After weeks of twists and turns, a decisive round awaits in both the race for the Scudetto and battle to beat the drop.
A point will make everyone happy at Stadio Olimpico when champions-elect Juventus meet Roma. At the opposite end of the table, defeat to already relegated Hellas Verona would leave sinking Udinese staring at a first stint outside Serie A since 1994/95.
Here are Sunday’s key matches as round 37 reaches an intriguing crescendo:
HELLAS VERONA V UDINESE (17:00)
It is a thoroughly grim time to be an Udinese fan.
The Zebrette’s historic – for all the wrong reasons – 14-match winless run threatens to end a 23-year stay in Italy’s top flight. The feel-good factor from the hiring of ex-Juventus defender Igor Tudor also ended with last week’s second game in charge – a 4-0 thumping by Internazionale.
This would be panic stations, if already-relegated Verona weren’t in similar dire straits.
In a clash between the division’s worst-performing teams of 2018, Udinese’s points tally of seven from an available 54 is only slightly inferior to the host’s 12 from 51. If this gap stretches, Udinese will be staring at Serie B-football.
FIORENTINA V CAGLIARI (17:00)
A game awaits in which both sides have much at stake.
For eighth-placed hosts Fiorentina, they know bitter-rivals Juventus’ Coppa Italia triumph means that seventh place will qualify them for the Europa League after a season away. Argentine striker Giovanni Simeone struck a hat-trick on his last run-out at Stadio Artemio Franchi – a devastating 3-0 defeat of title-chasers Napoli – and a similar show would be well timed.
Cagliari come in knowing that if results, improbably, go against them, then it’ll be back to Serie B after two campaigns away. With several stars out, it doesn’t look good for Diego Lopez’s troops.
SAMPDORIA V NAPOLI (22:45)
This contest once promised so much for both combatants.
Yet defeats at the worst point of the season mean hosts Sampdoria require a miracle to make the Europa League and Napoli’s Scudetto dreams are even worse off.
With the Serie A-crown virtually gone thanks to Juve’s six-point lead and sizeable goal difference, a return for long-term injury victim and Algeria left-back Faouzi Ghoulam should be cherished.
Samp coach Marco Giampaolo needs a good show. He replaced Maurizio Sarri at Empoli and the same could happen again in Naples.
ROMA V JUVENTUS (22:45)
Juve are so close to a seventh-successive Serie A-title triumph that seemed beyond them on April 22.
Since that late, 1-0 loss to Napoli, they’ve won all three games – controversially so at Inter. The collapse of their southern opponents at the same point – winless in two – means just a draw will be enough for Massimiliano Allegri’s formidable squad.
Roma have plans to better this season’s ride to the Champions League semi-finals already in mind. A second win in 10 clashes for coach Eusebio Di Francesco versus Juve will catalyse these thoughts.
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