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Menez: Milan can't wait for Juve

2014-09-19 07:03
Filippo Inzaghi (Getty Images)

Milan - AC Milan host Juventus in a top-of-the-table clash Saturday that could add impetus to their bid to erase two nightmare seasons - if the Rossoneri can plug the holes at the back.

Under new coach Filippo Inzaghi, Milan have enjoyed a flying start to the season following two horrendous campaigns under Massimiliano Allegri and, latterly, Clarence Seedorf.

An opening day win over Lazio (3-1) was followed by a 5-4 win at Parma last weekend.

Although the latter victory put Milan's attacking talents on display, it also exposed their frailties at the back.

Juventus, unbeaten at home all of last season on their way to a third consecutive title, have yet to concede a goal in their two wins over Chievo and Udinese and have scored three times.

Milan midfielder Jeremy Menez, however, said he expects plenty of fireworks at the San Siro on Saturday.

"It will be a big show. Plenty of goals and emotion, almost like it was at Parma," the Frenchman told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Juve may still be ahead of us, but on Saturday we'll be playing on level terms and we could achieve something special.

"There's a lot riding on this game... we just have to concentrate on ourselves and stick to our gameplan."

Milan host Juve only four days after the Bianconeri's dominant 2-0 win over Malmo in their opening Champions League Group A match.

But a visit to what should be a packed-out San Siro will be a different prospect, especially as the home support could offer a hostile reception to former coach Allegri.

Despite failing to repeat his exploit of leading Milan to the 2011 league title in his three subsequent seasons with the club, Allegri was appointed to succeed Antonio Conte when the former Juve handler quit to become Italy coach.

Allegri will still be without midfielder Andrea Pirlo and defender Andrea Barzagli, both of whom are recovering from injury, but could welcome Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal back to the squad as he continues to battle a persistent knee problem.

Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra admitted Milan may have home advantage but said he, for one, will not shy away from the challenge.

"It's a difficult game, but I can't wait to play," Evra told www.juventus.com.

"This was exactly the type of match I wanted to be involved in when I signed for Juventus. They have home advantage but it's down to us to show that we're the champions and want to win."

A draw would help propel free-scoring Roma, who sit third but are also on six points after two games, to the top of the table if Rudi Garcia's men account for Cagliari at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

Roma, last season's runners-up, were in fine form on their way to a 5-1 rout of CSKA Moscow on Wednesday that left them top of Champions League Group E.

However their win came at a price. Defender Davide Astori could be sidelined for several weeks after being diagnosed with knee ligament damage while Argentinian striker Juan Iturbe remains doubtful with a muscle injury.

Promoted Palermo, meanwhile, will be hoping home advantage comes to the fore on Sunday when Inter visit Sicily.

Argentinian Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Inter put seven unanswered goals past Sassuolo for the second consecutive season last week to claim their first win of the season.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, are set to welcome German striker Mario Gomez back as they head to high-flying Atalanta looking for their first win.

Napoli, stunned 1-0 by Chievo last week, face a tough trip to Udinese.

Fixtures

Saturday:

Cesena v Empoli (16:00 GMT), Milan v Juventus (18:45)

Sunday:

Chievo v Parma (10:30), Genoa v Lazio, Roma v Cagliari, Sassuolo v Sampdoria (13:00), Atalanta v Fiorentina, Udinese v Napoli (16:00), Palermo v Inter, Torino v Verona (18:45)

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