Serie A Preview: Battle for European spots heats up
By Football News
Juventus' Serie A title celebrations will continue at Atalanta on Wednesday – their first outing since securing their second straight Scudetto.
Antonio Conte's men made it back-to-back league trophies in the Italian top flight for the first time since 2003 when they beat Palermo 1-0 at home on Sunday.
With the title decided, attentions turn to the relevant objectives remaining for certain teams in the final three matches – such as European places for next season, and relegation.
Second-placed Napoli have all but sealed their group stage spot in the UEFA Champions League for 2013-14, but can officially confirm it if they beat Bologna away – or simply if AC Milan fail to win at Pescara.
It would be some choke if Napoli did not finish second – their seven-point gap on Milan should see them into Europe's top tier once more.
A Milan win and a Napoli slip-up would see the door left ever so slightly ajar heading into the final two games, especially given the San Siro side should be untroubled against the already relegated Pescara.
Milan are only four points above fourth-placed Fiorentina, who could still sneak into that UEFA Champions League qualifying spot.
Fiorentina are on the road at Siena on Wednesday – with the latter needing a win in the Florence derby to boost their hopes of survival.
The winner of Torino and Genoa would all but sew up their top-flight ticket for next season, with the clubs sitting precariously above the drop zone in 16th and 17th respectively.
Palermo are 18th – three points behind Genoa – and host a red-hot Udinese, desperately needing points to help their sorry predicament.
Udinese are flying – they have won five straight in the league, keeping clean sheets in three of those, and could heap more misery on Palermo's situation.
They are also hoping to sneak into fifth spot, as they trail Roma by one point in the battle for UEFA Europa League action next term.
Sampdoria sit in 15th spot and have not won in eight matches, but they are all but safe ahead of their hosting of mid-table Catania.
Lazio are a further two points behind Udinese, thus remaining an outside chance of a European berth, and are away to Inter Milan.
Inter have dropped right off the pace in the hunt for Europe, losing four of their past five league encounters to be all but out of contention for continental honours.
Roma host Chievo needing a win to consolidate fifth spot, while in the only match of no consequence to either end of the table, Cagliari will welcome Parma.