Serie A sisters doing it for themselves

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Italians worship women.

Well, that’s like saying the Pope is a catholic and bears do whatever they do in the woods.

The female form is adored at every turn in il bel paese so it’s no one wonder in football that traditionally the top teams have been known as La Sette Sorelle (the seven sisters).

"Don't worry lads, I'll handle this..." 

Like in all families, some are always mum and dad’s favourites: Inter, Milan and Juventus until the latter started going out with that shifty bloke who got her into all sorts of trouble.

AS Roma, Lazio and Fiorentina are never likely to amount to much but are still capable of winning the folks over now and then: pity Parma ran away from home.

Nevermind, like in any good Italian family there’s always another sibling or two hiding in the corner and that's currently the case in Serie A.

A two-week hiatus has given everyone plenty of time to paw over a top of the table that few would have envisaged by mid-October.

Along with Inter and Lazio’s ugly mugs, smiling demurely are Udinese, Palermo, Atalanta, Napoli and Catania. 

However, come Sunday evening it will be tears before bedtime for some.

Surprise pace-setters Lazio celebrate beating Sampdoria  

Roma’s fragile ego is set for another battering when Inter come calling.

The champions definitely have the physiological edge, having already defeated the Giallorossi in the Super Cup and, of course, there are all those Roman second-bests in the last three seasons lurking at the back of the mind.

There is little case for the defence. In fact, there is no defence as Christian Panucci and Philippe Mexes are both suspended.

It’s definitely a game for the champs to lose and, as usual, much will depend on how the international players are feeling after their jaunts around the world, especially the South Americans who have only just arrived back in the country.

However, desperate times call for desperate measures and Luciano Spalletti may well do an “El Cid”  with Francesco Totti and strap on the ailing captain's boots himself to rally the troops for 45 minutes at least.

Missing men: Mexes and Panucci out of Inter showdown 

Juventus would love to have a uniting figure in their ranks for the trip to Napoli.

Claudio Ranieri will probably get a better reception from his former club than his own players and will be relieved if he takes a point back to misty Turin.

Lazio and Udinese would be expected to take maximum points at struggling Bologna and Lecce, respectively, but these are just the sort of banana skins that are left lying around after the international break.

If either slip up, we could see the south on the rise, with one of Catania or Palermo climbing to the top.

The Sicilian derby, in the shadow of Mount Etna, comes with all the elements of high drama, tempered by the fact that everyone needs to be on best behaviour.

With nerves jangling all over the peninsula, don’t be surprised to see Fiorentina, at home to Reggina, and Milan, against Sampdoria, take advantage of the family feuds and become the blue-eyed boys once again.