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

Matthew Coccoluto On May - 9 - 2012

Down to the Wire: Four Scenarios for Third Place

It’s been three weeks of consistently talking about the third place in Serie A and now only one fixture remains. Before this weekend, it looked certain that Napoli would end up in the Champions League but after a horrendous loss at Bologna it is once again Udinese who are in the driver’s seat. Although Udinese sit in front, the other three teams are still nipping at their heels and one slip up could cause a complete reshuffling of the standings.

The current standings see Udinese with 61, Lazio with 59, Napoli with 58 and Inter with 58. An Udinese win or draw ends all discussion about 3rd place. Even if Udinese draw and Lazio win, both ending with 62, Udinese would take the head-to-head record with a 2-2 draw and 2-0 win. However Udinese, a very poor road team, travel to Catania, a very solid home side, which could steal all three points from the visitors and thus create a giant disturbance in the table. Even if Udinese lose, they can still earn the third spot if Napoli lose and Lazio and Inter draw against each other.

If Udinese do lose and Lazio win, then the third spot becomes Lazio as they would have 62 points compared to Udinese’s 61. In this scenario Inter would end up with 58 and even if Napoli win, they end up with 61. All hope is not lost for Napoli however. Napoli have strong head to heads with all the teams except Lazio. Fortunately for Napoli, they cannot be level with Lazio on points and in third place, it would be level for 4th. For Napoli’s sake they need Udinese to lose and Lazio to lose or draw. If Napoli win, they will finish the season with 61 points bringing them even with a defeated Udinese. Napoli own the better head to head with Udinese, winning 2-0 and drawing 2-2. If Inter were to beat Lazio, in this scenario, then they too would be level with Udinese and Napoli however Napoli defeated Inter 3-0 and 1-0 and would still hold the head to head advantage.

The nerazzuri have the longest odds to earn that third spot but since playing Lazio they have a slight influence on their destiny. By defeating Lazio they would remove the capital side from the equation, leaving just Napoli and Udinese. If Napoli lose or draw, and Udinese lose then Inter would end up ahead of Napoli and level with Udinese. Inter and Udinese split their head to head with Udinese winning 1-0 and Inter winning 3-1 but Inter have the better score line between those two games and therefore would end up with the third spot.

The final weekend is upon us and this race is finally drawing to an end. After weeks of leapfrogging for 3rd, Udinese now sit in prime position to earn the honor. Regardless of which team earns the spot, their inconsistency is a clear indication that all teams have some serious flaws that need addressing before the Champions League next season.

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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  • Nick

    I have an odd feeling Napoli is going to come out of this.

    I like the matchups in their favor - home vs Siena… Udinese on the road vs a feisty Catania team as you mention is no gimme. Then it’s just a hot Inter result against a banged-up Lazio from happening.

    Color me crazy, but in a season where the #3 team constantly let their fans down, it’d be kharma if it happened one more time.

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