The Serie A title race is the hottest in Europe with a mere three points separating the top three teams going into the season’s final stretch, yet as enthralling as the top may be the bottom of the table is also nail-bitingly close.
It’s normal to look at a league table and dedicate your attention immediately to the top of the pile in search of what’s happening among the best-of-the-best in that country, but Serie A’s bottom half is also screaming, ‘hey look at me’!
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Aside from rock-bottom Salernitana who themselves have begun to put on a fight since the turn of the year, it’s all very much to play for as the battle for survival becomes increasingly interesting. Eight points are all that separate 15th-placed Sampdoria from their city rivals, Genoa, in 19th.
Remove the Grifone from the equation and it becomes tighter still. Sampdoria and Spezia are tied on 26 points with Cagliari just a point adrift in 17th, leaving Venezia – who occupy 18th and the final relegation spot – on 22 points.
Cagliari looked dead and buried before Christmas after having won just one of their opening 19 games, but have since clawed themselves out of the bottom three, much to the surprise of everyone who had kept a close eye on them from the start.
Venezia, on the other hand, won four of their opening 13 Serie A games, but then began to sink around the festive period and continue to leak goals as the season progresses. Spezia seem to do things in streaks by either winning or losing, having only drawn five all season, and Sampdoria aren’t too dissimilar.
Spezia host Casteddu on the next matchday and Venezia welcome the Blucerchiati to the Stadio Pierluigi Penzo the week after that in what could prove to be two decisive games at the foot of Serie A.
The battle might, just might, go down to the wire and if it does then May 22 could mean that all eyes are on the bottom of the table – if all is said and done at the top – when Venezia host Walter Mazzarri’s Cagliari for what could result in the loser being relegated to Serie B.