Mi­lan and Udi­nese take aim at Serie A top spot

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

WITH Ju­ven­tus not play­ing un­til Mon­day night, and only then in a tricky away fix­ture against Roma, AC Mi­lan and Udi­nese will have an eye on top spot this week­end.

The two chasers trail Juve by two points and both have the chance to take over the Serie A lead if they win their week­end games.

Mi­lan have the trick­ier ap­point­ment as they travel to lowly Bologna while Udi­nese host goal-shy Chievo.

Bologna may have had a poor start to the sea­son, al­ready changed coaches and are down in 17th place, one above the rel­e­ga­tion zone, but they are only one win off sev­enth place.

And Mi­lan goal­keeper Marco Amelia says the cham­pi­ons can­not af­ford to take their op­po­nents lightly.

“It’s a game we need to in­ter­pret well be­cause that’s the only way to al­low the in­di­vid­ual tech­ni­cal qual­ity of our great play­ers to shine through, which is what makes the dif­fer­ence,” he said. “There are no more sim­ple games in Serie A but our strength is con­cen­trat­ing on the value of in­di­vid­u­als and when we do that no-one can han­dle us.”

Mi­lan have been ruth­less against so- called min­nows re­cently, thump­ing both Cata­nia and Chievo 4- 0 while Parma were put to the sword be­fore that in a 4-1 rout.

How­ever, they did show signs of weak­ness in their 2-2 draw at Vik­to­ria Plzen in mid­week, al­beit with sev­eral first team stars rested, when they led 2-0 with a minute left but still suc­cumbed twice in the dy­ing mo­ments.

Yet at home they have by far the best at­tack, and are the only side to av­er­age more than two goals a game with 29 in 13 matches so far.

Udi­nese’s pos­i­tive start has been based on quite the op­po­site, a solid back­line and they have the best de­fence hav­ing con­ceded less than a goal ev­ery other game.

They’re also up against the team with the sec­ond worst at­tack in the league.

It’s un­likely to be a game of many goals as be­tween them Udi­nese and Chievo’s matches have in­volved amongst the least num­ber of to­tal goals in the league. Just 22 goals have been scored in Udi­nese’s 13 games and 26 for Chievo which com­pared to the 43 in Mi­lan’s games shows the kind of tight af­fairs they have been in­volved in.

Udi­nese may have been im­pres­sive so far, es­pe­cially in their 1-0 win at In­ter Mi­lan last week­end, but in­side the club they are still in­sist­ing that avoid­ing rel­e­ga­tion is their only aim.

“As for our ob­jec­tive it’s still amass­ing 40 points and maybe then we might start fight­ing for some­thing a lit­tle more am­bi­tious,” said em­blem­atic cap­tain An­to­nio Di Natale, the sec­ond top scorer in Serie A – he has nine of Udi­nese’s 16 goals.

For Di Natale, Ju­ven­tus are still the favourites, not least be­cause they are not in­volved in Europe.

“I see Juve as hav­ing an ad­van­tage over Mi­lan as they can work dur­ing the week with­out hav­ing to think about (Europe) and that’s a note­wor­thy ad­van­tage,” he added.

In other games fourth placed Lazio travel to rock bot­tom Lecce hop­ing to keep pace with the top sides, although they may have to do with­out top scorer Miroslav Klose, who’s strug­gling with an an­kle in­jury. At least Tom­maso Roc­chi has proved an able sub­sti­tute hav­ing notched a brace on Mon­day in the 3-0 win over No­vara.

Strug­gling In­ter host Fiorentina once again look­ing to kick- start a sea­son which has stalled re­peat­edly.

They also play Genoa next Tues­day in their game in hand know­ing that although they are down in 16th po­si­tion now, wins in these next two games would en­sure they break into the top half. – Sa­paAFP

GETTY IM­AGES

NICE AND STEADY: AC Mi­lan goal­keeper Marco Amelia is cau­tious ahead of the match against Bologna.

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