Surprise Serie A sides upsetting the established order in Italy
Giants Juventus are just about out of sight in the Scudetto title race and all but nailed on for a Champions League spot, but the battle between five Serie A sides below them, for just two places in the top three, continues to enthral fans of Italy’s top flight.
Capital club Lazio have closed the gap on Eternal City rivals Roma to just one point, while Sampdoria, Napoli and Fiorentina are all close behind and continue to jostle the big-guns.
With traditional Scudetto challengers AC and Inter Milan seemingly resigned to mid-table mediocrity for this season, also-rans such as Samp have seized the chance to capitalise on the Milanese clubs’ malaise.
Here, Coral football writers run the rule over the fantastic five contenders:
Currently sitting pretty in second spot, the Giallorossi are odds-on with Coral at 1/5 to eventually stagger over the top three finish line.
However, since Roma’s Champions League chances collapsed so spectacularly against Manchester City, Rudi Garcia’s guys have won just four of 15 league games.
They must face Napoli next but, if Giallorossi gaffer Garcia does not pick up more points soon, the Rome derby, which takes place on Serie A’s penultimate matchday, may prove pointless.
With inspirational midfield marshal Daniele de Rossi slowly returning to form and fitness, the Stadio Olimpico side could receive a much-needed boost, though. Here’s the Eternal City icon in action:
Unbeaten in their last six league duels, the Eagles are on the attack, and experiencing a rich vein of form at just the right time.
Odds-on at 2/5 to secure a Champions League spot, Lazio’s exciting reinvention is well underway, and the capital club could even leapfrog bitter city rivals Roma should results go their way next time out.
Breathtaking Brazilian attacker Felipe Anderson has been attracting interest from abroad and it’s no wonder, after Serie A’s latest break-out star struck three goals in his past three appearances.
Anderson will be integral to Lazio’s aim of returning to Europe’s premier club competition, but consistent midfield pair Marco Parolo and Lucas Biglia also deserve their fair share of the praise.
Watch impressive Anderson tear apart Torino:
A superb punt at 16/1 to sneak into the top three and upset the apple cart, surprise package Samp have morphed into a solid and sturdy side this season under Serbian coach Sinisa Mihajlovic.
With one of the best rearguard records in Serie A, the Genoese club are yet to lose at the Luigi Ferraris this season. Mihajlovic’s men do lack a little attacking inspiration at times, which could see them stumble, but Brazil-born Italy international Eder has been chipping in with goals of late.
Former Bayern Munich academy prospect Roberto Soriano has also been causing a stir, and is supposedly being scouted by Manchester City after making his Azzurri debut too. You can watch the midfield maestro below:
Despite initial doubts following his implosion at Inter, Rafa Benitez has done a fine job at the Stadio San Paolo and the Neapolitan outfit look set to finish strongly for the second season in a row.
As the third-highest scoring side in Italy’s top tier, Benitez’s boys are also still in contention for the Europa League, but that adventure could potentially impact their 5/2 chance of a top three place.
French centre half Kalidou Koulibaly has been Napoli’s break-out backline star, while top poacher Gonzalo Higuain continues to be reliably prolific. Peruse his sensational strike against Inter below:
Europa League exertions and another Coppa Italia run could certainly taken their toll on the Tuscan team, who are still involved in three competitions.
However, Vincenzo Montella’s men have coped well so far, suffering just one defeat in their last 18 outings across all competitions.
A fantastic 3/1 shout to finish in a Champions League place, Viola have been thrilling fans with some of Serie A’s most scintillating football.
The squad is spread thinly, but Chelsea-owned star Mohamed Salah has set Serie A ablaze after grabbing five goals in nine appearances since arriving in Florence. Glimpse the speedster stun Juve here: