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What to Watch on Matchday 38

The title race is far from the only thing up for grabs on the final day of the season

Empoli FC v US Salernitana - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

A Scudetto race lasting until the final day of the season is more than enough excitement, but if for whatever (strange) reason you’re like me and on the hunt for further drama, there’s still plenty to play for across the peninsula beyond the title.

ACF Fiorentina v AS Roma - Serie A
Can La Viola catch Roma and qualify for Europe for the first time since 2013/14?
Photo by Lisa Guglielmi/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Europe

  • Lazio (5th/63 points) - vs Hellas Verona - Saturday at 20:45 CET
  • Roma (6th/60 points) - @ Torino - Friday at 20:45 CET
  • Fiorentina (7th/59 points) - vs Juventus - Saturday at 20:45 CET
  • Atalanta (8th/59 points) - vs Empoli - Saturday at 20:45 CET

The race for the European spots has been almost as back and forth as the title chase. All four teams involved have blown just about every chance they had at taking control of their own destiny, so it all comes down to the final day. To refresh who gets what, 5th and 6th head to the Europa League while 7th gets a spot in the Conference League (if Roma wins the Conference League final next Wednesday it automatically gets a Europa berth). Lazio’s draw at Juventus Monday secured it top six and a Europa League spot, so the main drama involves Roma, Fiorentina, and Atalanta.

Roma plays Friday night at Torino and a win would book them an EL spot. However, the Giallorossi are winless in five and could be caught looking ahead to their CL final against Feyenoord. Not to mention, Torino is no easy foe on the best of days.

La Viola had a golden opportunity to secure European football last week with a win at Sampdoria but instead managed to lose 4-1. A win at home over Juventus (or picking up the same result as Atalanta) would still do the job as Fiorentina holds the tiebreaker over Atalanta. That could easily be one of the games on the weekend - the hated Dusan Vlahovic will face a charged welcome from the Franchi crowd while we see the final minutes of Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini in a Juve kit.

Last but not least, Atalanta host Empoli. La Dea’s destiny isn’t in their hands but a win would likely do the job - Empoli has one win since 2022 began, though it’s worth noting that Atalanta hasn’t won its last six home games in all competitions.

US Salernitana v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Relegation

  • Salernitana (17th/31 points) - vs Udinese - Sunday at 21:00 CET
  • Cagliari (18th/29 points) - @ Venezia - Sunday at 21:00 CET

There have been quite a few surprises over the past 37 matchdays, but none rank higher than Salernitana’s incredible turnaround since the New Year. Only hours from being excluded from Serie A due to ownership problems and rooted to the bottom of the table since August, Salernitana now astoundingly sits one spot above the red line thanks to two main factors. First was the superb work of sporting director Walter Sabatini in the winter market. He managed to fix Salernitana’s Serie B level squad with a number of shrewd signings including Federico Fazio, Simone Verdi, and Brazilian midfielder Ederson. However, it took the appointment of relegation escape artist Davide Nicola in February to truly turn the ship around. He’s guided Salernitana to a seven-game unbeaten run that has them safe from the drop for now, though the job isn’t quite finished. In the last two weeks, Salernitana conceded a late equalizer to Cagliari and missed a penalty with ten minutes to go at Empoli, letting narrow victories fall into the jaws of two successive 1-1 draws. Despite those recent hiccups, their destiny is still in their own hands, however, and a win at home against Udinese would keep them up. That one is well worth tuning in to if for nothing other than what’s sure to be a packed and thunderous crowd at the Arechi.

Cagliari, meanwhile, will be the one hoping to dash Salernitana’s Cinderella story. A win at already relegated Venezia and any result other than a Salernitana victory would keep the Isolani up (Cagliari holds the tiebreaker should both teams tie on points). Three points are far from secure for Cagliari - the Sardinian side will be playing a Venezia side looking to make one last mark in the top flight in front of its fans and Cagliari has just one win in its last ten, which prompted the sacking of Walter Mazzarri for Alessandro Agostini.

Lazios Italian forward Ciro Immobile challenges for the... Photo by Antonio Balasco/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images

Predictions

  • Torino 1-1 Roma
  • Lazio 2-1 Hellas Verona
  • Fiorentina 0-1 Juventus
  • Atalanta 2-0 Empoli

5th (EL) - Lazio

6th (EL) - Atalanta

7th (UCL) - Roma


  • Salernitana 2-1 Udinese
  • Venezia 0-1 Cagliari

17th (safe) - Salernitana

18th (relegated) - Cagliari


What are you looking forward to in the final matchday? Who gets the European places? What about relegation? Let us know in the comments below.