Milan and Roma restore order ahead of midweek malaise

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Crisis? What crisis?

While Italy’s state-run airline Alitalia plummets towards a financial crash-landing, at least the country’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi can stop worrying about AC Milan.

The perma-tanned man of the nation was in the stands to watch his side thrash Lazio on Sunday evening and left the San Siro to save the country from economic meltdown in celebratory mood.

“I saw the real Milan this evening," said the beaming 71-year-old as if he had just won another general election. “I was disappointed with the first two games but I am a lot happier now.”

Seedorf and co. send Silvio home happy 

That’s all well and good then but Carlo Ancelotti should not get too carried away although those apple-cheeks were breathing a big sigh of relief at the final whistle.

However, a week is a lifetime in football and with the derby next Sunday and a trip down to the wilds of Reggina on Wednesday, the bottom could yet fall out of the upturn.

On the positive side, both Alexandre Pato and Marco Borriello put in positive performances against previously undefeated Lazio, which should mean Andriy Shevchenko – who unlike Alitalia staff has not been very strike-prone – remains grounded on the bench.

And what of Ronaldinho? Well, he must have the best job in football.

Last Thursday in the UEFA Cup knockabout, Milan were 3-0 up against FC Zurich and on he wanders for a few flicks and crowd-pleasing back-heels, and then on Sunday it was another light shift when the score was beyond doubt.

At this rate, Ronnie should be match-fit sometime in April which will probably suit the laid-back Brazilian fine.

Ronaldinho: Giving the people what they want 

Meanwhile, down in the capital it’s a similar story. Any talk of Luciano Spalletti swapping the Olympic Stadium for the San Siro has been shelved for the time being.

However, as with his Milan counterpart, the AS Roma coach is well aware that a slip-up at Genoa in midweek and it’s crash and burn again.

Oh to be Inter or Juventus who are cruising along without a care in the world. Now tied at the top of the table, both have relatively - in Inter’s case make that “very” – easy games in midweek.

Jose Mourinho wanted six points before the derby and half were garlanded at Torino and the rest ought to be gathered against Lecce.

Juventus face Catania at home and after another “one-nil to the Juve” at Cagliari, the Old Lady should perform a similar trick on Wednesday.

Unlike England where midweek fixtures are the norm, in Italy if it’s not the weekend then no one wants to know.

Serie A stadiums seldom seen full on a weeknight

If it’s not the Champions League then the players don’t want to know either and the Football League are seriously considering dropping these rounds from the fixture list next season.

In fact, if they can persuade the clubs to cut short their summer hols then Serie A will kick-off in mid-August and the winter break will be extended into the third week of January.

In the meantime, it’s on with midweek distraction of playing to half-empty grounds and the appearance of Clarence Seedorf in gloves at the first hint of the autumn chill. More to read...