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Lorenzo Vicini On May - 20 - 2011

Six Final Things To Watch In Serie A This Weekend

As another fantastic season comes to a close this weekend, Serie A has provided spectators with surprises and excitement that has broken every stereotype normally associated with the Italian game. It’s been a wild ride with plenty of twists and turns, but Serie A has one more round of matches left to play. Everything has been decided at the very top and very bottom; however, there are still several things to keep an eye on this weekend as we salute the 2010-11 Serie A season.

Guidolin’s Crowning Achievement

Udinese started the season with four consecutive defeats leaving many to doubt about Francesco Guidolin’s appointment as head coach of the Friuli side. However, Guidolin and his boys managed to turn it around and in grand fashion, playing some of the most aesthetically pleasing calcio in the league while earning spectacular results. At the beginning of 2011, Udinese went on a 13 game unbeaten run that vaulted them into Champions League qualification. Now on the last game of the season, the Zebrette need to only secure a point from an already satisfied Milan side at the Stadio Friuli to ensure fourth place and a chance to play in next year’s Champions League group stages.

Lazio Lying In Wait

Speaking of surprises, Lazio came out of nowhere to put together a great season of their own. After finishing up the 2009-10 season in midtable obscurity at 12th place, Lazio have secured a spot in Europe next season thanks to some terrific defense and the ability to grind out results. Sitting in fifth place, Lazio still have a chance at finishing in fourth should they beat a Lecce team that saved themselves from relegation last week and Udinese lose to Milan. If Serie A has taught us anything, it’s that everything is possible on the last day of the season. Lazio are ready to attack should Udinese slip up.

Adding Insult To Injury

The darlings of last season, Sampdoria, have experienced a horrific fall from grace this season. The club went from fourth place last year, to a few minutes of stoppage time away from entrance into the Champions League group stages earlier this year, to selling off their two best players in the winter transfer market, to suffering relegation at the hands of the team they beat out for fourth place last season. With their fate already sealed, they play Roma on the last day of the season - a team they beat late last season that sealed the Scudetto for Inter. It is no secret that Roma remembers this painful encounter and will look to see off Sampdoria in Serie B with one more loss to its name. If Roma do win or draw against Sampdoria, it will secure European football for the Giallorossi via the Europa League. Roma would think it the only a small and appropriate way to pay back the Blucerchiati for last year’s crushing blow.

To Be Or Not To Be

Juventus find themselves at the end of another disappointing season when it comes to the standard they hold themselves to. The Bianconeri currently rest in seventh place - a spot that would normally grant admission to Europe’s second tournament, the Europa League. However, with Palermo playing in the Coppa Italia final against a team already qualified for Europe, the Rosanero have taken that last Europa spot from the seventh place side. Many Juventus supporters might think it a blessing in disguise as no European “distraction” would mean the club could focus strictly on Serie A next season. Yet, there is still a chance for Juventus to jump into sixth place and steal that spot away from Roma. The Bianconeri would need to beat a Champions League bound Napoli side while hoping that Roma lose to Sampdoria. The tiebreakers would lean in Juventus’ favor and the club would find itself in Europe once more. Whether the players and fans want that extra (and in their eyes, “lesser”) competition, however, remains to be seen.

Friendly Faces In Familiar Places

As with the end of any season, this weekend will be the last time to see certain players playing for their respective teams. Some big names and breakout performers could very well be playing in their final game with teams we’ve grown accustomed to seeing them in. Alexis Sanchez, Antonio Cassano, Alberto Gilardino and Marco Parolo are just a few of the players who could be moving on during the offseason. Some of these players are highly touted prospects with bright futures while others are solid veterans who could reinforce any team’s arsenal. In any case, this weekend will be the last time to watch these recognizable players in their familiar habitats.

Serie A Swan Song

Relegation is a terrible but captivating thing to be a part of or watch unfold. The three unfortunate squads who will be sent down to Serie B next season are already known: Sampdoria, Brescia and Bari. With uncertainties always abounding in the lower tiers of calcio, there are no guarantees that any of these sides will be back in the top flight any time soon. As such, all three teams will be saluting Serie A this weekend. For some, the decision to stick by the team’s side in Serie B has already been made, as in the case of Sampdoria captain Angelo Palombo. For others, this weekend will be the last chance to buy a ticket out of relegation by moving on to another team. The performances displayed by the players in all three teams will be fascinating to watch as it will provide a glimpse of who still has the motivation and who has lost the desire.

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One Response so far.

  1. Ted says:

    I was waiting for a Palermo reference…

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