While the very top of the table’s been a bit of a yawn — in fitting fashion Juventus clinched the league while waiting to play on Monday — the relegation fight and scrap for fourth remains interesting.
Juve, Roma and Napoli will finish 1, 2, 3 barring a brutal collapse from Napoli and a red-hot finish from Fiorentina. After that, though, there’s plenty to be settled. Five teams remain in play to be relegated, while a hand full can still settle into a Europa League spot.
But we begin with the Milan derby, where AC Milan made the best of a mess of a season by trumping visiting Inter 1-0 in a dirty affair. A pair of former Manchester City players keyed the win, with Nigel de Jong heading home Mario Balotelli’s pass in the 65th minute.
The three points mean AC Milan can still find the Europa League, while Inter is extremely unlikely to catch Fiorentina for fourth, with Viola four points ahead with a match in hand to be played on Tuesday. Inter looked lifeless for much of the game.
Catania pushed Livorno into the basement with a 4-1 thumping of Roma. Argentine playmaker Mariano Izco scored a brace within eight minutes to make it 2-0 in the 34th minute. The goals were just his second and third of the season, and boosted Catania — still winless at home — to within three points of safety.
Bologna picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at Genoa to temporarily stay ahead of the drop but will have wanted more with Sassuolo yet to play this week. Chievo stayed in danger with a 1-0 home loss to Torino, while Livorno played a thrilling 5-3 match with Udinese… but thrilling means little in a loss.
Down in Serie B, if you’re wondering, only Palermo has clinched promotion.
Catania 4-1 Roma – Francesco Totti’s 37th minute goal was the only moment of fun for the visitors.
Chievo 0-1 Torino — Only a 54th minute Gennaro Sardo own-goal broke up the malaise in Verona.
Genoa 0-0 Bologna — If you find matches with only three combined shots on goal pretty exciting, this one was for you.
Udinese 5-3 Livorno – It was 5-2 at halftime, with Paulinho striking twice for Livorno and a brace for Antonio Di Natale leading three Udinese goal scorers. Only Djamel Mesbah scored in the second half as Livorno slipped to 20th.
Parma 2-0 Sampdoria – Cassano scored early (8′) and Schelotto scored late (90′) as Parma stayed alive for Europe.
Max Meyer picked up from his remarkable Olympics by firing home, and Mesut Ozil also scored for the Germans in a match that was not about the winner. Bastian Schweinsteiger called it a day on his international career in the win, his 121st cap. The Manchester United man finishes his career with 24 goals, a World Cup title and a EURO runner-up finish. Not too shabby.
ROI all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane fittingly ended his tenure as an international player with yet another goal, bringing his career tally to 68 goals in 146 caps. Stoke City’s Jon Walters scored twice for the Boys in Green, and Robbie Brady (Norwich) also netted in the win.
It took the hosts a half-hour to break down the visitors, but a pair from Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen opened the floodgates and Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and Jens Stryger Larsen finished the scoring in a blowout at the CASA Arena in Horsens. It was Larsen’s first cap.
Elsewhere Turkey 0-0 Russia
Albania 0-0 Morocco
Estonia 1-1 Malta
Norway 0-1 Belarus
Lebanon 1-1 Jordan
3. Dieumerci Mbokani, loan from Dynamo Kyiv to Hull — While Robbie Brady, Timm Klose, and Nathan Redmond got a lot of the headlines, Mbokani was a powerful part of the Canaries’ attack in an ill-fated campaign. At 30 he’s far from a long-term fix, but Mbokani should provide strength and skill to a Hull City side facing a very challenging campaign. Per 90 minutes, no one on Norwich touched him last year (courtesy advanced stats site Squawka):
2. Jack Wilshere, loan from Arsenal to Bournemouth — We want so badly to make this our No. 1 for many reasons, but can’t take that risk thanks to the risk presented by Wilshere’s injury history. For Jeff Mostyn, Eddie Howe, and the Cherries to win the rights to bring Wilshere to town is big for a lot of reasons. That Arsene Wenger allowed him to go is another. Frankly, this could be a game changer for two clubs’ PL fortunes.
— Honorable mention — Wilfried Bony is a nice pick-up for Stoke, but Bruno Martins Indi gives the club freedom to use Geoff Cameron in other ways. … Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is another good piece for Spurs’ attacking depth ahead of the UEFA Champions League.
Islam Slimani, permanent from Lisbon to Leicester — The Algerian striker was sold on King Power Stadium by fellow Desert Warriors attacker Riyad Mahrez, and now gives the Foxes even more danger whether counterattacking or taking their talents to the opposition. With Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Ahmed Musa joining Slimani, Leicester has the depth to dance in Europe.