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

Ebrahim Sadien On April - 5 - 2013

The Race for the Champions League Next Season: Part Two

Race for Third, A final placing

A breath of fresh air in Serie A this season has been Vicenzo Montella’s Fiorentina. After an inconsistent start to the season, La Viola enter their next fixture against Milan off the back off three victories and one loss in their last four games. They are now in fourth spot six points short of Milan. Paramount to Fiorentina’s success has been Stevan Jovetic. The fact that the forward has constantly been the subject of transfer speculation is an indication of the reputation he has built and achieved. With 12 league goals Jovetic is not disturbing those on top of the Serie A goal scoring charts but his all-round contribution to La Viola’s play has been integral to their success. Disturbing for Fiorentina will be the thigh injury the Montenegrin picked up in the away loss to Cagliari in the last round of fixtures forcing him to miss at least the next two rounds. A speedy recovery for the forward will be crucial to Fiorentina’s success. With three relatively easy games against Siena, Palermo and Pescara at end of the 2012/2013 campaign, La Viola are well positioned should either Milan or Napoli slip up.

Inter-Milan have a game in hand against Sampdoria re-scheduled for the 3rd April 2013. A win coupled with positive results in fixtures against Atlanta and Cagliari which follow, could push them very much into contention. They will however need to recover quickly from the loss to Juventus in the Derby D’Italia in the last round of fixtures. Despite an inconsistent campaign and constant rumours surrounding coach Andrea Stramaccioni’s future, Inter still have an outside chance of achieving a Champions League place.

Despite an impressive start to the campaign, Lazio have struggled of late. They find themselves in fifth position, one point off Fiorentina. Vladimir Petkovic’s side is also in the quarter finals of the Europa League as they attempt to juggle league and European ambitions. Lazio, like Milan, have a tough April fixture list with ties against local rivals Roma, Juventus and Udinese. The Biancocelesti will need positive results from these games if they are to push for third position.

Roma under new coach Aurelio Andreazzoli have found form that has also thrown them into contention. Before the loss away to Palermo in the last round, Roma went on an unbeaten run of five games. The 2-1 loss to Palermo however has left the Giallorossi with a tough task of attaining third place. Roma are currently ten points off Milan in third and will look to their captain and talisman, Francesco Totti in their final run in off games. The 36-year-olds form has been so outstanding that there are large quarters calling for him to be reinstated in the Italian National team. Roma take on Milan and Napoli in the last two games of the season. These two games will be vital in determining the outcome of the Champions League positions.

Fiorentina and Lazio are well positioned should either one of Napoli or Milan slip up in the last eight games of the season. However they will need to ensure they continue to pick up maximum points as often as possible to keep up the pressure. Fiorentina’s recent form has been impressive but the loss to Cagliari in the last round, the injury to Jovetic and a tough assignment against Milan in the next round of fixtures might derail their push for third. Despite a 2-1 victory over Catania in their last match, Lazio have struggled of late. A Coppa Italia final, European football and having injuries to contend with will make the task of achieving a Champions League spot extremely difficult for the Biancocelesti. Inter will need a victory in their catch up game against Sampdoria, to reaffirm their challenge. Whichever way you look at it, Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina, Roma, Inter and Lazio will all be involved in an almighty tussle for the last two Champions League positions.

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