Serie A, Round 36 preview: Fates could be sealed at both ends of the table

Giuseppe Bellini

This weekend Juventus will look to wrap up their third consecutive Serie A title, while at the other end Catania could be mathematically relegated to the second tier.

It's sure to be a busy weekend in Italy, with much more for you to feast on than just Saturday's Coppa Italia final. On Sunday basement club Catania may have to pull a result out of the bag against AS Roma if they're to avoid becoming the first Serie A side relegated this season. If they do, they'll hand Juventus their third consecutive scudetto, though in all likelihood the bianconeri will have to beat Atalanta on Monday to seal the title.

Other highlights include the Derby della Madonnina, which is sure to be a hotly-contested affair despite neither Milan side having impressed throughout the season. That's just one of a string of matches involved in the race for sixth place, with Torino, Lazio, Hellas Verona, Parma and AC Milan all in with a genuine chance of sneaking into a European spot.


Genoa vs. Bologna

Stadio Luigi Ferraris; 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET

Bologna haven't won a game since March, and have now slumped into the relegation zone by virtue of having a worse head-to-head record than Sassuolo. Suffice to say, they really need wins now if they're to survive the drop, and one of their best remaining chances at picking up points comes away at an out-of-sorts Genoa on Sunday. Gian Piero Gasperini's side are up in a safe mid-table position, though haven't won in their last five.

Udinese vs. Livorno

Stadio Friuli; 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET

19th-placed Livorno can't be relegated this weekend, but failing to win away at Udinese on Sunday would surely all but condemn them to a return to the second tier. The amaranto are three points adrift of safety heading into the weekend, having picked up just three victories since the turn of the year. Fortunately Udinese are having one of their worst seasons in quite a while, and are themselves winless in four, but still should really have enough to beat the Tuscans at the Friuli.

Catania vs. AS Roma

Stadio Angelo Massimino; 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET

Poor Catania have gone from European hopefuls and one of Serie A's most aesthetically-pleasing sides to pathetic relegation fodder in the space of a season. The elefanti could become the first side relegated from Serie A this year if they lose to Roma and other results go against them, while the giallorossi know they need to win to stop Juventus sealing the scudetto this weekend.

Parma vs. Sampdoria

San Ennio Tardini; 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET

The supporters of Parma and Sampdoria may be twinned, but there should be no love lost when these sides emerge from the tunnel on Sunday. That's because Parma head in having picked up only one point in their last three games; their dreams of reaching Europe almost fading to nil. They need a win against mid-table Samp to stand any chance of making a late surge back into sixth place.

Chievo Verona vs. Torino

Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi; 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET

Torino are one of the league's in-form sides, and are currently occupying the final Europa League spot ... just. They'll look to open up a buffer over Lazio and Hellas Verona with a win over struggling Chievo, who still certainly aren't out of the relegation scrap yet. The Flying Donkeys are currently down in 16th place, just a couple of points clear of the bottom three.

AC Milan vs. Inter Milan

San Siro; 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

There's not much but pride at stake in this year's Derby della Madonnina, with Inter looking certain to finish fifth in the league, and 10th-placed Milan only having the final Europa League spot to play for -- which, truth be told, they'd probably rather miss out on altogether. Still, Milanese bragging rights are certainly something worth playing for, and hopefully we'll see a rather more open game than we would if there was more on offer.


Lazio vs. Hellas Verona

Stadio Olimpico; 7 p.m. local, 1 p.m. ET

Both Lazio and Hellas Verona have found some extra impetus over the last few weeks, and, with three games to play, they're both level on points with sixth-placed Torino. They are agonisingly close to a spot in Europe, and this game could go some way to determining which side will eventually qualify. Lazio haven't exactly been known for free-scoring fun over recent years, though their last three games have contained a grand total of 14 games. With any luck we'll see more fun on Monday.

Juventus vs. Atalanta

Juventus Stadium; 9 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET

If Catania pick anything up at home to Roma on Sunday, Juventus will be gifted the Serie A title without even having to play Atalanta on Monday. However, in all likelihood they're going to still need to beat Atalanta home to get their hands on their third consecutive scudetto. With their Bergamasque visitors having only picked up one point from a possible 12 in their last four games, they'd likely wrap up the title in style.


Fiorentina vs. Sassuolo

Stadio Artemio Franchi; 7 p.m. local, 1 p.m. ET

Tuesday sees both of the Coppa Italia finalists play their round 36 matches, with Fiorentina's game at home to Sassuolo up first. The viola's eight-point deficit to third-placed Napoli is virtually insurmountable, so they'll just be looking to ensure they hold off a late charge from Inter. This game has rather more significance at the other end of the table, with Sassuolo outside of the relegation zone on head-to-head record alone. They'll look to extend that in Florence.

Napoli vs. Cagliari

Stadio San Paolo; 9 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET

It's mathematically impossible for Napoli to overhaul second-placed Roma, while it'd take a massive slip-up for them to cede fourth to Fiorentina. They hosts Cagliari at the San Paolo in Tuesday's second game, with the Sardinians having already guaranteed safety with two consecutive victories. What I'm really saying, is they needn't bother.

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