Serie A Preview: AC Milan Will Clinch A Scudetto, Absent More Roma Histrionics

Week 36 in Serie A is about one thing and one thing only. Forget the relegation struggles, forget the battle for fourth place -- all eyes are watching AC Milan on Saturday, waiting for them to clinch the title. Whooohooo bring out the booze.

Saturday

18:00 CET, 12:00 PM ET

Palermo v Bari

Bari might be relegated, but they certainly gave it the old college try last week, very nearly beating Roma before Aleandro Rosi stole the show and all three points. Palermo lost 3-1 to Parma last weekend and have no chance of finishing anywhere but midtable. This match starts off the week because if it had any competition, no one would have a reason to watch.

20:45 CET, 2:45 PM ET

AS Roma v AC Milan

And this is the match everyone is waiting for -- by the end of Saturday, Milan could be holding the scudetto. Roma are without Daniele De Rossi and Simone Perrotta due to their, shall we say, utter stupidity in picking up straight reds last weekend at Bari. Milan, meanwhile, welcome back Zlatan Ibrahimović, at least until he mouths off again and gets sent off in the 53rd minute. Fortunately they've got Alexandre Pato back, too, which is a relief as it's been about two weeks since anyone's made a duck joke. Chill the champagne, everyone.

Sunday

18:00 CET, 12:00 PM ET

Bologna v Parma

When I wasn't looking, Parma vaulted themselves into safety, their three straight wins coming mostly through January loan signing Amauri. Not sure what's weirder: Parma being above Bologna in the standings or Amauri looking like a footballer rather than a useless lump. Anyway, safety to both, moving along.

Brescia v Catania

Brescia aren't quite relegated yet, but need at least seven points from their last three matches to save themselves. While Catania might be an annoying thorn in many teams' sides, at least they're slightly more interesting to watch than boring, boring Brescia, so let's just put that nail in the coffin this weekend.

Cagliari v Cesena

Come on, Seahorses! No reason other than that is needed.

Inter Milan v Fiorentina

Out of seemingly nowhere, Fiorentina pulled a fast one on Udinese last week, scoring five goals against the suddenly struggling side. Can the Viola repeat that feat against Inter? Probably not -- remember, Leonardo has a plan. And that plan involves forcing Giampaolo Pazzini to lull the opposition into a false sense of security, heading wide multiple times before stoppage time kicks in and he's allowed to put the ball into the net. Keep an eye on that master tactician, Fiorentina.

Lecce v Napoli

Lecce are third from bottom. Napoli should be able to easily pull off a win and maintain third place. In other words, Napoli will freak out, forget how to pass, lose the ball in midfield, and help Lecce stay out of Serie B.

Udinese v Lazio

Is there a such thing as a Champions League six-pointer? Lazio and Udinese are separated by just a point, but with the way things are going for both sides, it may be Roma that slips in to take the fourth spot. If Lazio hadn't seen Cristian Ledesma sent off against Juventus, they likely would have found at least a point last week. Trouble is, Lazio have seen a man sent off in nearly every match in 2011, it seems. Fortunately for the Roman side, they won't have to deal with Alexis Sanchez, who seemingly invites teams to earn red cards as he dances around defenders. Still, this one will likely end as a draw.

20:45 CET, 2:45 PM ET

Genoa v Sampdoria

Hey, a derby! Let's show this last on Sunday because it's a derby and those are always thrilling! Mocking aside, Sampdoria have found a run of decent form in their last two matches...against Bari and Brescia. Ok, mock away. Genoa have nothing to play for except the thrill of beating their local rivals. Could Samp really be heading down?

Monday

18:00 CET, 12:00 PM ET

Juventus v Chievo Verona

I'm sure there's some sort of reason behind Juventus playing on Monday two weeks in a row. But I don't know what that reason is, and I refuse to do research into it. Watch this match because there's nothing else on, but set your expectations low, because Gigi Delneri certainly has.

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