Week 31 Gazzetta Football Italiano

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This week Italy was left shocked by the Abruzzo earthquake. These are the words of the Red Cross:

“In the early hours of April 6 2009, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale struck the city of L’Aquila in central Italy, 120 km northeast of Rome. According to the Italian Red Cross at least 260 people are dead, 1,000 injured and 30 missing. The quake has left around 28,000 people homeless in the city, which has a population of 70,000. It is critical that these people, many of whom have lost everything, get shelter, food and water”.

As was to be expected, the whole of Italy has been in a sombre mood for the week, and day-to-day problems have been put firmly into perspective. As a site dedicated to Italian football, it is worth commending the Serie A clubs that have already made plans to donate significant money to the Abruzzo cause. Napoli, Fiorentina, Catania, Milan and Siena have pledged to donate this weekends gate-receipts, whilst Lazio President Claudio Lotito, due to tax reasons, has alternatively decided to set up large-scale fans collections around the Olimpico. But it is not just Italian clubs that have recognised the need for action, as Barcelona President Joan Laporta has offered a friendly match between Barcelona and Milan, where all the proceeds of the evening will go to the fund.

You may not be able to arrange a friendly between your pub side and Juventus, but you can donate whatever you can to the cause – Donate with the Red Cross here

The highlight of the footballing weekend will be the Rome derby, as Lazio host Roma. This is surely not the game that Biancocelesti boss Delio Rossi would have chosen in which to get his side back on track in Serie A. The pressure has been mounting from the halfway point of the season, and his position will surely be assessed in the summer, with the odds not really in his favour. Defeat this weekend could speed up the process, but let’s not rule out a positive result also. Things will suddenly look a lot different if Lazio defeat their fierce rivals, and the calls for Rossi to leave the Olimpico will silence, at least for the time being. Three points this weekend may well be worth 10 against lesser opposition – at least for Rossi.

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The relegation struggle has been narrowed down to four clubs since Chievo’s excellent run of form, leaving Bologna, Torino, Lecce and Reggina. All four of these sides play at home this weekend, and therefore have a great opportunity to help themselves out of the danger area. What is more, all of these teams are playing in winnable games – Udinese fresh from UEFA Cup defeat, Sampdoria still as inconsistent as ever, Siena are barely out of the relegation fight themselves, and a Catania side that are only six points ahead of Chievo. Quite simply this is as good an opportunity for the bottom sides as they are going to get – their fate is in their own hands.

Elsewhere this weekend, it is 2nd against 4th as Genoa host Juventus in the primetime Saturday night match, as the Bianconeri try to keep their minds on chasing Inter, especially after the demoralising dropped points against Chievo last week. Milan is the next team to face those Flying Donkeys that caused Juve such problems, and that are now five games unbeaten. The Rossoneri are trying to ignore rumours about the future of their Coach Carlo Ancelotti, and Brazilian star Kaka, who has again reiterated that he does not want to leave. It’s another big weekend at the business end of the Serie A season.

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