Italy Serie A

Serie A: AC Milan and Juventus go for glory, Inter, Roma for the consolation prize

March 31 2012 By Gregory Sica
Much is at stake in the Serie A this weekend, as while Milan and Juventus fight for the title, Inter and Roma challenge for the final European slots.

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With only nine rounds left to play in the 2011-12 Serie A season, it's a two-horse race between AC Milan and Juventus for the Scudetto (and it has been like this for several weeks now). Milan hold a four-point lead over their rivals, and will be hoping to close-in on the league title when they take on Catania on Saturday. Milan are much superior when compared to their opponents, but shouldn't let next Tuesday's epic UEFA Champions League quarter-final with European champions Barcelona distract them, as this could prove fatal.

Meanwhile, Juventus, who are lurking in their shadows, will be praying for an upset in order to possibly move within one point from the league leaders following their clash with Napoli. But in my opinion Juventus are more likely to drop points than Milan, as they are up against what should be considered a very tricky Napoli outfit. If Napoli’s strikers are in top-form, namely the South American pair of Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, Juve goal-stopper Gianluigi Buffon could be in for a busy night.

In Sunday’s other key games, both Roma and Inter will be desperate to remain in the hunt for a place in Europe next season, when they take on Novara and Genoa, respectively. Inter, in particular, find themselves in the midst of a major crisis, but will be hoping that interim coach Andrea Stramaccioni can turn around their fortune, even if it is for the short-term. Inter simply can’t afford to miss out on Europe.

Mar 31, 2012: Catania vs Milan

AC Milan have a great opportunity to steer closer towards back-to-back league titles when they travel to Sicily to take on a spirited Catania outfit. The Rossoneri hold a four-point advantage over Juventus, but dropping points is simply not an option, because Juventus are hot on their heels. Milan will be hoping for a repeat of November's meeting between the sides, when they ran away with a 4-0 win.

Apr 1, 2012: Roma vs Novara

In order to remain with a shot at qualifying for the Champions League next season, Roma have no choice but to beat a weak Novara side at the Stadio Olimpico. Luis Enrique’s men have been highly inconsistent throughout their campaign, and come into the game having lost 2-1 to Milan in their latest league fixture, but despite this they should ease past Novara without breaking a sweat.

Apr 1, 2012: Inter vs Genoa

Inter have experienced a devastating season, and currently lie in eighth-place, but will be hoping to end the season on a high note. Interim coach Stramaccioni, who has replaced the recently sacked Claudio Ranieri, is likely to make numerous modifications to the side in an attempt to obtain a much-needed victory against Genoa at the San Siro stadium. Will he be able to produce instant results?

Apr 1, 2012: Juventus vs Napoli

Juventus welcome Napoli to Turin knowing that anything less than the three points would surely kiss goodbye to their chances of edging out Milan for the Scudetto. Juve continue to remain unbeaten in the Serie A this season (through 29 games), and are highly motivated following their precious triumph over Inter last weekend. However, they must be extremely wary of their opponents, particularly Uruguayan scoring-machine Cavani, a player who could be headed to the Bianconeri next season.

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