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Serie A preview: Title race heats up

SoccerNews in Serie A 31 Jan 2011

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The battle between first and third opens the Serie A midweek round as league leaders AC Milan host Lazio on Tuesday.

Milan are four points clear of Napoli at the top of the table, with Lazio a further three points back in third, meaning a loss for Edoardo Reja’s side would seriously damage their tilt at a first Serie A title since 2000.

Lazio’s recent form has been patchy, with a win over Sampdoria their only victory in five games before they defeated Fiorentina 2-0 on Sunday.

Milan on the other hand are unbeaten in eight games in all competitions, and defeated Catania 2-0 on Sunday despite having new signing Mark van Bommel sent off.

The previous meeting between these two sides this season ended 1-1, with Sergio Floccari’s late goal cancelling out Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener for Milan, and with 13 goals in the league this season, the big Swede is sure to be the danger man again at the San Siro on Tuesday.

A slip-up by Milan means Napoli could cut the lead at the top to just one point if they can beat Chievo on their trip to the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on Wednesday.

Walter Mazzarri’s side are unbeaten in four games and boast the league’s top scorer in Edinson Cavani, but will be wary of a Chievo side who had their first victory in 10 games with a 3-0 win over Brescia on Saturday.

Roma can potentially move back into the top four if they can beat struggling Brescia at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

Brescia are languishing in 19th on the table having won just twice in their last 15 games in all competitions, and will not fancy a trip to the nation’s capital to take on Claudio Ranieri’s side.

Juventus will hope to revive their faltering title run when they visit Palermo, with Luigi Delneri’s side taking just five points from their last five games.

Udinese have leapfrogged Juve on the back of a five-game unbeaten run and will look to continue their surge up the table when they host Bologna on Wednesday.

Cesena will be looking to climb out of the relegation zone with a win over fellow battlers Catania, while Sampdoria host Cagliari and Genoa travel to the Stadio Artemio Franchi to face Fiorentina.

Lecce will hope to snap a run of three straight draws when they travel to Parma in Wednesday’s final game, while in Thursday’s lone match, Inter will be out to continue bottom side Bari’s woes when the two sides meet at Stadio Communale San Nicola.

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