On Tap

With many players returning to their clubs following the midweek international action, there are a couple of big matches in Serie A this week-end, both on Saturday. Roma will host Milan at the Olimpico in a match with big implications at the top of the table, both teams closely behind leader Inter, which has no easy task hosting Genoa. At the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Juventus will stir up the spirits as their annual visit to Fiorentina always does. The best match of the week-end is likely to take place in Spain between Real Madrid and Sevilla. The best match in the Premiership this week-end, between Man City and Tottenham, has been postponed. In Argentina, Independiente – River on Sunday.

Roma – Milan

Both clubs are either out (Roma) or virtually out (Milan) of European competition, leaving the Scudetto as the target of maximum concentration. And both clubs benefited greatly from Inter’s three draws to close the gap that seemed insurmountable three weeks ago to just four points. Milan is playing with confidence these days, their star Alexandre Pato providing the energy and the goals, Ronaldinho doing his thing. Milan was very fortunate to take three points from Fiorentina, again proving that an experienced team like this is always dangerous. Roma will have Toni back after a five week absence, though Totti is still out. The atmosphere should be great. The stadium is sold out and Roma fans are the best in Italy.


Fiorentina – Juventus

Fiorentina supporters have countless reasons for their hatred of Juventus, a sentiment that propels the Viola players to another level generally. Pride aside, Fiorentina really needs the three points after falling down to tenth place with a series of unlucky results. The master Prandelli will put together the best strategy, but is there enough firepower to implement it? Juve comes off a painful home defeat to fellow Champions League contender Palermo and needs the points just as badly to stay in contention. Let’s hope that the referee will impartially do his job, not work for Juventus, as it happened recently against Genoa.

Real Madrid – Sevilla

With Barcelona traveling to Almeria and Atletico to Zaragoza, what a great match at the Bernabeu. Most of the players taking the field will be on short rest, having played on Wednesday for their respective national teams, but still it should be a spectacular display. Madrid is in great form and developing a habit of pouring it on, as it has recently (six against Villareal, five against Tenerife). But if Sevilla plays to its potential, this is an evenly matched encounter with lots of champions on the field. Should be great, not to be missed on Saturday. The line-ups:

Sevilla Starting XI: Palop; Stankevicius, Dragutinovic, Escude, Navarro; Navas, Renato, Zokora, Perotti; Kanoute, Negredo.

Real Madrid Starting XI: Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo; X. Alonso, L. Diarra, Granero; Kaka, Ronaldo; Higuain