Udinese v Milan

The omens for Udinese are not good. They have lost eight of their last nine meetings with the visitors, but won 3-2 at the San Siro in a nail-biter at the start of 2002.

They will look to recapture the spirit of that victory, but must do so without Belgian defender Regis Genaux, a long term absentee with knee a injury, and Alberto who is suspended.

Milan will be full of confidence. They have a healthy lead on their nearest rivals in the title chase, striker Filippo Inzaghi is in the form of his life, and partner Shevchenko is steadily regaining form and fitness.

Added to that, star-signing Rivaldo had his best game in a red and black shirt last week.

Milan are however suffering from injury problems, with Serginho, Chamot, Leonardo and Christian Abbiati all sidelined with muscle strains. They have the squad to cope regardless.

Milan are unbeaten in their last eight Serie A games, while Udinese have only lost two of their last ten.

Probable teams:
Udinese: De Sanctis; Bertetto, Sensini, Kroldrup; Gerriti, Pinzi, Pizarro, Jankulowski, Pieri; Jorgensen, Muzzi
Milan: Dida; Simic, Costacurta, Maldini, Kaladze; Ambrosini, Pirlo, Seedorf; Rivaldo; Shevchenko, Inzaghi

Como v Roma

Como are having a miserable season with just seven goals in seventeen games, and no wins. It looks as if a position of safety is now beyond them.

There is some good news, however. They have signed promising youngster Luigi Anaclerio – “the Italian Rivaldo” – on loan from Bari. Expect him to feature as a substitute, with Bjelanovic and Caccia starting up front. Benin and Rossi are injured.

Roma are having a mediocre season in the league. They lost 2-1 to lowly Atalanta last week and lie sixteen points behind leaders Milan. Yet their form in the Italian Cup has been exceptional. They won 6-3 against Vicenza in the week, Delvecchio scoring a hat-trick and Totti giving an outstanding display.

They didn’t look any the worse for losing Batistuta to Inter. They will have to do without Brazilian midfielder Emerson, Panucci and Pelizzoli as they are suspended.

Tomic, Sartor and Antonioli should come in. Dacourt, on loan from Leeds, should retain his place in the side.

Probable teams:
Como: Brunner; Juarez, Tarantino, Stellini; Binotto, Cauet, Corrent, Pecchia, Music; Bjelanovic, Caccia
: Antonioli; Sartor, Samuel, Aldair, Candela; Cafu, Tomic, Dacourt, Delvecchio; Totti, Montella

Inter v Empoli

Inter will be desperate for a win against Empoli to keep pace with fierce rivals Milan. Inter are second, three points off their neighbours.

They have Batistuta on board now, a perfect replacement for the injured Hernan Crespo. But he will probably start on the bench, with Recoba and Christian Vieri up front.

Di Biagio is suspended and they have other injuries, with Serena, Ventola, Adani and Coco all out. Not a crisis, then, but they will want to avoid any more injuries during the title run-in.

Empoli are in tenth place, relatively safe but with only an outside chance of gaining a UEFA Cup berth. They last beat Inter way back in September 1986, and with Inter dropping just four points at home this season, they will fear the worst.

Saudati, Atzori and Barollo are all injured. The are likely to start with Rocchi as a lone striker, and try and contain Inter, hitting them on the break.

Empoli’s away form has been their strong point this season and with four wins on their travels may cause Internazionale some problems.

Probable teams:
Inter
: Toldo; J Zanetti, Materazzi, Cannavaro, Pasquale; Conceicao, Almeyda, C Zanetti, Emre; Recoba, Vieri
Empoli: Berti; Belleri, Cribari, Lucchini, Cupi; Busce, Grella, Vannucchi, Giampieretti, Di Natale; Rocchi

Como v Roma

26-01-03
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