As we discussed last weekend after Roma dropped two more points to Sassuolo, the Giallorossi are certainly on the outside looking in the race for the top four. Roma has now dropped points in three straight and five of its last seven league meetings. The Sassuolo draw leaves the Giallorossi in their lowest table position of the season (seventh) with just nine matches left to play.
In order to reach next season’s Champions League via the league route, the Giallorossi will now have to jump over three teams—most likely Atalanta (+6), Napoli (+5), and Lazio (+1 with a match in hand). That’s not a small task; hence why Roma is now given a 5% probability of finishing in the top four.
The Giallorossi still have head-to-head matches with La Dea and the Biancoceleste remaining, but even direct encounter victories won’t be enough if Roma isn’t near flawless in her other fixtures. That starts this weekend against Bologna. Roma will need to carry the momentum from the dramatic win in Amsterdam into the match with the Rossoblu. A win in that one could resuscitate the league campaign, especially if some of Roma’s direct rivals slip up.
So, let’s peruse the peninsula to see where a slip up could happen.
Perusing the Peninsula: Matchday 30 Previews
The Best Non-Roma Match
Hellas Verona (8th place) vs Lazio (6th place): Sunday 9:00 EDT/15:00 CET
After Juve and Napoli squared off this week, Lazio is the only side above Roma on the table to have a game in hand on the Giallorossi. That’s why even though Roma’s city rivals may only be up by a point in the table, Roma will need to win more than the remaining head-to-head to make up a potential four point gap.
This match certainly has the potential for a Lazio loss. The Biancoceleste squeaked by Spezia last weekend at home thanks to an 89th minute spot kick converted by Felipe Caicedo. That result wasn’t all that impressive, and in the dying minutes Lazio saw Joaquin Correa and Manuel Lazzari red carded. Those absences will be felt in the Lazio XI this weekend.
Hellas is coming off a 2-0 win over relegation battling Cagliari and defeated Lazio at the Olimpico in the reverse fixture 2-1. However, despite being in the top half all season, the Mastiffs haven’t won back-to-back league matches since January 2020. A win would make this the first time since 1984-1985 that Verona has swept Lazio. That’s a streak that Giallorossi fans would love to be halted this weekend.
Matches Featuring Top Four Challengers
Parma (19th place) vs Milan (2nd place): Saturday 12:00 EDT/ 18:00 CET
Despite an up-and-down second half of the season, Milan continues to cling to second place in the table; thanks to the failings of other top sides not named Inter Milan. However, the Rossoneri’s grasp on second is getting just a bit more perilous as Juventus and Atalanta are now less than three points back.
Parma, for its part, is now looking more and more like a certainty for relegation. However, with all hope not yet lost, one would expect the Ducali to fight it out with Milan at the Tardini. A result is unlikely, but not entirely out of the question when you consider the fact that Parma managed to draw Milan 2-2 in the reverse fixture. Both teams enter this one coming off a draw.
Juventus (3rd place) vs Genoa (13th place): Sunday 9:00 EDT/ 15:00 CET
Juve is coming off a huge win against Napoli in their make-up of matchday three's Covid-halted fixture. The win puts Juve back in sole possession of third and just a point back of Milan in second. But, the Bianconeri are far from the dominant incarnation of past seasons. In fact, against bottom half sides, Juve has the worst record of any top seven side in the table with just 33 points in 15 matches.
Earlier this season, it looked like Genoa might be fighting tooth and nail against the drop until the bitter end. However, the appointment of Davide Ballardini has the Grifoni closer to mid-table than relegation these days. A big part of that is the fact that Genoa has drawn the second most matches (11) in the league—including five of its last eight. Juve won the reverse fixture 3-1, but Genoa has been much tougher since, including in a 3-2 Coppa loss to Juve. It’ll be interesting to see if Genoa can capitalize on Juve’s tendency to drop points against the bottom half.
Sampdoria (10th place) vs Napoli (5th place): Sunday 9:00 EDT/15:00 CET
Napoli has been one of the better sides in the league of late, closing the gap with the top four to just two points. However, the Partenopei’s Champions League hopes took a big hit on Wednesday when they lost to Juventus in Turin. A win would’ve had Gattusso's side on the inside track to qualification, but Samp could be just what the doctor ordered to cure the ills of the loss to Juve.
Napoli has won nine of its last ten in the league against the Blucerchiati, scoring 2.6 goals per match. And home cooking hasn’t been on the menu for Samp in the last decade either against Napoli as the Ligurians have lost seven out of nine to Napoli at the Marassi.
The Partenopei have also scored in 17 straight league matches and should enter as favorites against a Samp side that has drawn three of its last five. This one could produce goals as Napoli gave up three to bottom feeders Crotone in a 4-3 win last weekend.
Fiorentina (14th place) vs Atalanta (4th place): Sunday 2:45 PM EDT/ 20:45 CET
In the first ever Serie A match shown on network T.V. in the U.S., the nation will get to see one of the league’s most in form sides: Atalanta. Gasperini’s side has begun to turn it on with 18 points in its last seven matches, which has moved La Dea into fourth on the table with 58 points—the second most through 29 matches in club history.
That’s bad news for a Fiorentina side that could use a few more points to guarantee safety from the drop.
La Dea won the reverse fixture 3-0 and will be looking to win three-straight league meetings with the Viola for the first time since 1942. A win would also give Atalanta its first season sweep of Fiorentina in nearly three decades.
The Viola have the second fewest points this season against top half sides (5), so it’ll take a monster effort from players like Dusan Vlahovic and Gaetano Castrovilli if the men in purple are to pull a big upset.
- Spezia (16th place) vs Crotone (20th place): Saturday 9:00 EDT/15:00 CET
- Udinese (12th place) vs Torino (17th place): Saturday 2:45 PM EDT/20:45 CET
- Inter Milan (1st place) vs Cagliari (18th place): Sunday 6:30 EDT/12:30 CET
- Benevento (15th place) vs Sassuolo (9th place): Monday 2:45 PM EST/20:45 CET