This weekend sees the Italian league return. After the Coppa Italia, the domestic league returns to Italy. The return to Serie A sees lots to play for in the remaining games, with an exciting title race, a close encounter for the European places and a nervous fight for survival at the bottom end of the Serie A table. Over the next few weeks there will be a more detailed look at the various battles taking place in the league that will be published on the All to Play For website and across social media via our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram page.
In the title race, three teams are battling for the Scuddetto, although Internazionale are starting to fall away from the front runners of Juventus and Lazio. Just a single point separates leaders Juventus and Lazio in second place, with Internazionale 9 points behind Juventus, but they do have a game in hand on the two teams above them, which they will need to win to stand any real chance of challenging the top two.
Regarding the Champions league places, there are two teams competing for the last spot in the top 4. Atalanta are in 4th position, which means they are 3 points clear of Roma who are in 5th place. Napoli are in 6th and are 9 points away from 4th place, which suggests they are going to be more focused on staying in a Europa league place and looking over their shoulder rather than looking above them.
The race for the Europa league is exciting as well, with Napoli in 6th separated by just 9 points to the team down in 13th place who are Fiorentina. Therefore, there are 8 teams who could still clinch the final Europa League berth. Fiorentina are in 13th having played 26 games with 30 points. Furthermore, in 12th and 11th are Cagliari and Sassuolo respectively, who both have played one game fewer with 25 games but have 32 points. Bologna sit in 10th place with 34 points after 26 games, with Parma in 9th and Hellas Verona in 8th who both have played 26 games with 35 points secured this season so far. Moreover, in 7th place are the Italian giants of A.C Milan, who turn their attention to the league after a disappointing 0-0 draw in Turin saw them exit the Coppa Italia at the semi-final stage to Juventus. They have played 26 games, which has seen a return of 36 points, leaving them 3 points behind Napoli who after 26 games have 39 points to their name.
If the title race, battle for 4th or the race to get to the Europa league does not get you excited for the return of the Italian league, then maybe the fight to stay in Serie A will. It is hard to make a case for the bottom 2 to stay up, with bottom placed Brescia on 16 points and SPAL on 18 points above them. However, the third relegation spot is still open and leaves several teams vulnerable and even some of those that may be vying for the Europa league place if the return to league action sees a poor return of results. 7 points is the difference between Lecce, who currently occupy the relegation places in 18th and Caligari and Sassuolo in 12th and 11th respectively. The relegation battle does see some names synonymous with Italian football compete to avoid Serie B football next season. Fiorentina are only 5 points above the drop, with Udinese, Torino, and Sampdoria below them. Furthermore, Genoa are at risk with them only separated from third from bottom Lecce on goal difference.
Therefore, there is much to look forward to this weekend and in the next few weeks with the return of the Italian league. As mentioned more detailed articles will be published in the next couple of weeks with a more focused look on the battles to win the league, reach the Champions League and the Europa League and to avoid the drop to the second tier. Please feel free to get in touch by the social media channels and let us know how you feel the Serie A season will turn out.