Serie A 2012, Week 33 Preview And Fixtures: Everyone's Got Something To Lose

Diego Milito #22 of FC Inter Milan and Mouttaqui Benatia of Udinese Calcio compete for the ball during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and Udinese Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Neither Milan or Juventus can afford to slip up this weekend, lest the scudetto slips away. Behind them, seven teams battle for the chance at European competition.

It's times like these when I imagine it must be fun to be a neutral watching Serie A. Just a point separates the two clubs at the top of the table, and both Milan and Juve have matches against relegation-fearing clubs this weekend. If either slip, it could cost them the scudetto.

Drifting down the table, there's still a tight battle for third place and the last Champions League position. Lazio currently holds third, and a match away at Novara -- who almost certainly won't make it out of the drop zone -- likely won't give the biancocelesti any trouble. Fortunately for the Roman side, Udinese, just three points back, are set for a difficult matchup against Inter on Saturday night. The nerazzurri, so recently thought to be out of all European contention, are coming to life under Andrea Stramaccioni. Udinese, meanwhile, are strapped into the first car on a roller coaster and just praying they'll still be alive when the ride ends.

A win for Inter could see them nudge their way into fourth, but that all depends on Roma and Napoli. Roma host Fiorentina, who are busy thanking their lucky stars for the existence of Cesena and Novara, without whom they might be seriously concerned about relegation. The Viola may have managed a surprise win over Milan last week, but even with the ups and downs of the giallorossi, it's hard to imagine anything but three points for Roma here.

As for Napoli, well, the darlings of this year's Champions League are about to lose hope of even reaching the competition next season. The partenopei are exhausted and it shows. Playing away at Lecce might not normally be a test, but the hosts, fighting desperately for survival, are on a five-match undefeated run, and their only loss in the last ten games has been against Milan. With Napoli out of ideas, this could be the chance for the salentini to secure safety.

And if Napoli fall, Catania and Chievo are still waiting in the wings -- but securing fifth, as they'd then have to do for a European position, just might be out of their reach. What these clubs want is for Napoli, who have booked a spot in the Europa League by reaching the finals of the Coppa Italia, to grab third place, and then for Roma, Inter, and Udinese to experience spectacular downfalls. Unlikely, but still worth a shot. Catania, looking out of sorts last week against Lecce, travel to Trieste to take on Cagliari in a match that really could go either way. As could the match between Chievo and Atalanta. But in both, it's really only Catania and Chievo that have something left to play for.


Saturday, April 14

AC Milan v Genoa (18:00 CET/12:00 ET)

Udinese v Inter Milan (20:45 CET/14:45 ET)

Sunday, April 15 (all matches 15:00 CET/9:00 ET unless otherwise noted)

Novara v Lazio (12:30 CET/6:30 ET)

Atalanta v Chievo Verona

Cesena v Juventus

Lecce v Napoli

Palermo v Parma

Siena v Bologna

AS Roma v Fiorentina (20:45 CET/14:45 ET)

Monday, April 16 (20:45 CET/14:45 ET)

Cagliari v Catania

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