As the race for third hots up, Alex Mott looks at the remaining few weeks for Milan and Fiorentina.
The Scudetto has been decided. Juventus have been the best team in Serie A all season and are set to romp to their second successive title. Second place isn’t really up for grabs either – Napoli, and the goals of Edinson Cavani, have virtually secured the Partenopei a place in the Champions League next term. That leaves just one spot in Europe’s premier club competition come August, and it’s all to play for between two giants of the Italian game.
Fiorentina and Milan are set to fight it out for that all-important third place finish over the next few weeks. With the Viola in fourth on 58 points and the Rossoneri on 59, it really is going right down to the wire. As the Tuscans won 3-1 at San Siro and drew 2-2 in Florence, they would qualify if the sides finished level on points.
Momentum is a funny thing in football and right now the Tuscan side are riding on a wave of optimism and confidence. Last weekend’s 4-3 win against Torino was a real shot in the arm for their season and took them to within one point of the San Siro side.
This weekend Vincenzo Montella’s men travel to Sampdoria facing a Blucerchiati team who already look as though they are on the beach, whilst Milan host a Catania squad with the distant hope of an unprecedented Europa League finish.
As the 38-year-old says, his boys are more than up for the challenge of toppling the Milanese giants. “We are ready for this mini-tournament of the last five rounds and are aware anything can happen,” he told Sport Mediaset earlier this week.
“Our primary objective is to consolidate our current position in the table, then try to catch Milan. We know that this will depend on both our own results and those of the Rossoneri.
“We must try to do our best. Milan are a club built to reach certain targets, so they won’t let themselves get affected by the fact Fiorentina are a point behind them.”
“In fact, we still need to secure our qualification for the Europa League, which at the start of the season was considered an ambitious and impressive target.”
He may be trying to play down the next few weeks, but Montella knows he has the squad and the style to make this a real fight. A win against Roma next weekend and that assurance the Viola are currently playing with could turn into proper, swaggering belief.
On the other side, talk of Allegri losing his job will only undermine the Rossoneri’s bid for a Champions League place further. Luciano Spalletti has been rumoured as his replacement over the past week, with the Coach himself coming out on Saturday to deny the stories. “My future? We have third place to fight for, so I really don’t have time to consider other situations,” he said at a Press conference.
“We’ve done good work at Milan over the last three years. I don’t think my future will be decided in the next five games.”
It’s going to be a gripping last few weeks in Serie A, and it could be a real turning of the tide for years to come.