MILAN - AC Milan could unleash the full
force of their fearsome frontline foursome on Saturday but unheralded hosts Cesena have already shown their
backbone in the fledgling Serie A season.
In the first round of games before the international break,
Milan thumped Lecce 4-0 at home but that was before the late
transfer window signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho.
Promoted Cesena managed a battling 0-0 draw at last term's
runners-up AS Roma in their first outing and may now have to
come face to face with Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Ronaldino and
Alexandre Pato all at once.
"The coach decides but I reckon all four of us can play
upfront together," Brazil's Pato told reporters.
Owner Silvio Berlusconi's sudden decision to open Milan's
coffers after a year of frugal spending followed a drab
pre-season under new coach Massimiliano Allegri and the gradual
realisation that the existing squad was not up to scratch.
The new policy contrasts markedly with rivals Inter Milan,
bidding for a sixth straight scudetto this term following last
season's stunning treble success.
Inter owner Massimo Moratti has opted to stick with the
squad which won the Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup
titles - minus Mario Balotelli - but the season-opening 0-0
draw at Bologna was a slightly stale affair.
"We decided that buying just for the sake of it wasn't
worth it," Moratti said. "The squad is not old. We won
everything not 10 years ago but two months ago."
New coach Rafael Benitez made no secret of the fact he
wanted reinforcements but also acknowledged that unlike his
time at Liverpool, the clubs not the managers buy players in
The Spaniard will be glad to have a home game on Saturday against an Udinese side who have similarly failed to
strengthen and are among the favourites to struggle this term
especially after a 1-0 home defeat by Genoa first time out.
Roma, who visit Cagliari, also play on Saturday
because of next week's Champions League games.
Juventus can only dream of such appointments following last
term's seventh place finish and a 1-0 defeat at Bari in their
opener despite almost a whole new team of signings.
New defenders Armand Traore and Leandro Rinaudo, recruited
after the Bari game, could play at home to coach Luigi Del
Neri's former side Sampdoria on Sunday with fit-again
Vincenzo Iaquinta and Alberto Aquilani also available.
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