Domestic action is over in England for another year, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham waiting patiently for their European finals to come. Yet over in Italy there is still plenty to play for as the season enters its final weekend.
Serie A still has four European places still to be decided and one crucial relegation place, even though Juventus sewed up an eighth consecutive league title weeks ago and Chievo and Frosinone are already relegated to the second tier.
It will be a fight between three clubs from the Lombardy region of the Bel Paese as Atalanta, Inter and Milan all clamour to reach the Champions League next season. They sit 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively going into this weekend, with the Rossoneri just one point behind the other two.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta have been the story of this season as they have defied all the odds to even be in contention for a place in Europe’s elite competition this season. The Bergamaschi have continued to overachieve since reaching a record points total in 2017/18 and qualifying for the Europa League during the last two consecutive campaigns.
This season, their prolific and dynamic attack have fired in over 100 goals in all competitions and they know they just need to win versus Sassuolo to qualify for next season’s Champions League, a magnificent achievement indeed.
Duván Zapata has been in fine form this season 🔥
With Champions League qualification in their hands, Atalanta will be looking for Zapata to deliver the goods away at Lazio ⚔️
— Football Index (@FootballIndex) May 5, 2019
Meanwhile Inter are also in the position of knowing they just need to win, however their opponent may well prove to be a little more complicated to overcome. They host Empoli at San Siro, but their Tuscan visitors are fighting to stay in Serie A and have shocked Italian football of late by recording unexpected victories versus Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Torino in their last three matches.
We still see this as a fundamental match, it’s do or die,” Inter boss Luciano Spalletti told reporters at Sky Italia earlier this week. “We have to show the character, sharpness, clear heads and quality of a team that represents the city of Milan and must get back into the Champions League. That’s what you have to do if you play for this club.”
The Nerazzurri need to at least match Milan’s result, but could still finish fourth if they lose as long as their San Siro neighbours draw or are defeated themselves. Gennaro Gattuso’s side are away at SPAL, who represent another team who have impressed against the odds this term. As Champions League qualification is not in their hands, they must beat SPAL and hope other results go in their favour.
At the bottom of the table, it’s a four-way battle between Empoli, Udinese, Genoa and even Fiorentina as these clubs clamour to evade the one remaining relegation spot. Empoli play the aforementioned match in Milan, Udinese must face Cagliari away from home and to – make matters even more complicated – Fiorentina host Genoa in what will be an enthralling battle to avoid the drop.
Those who are already experiencing withdrawal symptoms from domestic football would do well to tune in to what should be a thrilling final day in the Italian top flight.