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

Ryan Smith On April - 21 - 2012

Serie A Week 34 Preview

Saturday 21st April

Udinese v Chievo

Since their departure from the Europa League in early March, Francesco Guidolin’s side have experienced a dip in form that has seen them lose their grip on the last Champions League spot. Only three points will do this weekend in Verona, but they will have to work hard for it.

Chievo have rose steadily up the table in recent weeks, and before their 1-0 home loss against AC Milan, the Mussi Volanti had taken an impressive eight points from twelve. The death of Piermario Morosini may serve to galvanise a stuttering Zebrette outfit. The late midfielder, who was on loan at Livorno, was contracted to Udinese.

Napoli v Novara

Another team suffering from a European exit is Walter Mazzarri’s Napoli. The Azzurri are currently six points adrift of Lazio in third spot, and are on a miserable run of five games without a win. Defeat against 19th placed Novara would be their fourth in a row.

A win for last season’s Serie B play-off winners does not look likely though. With just six games to go, relegation is a near-certainty for the Biancoazzurri. If Napoli can’t win this weekend, they don’t deserve to be in the Champions League next year.

Catania v Atalanta

On paper this looks like a nothing game, both teams are safe from relegation and unlikely to qualify for Europe. Battle of the over-achievers then? Maybe not. Catania believe their late push for Europe is still on, and if results go their way, they may just sneak a Europa League spot.

Vincenzo Montella’s side have not won in four, so a win this weekend is essential if they hope to realise their seemingly impossible dream. History is on the Rossazzurri’s side, in eleven Serie A meetings with Atalanta, Saturday’s visitors have won only once. They will have to improve this abysmal record without star striker German Denis, who is still serving a suspension.

Parma v Cagliari

A huge game at the foot of the table here, one which neither side can really afford to lose. Both teams are on 38 points, four clear of Lecce in 18th spot. Three points would probably be enough to keep the victors in Serie A, whilst a defeat would see the losers dragged back into the mire. This game has draw written all over it then.

Cagliari’s awful away record should ensure this doesn’t happen, the Isolani have not won away since December and have lost their last four on the road. However they can take heart from their good record against Parma. Massimo Ficcadenti’s side have not lost in six outings against the Crociati, and have won on their last two trips to the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

Sunday 22nd April

AC Milan v Bologna

AC Milan bounced back from their shock loss to Fiorentina with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Chievo, but life for the defending champions should be easier this weekend. The Rossoneri host 12th placed Bologna, who before their win in week 32, had taken just two points from their previous four games.

Alessandro Diamanti’s solitary strike gained the Rossoblu a narrow win over Cagliari, but the 28 year-old will have to work wonders if he expects his side to leave the San Siro with anything. The break will have revitalised a Milan side who know they cannot afford any more results like the Fiorentina one if they are to retain the Scudetto.

Mark van Bommel could make a return from injury but Milan’s list of absentees is still lengthy with Kevin Prince-Boateng, Ignazio Abate and Thiago Silva just a few of those still on the sidelines.

Genoa v Siena

Mattia Destro will have mixed feelings about this one, the Siena striker on loan from Genoa could play a big part in his parent clubs bid to avoid relegation. The 21 year-old has hit eight goals this season for the Robur and has an outside chance of making Cesare Prandelli’s Euro 2012 squad.

The Vecchio Balordo are on a miserable run of form having not won in their last 11 league games, and a defeat on Sunday could see them drop into the bottom three.

Juventus v Roma

Game of the weekend. Juventus will have their unbeaten record put firmly to the test in Sunday’s late kick off by Jose Enrique’s Champions League chasing Roma.

The league leaders will hope to extend their impressive run of five successive league wins, but with the Giallorossi still in the running for third spot, they will have to work hard for it.

Dependent on which Roma side turns up, it could either be glorious or embarrassing for their fans. A great game for the neutrals.

Lazio v Lecce

A very important game for two teams at opposite ends of the table. Lazio need a win in order to maintain their grip on third place, while Lecce’s recent run of form has given them real hope of avoiding the drop.

Lecce have won their last two games, in which David Di Michele has scored three times, and they will need their star striker on top form if they want to remain in Italy’s top flight.

Fiorentina v Inter

Fiorentina will be hoping to complete an April Milan double this weekend following their 2-1 win over AC at the San Siro earlier this month.

Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni is unbeaten so far during his three games in charge of the Nerazzurri and a win this weekend could put his side back in contention for Champions League qualification.

Cesena v Palermo

With Palermo having nothing left to play for and Cesena essentially relegated, expect only the die-hard fans to make the trip to the Stadio Dino Manuzzi on Sunday afternoon.

Cesena are on a run of four straight draws whereas Palermo have only one win from their last five. Adrian Mutu scored in his side’s 1-0 win over the Rosanero earlier this season, an unlikely double on the cards perhaps?

Tip of the weekend: Roma to beat Juventus, Osvaldo to score anytime.

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