Perugia v Inter

Inter need to win to go top, and even that might not be enough to overtake rivals Milan, who are level on points but ahead on goal difference.

Meanwhile Perugia lie eleventh, reasonably safe but unlikely to capture a UEFA Cup berth now.

Perugia’s home form has been sound, winning four in seven this season. Striker Fabrizio Miccoli looks to be back to his best. However, injuries and suspensions mean they will not be able to field a full strength side. Di Loreto and Obedo are suspended, so Rezai and Pagliuca play. Keeper Sebastiano Rossi has a thigh injury so Kalac will start in goal.

For Inter, there has been mixed news this week, with the club reported to be close to signing Batistuta from Roma, but their other target, Reall Madrid’s Santiago Solari, has turned down the chance of a move to Italy. Despite fitness worries over Recoba he should start with Vieri up front as Inter try to cope without Hernan Crespo.

Inter will be look for their fourth sucesive win to maintain the pressure on arch-rivals Milan.

Probable teams:
: Kalac; Sogliano, Rezai, Milanese; Ze Maria, Tedesco, Pagliuca, Blasi, Grosso; Miccoli, Caracciolo
Inter
: Toldo; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Cannavaro, Coco; Conceicao, Di Biagio, Almeyda, Emre; Recoba, Vieri

Milan v Piacenza

The teams meet at the San Siro on Sunday afternoon. Milan, unbeaten in their last seven Serie A matches, must fancy their chances against a Piacenza team who have not win a match in the last month.

Milan have been exceptional at home in the league this season. Only Brescia have managed to come away from the San Siro with a point so far.

Filippo Inzaghi, Milan’s leading scorer this season, who recently denied talk of a rift with his fellow striker Shevchenko, should start against his hometown club. Defender Nesta is suspended so Alessandro Costacurta should play in his place

Piacenza are not scoring goals and moving ever nearer the bottom.

For Piacenza, Montano has not yet returned to Italy from Colombia, claiming he is still unfit. The good news is that Dario Hubner has fully recovered from injury and will lead the line up front alongside new man De Cesare.

Probable teams:
Milan: Dida; Simic, Costacurta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Rui Costa; Shevchenko, Inzaghi
Piacenza: Guardalben; Cardone,Boselli, Mangone; Gurenko, Riccio, Maresca, Di Francesco, Tosto; Hubner, De Cesare

Chievo v Juventus

Chievo’s recent form is encouraging, having beaten Roma on their home turf last weekend, then holding Milan to a draw at the San Siro in the midweek Cup game. Both teams are in the midst of good runs: Chievo are looking for their fourth league win in a row; if Juve win it will be three on the trot for them in the league

Unfortunately, leading striker Marazzina has been suspended from the squad indefinitely after a supposed bust-up with boss Del Neri. He may be off to a bigger Italian side if reports are to be believed. Not ideal for morale going into a crucial game.

Veteran striker Oliver Bierhoff will partner Frederico Cossato up front in place of Marazzina. Luciano is suspended for identity fraud (!), while De Franceschi and Legrottaglie are still injured.

Juventus hammered 5-0 last weekend. French ace David Trezeguet has silenced rumours he is off to Arsenal (among others) with the claim he will see out his contract at Juventus.

Midfielder Gianluca Zambrotta will continue at full-back after impressing there last week, despite the availability of both Montero and Igor Tudor. The team who started against Reggina last week will probably be used.

Probable teams:
Chievo: Lupatelli; Moro, Lorenzi, D’Anna, Lanna; Lazetic, Perrotta, Corini, Franceschini; Bierhoff, Cossato
Juventus: Buffon; Birindelli, Thuram, Ferrara, Zambrotta; Camoranesi, Conte, Davids; Nedved; Del Piero, Trezeguet

Fixtures
18-01-03
Reggina v Bologna

19-01-03
Chievo v Juventus
Milan v Piacenza
Perugia v Inter