Serie A Week 36 preview – Two horses at the top, mathematic conundrum at the bottom

With Milan’s title challenge and Fiorentina’s battle for Europe both over, Saturday’s late game looks to be somewhat of a dead-rubber. The attention might be focused on the dugouts as speculation has surrounded the respective managers in recent times. Leonardo has had his future at Milan called into question, while Cesare Prandelli has been linked with replacing Marcelo Lippi as head coach of the Azzurri after the World Cup. The two teams that are still very much fighting for top spot, Inter and Roma, are both away from home at Lazio and Parma respectively. I Giallorossi surrendered their Serie A lead last weekend and will ironically be looking for a favour from bitters city rivals Lazio to reclaim pole position in the title race. Parma’s ninth place league position suggests inconsistency, with a recent eight game unbeaten run ended abruptly with two defeats in their last two games. With all eyes on the Roman club, Parma may look to produce an upset. Inter’s fatiguing exploits at Barcelona in midweek may well be a factor in their quest for three points.

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Sampdoria have recently overtaken Palermo in fourth and must now be favourites for the last remaining Champions League place. Form is certainly on their side with excellent wins in their last three games over Roma, Milan and local adversaries Genoa. They welcome relegated Livorno to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and will be favourites to win. Fifth-placed Palermo will want to capitalise on any potential error in Genoa as they visit Siena. After spending two months in fourth place, the Sicilians will be really disappointed if they do not start next season in the Champions League. Juventus and Napoli have probably given themselves far too much to do to claim fourth, and will be aiming to consolidate their positions in the Europa League standings. Both are in unpredictable form and are away from home Catania and Chievo respectively. The only side outside the top seven with a realistic chance of claiming a European position are Genoa. They face a tricky trip to mid-table Bari, although the team from the south have lost their last four games.

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At the bottom end of Serie A, Livorno had their relegation sealed last weekend. The two other sides currently in the relegation zone have to all to do if they want to avoid the fate suffered by the Amaranto. Siena have a home fixture against a wounded Palermo and may find themselves relegated by Sunday evening if they do not claim victory, although they will heavily depend on results elsewhere. The teams in seventeenth and eighteenth clash at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia as Bologna travel to Atalanta. A win for the Rossoblu would ensure their survival in the top-flite, and condemn Siena to Serie B. Atalanta would still have a slim chance of survival, although they would need to win their two remaining fixtures and hope Lazio lose their final three games, something the Biancocelesti have not done all season. Udinese travel to Cagliari in the weekend’s other dead-rubber.

Game of the weekend

Inter travel to Rome with the destiny of the scudetto in their hands. In a strange twist, they have been paired against their main title contender’s arch-rivals, Lazio. Much speculation has surrounded the game with fans and commentators suggesting that the home side will throw the game, an accusation refuted by Lazio head coach, Edy Reja

Blast from the past

On the way to scudetto success in 2000, Lazio launched a fight-back in the final ten minutes to claim a point against Inter. Alvaro Recoba and Luigi Di Biagio had given the Nerazzurria a two-goal lead, but goals from Simone Inzaghi and Giuseppe Pancaro helped Lazio achieve the point they eventually needed to become champions.

On this matchday


10 years ago – 1999/00

No Round 36 games took place as just 18 teams competed in Serie A. The division was increased to 20 in 2004/05, which was won by Juventus, before they were later stripped of the scudetto.

Five years ago – 2004/05

The Derby della Capitale ended 0-0 at the Stadio Olimpico between Roma and Lazio, the first time this fixture had ended goalless in Serie A or the Coppa Italia since December 1996.

One year ago – 2008/09

The Derby della Capitale ended 0-0 at the Stadio Olimpico between Roma and Lazio, the first time this fixture had ended goalless in Serie A or the Coppa Italia since December 1996.

Week 36 Fixtures

Saturday 1st May

Parma vs. Roma – 17.00 – Live on ESPN

Milan vs. Fiorentina – 19.45 – Live on ESPN

Sunday 2nd May

Atalanta vs. Bologna – 14.00

Bari vs. Genoa – 14.00

Cagliari vs. Udinese – 14.00

Catania vs. Juventus – 14.00

Chievo vs. Napoli – 14.00

Sampdoria vs. Livorno – 14.00

Siena vs. Palermo – 14.00

Lazio vs. Inter – 20.00 – Live on ESPN

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