Serie A: The Race for Europe
Like most other football leagues in Europe, Italy’s top flight is drawing to close with Serie A clubs entering the last quarter of the season.
This year has been as surprising as ever, with a few shock outcomes and a few expected results. We’ll be taking a look at the current top five clubs and the odds of them getting close to winning the league or taking the precious European spots for admission into the Champions League and Europa League.
First – Juventus, 67 points
Juve are bossing the league this season, 8 points ahead of Roma at the top of the table with 11 games remaining. Their squad at the moment is easily the strongest in Italy and they are competing well in Europe as well.
Superstars Miralem Pjanic, Gonzalo Higuain and the living legend Gianluigi Buffon are all pulling out the stops to ensure they can get their hands on much silverware as possible. They are very likely to win the league and possibly the Coppa Italia if they can overcome Napoli in the semi final, but all eyes will naturally be on their Champions League progress as they face Porto in the second leg of the last 16.
Second – Roma, 59 points
Lagging behind Juventus slightly, Roma have performed well this year, completing a revolution that started after a rocky patch a few years ago. The evergreen Francesco Totti seems to be perpetually dragging his team to the top of the league year after year, but this season seems to be different with some great performances against what should be better opposition on paper.
Although they have dropped into the Europa League, future superstars like Juan Iturbe, ex Chelsea man Mo Salah and Stephen El Shaarawy have helped the team reach second place and all but guarantee European football next year. Catching up with Juventus will be very difficult however and they will need a lot of luck to be in with a shout at the end of the season.
Third – Napoli, 57 points
Just two points behind Roma, the Little Donkeys are having a solid season and could easily overtake their Roman rivals if they can maintain form.
Belgian Dries Mertens is busy tearing the league apart with 22 goals and some great celebrations in all competitions and is backed up by classy players like Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne.
They may have lost their talisman Higuain to Juventus, but they have a great shot at overtaking Roma and challenging for the title, but again a lot rests on luck at this stage.
Fourth – Lazio, 53 points
Just ahead of Atlanta Lazio of Rome, who are also enjoying some good results so far, including a two-month unbeaten run last year. New signing Ciro Immobile looks good in front of goal, netting 16 times in 28 appearances in all competitions.
Both Milan sides, who sit in 6th and 7th, are hot on their heels however and Lazio have some tough fixtures remaining. They look least likely to challenge for the top spot and may even struggle for a Europa League place.
Fifth – Atalanta, 52 points
Atalanta have stunned pundits and bookies alike with a great season so far, completely outplaying much better teams and going far with a limited squad, displaying echoes of Leicester City last season. Players like youngster Franck Kessié have been outstanding, attracting interest from the likes of Chelsea and Man United.
Season highlights include wins over Napoli both home and away and a win over local rivals Internazionale. They have done well so far, but could potentially run out of steam in the last 11 games and will have to maintain form to be in with a chance of a European spot.