Serie A has just four rounds remaining, with the battle for fourth only getting bigger. We now have an incredible five-way fight for the last Champions League spot, with Inter Milan only narrowly ahead. The Nerazzurri are hoping they can join Juventus and Napoli in next year’s competition, but who else will make it?
With time running out, the pressure is on the five hopefuls. At least one of them will miss out on European football altogether, while one will land a huge Champions League windfall. Just a year after Inter and Lazio went to the final day for fourth, this season could be twice as competitive. Here is our look at the latest top four betting odds and the run-in for each side.
Atalanta Edge Ahead
Monday night saw Atalanta make a huge leap into the top four, after their late show against Udinese. They scored twice in the final nine minutes after being held off. It could have been a massive missed opportunity for la Dea, who seem like major outsiders in the top four race. However, that breakthrough capped off what has been a brilliant seven days for the club.
The Monday before saw them win 2-1 away to second-placed Napoli, a major scalp in their bid for a top-four finish. Following that, la Dea were able to win 2-1 against Fiorentina to progress to the Coppa Italia final. With this victory over Udinese, they are now a point clear in fourth, which has put their fate in their own hands.
Manager Gian Piero Gasperini has called on his players to win their final four matches to make sure of fourth place. He hit back at comments from midfielder Marten de Roon, who claimed that a win at Lazio on Sunday would clinch their place. They are emerging as the favourites, with la Dea priced up at 11/8 with BetVictor to secure Champions League football for next season. They don’t have the easiest finish, with a trip to Juventus to come, before finishing at home to Sassuolo. There’s certainly room for fourth to change hands again, especially given all the contenders.
Torino Pile Pressure on Milan
Before Atalanta’s big win, Torino were the big story in Italy. They claimed a 2-0 victory at home to AC Milan on Sunday night, which pushed Il Toro into the European fight. The Granata also managed to pile pressure onto Milan with that result, which has led to speculation about Gennaro Gattuso’s future. They’re considering turning to Eusebio Di Francesco, who tanked Roma’s push for the top four earlier this season.
The Milan boss has had to deal with a Coppa Italia semi-final exit and losing their top four place. To suffer both just days apart leaves him with questions to answer. They do have a favourable finish, with four bottom half teams left for Milan to face. Despite that, the Rossoneri are 16/5 with Paddy Power to book a top-four spot. The big question is how they’ll recover from this blow, along with their recent poor run of form.
Torino moved level on points with Milan in that win, but they are 33/1 with bet365 to finish fourth. That’s partly due to their fixture list, with a visit to Juventus to come this weekend. They finish up in a potential decider against Lazio. For now, the Granata should just enjoy being in the race. They have a much better chance than their odds suggest. For the last few years, their aim has been to return to Europe, but a potential first European Cup adventure in 42 years could be just around the corner.
Romans on the March
Before Atalanta zipped into fourth, Roma were the big winners of the weekend. They hammered Cagliari with a 3-0 win on Saturday, which was enough to put them in the top four for about 48 hours. They’ve emerged as serious contenders to return to the Champions League next season thanks to a stark improvement with Claudio Ranieri now on board.
Roma still sit out at 5/2 with BetVictor to make the top four, as they’re another side who are yet to face Juventus again. Otherwise, their run in does look kind, so it’s possible that they could sneak into fourth despite an awful start to the campaign. However, that would lead to a repeat of last season’s top four in a slightly different order. Just for the sake of variety, it might be good for a new name in the top four.
All of this has left Lazio in eighth place, facing the possibility of a season outside of Europe. However, they were able to claim another three points at the weekend, thanks to a 2-1 win away to Sampdoria. That win followed up their Coppa Italia success, so like Atalanta, they could yet finish in the top four and win the cup. The Aquile are four points shy of the top four, which has left them as a 7/1 shot with Betfair to make it. With meetings against two of the sides in this top four race to come, things are almost in their own hands. However, lose to Atalanta at the weekend and their Champions League dreams are dashed.
Who Will Make it?
While Atalanta are in the driving seat, AC Milan have a huge advantage. Their four remaining opponents have a combined 1.06 points per game between them, suggesting a significantly easier run-in than their rivals. Torino have the toughest at 1.66, but all of the other sides are close to that number.
Basically, Milan are in a strong position, but they’re out of form. That leaves them with a chance to make it, but they’re prone to a slip-up. All of the other sides have tricky fixtures which they could realistically mess up, so more twists and turns are likely. Having been regulars in the top four over recent years, the improving Roma could profit.
Roma have won three of their last four matches, drawing the other at Inter. The Giallorossi look much stronger, while they’ve got three straightforward fixtures along with Juventus at home. That makes them look like a decent option at 5/2 with BetVictor.