Serie A preview: Tough assignment for Ballardini
By Football News
Genoa's new head coach Davide Ballardini faces the toughest possible opening game in charge of Italy's oldest club; a trip to Juventus.
Ballardini was installed as Genoa's head coach on Monday after the club had sacked Luigi Delneri, who had only completed his third month in the job.
It is Ballardini's second spell in the role after he also coached Genoa between November 2010 and June 2011.
Genoa sit 18th in Serie A, the highest of the three relegation spots, but have just 17 points from 21 games and are three points behind 17th-placed Cagliari.
Ballardini's quest to keep Genoa in Italy's top flight will begin in the toughest manner possible with a trip to Serie A-leaders Juve on Saturday.
The reigning champions have a five-point lead at the top of the table and smashed mid-table Udinese 4-0 last week, while Genoa lost their second game in a row, going down 2-0 to Catania.
In the other game on Saturday, Lazio will welcome Chievo to Rome.
The win over Genoa was Catania's second in succession, but the Sicilians face a significant hurdle to extend their winning streak to three matches.
Catania, who are eighth in Serie A, host fifth-placed Fiorentina on Sunday in what could be the match of the weekend in Italy.
Fiorentina dropped to fifth last week after a 1-1 draw with second-placed Napoli.
It was their third game without tasting victory and Vincenzo Montella's side will be desperate to get back to winning ways during their trip to Sicily.
Another tasty clash on Sunday sees Inter Milan, who moved above Fiorentina into fourth last week, host Torino, who are unbeaten in five games and have won their past two fixtures.
Italian midfielder Alessio Cerci has been integral to Torino's consecutive victories, scoring two goals and setting up another.
Napoli will also be up against a team on an unbeaten run as they travel to Parma, who have not suffered defeat in five games.
Parma took a point off Juve when the Turin-based club came to town two weeks ago and Napoli will have to be wary if they are to keep the pressure on the Serie A-leaders.
In other Serie A matches, Roma will travel to Bologna, Atalanta will host Milan, Cagliari will take on Palermo, Udinese are up against Siena and Sampdoria face Pescara.