Calcio gets an early start once again this week, making room for Napoli and Inter to compete in the Champions League. The nerazzurri will welcome Marseille to the San Siro on Tuesday, needing to stop the French side from grabbing that crucial away goal. Napoli, who won 3-1 in Naples, are at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, where they'll do their best to hold back Chelsea.
But before we get to European competition, there's a whole host of Serie A to be played. Fortunately for Inter and Napoli, their competition on Friday doesn't seem particularly intimidating. Of course, that means Inter will be held to a dull 0-0 draw in Verona, while the partenopei will be beaten by a dour Cagliari side.
On Saturday, Palermo will do their damnedest to maintain the illusion that they are still in the race for European competition. The rosanero can't even fall back on their fantastic home form any longer, not after having been destroyed 4-0 by Zlatan Ibrahimovic last weekend. The path is open for Roma to take all three points, although their loss to Lazio last week practically discounts them from Champions League contention. Still, Roma have plenty of fight left in them -- Bortolo Mutti would do well to keep his suitcases packed and ready by the door.
Sunday brings plenty of matches that are difficult to be excited about. Milan should easily grab all three points against Lecce, although with Juventus visiting the walking sieve that is Genoa, it is unlikely they'll extend their lead at the top of the table. Then again, with Antonio Conte's insistence on playing for a point, it might be ok to go ahead and etch AC Milan on to the scudetto.
Elsewhere, Catania -- who, mind you, are still in a regulation battle despite being in eighth place, higher than rivals Palermo, who are clearly able to secure a European position -- host Fiorentina, who have actually managed four goals in their last two matches. Ok, that's a lie, one of the goals was an own goal by Cesena, but at least the Viola managed four points. Speaking of Cesena, they're in an actual relegation battle, with Siena hoping to use them as a stepping stone toward safety.
The week ends with the practically anonymous Bologna visiting Lazio, who look to cement their hold on coveted third place. Concurrently, bottom-dwellers Novara host flailing Udinese. It should be an easy match for the zebrette, but nothing's seemed simple for the club as of late. Udinese are coming off a dour 0-0 draw with Atalanta and a 2-0 loss to AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League.