Complete Guide to Serie A Final Day: What's at Stake?
Serie A 2012/13 comes to a close this weekend, and it has been thoroughly enjoyable to follow calcio again this season.
While the most significant positions in the table have already been decided—Juventus being crowned champions and Pescara, Siena and Palermo being relegated to Serie B—there is still a relatively significant degree of intrigue to keep us entertained on the final day.
Napoli secured the runner-up place to ensure direct qualification to the Champions League next season, in addition to their talisman Edinson Cavani surging clear in the race for the capocannoniere.
El Matador has scored 28 times, and Antonio Di Natale is the only other to score 20 times this season. Toto has found the net on 22 occasions but will fall short in his bid to win the goalscoring title for a third time.
There is, of course, the small matter of a Derby della Capitale in the Coppa Italia final to look forward to, which will have some impact on the final day's matters for Roma and Lazio.
Here is what we should look out for this weekend on the peninsula.
Final Champions League Place: Milan or Fiorentina?
Milan are in pole position to secure that final Champions League place, as the Rossoneri have a two-point cushion on Fiorentina, who occupy fourth position.
Fiorentina have a superior head-to-head record though, which means that if Milan fail to beat Siena away, the Viola will seize third with a victory at Pescara.
It has been wonderful to see such exhilarating football prosper in Italy under Vincenzo Montella, and it is refreshing for the Florence outfit to be battling it out at the opposite end of the table after flirting with relegation last season.
Due to the relegation battle already being settled, it is hard to see the Robur putting up much of a fight against the Diavoli, but you never know.
Montella has long insisted that qualification for the Europa League would be considered a success, so there will not be a prolonged feeling of disappointment should they fall just short
After an abysmal start to the season, it was be wonderful to see Massimiliano Allegri complete a remarkable turnaround and put the board in the awkward position of whether to keep the faith with the manager before next season.
Europa League Place
There is only one Europa League spot up for grabs at present, as Fiorentina or Milan are certain to finish fourth.
Udinese are currently fifth after an amazing run of seven consecutive victories that give the Zebrette a two-point cushion from Lazio in fifth.
The Biancocelesti will be optimistic that they can overhaul Francesco Guidolin's side though, as Lazio face Cagliari—an attractive proposition because the game will be played in Trieste on a neutral venue due to the Isolani's stadium problems in Sardinia.
Udinese travel to Inter. While the Nerazzurri have been abysmal of late, Andrea Stramaccioni has a proud group of players who will be looking to end the season on a high in front of their home crowd.
Roma can still have a say, too, as the Giallorossi can rise as high as sixth and leapfrog their rivals, Lazio. In doing so, they would land a psychological blow ahead of the Coppa Italia final.
Napoli will be Roma's opponents at the Olimpico in the weekend's best matchup in terms of quality. The intrigue as to whether Aurelio Andreazzoli will field a strong side, combined with the emotions of the visitors' Edinson Cavani and Walter Mazzarri potentially playing and managing their last game for the Partenopei, make this a must-see matchup.
Should Udinese take a point at the San Siro and Lazio win in Trieste, then the Rome club would snatch the last remaining Europa League place over the Friulani due to a superior head-to-head record.
If Vladimir Petkovic could finish fifth, the it would release some pressure entering the cup final. The club would know that they would have the consolation prize of European football next season even if they were to lose the final.
Another facet to the final weekend of Serie A will be the players and managers that will be moving to pastures new in the summer.
Certain names have predictably been linked with moves to different clubs ahead of the transfer window. It will be fascinating to see their performances and emotional reactions to the fans in what could potentially be many of these individuals' farewell matches.
Edinson Cavani is the highest-profile player that is expected to change clubs this summer in Italy.
Europa League champions Chelsea have been the latest club to be linked with El Matador, according to the Express.
His manager Walter Mazzarri could also be ready to take up a new challenge, with Roma, amongst others, being linked with the Livornese coach, per football-italia.net.
The reaction of the fans towards Palermo will also be a great watch with the Rosanero waving goodbye to Serie A after a catastrophic season has seen the Sicilians relegated.
The ultras at the Stadio Renzo Barbera will probably make for an uncomfortable atmosphere with Parma the visitors.
With so much already decided, the final weekend of Serie A will still be one to watch—and then the real fun will begin, as every fan will start to discuss each club's plans for the summer in anticipation for the new season.
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