Serie A has had one of its most interesting seasons in recent years and is lining up to have a thrilling ending. A tight title race, battle for European spots, and an interesting relegation race means that Serie A fans will be on the edge of their seats until the season ends. Over the course of this article, we will look at each section and look forward to the potential winners and losers in the final few weeks.
Note: *The potential/expected points have been calculated by seeing how many games each club has left to play home and away. The number of games has then been multiplied by the average points earned from home and away games this season and added to their current points to arrive at the final potential/expected points*.
Serie A Title Race
The title race in Serie A is between three contenders - AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Napoli. Milan and Inter have continued their dominant displays as they did last season while Napoli have risen from the ashes to battle the two teams. Juventus’ poor form at the start of the season derailed their Scudetto ambitions for the season. They are currently nine points off the top and it doesn't seem like they will be lifting the trophy this season.
All Serie A contenders are currently separated by one point or goal difference. If we are to look at *potential points per game then Milan and Inter are going to be more or less level on 81 points by the end of the season. *Calculations show Napoli will fall short of the two with 78 points. Current form corroborates this theory given the two Milanese teams have identical records while Napoli have lost two of their last five.
For Milan, it would be their first title since 2011, while Inter won it last season. After losing influential head coach Antonio Conte and hotshot striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer, it would be a brilliant win for the blue half of Milan if they pull it off. Napoli haven’t won a Serie A title since 1990 so it would be a massive accomplishment for them. The race will be tight, Milan have a tougher road ahead and the rest will have to be ready to pounce.
The Race For European Spots
Juventus currently sit fourth in the table, five points clear of fifth-placed AS Roma. Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio sit sixth, while Fiorentina and Atalanta sit seventh and eighth respectively in the Serie A table. Going by our *calculations, their position should remain the same with Juventus possibly finishing six points ahead of Roma. Fiorentina do have a chance of finishing level or above Lazio based on points per game. Atalanta also stand a chance of finishing in sixth position.
Jose Mourinho was tasked with guiding Roma back into the top four this season. At the moment, it looks like he will fall short. Roma have reached the Europa Conference League semifinals and a European trophy could be a consolation at the end of the season. Massimiliano Allegri has not had the blistering success he would have foreseen on his return to Serie A but the top four looks to be in the Bianconeri's hands.
Form wise, Roma lead the pack in form having been unbeaten in their last five, Atalanta only have one win in the same duration. Numbers can only give us a rough idea and an expectation, but of course football works in unexpected ways. Could Mourinho have an amazing first season back in Serie A or will Allegri’s Juventus hold out? There is still time for a story to be written.
The Relegation Battle
The relegation battle is close. Newly promoted Salernitana look like they will be finishing bottom of the table. Genoa finished 11th last season but face a race against time to survive as they currently sit three points away from safety in the 19th position. Venezia sit in 18th place, with three points away from safety, while Cagliari sit 17th right outside the relegation zone. It will be a case of which team drops the least amount of points till the end of the season.
Genoa have only lost two games in their last five so are technically the team in better form. Venezia and Cagliari are on long losing runs which should give more hope to the 19th placed team. Venezia has the toughest run-in of games, having to play the likes of Fiorentina, Atalanta, Juventus and Roma. Genoa will also have a similarly tough run of games with matches against Milan, Juventus and Napoli. Cagliari, meanwhile, will only play one strong team - Inter.
All four teams will face each other at some point over the next six games so it is clear that they will decide each other's fate. Venezia and Salernitana look to be heading back to Serie B after one season, but for Genoa it will be a shock and the same could be said for Cagliari. Who will join Salernitana in heading back to Italy's second-tier?
With Juventus dominating in the last decade, one wondered when Serie A would become entertaining again. With some of the best players and managers participating in the league once again, the last two seasons have seen some tightly-contested races. Serie A is right up there with the Premier League in terms of competitiveness this season and it will be interesting to see which teams can achieve their objectives.