It’s quite obvious to everyone in the football world which teams are heading their respective European leagues. Such is the case of the Serie A in Italy, where Juventus is in all of the Italian Calcio’s headlines. With their 73 points so far, and 24 games won out of 29 played, they are dominating the competition, currently well ahead of second place Roma (65 points), and third place Napoli (63 points).
But an aspect often forgotten, and one that can be quite thrilling, is the fight for relegation, and more importantly, the clubs in the lower tier fighting for a chance to become the newest member of the country’s first division in the next season. In the Italian Serie A, four teams are currently directly in the fight for relegation, looking to not finish the season in the table’s three last places, and earn the right to go to Serie B.
With only 2 wins in 29 games, Pescara is the number one candidate to face relegation. They are currently in the last place of the table. The team came back after competing in second division this year, and it looks like their stay in Italy’s top tier, will be a short one.
One spot above them, but also in the border of the abyss, is Crotone. The team from Calabria is also playing its first season in the Italian top tier, and it also has poorly performed. With only 14 points in 29 games, it is very likely they will be joining Pescara in the Serie B next year.
The two teams above them are still competing to not go into the second division of Italian football and are facing every match like it was their last. Currently, Palermo holds the last ticket into relegation, with 15 points, but Empoli is only one spot above them with 22 points. In a mathematically close race, the team from Sicily still has a chance to avoid relegation if they manage to win a couple of their next games and Empoli fails to do so.
Palermo, a legendary, and historical club, is suffering due to the fact that they have sold many key players along the last years. Top players have passed by the club and have been sold to other teams like Javier Pastore, Dybala, Edson Cavani and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. With no big names on their current squad, it is rumored that new American-born president, Paul Baccaglini, is looking to hire manager Claudio Ranieri in the next days to try and rescue the sinking boat. On the other hand, although Empoli currently is still in Serie A for the next year, they haven’t managed to get a win in their last 8 games, but with their next game being against last place Pescara, they could have a golden opportunity to get three points and stay even further away from Palermo and the relegation zone.
The teams looking to join the Calcio’s Serie A
So, who are the clubs looking to take the spot of Serie A’s relegated teams? Things can typically get very interesting in Italy’s second division. The Serie B is designed to grant access to first division, to the teams on the first two spots on the table, and to one more, that ends up winning the playoffs that are disputed by the remaining 5 teams.
SPAL and Frosinone occupy the two automatic promotion spots, with Verona close behind at third place. But with still 11 matches to be played, and only four points separating these top three, the chance to play in Serie A next year for any of them, is still up in the air.
The same goes for the teams that would guarantee a spot in the playoffs. With so many matches still to be played, there are currently several teams, from spots 4 until 12 on the table, that all have a chance of continuing their path to play in first division. At the moment, the teams that would get to compete in the playoffs for a place on Italy’s top league would be Verona, Benevento, Perugia, Bari, Spice, and Novara. If Hellas Verona ends up in third place, like it is at this point in the season, it would definitely be the favorite candidate to win the playoffs. It currently holds 54 points, 6 more than fourth place Benavento (48 points), and is showing some great shape being undefeated in the last 4 games.
With all of this promotion and relegation drama unfolding in the Italian Serie A, and with so many historical and traditional teams being a part of it, it is clear why the Calcio is a great example, of why, when looking for exciting football, the bottom of the competition is worth checking out.