Serie A, Round 38 preview: Five teams, one remaining European spot

Valerio Pennicino

Who says Serie A is boring? Sure, the champions were decided long ago, although Juventus only clinched the scudetto on May 6. Roma and Napoli already sewed up Champions League qualification, Fiorentina and Inter know they're going to Europa League. And last week, Livorno, Catania and Bologna were all relegated when Chievo beat Cagliari.

But!

There's still the final Europa League place up for grabs. And this season, five teams remain in the running: Torino, Parma, Milan, Verona and Lazio.

Some say it's impossible that Lazio reach the Europa League. But it's not! We don't think, anyway. If Torino lose to Fiorentina and Parma draw with Livorno, that puts all three teams on 56 points. Since each of those three picked up five points against the other two, the final Europa League spot would be determined by goal difference. But amongst the three or overall? If overall, Lazio are screwed, as they're at -1. So let's hope for the former scenario so we can see utter chaos in the final round.

Saturday

Udinese vs. Sampdoria

8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET at the Stadio Friuli, Udine
There's a game on Saturday. Yes, it's a travesty. No, it doesn't matter at all. Unless you pay particular attention to who finishes 12th and who finishes 13th.

Sunday

Catania vs. Atalanta

3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET at the Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania
For those of you that love the elefanti, you should tune in to see their final match in Serie A. For the good of Italian football - and for the fun of a Sicilian Derby - we hope their time in Serie B is a short one.

Genoa vs. AS Roma
3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET at the Marassi, Genoa
Oh, the tension. Can Genoa win for the first time since March 26, and erase a -4 goal difference so they can slip into 13th and finish higher than Sampdoria? Can Roma take all three points to finish within 15 of Juventus. Tune in to catch all the excitement!
Juventus vs. Cagliari

3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET at Juventus Stadium, Turin
After Cagliari just handed Chievo safety last week, it's impossible to think they'll head to Turin and withhold a win from the Champions. Juventus will finish with more than 100 points. It's time to accept that, people.

AC Milan vs. Sassuolo
8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET at the San Siro, Milan
Sassuolo got their miracle, but will Milan? The rossoneri swept away teams at the bottom, boosting them up into European contention. But they've still got to beat Sassuolo and hope that both Parma and Torino lose. Considering the state of Milan's squad, it might be best if they just allow Domenico Berardi to score six goals, then spend next season pulling a Roma.

Chievo Verona vs. Inter Milan
8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET at the Bentegodi, Verona
Thank goodness no one realized that either of these teams have nothing left to play for, and didn't give this match its own marquee time slot. Who wants to watch the bore of these two sides facing off?

Fiorentina vs. Torino
8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
If Torino win, everyone else is screwed. Bad news for the other contenders, then. The granata play Fiorentina, who would like to finish off their season with a win in front of their supporters, but wouldn't be too upset if they fell to Toro. The visitors really, really want this European place, having gone unbeaten in their last seven. Should the viola hand it over?

Lazio vs. Bologna
8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome
See above. Cheer on utter madness to finish out the season.

Napoli vs. Hellas Verona
8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET at the San Paolo, Naples
Verona need a win combined with losses from Torino, Parma and Milan. It's probably not going to happen. However, they may accept a mere three points as revenge for Napoli wooing away Jorginho, thus setting off a Verona downward spiral. Napoli, for their part, aren't going to hand this to the visitors, as there's really not a lot of good blood between the clubs.

Parma vs. Livorno
8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET at the Tardini, Parma
Parma did so well to get themselves into the top six...and then so quickly blew themselves up. They've won just two of their last nine games, leaving them a point outside of Europe. A win over relegated Livorno shouldn't be that difficult, but if the crociati can't pull it off, you have to wonder if it's down to the inherent conservatism of Roberto Donadoni and his 14 draws at the helm.

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