Serie A Preview – Week 3 – European recovery

Last week in Serie A will be remembered for a series of upsets and shock results. Big teams with big players that earn even bigger wages were humbled all across the country by their less illustrious counterparts, and therefore a look at the current league standings is surprising. Only one team has won both of their matches so far, and only one team has lost twice, leading to Serie A being labelled the most competitive European league this season.
Current champions Inter have hardly had things their own way. After two games, Rafa Benítez’s men remain unbeaten, but their performances have been below-par. They squeezed past Udinese last week, and were held to a 2-2 draw by FC Twente in the midweek Champions League fixture. Worryingly, last season’s hero Diego Milito has yet to score, which could spell danger for this weekend’s opponents Palermo. The Sicilians have also had a poor start to the season, and were beaten by Brescia last week.
Across the city, Inter’s rivals Milan have also stuttered this season. Zlatan Ibrahimović and Robinho’s debut last weekend was potentially the shock of the season. Milan were beaten by lowly Cesena, and Ibrahimović missed a penalty. The Rossoneri were equally poor against Auxerre in the Champions League on Wednesday, but came away with a win after the Swede’s first two goals for the club. Milan will fancy their chances of getting back on track this weekend as Catania visit the San Siro – a stadium where they have never won. The Sicilian minnows have a respectable three points so far, and if there was ever a time to face the mighty Milan, it would probably be now.
Roma, in 19th place after two matches, will try and earn their first win of the season against Bologna. Roma were hammered 5-1 by Cagliari last week before losing to Bayern Munich in midweek, but Bologna’s form has been equally uninspiring. Juventus travel to Udinese, who are the only club without a point so far. Udinese have Juve’s summer target Antonio di Natale in their ranks, and will relish the opportunity to deny their visitors their first win of the season.

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Walter Mazzarri takes his Napoli to his old club, Sampdoria, without a win so far. The two clubs played Europa League ties on Thursday so recovering well will be important. Chievo, who are top of the league with a perfect record, face Brescia. The visiting Coach Giuseppe Iachini promoted Chievo to Serie A but will now be looking to build on Brescia’s win over Palermo last week.
Sinisa Mihajlović has had a poor start with Fiorentina, with just one point so far. Lazio visit the Artemio Franchi, a team that Mihajlović won the Scudetto with in his playing days. Bari host Cagliari, where both clubs will try and build on impressive starts. Bari have beaten Juve while Cagliari embarrassed Roma, so it should be an entertaining match between the two minnows. Cesena, Milan’s conquerors, and Lecce, who beat Fiorentina, are two relegation candidates that square up at the weekend. Gian Piero Gasperini’s Genoa play Parma, with the Coach under pressure after an expensive summer has been followed by an underwhelming start to the season.
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