Runaway Serie A leaders Napoli could seal their third Scudetto in record fashion this weekend if they beat lowly visitors Salernitana and second-placed Lazio drop points at Inter Milan.
Victory on Saturday would move Luciano Spalletti’s side to 81 points and they will become the first team to win the title with six matches remaining unless Lazio earn their first win away to Inter in more than four years on Sunday.
Spalletti urged his Napoli players not to get ahead of themselves despite being tantalisingly close to ending the city’s 33-year wait for the Serie A title since Diego Maradona led the team to two championships in 1987 and 1990.
“I don’t like to celebrate in advance,” he said. “If we all do it together there will be twice as much joy.”
It would be unthinkable for Napoli to blow their 17-point lead at this stage but Spalletti’s caution is understandable given a tough April in which his team managed two wins in six games in all competitions.
With no other silverware to play for after Napoli were knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan in the quarter-finals this month, Spalletti can focus on landing the domestic crown, though he will be without injured defender Mario Rui.
Salernitana have improved dramatically since Paulo Sousa took over from Davide Nicola in mid-February and have pulled well clear of the relegation scrap. They are up to 14th in the table after an eight-game unbeaten run.
Simone Inzaghi’s Inter have slipped to sixth place after Juventus won an appeal against a 15-point deduction that sent the Turin club back up to third in the standings.
Inter are only two points off the top four but have one win in their last six Serie A games with the distraction of a Coppa Italia final and Champions League semi-final with Milan ahead.
Lazio have not lost on the road in the league since the start of January, a run of five wins and two draws in which they have scored 11 goals and conceded one, although they suffered a dispiriting 1-0 home defeat by Torino last week.
Ciro Immobile played 36 minutes against Torino days after fracturing a rib and hurting his back in a car crash, but Lazio have shown they are not dependent on the Italy forward’s goals, so manager Maurizio Sarri is almost certain not to start him.
Injury-ravaged AS Roma, who are fifth, host fourth-placed Milan on Saturday in another key match in the race for the top four with both teams on 56 points.
Defender Diego Llorente and forward Paulo Dybala are doubtful while Rick Karsdorp, Chris Smalling and Gini Wijnaldum have all been ruled out for Jose Mourinho’s Roma side, who were pushed out of the Champions League places by the Juve decision, despite winning three of their last four league games.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s seventh-placed Atalanta, who have 52 points, travel to Torino on Saturday while Juve, with 59 points, visit another mid-table side in Bologna on Sunday.