The relegation candidates are written in stone. Cagliari, Cesena and Parma’s future lies in Serie B next season. Elsewhere the top four sides all claimed maximum points. Lazio got one over Sampdoria whilst Roma edged Udinese. Lazio and Roma will battle it out on Sunday in what is arguably this weekend’s blockbuster in Serie A. The top two sides are guaranteed places in the UEFA Champions League group stage, while a third-place finish ensures a spot in the qualifying round. Napoli are in fourth place, three points off the Champions League places. It’s newly crowned champions Juventus for them this weekend and that game could prove vital in their pursuit of Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Saturday 23 May
Champions Juventus may have won the scudetto with four games to play but they are still playing each game to win it; which showed on Saturday against Inter Milan as they scraped a 2-1 victory. They are unbeaten at home this season with fifteen wins and three draws from eighteen matches. Juve have scored a tremendous 67 goals, conceding just 21 in Serie A this term. Napoli come into this one with a bit of form. They remain in contention for a Champions League place after Dries Mertens scored a brace in their 3-2 win over relegated Cesena on Monday night. The win means Rafa Benitez's team have 63 points in Serie A, three behind third-placed Lazio and four adrift of second-placed Roma. The win will mean more to Napoli than it will for Juventus who have nothing to play for and that could work in the away team’s favour. Juve have the UEFA Champions League final to contest in two weeks time, so they will be wary of keeping their star players fit and injury free. Napoli on the win/draw double is the way to go at 4/10.
Inter Milan 15/10
Iago Falque struck twice as Genoa won 4-1 at Atalanta on Sunday to climb to fifth in the standings and boost their prospects of playing in next season's Europa League. The outcome in Bergamo lifted Genoa above city rivals Sampdoria, who lost 1-0 to Lazio on Saturday. Genoa are two points clear of Samp with two games remaining. A top six finish would be good enough to qualify for the Europa League. Inter Milan suffered a setback in their pursuit of a place in Europe next season after falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to champions Juventus. They have won their last three away games but face a tough test in Genoa who have won six of their last eight matches. The draw should be backed.
Sunday 24 May
Empoli have been poor of late with back-to-back losses after going down 2-1 away to Hellas Verona last time out. Their home form has been terrible, managing only six wins from eighteen matches. Sampdoria lost a consecutive home game on Saturday as Lazio held on for a 1-0 victory. La Samp have managed just one win from their last eight games. However, they are just one point off the Europa League places and that should motivate them in their last two matches. Sampdoria have won six of the last seven meetings against Empoli and are tipped to build on that.
Relegated Cesena put up a fight, but it wasn’t enough as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat away to Napoli last time out. They are winless in their last eight matches, losing their last three games. Cagliari were relegated into Serie B after a disappointing home defeat to Palermo on Sunday. The Sardinians knew the situation was out of their hands, as Atalanta only needed one point to send them into Serie B. Despite the Orobici losing 4-1 to Genoa on Sunday, Cagliari still didn’t keep up their end of the bargain and leave the top flight after eleven years. Cesena have managed just three home wins from eighteen matches, while Cagliari have been just as poor on their travels. Both teams have nothing to play for. The draw is on the cards.
Chievo‘s unbeaten run of six matches came to an end on Sunday after a 2-0 loss at the hands of Turin. Atalanta come to town fresh off a disappointing 4-1 loss at home against Genoa. While Chievo have won just four home games from eighteen, Atalanta have managed only three wins from the same amount of travels. Both sides are safe from relegation. The reverse tie was drawn 1-1 but Chievo know they could mathematically finish in a possible tenth place this season and with home advantage they should be on their way.
Hellas Verona 15/10
Bottom of the log Parma fell to yet another defeat, going down 3-0 at Fiorentina on Monday night. They have been atrocious all season and have managed just six wins from 36 games, losing 24 times. Hellas Verona fought back from a goal down to beat Empoli 2-1 on their ground and the Verona based club still have a chance to finish further up the table. They have won four of the last five meetings against Parma and are tipped to get another win here.
Udinese have lost three of their last four games. They went down 2-1 at Roma last time out and will be looking to pick themselves up against Sassuolo who have been impressive of late. They have won their last two matches, both 3-2 victories over Cesena (away) and AC Milan (home) respectively. The spoils were shared in the reverse tie as they sides played out a 1-1 draw. Sassuolo look the better team at present and a Win/Draw Double Chance at 7/10 is worth a punt.
Mid-table side Palermo ended a winless run of four matches last weekend with a 1-0 victory away to Cagliari. Their season has been a successful one, returning to Serie A after winning the Serie B title last term. Fiorentina have been in top form with three wins on the spin after thrashing relegated Parma 3-0 at home on Monday night. It should be a cagey affair but I’m backing the Viola to win with Both Teams To Score at a tasty 23/10.
AC Milan 29/20
AC Milan‘s inconsistency showed once again as they fell to a 3-2 loss at Sassuolo last time out. The defeat comes just a week after Milan edged Roma 2-1 at the San Siro. Milan have been poor in recent weeks with four losses from their last five matches. Torino got back to winning ways last weekend with a 2-0 win at home against Chievo. Prior to the win, they had lost back-to-back games, scoring just one goal and conceding six. Although the sides have drawn the last three meetings, Milan are unbeaten in fourteen attempts against Turin and the home win should be taken.
Monday 25 May
It’s derby day as Lazio play host to city rivals Roma. Lazio kept the pressure on Roma with a 1-0 victory away to Sampdoria on Saturday evening. However, Roma remain in control of the race for Italy's second automatic Champions League place after fighting back to beat Udinese 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico. They have won three of their last four matches but Lazio have the second best home record in the league after Juventus, making this one even more difficult to predict. Both teams have had no problems getting on the scoresheet this season. Lazio may have scored more but Roma have conceded less. Take Both Teams To Score at 13/20, this has been the case in six of the last eight meetings but if you feel the need to pick a winner, go with Lazio.