Serie A Matchday 38: Milan can seal Scudetto at Sassuolo
Italy's Scudetto race is going right down to the wire as fierce foes AC Milan and Inter Milan fight for supremacy on Matchday 38.
Milan will claim Serie A crown No19 with a point at Sassuolo — but defeat could open the door to allow Inter to retain the title with a win against Sampdoria.
Elsewhere this weekend, Fiorentina will be targeting Europa League qualification when they take on Juventus, while Salernitana and Cagliari will try to preserve their top-flight status when they face Udinese and Venezia respectively.
Game of the week: Sassuolo vs AC Milan (Sunday, 5pm)
Milan head to Sassuolo knowing that a point will seal their first Scudetto in 11 years — but the Rossoneri have lost their last two encounters with the Neroverdi.
Sassuolo go into this game having conceded in each of their last 15 home league outings, which is their longest such streak in the top flight. However, they have scored the third-most goals since the halfway point this term (34).
The visitors' total of 83 points is their highest in the era of three points for a win, with the exception of 2005-06, when they had points deducted. Three more would see them record 26 victories in a season for only the fourth time in their history.
If Sassuolo are to potentially have a say in deciding the title, Domenico Berardi could be key. The Italy international has notched more Serie A goals against Milan than any other side (10).
November's reverse fixture saw Sassuolo come from a goal down to win 3-1 at the San Siro as Milan finished the match with 10 men after Alessio Romagnoli's red card.
Here are the other big games to keep an eye on this weekend…
Inter Milan vs Sampdoria (Sunday, 5pm)
Inter host Sampdoria knowing all they can do is win and hope for a slip-up from Milan — the Nerazzurri have won their last four meetings with Sunday’s opponents that have been played in the second half of the season.
The Blucerchiati have scored in each of their last six matches against Inter but they make the trip to the San Siro having triumphed in just one of their previous 22 away games against the men from Milan.
Inter approach this encounter with one of Serie A's form strikers leading the line. Lautaro Martinez has bagged a league-high 10 goals since the beginning of March.
As for the visitors, they will be hoping that Antonio Candreva continues his strong recent record against Inter. The 35-year-old has found the net five times in his previous six appearances against them.
It finished 2-2 when these teams last met back in September, with Sampdoria twice coming from behind.
Fiorentina vs Juventus (Saturday, 7.45pm)
A season-ending win for Fiorentina will guarantee them Europa Conference League qualification and could even see them secure a Europa League spot — but they have lost five of their last six games.
Juventus — who could finish the campaign with more away victories than home — have kept clean sheets in nine of their last 13 meetings with La Viola, of which they have won 10 and drawn two.
However, only the two Milan clubs have picked up more home points this term than Fiorentina (38). Vincenzo Italiano's side have won 12 out of 18 matches at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, including four of the last five.
This clash sees Dusan Vlahovic face the club he left in January. The Serb is one goal away from becoming the first player under the age of 23 to score 25 or more in a Serie A campaign since Ronaldo for Inter in 1997-98.
Salernitana vs Udinese (Sunday, 8pm)
Salernitana entertain Udinese knowing that three points will complete one of the greatest escapes in Serie A history — Davide Nicola's side are in good form and unbeaten in seven.
The visitors travel to the Stadio Arechi having lost two of their last three games, although they have won four of their previous five away matches against newly-promoted opposition in Serie A.
Along with already relegated Venezia, the hosts have scored the fewest times in the second half of games this season (18). But their last three strikes have all come in that period of the game.
Udinese defenders have scored 16 goals this term, including four of their last five — the most in the division.
The reverse fixture took place in April and finished in dramatic fashion as Simone Verdi's last-gasp strike snatched a vital 1-0 win for Salernitana.
Venezia vs Cagliari (Sunday, 8pm)
Trailing Salernitana by two points, Cagliari must beat Venezia to stand any chance of staying up — but they have lost eight of their last 10 games, more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues bar Watford and their opponents this weekend.
The Lagunari's return to the top flight has proved to be short-lived — and an awful disciplinary record has not helped their cause, with 106 yellow cards and nine reds both league-highs.
Cagliari, meanwhile, could pay the price for dropping 22 points from winning positions over the course of the season. That is their most in a campaign since returning to Serie A in 2016.
This will be only the eighth top-flight encounter between these teams. Venezia have won three of those previous meetings, with Cagliari's sole success coming way back in 1966.
Gianluca Busio's 92nd-minute equaliser salvaged a point for Venezia in October's reverse fixture.
The weekend's other games
Torino vs Roma (Friday, 7.45pm)
Genoa vs Bologna (Saturday, 4.15pm)
Atalanta vs Empoli (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Lazio vs Verona (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Spezia vs Napoli (Sunday, 11.30am)