Curtain Call – Season Review; Serie APosted: April 17, 2012
Serie A is providing the closest contested league finishes in all of Europe’s top leagues this season. With six games left to play, there’s only a single point that separates champions Milan from league leaders Juventus. Most of the talk of an exciting finish to a season is on La Liga, with a sizable proportion also debating the Manchester rivalry at the summit of the Premier League. But the fact remains, the difference between Real Madrid and Barcelona right now is four times greater than that between Calcio’s top two.
That’s not where the excitement ends, though. It’s all still to play for at the bottom of the table too, with league positions as high as Atalanta in tenth place only six points above the drop zone. Cesena, however, look doomed, and Novara just above them don’t fill me with much more confidence about their chances of retaining their top flight status. Nevertheless, there are still a number of highly surprising names who have found themselves in a relegation dog-fight for the end of the season.
The Scudetto will either go to AC Milan or Juventus this season. Both have had very good seasons and it’s almost impossible to predict who’ll come out as the victor. Juventus have been remarkable in the fact that they’re still unbeaten. The Old Lady’s quagmire this season however, has come in the form of drawing too many games. The league leaders have dropped two points 14 times this season – twice the amount of draws that Milan have played out and more than any other team in the entire league.
Many of these draws have come in games that most would havepredicted Juve to win, as well. Since the turn of the year, Chievo, Siena and Cagliari have all visited Juventus Stadium and left with a point. Cagliari and Siena currently lie four and five points above the drop zone, respectively.
A recent drought of wins struck Juventus over February and March of this year, with Antonio Conte’s side drawing six out of seven games they played. One of these stalemates was played in the San Siro whenthey faced rivals Milan.
Both teams have a similar run in, playing mid-lower placed teams for five of their six remaining fixtures, and one stand-out tough opponent. Juve’s next game is against 5th place Roma, at home. Roma have a lot to play for as they sit just one point behind Udinese in fourth, and a further three points behind the last Champions League spot currently occupied by Lazio. Milan’s second last game is the huge derby game against Inter. The Rossoneri will be eager for revenge after Inter beat their city enemies 1-0 earlier on in the season, despite Allegri’s team dominating the game.
Inter Milan, who have fired two managers this season alone, are having an awful season whichever way you look at it. Level on points with Napoli, the pair are two points behind Roma in the last Europa League spot (although with Juventus and Napoli contesting the Coppa Italia final, it looks as though 6th could qualify you for the Europa League.)
As for Napoli, they’ve had a strange season. After starting brightly, last season’s third best side have fallen very inconsistent, often beating teams above them in the league but losing to those below them. They still look like a good bet to qualify for European competition next season, as well as having a cup final to look forward to, but in truth, fans will be disappointed with the way their league season has gone.
In 2009/10, Fiorentina topped their Champions League group that also contained Liverpool and Lyon. This season, they’ve ammassed only nine league wins and are in serious danger of falling down to Serie B. Lecce will be doing everything in their power to bridge the three point gap between themselves and La Viola to avoid that perilous fate. Between them however, lie Genoa, while directly above them are another disappointments to the 11/12 season, Parma, while Cagliari are on the same amount of points as Parma.
It’s still all to play for in Italy. The only thing thats look sure to happen are Novara and Cesena’s relegations. At the top; the title, Champions League and Europa League spots are all still to fight for. At the bottom, it seems half the league could be relegated if they lose their concentration. It should be a fun end to the season.