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WTW Serie A MD 32 from April 20-22, 2021

Serie A MD 32: Milan, Juve, Napoli, and Lazio all vying for top four berth

April 20, 2021 By Michelle Bonsu
Will matchday 32 see a shake-up in the league standings as Milan, Juve, Napoli, and Lazio all take to the pitch midweek?

With less than ten games remaining between now and the end of the 2020/2021 season, the battle for a top four berth is becoming more contested than ever. As things stand, only one team has already pretty much secured a Champions League spot for next season: Inter. The Nerazzurri have had an outstanding campaign as they look to win their first Scudetto since 2010 and with a nine point lead over the chasing pack, Antonio Conte's men are well on their way, despsite seeing their long winning streak end last round.

Here's what you need to know ahead of the upcoming mid-week round of matches.

A quick overview of last weekend's results featuring Italy's "Big Three"

Inter: drew 1-1 with Napoli on Sunday, April 18th. Currently 1st in the table, with a 9 point lead over Milan and a 13 point advantage over Juventus

The Nerazzurri were on an 11 match winning streak ahead of their away clash against Napoli last weekend, but saw that run come to an end. However, Antonio Conte's men are still unbeaten in Serie A since suffering a shock 2-1 reversal to Sampdoria on January 6th, and overall have lost just twice in the league all season.

AC Milan: Battled to a 2-1 win over Genoa on Sunday. Currently second in the table, nine points behind the Nerazzurri and narrowly two points ahead of Atalanta

The Rossoneri were really fortunate to earn a win over Genoa, and actually needed an own goal from their opponents to get that win. Milan have really struggled for results at the Stadio San Siro lately, but Stefano Pioli will take it - regardless of how his men got those three points. With the Nerazzurri now running away with the Scudetto, and Atalanta now trying to steal second, the Diavolo will need to be really careful they don't lose their grip on second spot. And then there's Juventus - who won't win the Scudetto, but La Vecchia Signora sure won't want to miss out on a Champions League berth, either. 

Juventus: Lost 1-0 to Atalanta on Sunday. Currently sit fourth in the table and are sandwiched between third placed Atalanta and fifth-placed Napoli in the race for a Champions League berth

More frustration for Andrea Pirlo, who thought that he'd done enough to buy himself a bit more time. After Juve's embarrassing draw with struggling city rivals Torino, the Bianconeri were able to redeem themselves by beating Napoli and Genoa, only to end up losing to an Atalanta side who've been  desperate to prove to everyone they deserve to be given more respect by Italy's bigger sides after scoring the most goals of any team in the league last season (and again, are the highest scoring side this year). That means that Juve have failed to beat La Dea both home and on the road, and that loss could prove to be devastating as the Turin giants are battling the Bergamo-based outfit for a Champions League berth.

How the table looks heading into matchday 32

With Inter cantering along towards the Scudetto, the battle for the Champions League spots is getting really dicey. Although Milan are looking good for second, the Rossoneri aren't through just yet, either. Here's how things are shaping up ahead of matchday 32 of the 2020/2021 Serie A season. 

Preview: Milan vs Sassuolo

The Rossoneri will come into this game potentially dealing with a whole spate of injuries, which couldn't come at a more frustrating time. Milan, along with fellow Italian giants Juventus and Inter, made the news recently, but for the wrong reasons as it was recently announced that the Italian trio will be joining a host of other big clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Manchester United in forming a European Super League that has gotten fans, pundits, and other European officials riled up.

But back to those injuries - it's reported that Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Theo Hernandez, Hakan Calhanoglu and Ismael Bennacer could all potentially miss out for the upcoming visit of none other than Sassuolo. As Milan fans will know, Sassuolo used to be a real nuisance for the Diavolo in the past when they first burst onto the scene back in 2013, and the Neroverdi come into this match on a two game winning streak. Roberto De Zerbi's men successfully saw off Fiorentina over the weekend after coming back from a goal down to earn a 3-1 victory, with Domenico Berardi coming off the bench to spark his side's comeback via two converted penalties.

That being said, Sassuolo haven't done so well against Milan in recent times, as they haven't beaten them in Serie A since March 2016, with two draws and seven losses since then. More important, their sole win at the Stadio San Siro was in January 2015, so will this be a chance for Milan to pick up a vital three points to put some distance between themselves and a very determined Atalanta side?

Preview: Juventus vs Parma

After their frustrating loss to Atalanta, Juventus will next take on floundering Parma, who've won just one of their last five games. The Bianconeri will receive a huge boost as they're set to welcome back superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who's now recovered from a muscular injury that kept him out during last weekend's match.

As things stand, Juve have lost five games, which is their worst record at this juncture since the 2010/2011 season, when they ended up finishing in seventh place. Right now, they're in fourth, but there is the very unnerving possibility they could end up not qualifying for the Champions League at all if they continue dropping points like the way they did in last weekend's poor showing against Atalanta.

Parma, for their part, come into this game having suffered 4-3 loss to Cagliari. From a neutral perspective, it was an entertaining game between two relegation-threatened sides, as many may have assumed that both would have parked the bus in a bid to try hold out for a point. Rather, however, it was a more open-ended affair, and unfortunately for the Crociati and their fans, it was Parma who ended up on the losing end. Both teams will come into this contest with injured personnel, albeit it's the visitors who will have more players on the treatment table, as Pirlo will only be missing former Fiorentina duo Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernadeschi for this contest.

Preview: Spezia vs Inter

Following their draw with Napoli, Inter will seek to get back to winning ways, but the Nerazzurri certainly will not take Spezia lightly. After all, the Nerazzurri will certainly have observed how the debutants managed to shock their cross-town rivals Milan as well as Roma earlier this season and so won't be leaving anything to chance.

Vincenzo Italiano's side have alternated between a win and a loss lately, and while they've accumulated 32 points, 40 usually is the so-called magical number needed to guarantee safety. As such, they're not out of danger just yet.

Inter do have an excellent track record against newly promoted sides. The last time the Nerazzurri stumbled against a team who just arrived in the top flight was nearly three years ago. Since then, the current league leaders have won 13 of their last 15 meetings, while drawing their other two clashes. So, for all intents and purposes, Antonio Conte's men are looking good to rebound following their draw from last round to get back on track here. That being said, he does have to be careful to ensure that star man Romelu Lukaku doesn't pick up another yellow here as he's already on more card away from a potential ban.

The seven other matches on matchday 32

Here are the rest of the games taking place on matchday 32, including matches involving Roma, Lazio, and Napoli:

Tuesday, April 20th

Hellas Verona vs Fiorentina - 11:45 PST/14:45 EST/19:45 BST/20:45 CET

Wednesday, April 21st

Bologna vs Torino - 11:45 PST/14:45 EST/19:45 BST/20:45 CET

Crotone vs Sampdoria - 11:45 PST/14:45 EST/19:45 BST/20:45 CET

Genoa vs Benevento - 11:45 PST/14:45 EST/19:45 BST/20:45 CET

Udinese vs Cagliari - 11:45 PST/14:45 EST/19:45 BST/20:45 CET

Thursday, April 22nd

Roma vs Atalanta - 09:30 PST/12:30 EST/17:30 BST/18:30 CET

Napoli vs Lazio - 11:45 PST/14:45 EST/19:45 BST/20:45 CET 

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