The Serie A TIM is regarded as one of the best football leagues in the world. It is a competition in which the top three placed teams earn automatic entry to the Champions League and fourth-place enters the competition at the playoff qualifying round; fifth and sixth qualify for the Europa League; and the bottom three teams are relegated to the Italian second tier, Serie B.
This campaign has been special. The season has been regarded as one of the tightest races in every aspect of the league in quite some time – the Scudetto race between Juventus and Napoli; Champions League qualification with Lazio, Roma, and Inter; Europa League qualification between Milan, Atalanta, Sampdoria and Fiorentina; and lastly the relegation battle.
After Benevento was mathematically relegated two weeks ago (for sure to finish at the bottom of the Serie A table for the 2017/18 season) only two other relegation spots remained.
Entering matchday 36, Hellas Verona sat in 19th place, with 25 points. They faced-off in the first game of the weekend against AC Milan, a side who has been re-energized by former Italian International and now coach Gennaro Gattuso, fighting for a Europa League spot.
In a match where three points were needed to mathematically stay alive in the race for maintaining their place in the league, Verona failed to do so, conceding twice in each half for a final time score of 4-1. A fatal defeat at the San Siro for Pecchia’s squad, they take the second spot out of three in the relegation zone and now leave five teams to challenge for salvation.
Who are these teams? Crotone, Cagliari, Chievo SPAL, and Udinese – five clubs all within just two points. Everything will be decisive and everyone has to be ready to conquer their opponents in the final 270 minutes of football action this season. The relegation fight is more open than ever.
SPAL (14th) are on top of this group of struggling sides with 35 points, followed by Chievo (15th), Crotone (16th), Udinese (17th) all with 34 points and lastly, Cagliari (18th) who currently hold the last relegation spot with 33 points.
Chievo Verona and Udinese have fired their coaches just a week ago – something that usually sparks an ignition to perform in a team: Chievo released Rolando Maran following a 4-1 loss at 10-man Roma replacing him with youth squad coach and former Chievo captain Lorenzo D’Anna until the end of the season, while Udinese sacked Massimo Oddo and replaced him with former Juventus defender Igor Tudor.
Both teams have favorable matches to close out the season. Chievo faces 12th place Bologna, and last place Benevento, while Udinese will play a recently relegated Hellas Verona, and Bologna for the final match of the season.
Crotone, Cagliari, and SPAL all have a harder route for the final 3 matches – Cagliari with the worst. They need to play Fiorentina and Atalanta, two teams hungry for Europa Leauge competition. I could possibly see a draw in one of the games, but a victory is close to impossible for the Sardinians (33 to 34 points).
SPAL play Torino and Sampdoria – tougher opposition than Chievo and Udinese have to deal with, but still a challenging objective. However, with their recent form only losing one out of their last 11, I see them surviving.
Therefore, the last relegated club will be Cagliari in my opinion with the provided facts, recent form, and performances in general of these clubs.
This post was originally published on The Laziali.