Borriello becoming Milan's top man
With all the high profile signings AC Milan made in the summer in a bid to win a first Serie A title since 2004, Marco Borriello's return to the club from Genoa created barely a ripple. And yet he is quickly becoming Milan's most important signing.
Christian Abbiati has claimed the No1 jersey and Gianluca Zambrotta has fitted snugly into the right-back slot, but neither have proved to be match-winners. So far the biggest names have had to spend their fair share of time on the bench.
Ronaldinho is no automatic first choice, Andriy Shevchenko is yet to score, Mathieu Flamini is one of several quality midfielders but not indispensible like Andrea Pirlo, and Philippe Senderos is considered a back-up option in cnetral defence. And yet Borriello, who most considered would be nothing more than a replacement forward, is turning into the main man up front.
Milan travel to little Reggina on Wednesday as they bid to continue the good work they achieved in beating Lazio 4-1 at San Siro on Sunday. After losing their first two games, Milan needed a boost, and following that win club vice-president Adriano Galliani singled out Borriello for special praise.
"The thing that pleased me the most during the game was Borriello's closing down of (Cristian) Ledesma," he said. Even club president Silvio Berlusconi joined in the back-patting: "."
It all means that the former darling of the tifosi Shevchenko is likely to find himself warming a seat next to coach Carlo Ancelotti again on Wednesday, a role he got more than used to at Chelsea due to the prominence of Didier Drogba.
Shevchenko is still searching for his first goal since returning to the club after two years in London, but he's confident he'll soon break his duck. "I'm growing, for me it's important to work hard and the goals will take care of themselves," he said.
But while things are starting to look up for Milan, who started badly, the opposite is the case for second-placed Juventus. They have begun well with seven points from three games, but have been far from convincing in victories against Udinese and Cagliari and have now lost French forward David Trezeguet for at least three months and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for the next two matches.
The visit of Catania is not the most taxing, but Juve will be relying on Brazilian new boy Amauri for goals. Amauri scored the winner against both Udinese and Cagliari, and has settled in quickly. "I'm very happy and I hope to keep going like this," he said after the Cagliari game. Juve will be banking on him doing so.
But while Juve are scraping victories, champions Inter Milan are storming past their opponents under new boss Jose Mourinho. Their next opponents Lecce have already admitted it will be damage limitation for them at San Siro on Wednesday night.
If they have one chance it will be against potentially complacent opponents who have been wallowing in their own glory. "When I brought him in, I thought I was bringing in the best. He's showing that and I'm delighted," said Inter owner Massimo Moratti after Sunday's 3-1 win at Torino.
The other title rivals AS Roma and Fiorentina face tricky ties, with the former visiting Genoa and the latter facing a trip to Lazio. Both won for the first time this season on Sunday, Roma thrashing a misfiring Reggina 3-0 and La Viola winning 1-0 against Bologna, courtesy of a goal from the prolific Alberto Gilardino.