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Serie A's Top Four Clash in Champions League Chase
Aaron Rogan
Aaron Rogan
May 17, 2019
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Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.

There are only six more points up for grabs for Serie A’s European hopefuls. With just two matches left for each side, four of the top six places are up for grabs. There’s a four-way fight for two Champions League spots, while one of the top seven will potentially miss out on European football next season.

That makes this weekend’s matches in Serie A crucial, especially with the current top four going head to head. That has the potential to blow the Champions League chase wide open at this late stage. Ahead of a huge round of fixtures in Italy, we’re looking at each big game to see what is on the line for the European hopefuls.

Napoli vs Inter Milan

Dries Mertens celebrating for Napoli

Sunday, 7:30pm, Premier Sports 1

The highlight of the weekend comes on Sunday night, as the sides in second and third meet in Naples. While the hosts have already wrapped up Champions League football and second place, they’ll be pushing to record a big victory this week. Inter Milan are 10 points off the Partenopei, which is quite the gap given that their aim this term was to emerge as Juve’s biggest challengers.

There’s a strange set up at Inter right now. The owners seem to have settled on Luciano Spalletti leaving in the summer, as long as Antonio Conte will replace him. The former Chelsea boss is waiting on the guarantee of Champions League football first, so if Spalletti records an impressive win at the San Paolo he’ll effectively be sacking himself. With a four-point lead over fifth, a win would put things beyond down for Inter, who would then start planning for next season with Conte.

Inter haven’t been great in 2019, so there’s still the chance that they lose this huge clash and head to the final day uncertain. With Napoli turning around their recent form, they come into this clash on a roll and ready to deliver a major blow to the Nerazzurri. With Napoli winning eight of their last 12 home clashes with Inter, we’re siding with the hosts in our Napoli vs Inter Milan Predictions.

Atalanta vs Juventus

Duvan Zapata Atalanta

Sunday, 7:30pm

At the same time, Atalanta are putting their Champions League ambitions to the test in Turin. Their clash was moved to Sunday night after their Coppa Italia final defeat on Wednesday night. It’s a huge finish to the season for la Dea, who are hoping to finish in the top four with a squad on the 14th largest wage bill in Serie A. Their outlay is roughly eight times less than Juve, so they need to defy expectations in this one. With Inter facing a tough trip of their own, Atalanta could yet move up to third in the table with a positive result here.

Nerves could be the end of Atalanta, as they looked a little shaky during their loss to Lazio in the cup final on Wednesday. However, they have already pulled off impressive victories on the road at Lazio and Napoli this term, so la Dea should see themselves capable of getting a result in Turin. It’s been a turbulent week at Juventus, who are now searching for a replacement for manager Max Allegri. With Juventus looking a little sloppy of late, we’re expecting problems for the champions in our Juventus vs Atalanta Predictions.

AC Milan vs Frosinone

Serie A - AC Milan vs Udinese

Sunday, 5pm, Premier Sports 1

Before the top four go head to head, the chase for fourth heats up. AC Milan are looking to take their Champions League push to the final day, with Gennaro Gattuso’s job firmly on the line. Their hopes are boosted by the fact that they have the head to head edge over Atalanta, but they sit three points shy of the fourth-placed side. If results go their way this weekend, then their price of 9/2 for a top four finish will surely be cut. However, Milan have blown golden chances all season, so it’s hard to trust them.

Milan will be expecting to kick on with three points at home to the side in 19th in the table. They have a fine record against the lowest placed sides in the league, while they’re up against it in their bid to send the club back to the top level of European football. Their final home clash of the season is likely to be a nervy one, but expect the Rossoneri to pile the pressure onto their top four rivals. We’ve backed a comfortable home win for Gattuso’s team in our AC Milan vs Frosinone Predictions.

Sassuolo vs Roma

Nicolò Zaniolo Roma

Saturday, 7:30pm, Premier Sports 2

Roma are another side in the mix for the Champions League, they meet Sassuolo on Saturday night. The problem for the Giallorossi is that they can’t beat Atalanta on head to head or goal difference, so they need a big swing in their favour. The Giallorossi also need three-points in this visit to the MAPEI, or their chances of returning to the Champions League are all but over.

Claudio Ranieri is working to change this Roma side. His spell has been a success overall, hauling them into the top four fight after a season full of disappointing results. They head into the weekend priced at 9/1 with bet365 to make the top four, which gives you some idea of the task they face in their final two games. We expect them to get the job done in this game, but it is unlikely to be a thriller. See why we’re backing a narrow away win in our Sassuolo vs Roma Predictions.

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