On Tap

Chelsea travel to Birmingham to take on a confident Aston Villa in the marquee Premiership match of the week-end. Barcelona hopes to get its internationals back in good shape for the important away match at Valencia, while a number of interesting encounters headline Italy’s Serie A.

On Saturday, Fiorentina meets Juventus in Torino, with the animosity between the supporters intact and both clubs near the top of the table. Juve and their coach Ciro Ferrara are under pressure to produce a win after seven points dropped recently against Bologna, Genoa and Palermo. Fiorentina meanwhile will be playing its chances with confidence, Gilardino, Jovetic and Adrian Mutu in fine form. Juve will rely on Iaquinta, along with Brazilians Diego and ex-Fiorentino Felipe Melo, heavily, as anything less than three points will not be enough to keep up with Inter and Sampdoria, who will be in Rome to take on Lazio.

Also on Saturday, Inter travel to Genova for what should be an entertaining match against Genoa. Diego Milito is unlikely to play against his former team due to injury, but Thiago Motta will and Hernan Crespo should be motivated for this encounter. Samuel Eto’o is also doubtful due to fitness, but might recover by game time to play at least one half.

On Sunday Milan will host a Roma without Totti, who failed a fitness test and will not be able to play. Milan coach Leonardo is still hanging on to his position by a thread, his hopes greatly tied to the form of electrifying, young Alexandre Pato. Even without Totti, Roma are a veteran group with the experience to rise up for the occasion. A draw might not be enough to save Leonardo.

La Coruna – Sevilla and Valencia – Barcelona are the matches of the week in La Liga, both taking place on Saturday. Sevilla and La Coruna are enjoying a good start of the season and should put on an exciting display. Barcelona must be careful with Messi, now back with his club after a tense week with Argentina.