this session but unfortunately they won’t prosper from three points for it. Now attention will swiftly switch to Tuesday night’s Coppa Italia fourth round tie against Serie B leaders Novara in the Stadio Bentegodi.

In the previous round (the third round) Chievo enjoyed a relatively straight forward 2-0 win over Serie B outfit Sassuolo, who were Gialloblu Coach Stefano Pioli’s previous employers from last season. Pioli was able to enjoy a relatively easy and stress free win in which he made a complete change of personnel. This included appearances for the likes of Lorenzo Squizzi, Davide Mandelli, Ledian Memushaj, Pablo Granoche and even a substitute appearance for Brazilian summer signing Rincon. This enabled Pioli to give valuable playing time to his fringe squad players without upsetting the flow of his side. One suspects the Coach will not be able to on Tuesday night against a side who sit five points clear of second placed Siena following the two sides 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon and more importantly seven points clear of third placed Atalanta. This means they have a seven point lead over the play-off places in a fantastic attempt to win back to back titles and gain promotions from Serie C1 straight up to Serie A at the first time of asking. Currently Novara has lost only two games from their opening 17 putting them at the summit. Unfortunately for the leaders their only two defeats have both come on the road which won’t bode well for their trip to the Stadio Bentegodi against a side with their tails well and truly up following the win over Inter. Having said that, they had a fantastic win on their travels in the third round also against Serie A opponents in Cesena. The side from Piedmont came through 3-1 after extra time.

Novara is currently coached by Attilio Tesser a former central defender who played for Napoli, Udinese and Perugia to name but a few. He was also capped by the Azzurri at under 21 level. He has coached Trestina, Ascoli and Cagliari without ever really settling anywhere until he was confirmed as Novara Coach in June 2009. Astonishingly, Tesser led Novara to promotion as champions in his first season in charge. This was a return to Serie B for Novara for the first time in 33 years. He will have his work cut out to stop a Gialloblu machine beginning to gain momentum.

Stefano Pioli will be picking a slightly stronger side than the one which took to the field against Sassuolo. He has however promised to keep faith with a number of squad players. It came as a shock to some Gialloblu fans when he named his 18 man squad for the cup tie and left out both Davide Moscardelli and Sergio Pellissier, the two heroes from the 2-1 win over Inter. He has retained the likes of David Mandelli, Gennaro Sardo and Pablo Granoche, which should be a side strong enough to take the Flying Donkeys through to the last 16 and a tie away to Palermo. Pioli will be keeping the likes of Pellissier, Moscardelli and Frenchman Cyril Thereau fit and fresh for Sunday’s home league clash with seventh placed Roma. He will have been pleased that despite being the only game lost to the weather at the weekend, the Gialloblu only dropped one place to tenth.

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