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Liittynyt: 02.03.2003, 13:00
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Man Utd v Aston Villa

Manchester United are unbeaten against Aston Villa in their last 18 Premiership meetings and have kept eight clean sheets in a row in all competitions.

The Red Devils will be looking to continue their record of preventing the opposition from scoring in 2005 with the potential FA Cup banana skin at Exeter City successfully negotiated in midweek.

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs returned at St James Park and should figure with Rio Ferdinand also close to full fitness again and a definitely starter on Saturday.

Alan Smith is out of action although Sir Alex Ferguson has stressed the former Leeds United forward should be available for Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Louis Saha is hoping to get the nod to start in attack but Ferguson, as always, has a lot of options open to him. One player not in the squad is young midfielder Chris Eagles, who has been farmed out to Watford.

Villa are hoping for a better return from strike pair Juan Pablo Angel and Carlton Cole, who have been out of touch in front of goal. As Villa have scored only twice in their last 10 visits to Old Trafford and no visiting striker has scored at the Theatre of the Dreams in the league this term, it would buck some recent trends.

Darius Vassell is sidelined after undergoing a minor ankle operation. Liam Ridgewell looks set to keep his place in defence after notching his first senior goal for the club in the win against Norwich City.

Man Utd (from): Carroll, Howard, G Neville, P Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Brown, O'Shea, Heinze, Fortune, Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Miller, Djemba-Djemba, Saha, Rooney.

Birmingham v Fulham

Birmingham's Martin Taylor is poised for his first start since August alongside Kenny Cunningham as Matthew Upson is suspended.

Salif Diao will make his debut, displacing either Stephen Clemence or Darren Carter.

Fulham club captain Lee Clark may drop to the bench after starting against Watford in the midweek FA Cup win.

The former Newcastle midfielder lacks match fitness and could be replaced by Mark Pembridge.

Birmingham (from): Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Martin Taylor, Cunningham, Tebily, Johnson, Carter, Clemence, Anderton, Diao, Morrison, Heskey, Blake, Yorke, Vaesen, Clapham, Gray.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Crossley, Volz, Bocanegra, Fontaine, Knight, Rehman, Pembridge, Diop, Legwinski, McBride, John, Hammond, Rosenior, Clark, Boa Morte.

Blackburn v Bolton

Blackburn should hand a debut to Robbie Savage, but Paul Dickov and Tugay are both suspended.

Jay Bothroyd could return from a thigh injury while New Zealand skipper Ryan Nelsen is also available after missing the FA Cup win over Cardiff in midweek.

Bolton striker Kevin Davies could return after a hamstring injury.

But defender Radhi Jaidi remains doubtful with a similar problem, leaving Tal Ben Haim to continue alongside Bruno N'Gotty.

Blackburn (from): Friedel, Enckelman, Todd, Johansson, Emerton, Thompson, Stead, Neill, Matteo, Savage, Pedersen, Gallagher, Nelsen, Johnson, Amoruso, Mokoena, Douglas, McEveley, Bothroyd, Gray.

Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Ben Haim, N'Gotty, Jaidi, Gardner, Giannakopoulos, Campo, Okocha, Speed, Nolan, Pedersen, Diouf, Davies, Fadiga, Poole, Vaz Te, Hierro

Chelsea v Portsmouth

Chelsea have Robert Huth back after a twisted ankle, which is good news as Ricardo Carvalho is still out with a broken toe.

Scott Parker is out with a broken foot but Tiago is expected to shake off an ankle injury.

Portsmouth midfielders Richard Hughes and Aliou Cisse are set to start, with Lomana LuaLua and Amdy Faye suspended .

Hamstring injuries rule out Steve Stone and Andy Griffin, while Gary O'Neil faces a late test on an ankle injury.

Chelsea (from): Cech, Cudicini, Johnson, Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Lampard, Smertin, Jarosik, Cole, Geremi, Tiago, Robben, Kezman, Gudjohnsen, Drogba, Duff, Makelele, Bridge, Huth.

Portsmouth (from): Hislop; Primus, de Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Taylor, Unsworth, Cisse, O'Neil, Berger, Hughes, Harper, Duffy, Kamara, Yakubu, Fuller, Mezague, Berkovic, Curtis, Ashdown (gk).

Crystal Palace v Tottenham

Crystal Palace could welcome back Joonas Kolkka after a rib injury which has kept him out since Boxing Day.

Danny Granville and Michael Hughes are also both now available again following a one-match suspension.

Tottenham are without several big-name players for the trip to Selhurst Park, including Fredi Kanoute who is still out with a hamstring problem.

Coach Martin Jol also confirmed that Sean Davis will need two more weeks before returning from knee surgery.

Palace (from): Kiraly, Speroni, Boyce, Hall, Butterfield, Popovic, Granville, Leigertwood, Sorondo, Routledge, Powell, Soares, Hughes, Torghelle, Andrews, Watson, Lakis, Johnson, Shipperley, Freedman.

Tottenham (from): Robinson, Fulop, Edman, King, Mendes, Gardner, Carrick, Yeates, Marney, Kelly, Pamarot, Keane, Defoe, Ziegler, Naybet, Ifil, Bunjevcevic.

West Brom v Man City

West Brom are boosted by the return of skipper Darren Moore after six weeks out with a knee injury.

Andy Johnson is ruled out with a knee ligament injury and is likely to be replaced by Riccardo Scimeca.

Manchester City's Robbie Fowler has been passed fit but fellow striker Nicolas Anelka will not play because of the mystery injury he has.

Stephen Jordan will return after his ankle injury, allowing Ben Thatcher to complete his move to Fulham.

West Brom (from): Hoult, Albrechtsen, Purse, Moore, Clement, Robinson, Gera, Scimeca, Wallwork, Greening, Earnshaw, Campbell, Kuszczak, Koumas, Horsfield,Kanu.

Manchester City (from): James, Waterreus, Mills, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Sommeil, Jordan, Sibierski, Flood, S Wright-Phillips, McManaman, Barton, Bosvelt, Fowler, Macken, B Wright-Phillips, Negouai.

Norwich v Middlesbrough

Norwich could welcome back Gary Holt after he had fluid drained from his chest, but Thomas Helveg (calf) and Youssef Safri (ankle) are still out.

Ian Henderson (heel), Simon Charlton (toe), Darren Ward (knee) and Mathias Svensson (knee) are missing too.

Middlesbrough midfielder Ray Parlour is back from a one-match suspension.

Ugo Ehiogu faces a long layoff with a knee ligament injury, so veteran Colin Cooper will partner skipper Gareth Southgate in the heart of defence.

Norwich (from): Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Doherty, Drury, Huckerby, Francis, Brennan, Jonson, Ashton, McKenzie, Mulryne, Jarvis, Shackell, Crow, McVeigh, Holt, Gallacher.

Middlesbrough (from): Schwarzer, Reiziger, McMahon, Cooper, Southgate, Queudrue, Parlour, Nemeth, Zenden, Doriva, Downing, Hasselbaink, Job, Nash, Parnaby, Bates, Morrison.

Southampton v Liverpool

Southampton will give an immediate debut to new signing Nigel Quashie, who will partner fellow new boy Jamie Redknapp in midfield.

Antti Niemi has recovered from injury and Jelle van Damme is back, but Kevin Phillips, Fabrice Fernandes, Graeme Le Saux and Marian Pahars are out.

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard is a major doubt with a groin injury.

New signing Scott Carson is expected to start from the bench as cover for goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.

Southampton (from): Niemi, Telfer, Lundekvam, Davenport, Higginbotham, Delap, Quashie, Redknapp, McCann, Crouch, Ormerod, Blackstock, Prutton, Jones, A Svensson, Jakobsson, Kenton, van Damme, Dodd, Smith.

Liverpool (from): Dudek, Carragher, Pellegrino, Hyypia, Traore, Garcia, Hamann, Gerrard, Biscan, Warnock, Josemi, Welsh, Baros, Sinama-Pongolle, Morientes, Mellor, Carson, Riise, Potter.
Brighton v Nottm Forest
Brighton will be without Adam Virgo as he will be missing for family reasons.
Fellow defender Paul Watson is doubtful with a thigh strain while striker Mark McCammon has returned to Millwall after completing his loan spell.

Andy Reid returns for Nottingham Forest after a calf injury and Adam Nowland has overcome a hamstring problem.

Wes Morgan and John Thompson return from suspension but central defender Jon-Olav Hjelde will miss out as he serves the final match of a ban.

Cardiff v Burnley
Cardiff keeper Tony Warner's place could be taken by Neil Alexander while Rhys Weston could be dropped in favour of Darren Williams.
Strikers Cameron Jerome and Peter Thorne are out so Andy Campbell will make his first start since October.

Burnley could choose to recall on-loan midfielder James O'Connor after he was cup-tied for their midweek FA Cup win over Liverpool.

Michael Duff (calf) and utility man Graham Branch (ankle) are doubtful.

Coventry v QPR
Coventry right-back Louis Carey is poised for a recall after overcoming a groin injury.
Dean Leacock and Neil Wood could also return following ankle knocks, but Stuart Giddings (ankle) is doubtful.

QPR duo Marc Bircham and Marcus Bignot should be back after illness while Andrew Davies has recovered from a hamstring strain.

Tony Thorpe is also fit and Martin Rowlands returns after suspension, but centre-back Dan Shittu is doubtful

Crewe v Rotherham
Crewe manager Dario Gradi is hopeful defenders Stephen Foster (ankle), Anthony Tonkin (hamstring) and Billy Jones (thigh) will be fit.
Striker Luke Varney has overcome a dead leg and will be in contention.

Rotherham defender Rob Scott is ruled out following an operation on his shoulder and is likely to face a further month on the sidelines.

Midfielders Paul McLaren (thigh) and Darren Garner (ankle) both came off injured against Wigan but should play.

Leicester v Gillingham
Goalkeeper Stuart Taylor is expected to be recalled by Leicester with his two month-loan spell from Arsenal expiring after this game.
Danny Tiatto is available after a ban and a broken cheekbone but Matt Elliott and Jason Wilcox are still out.

Gillingham trio Nyron Nosworthy (foot), Barry Ashby (shoulder) and Tommy Johnson (hamstring) are all close to fitness and could be available.

Andy Hessenthaler is likely to play despite a calf problem.

Reading v Ipswich
Reading could again be without the services of Les Ferdinand because of a hamstring strain.
And influential midfielder Steve Sidwell will be out as he starts the first game of a two-match ban.

Ian Westlake will return to the Ipswich team but skipper Jim Magilton is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

Striker Shefki Kuqi is available after shaking off an ankle knock, and Richard Naylor will make his 250th appearance for the Tractor Boys.

Stoke v Leeds
Clint Hill is back from suspension for Stoke but fellow defender John Halls is out because of a back injury.
Midfielder John Eustace is doubtful as he recovers from injury and defender Gareth Owen (ankle) suffered a setback this week and will again miss out.

Clarke Carlisle will return for Leeds in place of the rested Matthew Kilgallon and Sean Gregan is also expected to return after a virus.

Brian Deane is back in full training and could also come into consideration.

Millwall v Wolves
Millwall have goalkeeper Andy Marshall fit again but may decided to stick with on-loan Graham Stack.
Arsenal keeper Stack lost his place to Marshall in mid-December but impressed when called up to face Nottingham Forest last weekend.

Wolves keeper Michael Oakes is expected to come in for Matt Murray who has a foot injury.

George Ndah (thigh) joins fellow forwards Dean Sturridge (hamstring) and Vio Ganea (cruciate) on the sidelines

Plymouth v Preston
Plymouth will be without suspended right-back Paul Connolly who starts a three-match ban.
He is likely to be replaced by David Worrell while striker Steven Milne is still out as he continues his rehabilitation following a knee injury.

Preston defenders Marlon Broomes and Callum Davidson have both overcome hamstring problems while Claude Davis is available again after suspension.

Winger Eddie Lewis could also return following the birth of his son.

Sunderland v Sheff Utd
Sunderland midfielder Liam Lawrence is out with an ankle injury so Matt Piper could be handed a start.
Julio Arca, Mart Poom, Michael Ingham and Gary Breen should be fit to play but Colin Healy (leg) and Kevin Kyle (hip) are out.

Derek Geary is expected to fill the gap left by Alan Wright being ruled out for the rest of the season.

Danny Cadamarteri, Nick Montgomery, Simon Francis and Paul Shaw had a reserve outing and may play some part

Wigan v Watford
Wigan's latest signing Andreas Johansson is not yet match fit and is not expected to figure.
Mike Flynn could be handed a rare start while Gary Teale is pushing for a starting place.

Watford are likely to recall Brynjar Gunnarsson and Neal Ardley after the pair were rested.

Gunnarsson is likely to replace Dominic Blizzard and Ardley will come in for Hameur Bouazza or Danny Webber should Watford opt for a 4-5-1 formation.

Sheff Wed v Port Vale
James Quinn will make his full debut for Sheffield Wednesday following the return of on-loan midfielder Kenwyne Jones to Southampton.
Striker Lee Peacock, who has been out with an ankle injury, could make the bench, but Matt Hamshaw is still unfit.

Port Vale striker Lee Matthews should have recovered from a calf injury and Chris Birchall and Levi Reid should shake off knocks picked up on Saturday.

But Craig James and Ian Armstrong are still missing through injury.

Stockport v Barnsley
Stockport manager Chris Turner is likely to be without Danny Adams but could hand on-loan Joe Dolan a debut.
Mark Robertson (hamstring) has returned to training but fellow midfielder Lee Cartwright is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Nick Colgan will return to the Barnsley side in place of Ross Turnbull.

On-loan Turnbull sits out a one-game ban, while strikers Barry Conlon and Daniel Nardiello are also out

Blackpool v Milton Keynes
Goalkeepers Brad Jones and Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard both return to Blackpool's squad, so Lewis Edge will stand down.
Striker Jon Murphy is also hoping to be named in the squad but remains doubtful due to a knee injury.

Cameroon defender Michel Pensee-Bilong could make his MK Dons debut after getting international clearance.

But manager Danny Wilson may opt to start with the side that beat Colchester 2-0 last weekend.

Huddersfield v Bournemouth
Huddersfield may include 17-year-old defender Tom Clarke because Nathan Clarke (groin) and David Mirfin (thigh) are both out injured.
Chris Brandon is suspended, so Lee Fowler is expected to stand in, and on-loan striker Luke Beckett should make his home debut.

Bournemouth boss Sean O'Driscoll is set to name an unchanged starting line-up.

The Cherries, who are unbeaten since December 10, are without Brian Stock, who is completing a three-match ban

Bradford v Torquay
Bradford boss Colin Todd is sweating on the fitness of defender Lewis Emanuel who is on the mend after a calf strain.
Michael Symes is out with a hamstring injury, midfielder Tom Kearney has just had hernia surgery and Craig Armstrong is set to start on the bench.

Torquay left-back Brian McGlinchey needs a late fitness check on his hamstring strain and Craig Woodman is doubtful with a twisted ankle.

But midfielder Kevin Hill is included after recovering from a hip injury.

Brentford v Swindon
Andy Myers is the latest to be sidelined as Brentford are left with just 16 fit players to face Swindon.
Andy Frampton (hip) and Jamie Lawrence (knee) are out and Kevin O'Connor (foot) is doubtful but Stephen Hunt and Ryan Peters have been added.

Swindon boss Andy King is boosted by the return of Jerel Ifil (suspension) and Matt Hewlett (neck).

However, Christian Roberts remains sidelined after undergoing a hernia operation recently.

Hartlepool v Bristol City
Hartlepool look set to miss two key players with the likely absences of Joel Porter and Eifion Williams because of illness.
Skipper Micky Barron is still not match fit after a cartilage operation and Darrell Clarke is also sidelined.

Bristol City's Tony Butler returns from injury to slot straight into the centre of defence in place of Craig Ireland.

Scott Brown, Kevin Amankwaah, Marc Goodfellow and Tommy Doherty are also available but Ryan Harley is out

Chesterfield v Wrexham
Chesterfield have influential defender Ian Evatt available after suspension as they look to end a run of six games without a win against Wrexham.
Adam Smith is struggling with a knee injury and Steve Blatherwick is not yet fully fit after an Achilles problem.

Wrexham midfielder Danny Williams has recovered from a back injury that has kept him out since November.

Fit-again Dean Bennett and Alex Smith make the squad, but top scorer Hector Sam is out and Andy Holt is doubtful.

Colchester v Luton
Colchester include new signing Guylian Ndumbu-Nsungu, who joined on a one-month contract after being released by Sheffield Wednesday.
Bobby Bowry returns after a groin strain and fit-again keeper Aidan Davison may start, but Kem Izzet and Karl Duguid are still injured.

Luton have fitness doubts over midfielder Ahmet Brkovic (thigh) and defender Russell Perrett (groin).

But Sol Davis is back after being suspended for the win over Stockport.

Doncaster v Hull
Doncaster Rovers could be short of numbers in defence ahead of the derby match with Hull.
Mark Albrighton will sit out with a one-match ban while fellow defenders Simon Marples (groin) and Dave Mulligan are unlikely to be fit.

Hull will be able to call upon Stev Angus, while recent signing Kevin Ellison will continue on the left wing.

But Alton Thelwell is out until March and Stuart Elliott is still sidelined with a fractured cheekbone

Peterborough v Oldham
Peterborough are without defender Chris Plummer, and the on-loan Guy Branston is doubtful with a calf strain.
Richard Logan is injured, Curtis Woodhouse starts on the bench despite a knee problem and loan signing Jamie McMaster goes straight into the squad.

Teenage goalkeeper Charlie Treacey is in Oldham's squad after reserve-team keeper Steve Mildenhall damaged his ankle playing for the reserves.

Chris Killen is out, so Kevin Betsy and Scott Vernon continue up front.

Tranmere v Walsall
Tranmere manager Brian Little will be without captain Jason McAteer (hamstring) and defender Ian Sharps (suspended) for the visit of Walsall.
Goalkeeper John Achterberg (knee) and striker Simon Haworth (leg) are still ruled out by injuries.

Walsall's nine-goal striker Matty Fryatt misses the trip to Tranmere with a hamstring injury.

Ian Roper is expected to miss out with a knee ligament injury but Neil Emblen is back after an Achilles problem.

Carlo Mazzone comes face to face with his former club and both sides are confident following last week’s results.

Bologna kept their first away clean sheet in almost a year when Gianluca Pagliuca was forced to work hard in order to keep them level at Sampdoria. It was a particularly precious result considering the injury crisis that has ruled out Fabio Petruzzi, Mourad Meghni, Giacomo Cipriani, Carlo Nervo and Daniele Daino. Igli Tare should again be supported by Tomas Locatelli and Claudio Bellucci.

Cagliari proved their character when scoring a late equaliser to hold leaders Juventus at the Stadio Sant’Elia. Gianfranco Zola got the rare header to earn their points and Antonio Langella returns to the starting eleven following David Suazo’s disappointing performance as part of the trident attack. Nelson Abeijon was booked in that game and will be suspended, making way for Daniele Conti in midfield.

Bologna (probable): Pagliuca; Juarez, Gamberini, Torrisi, Sussi; Zagorakis, Colucci, Amoroso; Bellucci, Locatelli; Tare

Cagliari (probable): Iezzo; Lopez, Bega, Maltagliati, Agostini; Conti, Brambilla, Gobbi; Esposito, Zola, Langella


The Giallorossi face another very stern test of their Champions’ League ambitions, as Fiorentina are slowly rediscovering their form.

Fabrizio Miccoli’s stunning strike earned the Viola an important point away to Brescia last week and Christian Riganò returns from a hand injury to bolster their attack force. Enzo Maresca and William Viali are also back following suspension and hope to grab a morale-boosting victory after picking up just one point in their last three games.

Sergio Buso’s job is on the line, so the pressure is on the Stadio Artemio Franchi outfit. It will be an intriguing tie for Hidetoshi Nakata, who never really warmed to the Giallorossi fans during his time there.

Roma are also far from relaxed at the moment, as their 2-2 draw at Chievo highlighted some disastrous defending. Philippe Mexes and Matteo Ferrari were particularly at fault for the two early goals, though Vincenzo Montella confirmed his Capocannoniere status with a spectacular brace to recover from 2-0 down.

Simone Perrotta remains sidelined with a thigh injury, but Olivier Dacourt should now be fit enough to return to the starting eleven after a substitute appearance in that game.

Fiorentina (probable): Lupatelli; Maggio, Ujfalusi, Dainelli, Chiellini; Ariatti, Maresca, Obodo; Nakata, Miccoli; Riganò

Roma (probable): Pelizzoli; Mexes, Dellas, Ferrari; Mancini, De Rossi, Aquilani, Cufre; Totti, Montella, Cassano


Roberto Mancini went back to the drawing board following Inter’s surprise stalemate, while Chievo have their confidence back after denting Roma’s defences.

Inter thought they had turned a corner with three consecutive victories, but their 13th draw of the campaign brought back the same old problems. Adriano is yet to score in 2005 and is a major doubt for this game after picking up a calf injury, so Obafemi Martins and Alvaro Recoba are pushing for first team places alongside Christian Vieri.

Sinisa Mihajlovic remains sidelined, but Juan Sebastian Veron should at last be fit enough for his comeback two months after picking up a calf problem. Dejan Stankovic is a precious addition to the squad after their 0-0 draw at ten-man Reggina, as his one-match ban has expired.

Chievo tore Roma’s defence to shreds, but two fantastic Vincenzo Montella goals forced the 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon. Federico Cossato remains in the stands with a calf injury, but Matteo Brighi, Franceschini and Amauri return from suspension.

The Flying Donkeys have caused their fair share of shocks at the San Siro and also held Inter to a draw when these teams first met earlier this season, so it’s set to be another tough test for Mancio’s men.

Inter (probable): Toldo; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Materazzi, Favalli; van der Meyde, Cambiasso, Davids, Stankovic; Vieri, Martins

Chievo (probable): Marchegiani; Moro, Mandelli, D’Anna, Lanna; Semioli, Baronio, Brighi, Luciano; Amauri, Pellissier


Juventus need a victory against troubled Brescia in order to stave off Milan’s challenge for the leadership, but there are clearly problems in Turin.

Fabio Capello’s side had made a strong defence the key to their success, but conceding six goals over their last three official games shows something has gone awry – especially when Gianfranco Zola is allowed to score a header in the final stages of their 1-1 draw at Cagliari.

Alessio Tacchinardi and Alessandro Birindelli are doubts for this game, while David Trezeguet could again squeeze Alessandro Del Piero out of the starting eleven.

Brescia are slipping towards the relegation zone and are now level on points with third-from-bottom Parma, so they’ll be more than happy to sneak a point at the Delle Alpi. Andrea Caracciolo should partner Giuseppe Sculli, though Luigi Dipasquale is an option after scoring his first Serie A goal in the 1-1 draw with Fiorentina. Omar Milanetto and Marius Stankevicius will work hard to clog up spaces in midfield and prevent Juve running the show.

Juventus (probable): Buffon; Zebina, Thuram, Cannavaro, Zambrotta; Camoranesi, Emerson, Blasi, Nedved; Ibrahimovic, Trezeguet

Brescia (probable): Castellazzi; Martinez, Di Biagio, Adani; Stankevicius, Guana, Milanetto, Dallamano; Mannini, Sculli; Caracciolo


Giuseppe Papadopulo had his first taste of defeat since taking over at Lazio, but above all this allows Fabio Bazzani and Simone Inzaghi to face their former clubs just ten days after their moves.

The Biancocelesti have had a tough week, including their exit from the Coppa Italia and a shock 3-1 home defeat to Palermo. Angelo Peruzzi, Antony Seric, Matias Lequi and Roberto Muzzi are unlikely to recover in time, but Paolo Di Canio should return after missing that tie with a bout of flu. Giuliano Giannichedda might have to track back into his defensive role due to Jose Talamonti’s ban, while Emanuele Filippini is also suspended.

Bazzani scored on his Serie A debut with a Lazio jersey last week and will be desperate to make his point against the side that he walked out on. The striker left Sampdoria in bitter circumstances, including a public slanging match with Coach Walter Novellino, and seems to have already rediscovered his form in the Capital.

Simone Inzaghi was never particularly loved at Lazio, going so far as to have an on the field argument with teammate Di Canio, so how will he react to being their opponent?

Sampdoria were frustrated by a strong Bologna defensive performance at the weekend, with Francesco Flachi also rattling the woodwork, but the absence of midfielders Cristiano Doni and Marco Donadel is beginning to show. Former Roma goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli returns to the Stadio Olimpico and it should be a battle royal.

Lazio (probable): Sereni; Oddo, Giannichedda, Siviglia; Cesar, A Filippini, Dabo, Liverani, Gonzalez; Bazzani, Rocchi

Sampdoria (probable): Antonioli; Zenoni, Castellini, Falcone, Pisano; Diana, Palombo, Volpi, Tonetto; Flachi, S Inzaghi


Delio Rossi returns to his old hunting ground as both these teams continue their desperate search for points.

Back in Week 1 this tie finished 2-2, but that was before both sides hit a rough patch of form. Atalanta are still without a win on the road, and Lecce have only managed one victory in the last 12 games. Last week’s defeat against relegation strugglers Parma left Zdenek Zeman’s team in the bottom half of the table, but at least he has no injury problems going into this game, as the Giallorossi look for their fifth home win this season.

Atalanta Coach Delio Rossi has a handful of players sidelined, with Giampaolo Pazzini, Fabio Rustico and Stefano Lorenzi all unavailable for the trip. New signing Giulio Migliaccio should continue in midfield, whilst Atalanta’s other acquisition, Davide Sinigaglia, gets the nod up front again after scoring on his debut last week.

Lecce (probable): Sicignano, Cassetti, Diamoutene, Stovini, Rullo, Giacomazzi, Ledesma, Dalla Bona, Babù, Bojinov, Vucinic

Atalanta (probable): Taibi, Rivalta, Sala, Natali, Bellini, Zenoni, Albertini, Migliaccio, Marcolini, Sinigaglia, Budan


Two former Rossoneri teammates are on the benches of the Stadio Picchi, as Roberto Donadoni and Carlo Ancelotti were part of Il Grande Milan.

Livorno have been something of a problem for Milan this season, holding them to a shock 2-2 draw at San Siro in Week 1. Despite slipping into the bottom half of the table, the Tuscan team still seems to be winning its battle for survival.

The arrival of new Coach Donadoni last week saw Livorno produce a convincing 3-1 victory over Messina, and Milan’s visit presents a mouth-watering opportunity to take more points off the reigning Champions.

However, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be keen to continue their excellent run of form which has seen them win six out of the last eight games. Donadoni has a full squad available for the tie, whilst Ancelotti is still without injured parties Pippo Inzaghi, Dario Simic, Serginho and Kakha Kaladze. Andrea Pirlo is suspended, and should be replaced by Massimo Ambrosini in midfield.

Livorno (probable): Amelia, Galante, Vargas, A Lucarelli, Balleri, Vigiani, Passoni, Grauso, Doga, Protti, C Lucarelli

Milan (probable): Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Kakà, Crespo, Shevchenko


Messina and Parma continue their struggle against relegation as they meet at the San Filippo.

This match produced a 0-0 draw at the Tardini earlier in the year, but a point isn’t really enough for either side at this stage of the campaign. A win for Messina would take them to mid-table respectability, but defeat could see them sucked back into the danger zone, depending on other results. Parma need three points to climb out of the basement and continue their fightback after a precious last-gasp win against Lecce. It's a safe bet they have been practising spot-kicks during training after missing two penalties in that tie.

Messina Coach Bortolo Mutti is still missing Jorge Mamede, but has no other injury problems and welcomes back Ivica Iliev from suspension. Parma boss Pietro Carmignani must do without Filippo Savi and Jorge Bolano, and should field the same 11 that produced last week’s 2-1 victory. Alberto Gilardino, who was on the scoresheet against Lecce, goes into this game looking for his tenth League strike this season.

Messina (probable): Storari, Zoro, Aronica, Rezaei, Parisi, Giampà, Coppola, Donati, Iliev, Zampagna, Di Napoli

Parma (probable): Frey, Bonera, Bovo, Cannavaro, Contini, Marchionni, Simplicio, Grella, Bresciano, Morfeo, Gilardino


Messina and Parma continue their struggle against relegation as they meet at the San Filippo.

This match produced a 0-0 draw at the Tardini earlier in the year, but a point isn’t really enough for either side at this stage of the campaign. A win for Messina would take them to mid-table respectability, but defeat could see them sucked back into the danger zone, depending on other results. Parma need three points to climb out of the basement and continue their fightback after a precious last-gasp win against Lecce. It's a safe bet they have been practising spot-kicks during training after missing two penalties in that tie.

Messina Coach Bortolo Mutti is still missing Jorge Mamede, but has no other injury problems and welcomes back Ivica Iliev from suspension. Parma boss Pietro Carmignani must do without Filippo Savi and Jorge Bolano, and should field the same 11 that produced last week’s 2-1 victory. Alberto Gilardino, who was on the scoresheet against Lecce, goes into this game looking for his tenth League strike this season.

Messina (probable): Storari, Zoro, Aronica, Rezaei, Parisi, Giampà, Coppola, Donati, Iliev, Zampagna, Di Napoli

Parma (probable): Frey, Bonera, Bovo, Cannavaro, Contini, Marchionni, Simplicio, Grella, Bresciano, Morfeo, Gilardino


Siena continue their crucial search for points against high-flying Palermo, but the Sicilians are without top scorer Luca Toni.

New Coach Luigi De Canio is still looking for his first win with the Tuscan club, after a baptism of fire against Roma in the Coppa Italia last week, when they were defeated 5-1. His subsequent League outing produced a 1-1 draw with bottom placed Atalanta, so this week Siena return to the Artemio Franchi in search of a win on home turf.

Palermo managed an impressive victory last week away to Lazio, with Lamberto Zauli on the score sheet and Luca Toni netting a brace. However, the Rosanero’s top scorer with seven goals is suspended for this game, along with defender Giuseppe Biava. Kewullay Conteh and Pietro Accardi are still out with long-term injuries.

De Canio has a pile-up of players in the treatment room with Andrea Ardito, Michele Mignani, Daniele Portanova, Gianluca Falsini, Alfonso Camorani and Marco Carparelli all unavailable. Bruno Cirillo is suspended, but Roberto D'Aversa returns from his betting ban a month early due to this week's successful appeal.

The tie between these two sides earlier in the year produced a 1-0 win for Palermo, but Siena will hope that Toni’s absence gives them a chance of snatching a result this time.

Siena (probable): Fortin, Foglio, Argilli, Colonnese, Pasquale, Pecchia, Di Donato, Vergassola, Taddei, Flo, Chiesa

Palermo (probable): Guardalben, Zaccardo, Terlizzi, Barzagli, Grosso, Mutarelli, Barone, Corini, Brienza, Santana, Zauli


Udinese entertain in-form Reggina, who held Inter to a draw last Saturday.

Luciano Spalletti’s own giant-killing ambitions took a knock when his side were beaten 3-1 by Milan at the San Siro, but three points this week would help them keep the pressure on the Rossoneri. Udinese are in third spot with 34 points, and need a win to shorten the gap with Milan on 42, though perhaps they will now begin to look behind them to hold off Inter’s advance.

Spalletti is missing midfielder Alberto for this game, as the player is sidelined through injury, but the valuable David Di Michele and Sulley Ali Muntari return from a ban.

Walter Mazzarri must do without the suspended Giuseppe Colucci, so Giandomenico Mesto returns to reinforce the midfield and Jacopo Balestri pushes up into the trident attack. Apart from that change, the Reggina boss can field virtually the same side that defended so well against Inter last week. The Southerners are looking for just their second win on the road all season.

Udinese (probable): De Sanctis, Bertotto, Sensini, Felipe, Pinzi, Pizarro, Muntari, Jankulovski, Di Michele, Iaquinta, Di Natale

Reggina (probable): Pavarini; Cannarsa, Zamboni, De Rosa, Franceschini, Mesto, Paredes, Mozart, Balestri, Nakamura; Bonazzoli
Primera Liga matches, January 23-24
Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:37 AM GMT
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By Simon Baskett
MADRID, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Espanyol will be looking to take advantage of the internal squabbles at Deportivo Coruna to continue their most promising campaign in a decade when the two clubs meet at the Riazor on Sunday (kickoff 1600 GMT).

More accustomed to scrapping for survival in the lower reaches of the table, the Catalans have enjoyed a remarkable first half of the season and occupy a Champions League berth in fourth spot in the table.

Much of the credit for their present success must go to coach Miguel Angel Lotina, who guided Celta Vigo to an impressive fourth place finish two seasons ago.

The lugubrious Basque has instilled a new self-belief at the club since taking over at the start of the season and has built one of the most well-balanced sides in the Primera Liga.

With the athletic Carlos Kameni in goal and the experienced Argentine duo Hugo Ibarra and Mauricio Pochettino at the back, Espanyol have one of the best defensive records in the league.

Midfielder Ivan de la Pena is playing his best football since leaving Barcelona in 1998 and Argentine international Maxi Rodriguez is in prolific form up front.

"I'm convinced that we have still got room for improvement as a team," says Lotina. "We still have some weaknesses but I'm not putting any limit on the ambitions of this team because we are capable of achieving a great deal."

In contrast Deportivo are in crisis. Having been the most consistent team in Spain over the last five years, the Galicians have struggled since the start of the season and are down in 12th position having not won in their last seven outings.

Off field squabbles are hardly helping. Only this week Uruguayan striker Walter Pandiani blamed the team's poor season on coach Javier Irureta and the failure of some of his team mates to put in the required effort.

Depor have only won twice at the Riazor this season and another failure on Sunday could put unbearable pressure on Irureta, the longest serving coach in the league.

Other matches being played this weekend (league positions in brackets, kickoff times 1600 GMT unless stated):



After an inconsistent start to the season, Athletic have hit form in recent weeks. A five-match unbeaten run in the league and a crushing 6-0 win over third division Lanzarote will have put them in confident mood for this match against the Navarrans who are a place above them in the standings.

- - - -


The Catalans have been experiencing a bit of a mid-season wobble in recent weeks and need a convincing win against struggling Racing to restore their confidence ahead of what is going to be a difficult month.

Influential midfielder Deco is back after suspension to help his side defend their 12-month unbeaten record at the Nou Camp.

- - - -



A surprise defeat for Sevilla at Malaga last week, but the Andalucians should prove too strong for Albacete who have the second worst home record in the league.

Albacete's new recruit Nico Olivera may get a chance to make his debut against his old side.

- - - -


Zaragoza face a tough return to Madrid after their unlucky 3-1 defeat against Real last week.

Defender Cesar Jimenez is out for the rest of the season after suffering torn knee ligaments following a reckless challenge from Luis Figo and central defender Alvaro is suspended.

- - - -


Both sides are in desperate need of a win if they are to avoid getting dragged into the danger zone. After an unexpectedly bright start to the season Bernd Schuster's Levante have now gone nine matches without a win, while Sociedad have lost all three of their games so far this year.

- - - -


Antonio Tapia got off to a winning start as Malaga coach when he directed his side to a 1-0 win over Sevilla.

He will be hopeful of getting another good result against poor travellers Atletico who have only won one game away from home this season.

- - - -


Betis's Brazilian forward Edu grabbed a neat double in last week's 2-0 win over Mallorca and should recover from a bout of flu to renew his prolific partnership with fellow countryman Ricardo Olivera up front. Basement side Numancia have taken just one point away from home this season.

- - - -


Real are looking to put their embarrassing exit from the King's Cup at the hands of second division Valladolid behind them with a convincing home display against struggling Mallorca.

Ronaldo faces up to former coach Hector Cuper for the first time since the Brazilian's acrimonious departure from Inter Milan. Michael Owen is expected to start on the bench despite notching up his 10th goal of the season in midweek.

- - - -


With all the attention focused on Barca and Real, Valencia have been quietly recovering their confidence, putting together a nine-match unbeaten streak. But Claudio Ranieri's team face a stern test of their revival when they take on regional rivals Villarreal, the form side in Spain.

Manuel Pellegrini's side followed up their emphatic 3-0 defeat of Barcelona with a 4-2 win over Levante, former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan grabbing a neat double to take his tally for the season to 11.

Villarreal's only worry is that the in-form Juan Roman Riquelme is doubtful because of muscle pain in his right leg.
Saksan talvitauolla tapahtuneita siirtoja

Inn: Diego León (Real Madrid, lån)
Ut: Marijo Maric (Eintracht Trier)

Ut: Radoslaw Kaluzny (Rot-Weiss Essen), Teddy Lucic (Häcken), Hanno Balitch (Mainz)

Inn: Bixente Lizarazu (Marseille)
Ut: Piotr Trochowski (Hamburger SV)

Inn: Moharram Navidkia (Sepahan Isfahan), Fatih Akyel (Fenerbahçe)


Inn: Craig Moore (Rangers), Bernd Thijs (Trabzonspor), Jörg Böhme (Schalke 04)
Ut: Enrico Gaede (Rot-Weiss Essen, lån), Jan Schlaudraff (Alemannia Aachen, lån), Vladimir Ivic (AEK Aten)

Inn: Andreas Ibertsber (Austria Salzburg), Otar Khizaneishvili (Dinamo Moskva)

Inn: Piotr Trochowski (Bayern München)
Ut: Bernardo Romeo (Mallorca, lån), Stephan Kling (Saarbrücken)




Inn: Jürgen Macho (Rapid Wien)
Ut: Christian Timm (Greuther Fürth), Thomas Drescher (Wacker Burghausen), Stefan Malz

Inn: Hanno Balitsch (Bayer Leverkusen), Michael Thurk (Energie Cottbus)


Inn: Mimoun Azaouagh (Mainz)
Ut: Jörg Böhme (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Ut: Emanuel Centurion (Velez Sarsfield, lån)

Inn: Mohammed Zidan (Midtjylland, lån)
Ut: Angelos Charisteas (Ajax)

Ut: Oscar Ahumada (River Plate)
(BBC, Betting Advice, Reuters, Sky-Sport, Sporting Lif)


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