This weekend in Serie A saw a big message from Juventus, trouble for Napoli and shoots of recovery for Luciano Spalletti at Inter Milan. While the top teams plod on, the relegation fight remains tight, while the scramble for Europe has the potential to be a race unmatched in drama and depth by any of the major leagues. Seven of the top eight won this weekend, keeping the Champions League fight charging at pace.
Back in August, we predicted that the top four race would be thrilling. So far, that’s been the case. It’s threatening to be one of the most exciting contests anywhere in Europe, and the contenders are showing no sign of slowing down. The hard-fought battle continued this weekend, so we’re analysing the latest betting odds and the chances of each side breaking into fourth place.
It’s not even worth putting money on a top four finish for the top sides. Juventus are 11 points clear of second, while they have a 25 point advantage over fifth. Napoli are also comfortably heading for a Champions League return, but how about Inter Milan? They strengthened their position at the weekend – winning 1-0 away to Parma. That kept them five clear of fifth, making them as short as 2/9 to secure a top four finish this term.
It’s below Inter were things start to heat up. Right now, AC Milan hold fourth place, but there are three sides who trail them by a single point. The Rossoneri were comfortable winners on Sunday night, beating Cagliari 3-0 with another strike from Krzysztof Piatek. The forward now has four goals in three games, showing signs of fixing issues that Gennaro Gattuso’s side had in attack.
Of course, their place in the top four is far from certain. Inconsistency has hampered Milan this season. They’re also a side who are capable of going on a barren run of form. The fact that they lack an experienced goalscorer makes their recent form feel like it is built on a house of cards. They could see it all fall apart, which makes their odds of 13/8 with bet365 feel a touch too short.
The most comprehensive winners of the weekend in the top four race were Roma. They won 3-0 at Chievo, which has left them in the top six. They sit on 38 points, having climbed back into contention with four wins in a six game unbeaten streak in the league. While they are looking forward to Champions League action, they should be hopeful of a strong run in the top four race.
Roma were our pick to finish fourth when we reviewed Serie A at the half-way point. Everything that we’ve seen from the Giallorossi in the league has only added to that belief. They’re scoring goals, and the confidence has returned to a talented, youthful side. Unlike Milan, they have experience in all the right areas – giving them a solid spine that is backed up by vibrant players who are trying to prove themselves. At 2/1 with bet365, we still have faith in Roma.
Of all the sides in the running for fourth, it’s Atalanta who have the best goal difference. They have scored more goals than any other side in Serie A, which has sparked a run of form that has put them fifth in the table. La Dea are still seen as outsiders in the league. They have the same underdog status in the Coppa Italia, which prompted us to pick them out as a side to watch in that competition.
However, can they take that form and launch a successful bid for fourth? They have a deep squad, which makes their price of 3/1 with bet365 seem tempting. If this was a two-horse race, the vibrancy of Atalanta might work in their favour and get them over the line. However, they need to see off three giants of Italian football to do it, while making a push for cup glory. Unfortunately, they may come up short of making it.
The side who entered 2019 in fourth place are currently sat in seventh. They currently aren’t in the Europa League places, but their 1-0 win over Empoli on Thursday kept them in the race. The Aquile were knocked out of the top four in the final 45 minutes of football last season, but can they mount a successful push this year?
Like the rest, they’re only a point shy of fourth. That’s left Simone Inzaghi’s side at 2/1 to take fourth place, but will they be distracted? Lazio are the only Italian side still in all three competitions, which could impact their push for the Champions League. Their big issue is winning big games – 2019 started with losses to Juventus and Napoli. Those defeats show their failings in the crunch clashes, which is likely to hold them back given the huge battle all these sides have on their hands.