Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Lorenzo Vicini On May - 6 - 2011

Six Things To Watch In Serie A This Weekend

With only three match days remaining in Serie A, the league table is beginning to take shape. Even though teams and objectives are falling into place, there are still a myriad of storylines yet to be written. Entering week 36, there are plenty of things to watch for.

Milan Winning The Scudetto

It has been a long time since a team other than Inter have won the Scudetto. In the years post-Calciopoli, the Nerazzurri have won the title every year. Yet, for the first time since 2003, Milan sits one point away from lifting the trophy. The Rossoneri only need one point in order to mathematically ensure the title. The only team standing in their way is Roma - a team still fighting for fourth place and access to the Champions League. With the match taking place at the Olimpico, the Giallorossi hope to delay Milan’s celebrations for at least one more week.

Derby Della Lanterna

Derbies are always emotional, high-strung affairs. However, this weekend’s derby between Genoa and Sampdoria will take on an extra special flair. While Genoa sit comfortably in 10th place with no real objectives left in the season, their rivals Sampdoria sit on the brink of the relegation zone. The Blucerchiati have had a disastrous year after last season’s fourth place finish. The club is in real danger of ending up in Serie B due to a host of factors starting with President Garrone’s incredible sales of his two most prized assets in Cassano and Pazzini in the winter transfer window. Sampdoria has managed to pull outside of the relegation zone by beating Bari and earning a last gasp draw with Brescia last week, however, nothing would please Genoa more than to send their rivals tumbling back down the table and into Serie B. The Derby della Lanterna just might be the most exciting match of the weekend.

Champions League Clash

It may not be a derby, yet it’s no less important when Udinese and Lazio square off at the Friuli. Lazio currently sit in the coveted fourth place spot on 60 points; however, the Zebrette are right on their heels with 59 points. Both teams have lost two games in a row, allowing Roma to reenter the race for the Champions League. The pressure is on and both clubs are starting to feel the heat. Each has had a phenomenal season playing opposite styles of calcio: Lazio has managed to prove all the naysayers wrong with airtight defense and low-scoring victories while Udinese has played some of the most spectacular football in all of Europe with an attack-minded approach that has had some dazzling results. Nevertheless, while the two face off this weekend, their opposite styles will have one goal in mind: three points and a step closer to the Champions League.

High Flying Parma

Just a short matter of weeks ago, Parma were in the thick of the relegation race - a team looking like a good candidate to drop to Serie B. Yet, over the past three weeks, the Gialloblu have emerged out of the darkness and appear to be a completely rejuvenated side. The club has won three straight and their opponents have been no pushovers: Inter, Udinese and Palermo. Colomba has managed to get inspired performances out of many of his players like Giovinco, Amauri, Candreva and more. Over those three games, Parma has only allowed one goal while scoring seven. They are the hottest team in the league - sharing that honor with league leaders Milan. With Bologna on the cards this weekend, Parma have a shot at making it four straight.

The Capocannoniere Crown

The race for Serie A’s top scorer comes down to two men: Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale. Both men are tied for first place with 26 goals a piece and have been fundamental for the success of each of their respective clubs. With both players keen on winning the title outright, the race may also be an unspoken competition for another award - the best player in Serie A this season. Cavani and Di Natale have entertained crowds all season long with their 52 goals scored between them.  Cavani should have the edge this weekend as Napoli plays Lecce - the team with the worst defense in the league while Di Natale faces Lazio who boast the second best defense in the league. With three games left for each, the Capocannoniere crown should go down to the wire.

An Unofficial Friendly

As can often be the case towards the end of the season when there isn’t much to play for, certain matches take on a sort of friendly type atmosphere. The match between Palermo and Bari on Saturday is one of them, but not because there isn’t anything to play for. With Bari already relegated and simply playing out the remaining games of their Serie A existence, it’s just another game on their goodbye tour in the top flight. For Palermo, however, there is perhaps one of the most important games in their history just around the corner on Tuesday. The Rosanero will take on the Rossoneri in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal. Given how much the Sicilian side wants a spot in the Coppa Italia final (which would also ensure another Europa League appearance), Delio Rossi will give his squad an almost complete overhaul with just about every reserve player getting a place in the starting lineup. Among those included should be Moris Carrozzieri, the defender who has been banned from Serie A for the past two years due to testing positive for cocaine.

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