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Napoli, Milan, Fiorentina, Inter, Roma or Lazio for Italy's remaining Champions League spots? Goal.com editors make their predictions

Napoli, Milan, Fiorentina, Inter, Roma or Lazio for Italy's remaining Champions League spots? Goal.com editors make their predictions

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Goal.com's team of experts take a look at the race for second and third places as they predict the results from the run-in to decide who will represent Italy at the top table

With the final international window before the season's end having been negotiated, Serie A now takes centre stage once more, and there is an almighty tussle set to take place for Italy's Champions League spots.

Juventus are seemingly coasting towards a second successive Scudetto, but behind them lie six clubs who are all still in with a realistic chance of claiming one of the remaining podium positions with nine rounds to play.

Napoli currently sit in second place, but a recent poor run of form has seen Milan close in on the Partenopei. The Rossoneri themselves are only three points ahead of Fiorentina, who have thrilled many observers since the arrival of Vincenzo Montella last summer.

SERIE A AS IT STANDS
        P
W D L F A PTS
1. Juventus 29 20 5 4 57 18 65
2. Napoli 29 16 8 5 50 26 56
3. Milan 29 16 6 7 52 32 54
4. Fiorentina 29 15 6 8 53 35 51
5. Roma 29 14 5 10 60 49 47
  6. Inter 28 14 5 9 44 37 47
  7. Lazio 29 14 5 10 37 35 47

Despite there being a four-point gap behind the Viola, any one of the next three sides could yet make a run for contention in the final two months of the campaign.

Inter have the benefit of a game in hand, meaning that victory in their rearranged Round 29 game against Sampdoria could push them right back into the mix. Meanwhile, Roma are back in form under Aurelio Andreazzoli, making them a decent outside bet for the top three.

They may well have to fight off the attentions of local rivals Lazio, though. Vladimir Petkovic's men have struggled of late, but a timely return to their form of the first half of the season could easily see them make up the deficit behind the top three.

We asked our team of experts to make their predictions on the fixtures which will have a say in the destiny of the final two Champions League tickets, with some interesting prognostications having come out of the exercise ...


MARK DOYLE - Goal.com International

  NAPOLI

MILAN
FIORENTINA
Round 30 Torino (a) Draw 0-0 Chievo (a) Draw 1-1 Cagliari (a) Draw 1-1
Round 31 Genoa (h) Win 1-0 Fiorentina (a) Lose 1-2 Milan (h) Win 2-1
Round 32 Milan (a) Lose 0-2 Napoli (h) Win 2-0 Atalanta (a) Win 1-0
Round 33 Cagliari (h) Draw 1-1 Juventus (a) Draw 1-1 Torino (h) Win 2-0
Round 34 Pescara (a) Win 1-0 Catania (h) Win 2-1 Sampdoria (a) Draw 0-0
Round 35 Inter (h) Win 3-1 Torino (h) Win 2-0 Roma (h) Win 2-1
Round 36 Bologna (a) Draw 1-1 Pescara (a) Win 3-0 Siena (a) Draw 1-1
Round 37 Siena (h) Win 2-0 Roma (h) Win 2-0 Palermo (h) Win 3-0
Round 38 Roma (a) Lose 2-3 Siena (a) Win 2-1 Pescara (a) Win 2-0

  ROMA
INTER
LAZIO
Round 30 Palermo (a) Win 2-1 Juventus (h) Draw 1-1 Catania (h) Draw 1-1
Round 29 - - Sampdoria (a) Lose 1-2 - -
Round 31 Lazio (h) Draw 2-2 Atalanta (h) Win 3-0 Roma (a) Draw 2-2
Round 32 Torino (a) Draw 1-1 Cagliari (a) Lose 0-1 Juventus (h) Lose 0-1
Round 33 Pescara (h) Win 4-0 Parma (h) Win 2-0 Udinese (a) Lose 0-1
Round 34 Siena (h) Win 2-1 Palermo (a) Win 1-0 Parma (a) Win 1-0
Round 35 Fiorentina (a) Lose 1-2 Napoli (a) Lose 1-3 Bologna (h) Win 2-1
Round 36 Chievo (h) Win 2-0 Lazio (h) Win 2-1 Inter (a) Lose 1-2
Round 37 Milan (a) Lose 0-2 Genoa (a) Win 1-0 Sampdoria (h) Draw 1-1
Round 38 Napoli (h) Win 3-2 Udinese (h) Draw 2-2 Cagliari (a) Lose 0-1
AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION: Milan (74 points)
PLAY-OFFS: Fiorentina (72 points)
FOURTH: Napoli (71) - Europa League
FIFTH: Roma (64) - Europa League
SIXTH: Inter (64)
SEVENTH: Lazio (56)

Form is everything at this stage of the season, so I'm backing Milan, Fiorentina and Roma to maintain the momentum they’ve all built up of late. Indeed, while I expect the Rossoneri to drop points in the coming weeks, I can see Massimiliano Allegri's men finishing with five successive wins to snatch second place on a dramatic final day that will end with a clearly flagging Napoli in fourth, having been overhauled by a recently revitalised Fiorentina, who have a relatively soft run-in. Elsewhere, Roma's home form should see them pip inconsistent Inter to fifth, with a free-falling Lazio coming home a distant seventh.


SIMONE GAMBINO - Goal.com Italy

  NAPOLI

MILAN
FIORENTINA
Round 30 Torino (a) Draw 1-1 Chievo (a) Draw 1-1 Cagliari (a) Draw 1-1
Round 31 Genoa (h) Win 3-1 Fiorentina (a) Draw 1-1 Milan (h) Draw 1-1
Round 32 Milan (a) Lose 1-2 Napoli (h) Win 2-1 Atalanta (a) Lose 0-1
Round 33 Cagliari (h) Win 2-0 Juventus (a) Lose 1-2 Torino (h) Win 4-1
Round 34 Pescara (a) Win 2-0 Catania (h) Win 3-1 Sampdoria (a) Draw 2-2
Round 35 Inter (h) Draw 1-1 Torino (h) Win 2-0 Roma (h) Win 3-2
Round 36 Bologna (a) Win 1-0 Pescara (a) Win 2-0 Siena (a) Draw 1-1
Round 37 Siena (h) Win 3-1 Roma (h) Win 3-1 Palermo (h) Win 2-0
Round 38 Roma (a) Lose 1-2 Siena (a) Win 3-1 Pescara (a) Win 2-1

  ROMA
INTER
LAZIO
Round 30 Palermo (a) Draw 1-1 Juventus (h) Draw 1-1 Catania (h) Win 2-1
Round 29 - - Sampdoria (a) Lose 1-2 - -
Round 31 Lazio (h) Win 2-1 Atalanta (h) Win 3-1 Roma (a) Lose 1-2
Round 32 Torino (a) Lose 1-2 Cagliari (a) Win 1-0 Juventus (h) Draw 1-1
Round 33 Pescara (h) Win 4-1 Parma (h) Win 2-1 Udinese (a) Lose 1-2
Round 34 Siena (h) Win 3-1 Palermo (a) Draw 1-1 Parma (a) Win 1-0
Round 35 Fiorentina (a) Lose 2-3 Napoli (a) Draw 1-1 Bologna (h) Win 3-1
Round 36 Chievo (h) Win 1-0 Lazio (h) Draw 2-2 Inter (a) Draw 2-2
Round 37 Milan (a) Lose 1-3 Genoa (a) Win 1-0 Sampdoria (h) Win 2-1
Round 38 Napoli (h) Win 2-1 Udinese (h) Win 2-0 Cagliari (a) Win 2-0
AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION: Milan (74 points)
PLAY-OFFS: Napoli (73 points)
FOURTH: Fiorentina (67) - Europa League
FIFTH: Inter (66) - Europa League
SIXTH: Lazio (64)
SEVENTH: Roma (63)

Milan-Napoli at San Siro will likely decide the race for second place behind the unreachable Juventus. The Rossoneri are in better form than Napoli and, after some tough weeks they will have some easier matches in the run-in. Napoli could also be made to pay in their last away game of the season against Roma. For Europa League positions the favorites are Fiorentina and Inter: The Nerazzurri have to play 10 games yet, and Vincenzo Montella's side have comfortable matches in the final weeks. Lazio and Roma are very close but Miroslav Klose's return could be decisive.


RENATO MAISANI - Goal.com Italy

  NAPOLI

MILAN
FIORENTINA
Round 30 Torino (a) Draw 1-1 Chievo (a) Win 2-0 Cagliari (a) Draw 0-0
Round 31 Genoa (h) Win 3-0 Fiorentina (a) Draw 1-1 Milan (h) Draw 1-1
Round 32 Milan (a) Lose 0-2 Napoli (h) Win 2-0 Atalanta (a) Lose 1-3
Round 33 Cagliari (h) Draw 1-1 Juventus (a) Draw 1-1 Torino (h) Win 2-1
Round 34 Pescara (a) Win 2-0 Catania (h) Draw 1-1 Sampdoria (a) Lose 0-1
Round 35 Inter (h) Draw 1-1 Torino (h) Win 2-0 Roma (h) Win 3-2
Round 36 Bologna (a) Win 1-0 Pescara (a) Win 2-0 Siena (a) Lose 0-1
Round 37 Siena (h) Win 3-1 Roma (h) Draw 1-1 Palermo (h) Draw 2-2
Round 38 Roma (a) Lose 0-1 Siena (a) Win 3-0 Pescara (a) Win 3-0

  ROMA
INTER
LAZIO
Round 30 Palermo (a) Draw 1-1 Juventus (h) Win 2-1 Catania (h) Draw 1-1
Round 29 - - Sampdoria (a) Draw 1-1 - -
Round 31 Lazio (h) Win 3-1 Atalanta (h) Draw 1-1 Roma (a) Lose 1-3
Round 32 Torino (a) Draw 0-0 Cagliari (a) Win 3-1 Juventus (h) Draw 1-1
Round 33 Pescara (h) Win 3-1 Parma (h) Win 2-1 Udinese (a) Lose 1-2
Round 34 Siena (h) Win 2-1 Palermo (a) Lose 0-1 Parma (a) Draw 1-1
Round 35 Fiorentina (a) Lose 2-3 Napoli (a) Draw 1-1 Bologna (h) Win 3-2
Round 36 Chievo (h) Win 4-1 Lazio (h) Draw 1-1 Inter (a) Draw 1-1
Round 37 Milan (a) Draw 1-1 Genoa (a) Win 2-0 Sampdoria (h) Win 2-0
Round 38 Napoli (h) Win 1-0 Udinese (h) Win 4-2 Cagliari (a) Draw 1-1
AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION: Milan (73 points)
PLAY-OFFS: Napoli (71 points)
FOURTH: Inter (66) - Europa League
FIFTH: Roma (65) - Europa League
SIXTH: Fiorentina (63)
SEVENTH: Lazio (58)

I think Milan will finish in second place this season on the strength of them having easier fixtures ahead of them than Napoli.

The Rossoneri have tough matches against Fiorentina, Juventus and Roma to look forward to, while Napoli risk dropping points in a lot of matches. Moreover, I think Milan are favourites against Napoli in the big match between the two sides at San Siro in April because they are in better condition, and this could have a massive bearing on the race for second spot.


KRIS VOAKES - Goal.com International

  NAPOLI

MILAN
FIORENTINA
Round 30 Torino (a) Win 1-0 Chievo (a) Win 1-0 Cagliari (a) Win 2-1
Round 31 Genoa (h) Win 2-1 Fiorentina (a) Lose 1-2 Milan (h) Win 2-1
Round 32 Milan (a) Lose 0-2 Napoli (h) Win 2-0 Atalanta (a) Draw 1-1
Round 33 Cagliari (h) Win 2-1 Juventus (a) Lose 0-1 Torino (h) Draw 1-1
Round 34 Pescara (a) Win 3-1 Catania (h) Win 2-0 Sampdoria (a) Draw 0-0
Round 35 Inter (h) Draw 1-1 Torino (h) Win 3-0 Roma (h) Draw 2-2
Round 36 Bologna (a) Win 2-0 Pescara (a) Win 2-0 Siena (a) Win 2-0
Round 37 Siena (h) Win 2-0 Roma (h) Win 3-2 Palermo (h) Win 4-0
Round 38 Roma (a) Lose 1-3 Siena (a) Win 1-0 Pescara (a) Win 4-2

  ROMA
INTER
LAZIO
Round 30 Palermo (a) Win 2-0 Juventus (h) Lose 1-2 Catania (h) Win 2-0
Round 29 - - Sampdoria (a) Lose 0-1 - -
Round 31 Lazio (h) Win 2-1 Atalanta (h) Win 2-1 Roma (a) Lose 1-2
Round 32 Torino (a) Lose 1-2 Cagliari (a) Draw 1-1 Juventus (h) Draw 1-1
Round 33 Pescara (h) Win 3-0 Parma (h) Win 2-0 Udinese (a) Draw 1-1
Round 34 Siena (h) Win 2-0 Palermo (a) Win 2-1 Parma (a) Win 1-0
Round 35 Fiorentina (a) Draw 2-2 Napoli (a) Draw 1-1 Bologna (h) Win 3-1
Round 36 Chievo (h) Win 2-1 Lazio (h) Win 2-1 Inter (a) Lose 1-2
Round 37 Milan (a) Lose 2-3 Genoa (a) Draw 1-1 Sampdoria (h) Win 2-0
Round 38 Napoli (h) Win 3-1 Udinese (h) Win 2-1 Cagliari (a) Draw 0-0
AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION: Milan (75 points)
PLAY-OFFS: Napoli (75 points)
FOURTH: Fiorentina (70) - Europa League
FIFTH: Roma (66) - Europa League
SIXTH: Inter (65)
SEVENTH: Lazio (62)

With Milan's form graph pointing upwards and Napoli's heading south, it is the Rossoneri in pole position for second spot, and I don't see that trend being too heavily altered between now and the end of the season. The Partenopei may well nudge further ahead in the coming weeks, but Allegri's side have the easier last month and that could make all the difference. Below them, I expect to see Inter bounce back from a difficult next seven days, yet they may still miss out if Aurelio Andreazzoli's magic touch continues through to the final day with Roma. Lazio are not in form, and they may find the going just too tough in the run-in, leaving them needing to win the Coppa Italia to reach Europe again.

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