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What to watch for as Serie A resumes

The lights come back on...

A Serie A TIM banner is pictured prior to the Serie A... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

WE BAAAAACCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!

Whew.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get prepared for the 124 matches of calcio coming our way thick and fast. Things start up this Saturday and conclude Sunday, August 2nd, with 11,160 minutes of action in between. In case you were wondering, that’s an average of 253 minutes a day. In other words, a lot.

As you may suspect, there remains plenty up in the air, and for the most part, the entire table is still competitive. I’ll take a look at what teams are fighting for and who’s the favorite in each race. Vamos!

FBL-KSA-ITA-JUVENTUS-LAZIO
The driving forces behind the two title contenders
Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

Scudetto

Where else to start but at the very top, and what a top we have this year. Juventus has not run away with the title like it has in recent years. Instead, Juventus and Lazio are a mere point apart after 26 rounds. The remaining 13 matches look very similar for both, as the cumulative points of opponents is 411 for Lazio and 420 for the Old Lady. Depth, though, is a huge advantage for the Bianconeri, which has by far the better supporting cast on the bench. Surprisingly, however, Lazio’s substitutes have scored one more than Juve’s, so perhaps Lazio is better prepared than we thought for a fixture list as packed as it will be. Still, I fear that Juventus is going to lift its 9th title in a row comfortably, as much as it pains me to say it.

If you’re wondering what happened to that three team race, well, Inter managed to lose to both Juve and Lazio in its last two Serie A matches. Inter is now well out of 1st, but considering how this year has gone, would you really be that surprised if Inter mounted an epic comeback from nine points down to win its 19th Scudetto? Of course, if the Nerrazurri’s end to the 2019-20 season really wanted to fit in with the rest of 2020, they’d probably get relegated but that’s just a minor detail.

SSC Napoli v Hellas Verona - Serie A TIM
Amin Younes during Napoli’s match vs Hellas Verona in 2019
Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

European Qualification

This may not be as tight a race, but it makes up for that in quantity. First, we have Atalanta three points ahead of Roma for the final Champions League spot, and with a game in hand. That may seem cut and dry, but it is a possibility with the way it plays that Atalanta could be hard hit by the absence of fans, while Roma players are usually heckled by the Stadio Olimpico faithful and could play well without the added pressure. Still, I feel as though Atalanta’s quality will be enough for it to look forward to elite European football next fall?/year?, while Roma will be dragged back to the Europa League.

Speaking of which, 6th placed Napoli is in the 2nd Europa League spot, three points ahead of Milan, Hellas Verona, and Parma. Whether that is the final European position depends on if the Coppa Italia winner is already in Europe. If so, then that opens up another spot for a scrap between as many as four teams (the three above + Bologna). My expert opinion says that Napoli, the most talented of all of those outfits, will comfortably land in 6th, and may even make Roma sweat some. As for the rest, I hope Verona continues its incredible season into Europe, and the Gialloblu actually have a decent chance to, unless Milan pulls its head out of whatever hole it was in or a mid table side is suddenly prompted to go on quite the winning spree.

US Lecce v Udinese Calcio - Serie A
Scenes from Lecce vs Udinese
Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Relegation

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how the bottom of the table settles in August. Unsurprisingly, this is the most tightly contested part of the league; three points separate 14th-18th. 19th and 20th are a different story though, as Brescia and SPAL are nine and seven points back, and showing no signs of a late comeback.

The five teams with meaningful games left on the calendar are Lecce, Genoa, Sampdoria, Torino, and Udinese. Lecce are the favorites to go down according to 538, but in reality who will be in Serie B next year is anyone’s guess. First of all, signs point towards Lecce being able to perform in this new environment, as it has picked up only 1.5 points per home game, the 3rd least in Serie A. Genoa could be hurt the most, as it has earned 2.6 ppg at home.

No matter what, the battle will only intensify, as there are nine meetings still to go between these sides. Bring it on!

SS Lazio v Atalanta BC - Serie A Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images

Who would have thought that we would have Serie A almost every single day this summer? Not me for sure, but I’m not complaining! Hopefully, the resumption of calcio is something you’re looking forward to as much as me.

Enjoy!