Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Matthew Coccoluto On April - 25 - 2012

Race to the End: Third Spot Up for Grabs!

Two weeks ago I professed that Roma’s chances at third place were over and that it was Lazio’s to lose with Napoli the best odds at finishing third. I was wrong. Following the last two weeks of results, the race is still open with Lazio still in the driving seat, but not comfortably. With 5 games left, the third spot in the Champions League is still up for grabs.

The current table has Lazio in third with 55 points. 3 points back are Udinese, followed by Napoli with 51, Roma with 50, and Inter with 49. There are several decisive games in the last 5 that make this race that much more entertaining. Lazio, Inter, and Udinese still have to play each other with Udinese taking on Lazio tomorrow before welcoming Inter on the weekend. Inter close their season against Lazio, one week after the Derby della Madonnina. Napoli and Roma will also meet in a very decisive game this weekend. Schedule isn’t the only thing making this race difficult to predict. The inconsistency of all teams involved has been alarming and yet entertaining. Last week’s win marked Napoli’s first win in 6 games, while Lazio, while failing to win in their last two, don’t have a run of consecutive wins since the beginning of March. Udinese have 1 win, 3 losses, and 4 draws in the last two months. Inter are actually undefeated over the last month with 2 wins 2 draws, but a draw to Fiorentina thanks to Julio Cesar saving pk, doesn’t make inter look too strong at the moment. Roma, similar to Lazio, have a record over the past 6 matches that reads, W-L-W-L-W-L. Looking at the run of form, it will come down to whatever team can find consistency.

Lazio may have the best chance because they are the current third place team, but it would be poor for Italy in next year’s Champions League if that is the end result. Lazio will most likely not go out and buy the big name players necessary to compete on the grand stage. They could repeat what Udinese did and end up in the Europe League before the Champion’s League kicks off. Even if they do qualify for the group stage, it is hard to imagine Lazio doing what Napoli did this year and surprise many be advancing. They would need to bring in a number of players. Napoli on the other hand already have the parts to be competitive and just need a little more depth to really enhance their chances. If they were to make Champion’s League they could make a splash. Roma have high ambitions and their ownership is ready to bring in some players but they will need that Champion’s League spot for that to happen. Inter are always going to attract big name players as they are one of the most prestigious teams in Europe. For Serie A’s sake next year, it would be best if the 3rd spot goes to Napoli, Roma, or even Inter.

The race for third is heating up and it is hard to foresee any team pulling clear of the others. All teams are facing injury issues, suspension, big games, and inconsistent form that should leave this race tight until the very end. Its just another exciting end of the season for Serie A. Fans of all clubs will sure to be enticed.

Matthew Coccoluto

Originally from Boston now in LA. I work in production but football is my passion. I bleed black and white. Proud member of the Juventus Fan Club of Southern California. Forza Juve, Sempre Sara.

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  • Tomasso

    Blah blah blah. Have you ever heard the expression “the league table doesn’t lie?” If Lazio finish third they will be there on merit and will deserve a shot at the CL. Third would be a fantastic achievement considering the fact that they have been missing key players through injury at every step of the season.

    As for Roma, your suggestion that they would better represent Serie A in Europe is farcical considering their embarrassing “efforts” in European competition this year.

    Forza Lazio!

    • Nfaerber10

      Roma is a brand new team that was built from scratch in the final month of last years transfer window and then the January window was spent signing de Rossi. We have huge defensive.problems but once that’s cleared up and we find some consistency,we will be one of he top teams in Europe.

      Forsake Roma.

      • Tomasso

        Keep dreaming pal. If you are waiting for Roma to be one of the top teams in Europe I would advise you not to hold your breath.

  • Tima

    What a pile of steaming horseshit… I wonder if you really did get paid to write here? If so, you have no idea…read more italian periodicals… There are big signings coming this mercato. Yes, Lotito had to be frugal to keep finances straight and became unpopular among some Lazio fans… but no team other than Lazio will be deserving to represent Serie a in CL. They have a ton of talent and you’re just a hater…

  • Paco

    Big signings coming in the mercato. Recent season has seen more stars leaving the arriving. Competition is intense now in the world of football transfers. Malaga, City, PSG, Russia and even Arab and MSL leagues are stealing away top class players. We hope, but, financially it will be difficult for Italian clubs to spend enough to compete.

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