The majority of the main European leagues have finished within the last two weeks, but the conclusion of Serie A will come this weekend.
Almost from the start, the 1st position has been confirmed with Juventus cruising to a successive 8th title, and Napoli secured 2nd many moons ago. However, there is still so much to play for on the final day, with four teams still playing for the remaining Champions League places, and one more team will be relegated from a possible 3.
I will provide you the last day scenarios for these clubs, and the betting odds for each one, and giving you my gut feeling. I predicted everything correctly for the Bundesliga finale last week, so let’s go two for two!
Champions League Race Permutations
The Champions League has been an exhilarating race from the get-go, and has been even more so due to Atalanta’s late surge in the season. They have overcome all the usual suspects, and are now favourites to finish 3rd in the league. AC Milan have been knocking at the door all season, but they need their arch rivals Inter Milan to slip up on the final day.
As for Roma, they need a bit of a miracle in what has been an underwhelming season for them. There are two places available in the Champions League, and four teams are fighting for it. Who will reach the summit of European football next season?
Atalanta – First time to Reach Champions League?
Position before Final Day: 3rd
Expected Position after Final Day: 3rd
Final Fixture: Home vs Sassuolo (10th)
What do they Need? Atalanta are at 2/9 to win their final match, and that would absolutely secure a place in the top three, let alone top four. If Atalanta lose, then they can still progress to the Champions League if at least two of Inter Milan, AC Milan and AS Roma do not win. If they draw, then they’ll need both AC Milan and Inter Milan not to win their respective matches.
Scenario they don’t qualify for Champions League: Atalanta will not qualify for the Champions League if their result is bettered by at least two teams that are directly below them (AC, Inter and Roma).
Odds they finish in the top four: 1/7
Atalanta are in the in-form team in Serie A at the moment, picking up 13 points out of the last 15, and the only two they dropped was last week against the crowned Champions Juventus. Atalanta will be disappointed having lost the Coppa Italia final during that time to Lazio, but they have it in their own hands to qualify for the Champions League – the first time in their history. They face Sassuolo on the final day, who have nothing to play for, and haven’t won in their last three matches. I expect Atalanta to finish 3rd in Serie A, which would be a phenomenal achievement.
Inter Milan – Can they hold off local rivals AC?
Position before Final Day: 4th
Expected Position after Final Day: 4th
Final Fixture: Home vs Empoli (17th)
What do they Need? Inter Milan need to win their match (4/11), to guarantee a top four spot and play Champions League football next season. If they lose, then they’ll need AC Milan to lose, and Roma not to win. If they draw, then they’ll have to hope that AC Milan do not win either, as well as Atalanta avoiding defeat.
Scenario they don’t qualify for Champions League: Inter Milan will fail to qualify if their result is bettered by either two of the following teams – AS Roma, Atalanta, AC Milan.
Odds they finish in the top four: 1/7
Inter Milan are just as favourable as Atalanta, because on paper they do have the easier fixture. Empoli are a side who are fighting for survival, so it may be trickier than Inter Milan may suspect. Inter Milan have been comfortably 3rd for the majority of the season, but their form has dipped, seeing them only win one in their last 5 matches. Additionally, they were humbled 4-1 by Napoli in their most recent fixture and confidence is far from high. Regardless, I expect them to get an edgy win over Empoli to secure a top four spot.
AC Milan – Can they return to Champions League football?
Position before Final Day: 5th
Expected Position after Final Day: 5th
Final Fixture: Away vs SPAL (11th)
What do they Need? AC Milan need to win, and hope either Atalanta or Inter Milan fail to win their game. AC Milan can qualify for the Champions league if they draw, only if Atalanta or Inter Milan lose their final fixture, and in that scenario, would also hope that Roma don’t win their game by a handsome margin.
Scenario they don’t qualify for Champions League? If they are only able to match both Inter Milan and Atalanta’s result, instead of bettering it.
Odds they finish in the top four: 7/4
AC Milan have been outside the top four all season, but have been close to sneaking in during times of this campaign. The trouble with AC Milan is that they haven’t been able to string together a consistent run of positive results, and perhaps have saved their best run too late.
In their last three matches, they have achieved wins over Frosinone, Fiorentina and Bologna. Small margins may prove to be the difference, and against Inter Milan, they lost 1-0 in the final moments to a late Mauro Icardi goal. Had they kept that game at 0-0, the fate would be in their hands on the final day. All ifs and buts though. At 7/4, I don’t see enough value there, and I expect them to miss out.
AS Roma – Will Roma Sneak In?
Position before Final Day: 6th
Expected Position after Final Day: 6th
Final Fixture: Home vs Parma (14th)
What do they Need? Roma need a minor miracle. In more complex terms, they need to win their final match (but a big score line), and hope that Atalanta and Inter Milan lose, and AC Milan don’t win.
Scenario they don’t qualify for Champions League: If they don’t win. Or, if their rivals get a positive result.
Odds they finish in the top four: 80/1
I don’t believe 80/1 is generous enough, because they need so many things going for them. Admittedly, I expect them to get a win (1/5) against Parma, but they’ll need to realistically win by at least 4 goals to stand any chance.
Roma have beaten Juventus lately, and earned a credible draw at Inter Milan. However, manager Claudio Ranieri will feel that their top four bid was ruined after they conceded a last minute goal to Genoa a few weeks back, and most recently held 0-0 by Sassuolo. Roma simply don’t deserve to be in the Champions League after a fairly dreadful season, in comparison to last.
We now move onto the relegation places, and any team from three can be relegated. Fiorentina, Empoli and Genoa are the teams that will be fighting for their lives on the final day, with the latter currently in the drop zone.
If you are looking at the table, and are a bit confused as to why Udinese cannot be relegated (in 16th position), but Fiorentina can (in 15th position), it’s because of Udinese’s better head to head record against the teams below them that can catch them up. Fiorentina can be caught because of this, but Udinese cannot.
Let’s look at the final matches for these three teams, and their chances of surviving. It makes it extra exciting that the two of the three teams are playing against each other.
Fiorentina – Cannot wait for the Season to Finish
Position before Final Day: 15th
Expected Position after Final Day: 13th
Final Fixture: Home vs Genoa (18th)
What do they Need? All Fiorentina need to do is avoid defeat, and they are guaranteed to survive. If they do lose, then they can still survive depending on other results.
Scenario they get relegated? So, it is possible they can be relegated albeit it would have been a farfetched idea a few months ago. If they lose to Genoa, AND Empoli win at Inter Milan, Fiorentina will be relegated.
Odds they get relegated: 66/1
Fiorentina’s season went up in flames right after January. It was hard to think that they won at AC Milan and Torino, as well as beating Roma 7-1 in the space of four weeks between December and January. However, their form since then has got progressively worst, and come into this match having lost their last five matches in a row, and haven’t won since the middle of February.
The fans have every right to be concerned, but are favourites to win at home to Genoa on Sunday at 7/5, or at 2/7 to either win OR draw. Even if they do lose, they can hope to rely on Inter Milan to do them a favour. I see Fiorentina staying up, winning, and finishing in a slightly more respectable 13th position.
Empoli – A remarkable survival come true?
Position before Final Day: 17th
Expected Position after Final Day: 17th
Final Fixture: Away vs Inter Milan (4th)
What do they Need? Empoli will definitely stay up if they win at the San Siro against Inter Milan, or by matching Genoa’s result at Fiorentina.
Scenario they get relegated? If they fail to win, and Genoa better their result.
Odds they get relegated: 6/5
Empoli have put themselves in a great position to survive, after many had though they’d be relegated just a month ago. Three consecutive wins against Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Torino has given them 9 points from a possible 9 giving them the chance of an unbelievable survival. Additionally, they won against Napoli last month which were considered as three more bonus points.
They are still far from safe yet, but they have put the destiny of next season in their own hands. Empoli are likely to lose at Inter Milan (2/5), but will hope that Fiorentina can do them a favour in the other key relegation game.
Genoa – The Game Raisers to go down!?
Position before Final Day: 18th
Expected Position after Final Day: 18th
Final Fixture: Away vs Fiorentina (15th)
What do they Need? A Genoa win at Fiorentina (which may have to be two clear goals if Udinese don’t win), will be enough to keep them safe. Alternatively, they can stay up if they draw but only if Empoli lose at Inter Milan.
Scenario they get relegated? If they lose, they are relegated. If they draw, and Empoli match their result, Genoa will also be relegated.
Odds they get relegated: 6/10
Understandably, they are favourites to get relegated being in 18th positon on the final day, but they’ll think that it’s certainly obtainable. Genoa tend to bring their best game when they really need it, and can boast the best record against Juventus. They were the only team not to lose to them in either of their games, as they collected four points from the champions. Genoa have also taken points from Roma, and Napoli in recent weeks, so will fancy themselves of getting a result against an out-of-form Fiorentina.
Genoa are at 5/2 to get the victory, but a 6/4 draw may see them progress if Empoli expectedly lose at Inter Milan. So many permutations, it’s hard to keep up! As it’s the final day, and they are away from home to a side with a point to prove, I expect Genoa to actually lose on the final day, and be condemned to the Serie B for next season – which would be a great shame for a historic club.
That concludes the permutations and tips for the final day in Serie A. The German Bundesliga went to plan in my predictions last week, but I feel that this one was even tougher to call, particularly the relegation battle!
Will I be correct? Check out all the games on Sunday evening, and all the best with your betting![geot country="US,CA" ]
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