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

Stuart Harper On May - 13 - 2011

Six Things To Watch This Serie A Weekend

Top and bottom is resolved and a handful of teams have little but pride to play for, but that is only a small part of this weekend’s Serie A story. Stuart Harper breaks down the best stories.

With just two games remaining, one of four sides can secure the much vaunted fourth place spot – will it be the ‘big boys’, Juventus or Roma? Or maybe this seasons surprise packages, Lazio or Udinese? Then there’s the question of Sampdoria, will the unfathomable happen and the Blucerchiati get relegated this weekend? Or will they swap places with Lecce as both teams face opponents with very different agendas? With so much to play for, it’s another weekend of calcio to capture your imagination.

The weekend starts here – but does Lazio’s revival?

The weekend kicks-off in Rome as out of form Lazio welcome a Genoa side fresh from a tumultuous victory against bitter rivals Sampdoria. The hosts are desperate to arrest a slide in form that if it should continue, may ultimately rob Reja’s men of the European football – a prospect that has been within their grasp all term.

Despite Sunday’s cataclysmic derby victory, a result that thrust Sampdoria nearer to Serie B, all is not well in Genoa’s camp. Discord between fans and players persists, and with nothing further at stake this campaign, the capital club will hope to capitalise on the Rossoblu’s prevailing unrest - thus remaining in the hunt for fourth place.

Rising Samp?

For Sampdoria, a year that started with Champions League aspirations could end with commiserations as the Blucerchiati face relegation from Serie A. The Luigi Ferraris outfit return to the scene of last week’s cruel defeat as they entertain Coppa Italia finalists Palermo. For a time, the demotion of both teams looked a bizarre probability, but as Delio Rossi salvaged credibility from a crisis plagued season, Sampdoria’s plight worsened and now they are reliant on results other than their own.

Is it too early for Rossi to consider fielding an under-strength team ahead of the month-ending Coppa Italia final? And regardless, will those Palermo players who are picked risk injury by exerting themselves too vigorously? Maybe fate has smiled upon Sampdoria just before the season ending death knell rings out.

D-day for Lecce

Of Sampdoria’s closest rival for survival, Lecce face a curious trip to face Bari in the ‘derby d’Apulia’. It is a strange twist of fate that the Giallorossi meet ‘i Galletti’ as the hosts will no doubt shun any idea of their season being meaningless given their ability to drag Lecce down with them.

Curiously, Bari have found a new sense of freedom once relegated and subsequent performances have merited more than recent results reveal. Therefore, keep a close eye on both this and Sampdoria’s game with peripheral agendas potentially helping to reverse the current league positions of both Lecce and Sampdoria.

Second helpings

It has been a good week for the Milanese as the Rosseneri secured their first scudetto in six years and the Nerazzurri reached yet another Coppa Italia final. However, Walter Mazzarri will hope his Napoli charges can upset Inter as the two meet Sunday evening. Compared to last terms unprecedented treble, another Coppa tricolore would be scant consolation should Leo’s men finish in third place.

We can expect a fiercely fought contest but with both sides bereft of their most valuable talents, the onus falls on both coaches as they shuffle their packs. The Partonopei are missing the suspended Cavani while Inter may rue the absence of Wesley Sneijder – as such, the spotlight will fall on Mazzarri and Leonardo just as much as Lavezzi, Hamsik, Pazzini and Eto’o – one for the strategists.

Animal magic - Donkeys entertain the zebras

As the season draws to an end Chievo Verona are playing an instrumental part in dictating who finishes in fourth place. Most recently, the Gialloblu thwarted Juventus’s Champions League hopes in snatching an improbable point from a two-goal deficit in Turin. This weekend, Stefano Pioli’s men welcome Udinese as speculation about Pioli’s futures mounts.

The Chievo tactician has garnered admiring glances from afar this term and a victory against Guidolin’s troops will embellish what has already been a stellar campaign. Interestingly, the Zebrette welcome back both their potent tandem of Di Natale and Sanchez to set the scene for what could be the weekend’s star attraction. Free from relegation concerns, look for Chievo to play with verve against an entertaining Udinese, making this very much one to watch – and not just for Lazio and Roma tifosi.

Road trip

Finally, keep an eye on Juventus and Roma as both make away day trips to face teams with nothing but pride to play for. Both protagonists look to rebound from disappointing home draws - albeit in very different circumstances, and the task for the respective hosts (Parma and Catania), is rallying players who mentally, are probably on the beach - in spirit at least.

With both the Bianconeri and Giallorossi still capable of securing European football next term, expect a clash of styles between home side indifference and the urgency of the visiting team.

Stuart Harper

Freelance sports writer covering football, calcio & futbol. A Villa, Roma & Barca fan. Cycling too.

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One Response so far.

  1. Ted says:

    Roma can still make CL. They have to win there next two games and hope Udinese draw/lose.
    Maybe Milan will do Rom a favor.

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