Fiorentina regained their place back in the Europa League positions on Monday night as they beat rock bottom Parma, 3-0. Napoli also jumped to the top of the form table in the last 6 Serie A games with a slender 3-2 victory over already relegated, Cesena. Roma and Lazio would’ve been hoping for a defeat but it now means that Roma, Lazio and Napoli are all still sweating on a place in the Champions League next season.
Juventus v Napoli
Everything was looking to end positively for Rafa Benitez but a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Dnipro in the semi-finals of the Europa League was also met with a 2-2 draw at 20th placed Parma sandwiched between their Europa League commitments which made for a very poor 7 days for Napoli. Their win against Cesena means they’re now 3 points off Lazio and 4 points off Roma with 2 games remaining.
Juventus meanwhile have already won the league and have a Champions League final to look forward to and took no chances against Inter Milan last weekend, resting a number of players that featured against Real Madrid. Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Patrice Evra, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez were all rested in their 2-1 victory at Inter Milan.
Their replacements didn’t particularly cover themselves in glory but still defeated a full strength Inter side. Benitez rested a number of his star players against Cesena including Gonzalo Higuain, Christian Maggio, Gokhan Inler, Lorenzo Insigne and Walter Gargano. However, all of their star assets are fully expected to regain their place as Napoli struggled to overcome a side that have already had their fates sealed for next season.
Genoa v Inter
Both these sides are still hopeful of obtaining the last Europa League qualification spot which is currently occupied by Fiorentina who are 2 points ahead of Genoa and 6 points ahead of Inter Milan.
Inter’s chances are virtually dead and buried after suffering a home defeat against a weakened Juventus side and Roberto Mancini will have been disappointed his side couldn’t take advantage. Genoa meanwhile have won their last 2 games, scoring 9 goals in the process.
Inter Milan were missing 2 big influences in midfield with the suspended Hernanes and the injury to Freddy Guarin but Hernanes will return from suspension against Genoa. Zdravko Kuzmanovic also made his return from injury after nearly 2 months out injured but he is likely to once again start on the bench.
Sebastian De Maio will return to the Genoa defence after serving a suspension but Diego Perotti will be a big miss in the midfield of Genoa ahead of the game against Inter.
Lazio v Roma
All eyes will be fixed on this huge clash Monday night as 3rd place take on 2nd place. Just 1 point separate Roma and Lazio and a win for either side will seal Champions League football for next year.
Their previous 2 encounters have ended in draws but the 4 games prior to that brought 5 red cards. The ‘Derby della Capitale’ will be a fiery encounter and with so much at stake both sides will be cautious at such a late stage of the season not to lose concentration.
Lazio managed a very good 1-0 victory at Sampdoria last weekend which was particularly impressive given that Mauricio and Federico Marchetti were both suspended. They’ll continue to be missing for Lazio but on brighter news, Stefan de Vrij made his comeback from injury from the substitute’s bench and Senad Lulic also returned from injury.
Roma will still be without Gervinho which is a big miss for Rudi Garcia’s side. Adem Ljajic and Seydou Keita were fit enough to come off the bench but Roma could be unchanged from the side that came from behind to beat Udinese 2-1.