Italian Serie A Preview

First place, second place and the relegation places have now all been confirmed. Cagliari, Cesena and Parma will ply their trade in Serie B next term. Juventus lifted the Serie A trophy for a fourth consecutive year.  The Old Lady, who lifted the Coppa Italia earlier this week, also collected the Scudetto in front of their own supporters in their final home game of the season. Juve wrapped up the Serie A title at the start of the month and could complete a treble should they beat Barcelona at the Champions League final in Berlin on 6 June. Roma secured second spot in the Serie A after beating cross-town rivals Lazio 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday evening. All eyes will be focused on the mammoth clash between Napoli and Lazio this weekend. Lazio's Champions League hopes are now in doubt and if they lose to Napoli on Sunday, they will relinquish third spot to Rafael Benitez's men. One of the two sides will be forced to settle for a UEFA Europa League birth next term along with Fiorentina and Genoa as the final gameweek approaches. It’s do or die, world-class or lower-class. Who will prevail as the Serie A come to a dramatic close?


Fiorentina 4/10 | Draw 38/10 | Chievo 13/2
Fiorentina travelled to face a comfortably mid-table but still dangerous Palermo side in the Sicilian sunshine, knowing that a win would guarantee them a spot in the UEFA Europa League next season. They came from 1-0 down to edge Palermo 3-2 in a five goal thriller, making it four wins in a row for the Viola, clinching a 3rd consecutive 60+ point season. Now the final game of the season awaits Sunday, with the Viola hosting Chievo at home, hoping to seal 5th and perhaps put some pressure on Napoli in fourth. Chievo remained unbeaten at home since February 2 after finding a late equaliser to draw 1-1 against Atalanta on Sunday afternoon. The result in Verona lifted Chievo into 14th place, also extending their winless run of four matches. Back Fiorentina on the Halftime-Fulltime Double at 19/20. 

Roma 3/10 | Draw 42/10 | Palermo 92/10
Roma booked their place in the group stage of next season's Champions League with a dramatic 2-1 derby win over Lazio on Monday. They have been in great form with four wins from their last five matches and will look to end their season on a high in front of their passionate supporters. Palermo were defeated 3-2 by Fiorentina in an entertaining encounter at the Stadio Barbera on Sunday. It was a second consecutive defeat on home soil for Palermo. They have won just one of their last six games and that doesn’t look like improving against Roma who have lost just once on their ground all season. The home win should be backed.  

Atalanta 2/1 | Draw 24/10 | AC Milan 13/10
Atalanta settled for a share of the spoils last time out, earning a 1-1 draw away to Chievo who scored an 88th minute equalizer. 17th placed Atalanta have managed just one win from their last seven matches and will be looking to end the season on a positive note in front of their fans. Pressure was lifted from Atalanta last weekend when despite losing 4-1 to Genoa, they clinched their top-flight survival when Cagliari fell to Palermo. AC Milan have arguably been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league this season. AC Milan ran out 3-0 winners over Torino to give coach Filippo Inzaghi a boost as his future at the club remains uncertain. El Shaarawy made his first start in in four months and made up for lost time by scoring a goal in each half as Torino's hopes of securing a Europa League spot were ended at San Siro. Back Milan to end their inconsistent campaign off with a victory.  

Cagliari 29/20 | Draw 23/10 | Udinese 19/10
Cagliari snatched a last-gasp winner giving them a rare 1-0 away victory over Cesena. It was all too late for these teams, as they both had their relegation places sealed. While the Sea Horses were going straight back down after promotion via the Serie B play-offs, the Sardinians end 11 consecutive years in the top flight. Udinese  fell to a 1-0 defeat at home against Sassuolo in a closely contested match on Sunday; making it three losses on the trot. Whilst Cagliari have managed only three wins from 18 home games, Udinese have registered just four victories from their 18 travels. It should be another tight affair and Under 2.5 goals is worth a punt at 13/10.

Hellas Verona 42/10 | Draw 27/10 | Juventus 7/10
Veteran Hellas Verona hitman Luca Toni is well-placed to finish the Serie A season as the league's top scorer after hitting a brace to deny Parma one last home victory before relegation as the sides cancelled each other out with a 2-2 stalemate. Juventus beat Napoli to dent their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League on the day the Italian champions were awarded the Scudetto for the 31st time. Juventus remain unbeaten on home turf the second consecutive Serie A campaign, something the club hadn’t achieved since 1973-75. They haven’t lost a League game here in 47 rounds, of which only five were stalemates, since January 6 2013. Hellas Verona might not have anything to play for except a mid-table finish but Toni does as he looks to end the season as the league’s top scorer against Carlos Tevez who is also gunning for the honour of being the Serie A’s top marksman. Juve might just start a side full of fringe players who will be looking to earn a place in the side set to take on Barcelona in the Champions League final. The Italian Champions have won eight of the last 10 meetings against Hellas Verona and are tipped to add to that.

Inter Milan 9/20 | Draw 33/10 | Empoli 62/10
Inter Milan travelled to Genoa knowing that a win was necessary to keep their hopes of Europa League football alive. However, horrific defending gifted Genoa a 3-2 victory and earned Inter Milan a second consecutive defeat. Empoli come to town off the back of a hard fought 1-1 draw at home against Europa league hopefuls Sampdoria. However, they have managed only two wins from 18 travels this term and a trip to the San Siro doesn’t look likely to end that poor run of form, especially after losing seven of the last eight meetings away to Inter Milan.  

Sampdoria 3/10 | Draw 42/10 | Parma 95/10
Samuel Eto’o scored a late equaliser at Empoli, but it looks to be too little, too late for Sampdoria’s European hopes as Genoa took their place after edging Inter Milan 3-2 on Saturday. The Blucerchiati had been challenging for the top three a few months ago, but dropped down to seventh and risked not qualifying for Europe at all. Parma settled for a point in their last home game of the season with a 2-2 draw against Hellas Verona. Not only would this be the last opportunity to watch top-flight football at the Tardini for some time, Parma still face the prospect of absolute extinction given no one has yet made a successful bid for the bankrupt club. They look dead and buried and Sampdoria are to tipped to win Both Halves at 31/20. 

Napoli 27/20 | Draw 9/4 | Lazio 2/1
Miguel Britos was sent off for head-butting an opponent as Napoli lost 3-1 at the champions, Juventus, on Saturday. However, Napoli still have a chance to secure Champions League qualification. Should Napoli defeat Lazio on Sunday, they will be rewarded third place on the head-to-head rule but should they draw, the advantage goes in Lazio’s favour who have a superior goal difference compared to Napoli’s. Both sides have been inconsistent in recent weeks. This one looks set to go down to the wire, and it looks like home advantage could be the deciding factor.  

Turin 7/20 | Draw 39/10 | Cesena 72/10
A 3-0 defeat at the hands of AC Milan put an end to any outside hopes of Turin qualifying for UEFA Europa League football. They have now lost three of their last four matches, scoring three goals and conceding 9. Relegated Cesena are off the back of a 1-0 loss at home against Cagliari, resulting in their fourth loss on the trot. They have won just one match from 18 travels this season, scoring 17 goals and conceding 37. Both teams lack form going into this encounter but Turin have proven difficult to beat on home soil. They won the reverse tie 3-2 and are tipped to pull the double over their opponents with a Halftime-Fulltime Double at 17/20. 

Sassuolo 17/10 | Draw 9/4 | Genoa 16/10
Sassuolo defeated 10-man Udinese 1-0 on Sunday afternoon to continue their strong finish to the season after making it three wins on the spin. Genoa continued their superb form of six wins from their last eight matches with a come from behind 3-2 victory on their ground against Inter Milan. The last two encounters between the sides has seen 12 goals shared, with the teams drawing 3-3 in the reverse fixture and Sassuolo winning 4-2 last term on their turf. Genoa have a chance to finish in fifth place whilst Sassuolo will be looking end their season off on a high. It looks to be a tight affair, Under 2.5 Goals can be found at 14/10. 

Written by Vuvuzela

Vuvu’s Serie A Picks

Fiorentina HT-FT DOUBLE 19/20
Roma WIN 3/10
Cagliari UNDER 2.5 GOALS 13/10
Juventus WIN 7/10
Inter Milan WIN 9/20
Sampdoria WIN BOTH HALVES 31/20
Napoli WIN 27/20
Turin HT-FT WIN 17/20
Sassuolo UNDER 2.5 GOALS 14/10