With a seven point advantage and four games to go Inter Milan might have sewn up the Serie A title race , but the relegation picture is far from settled. Three points separate the bottom four and with each of those teams in decent form having won at least one of their last two league matches, the battle to avoid the trapdoor should go to the wire.
Fourth from bottom Torino this weekend host Bologna, appoint worse off in the highest relegation spot. The visitors should travel to Turin high on confidence, as their best league win, a 5-2 victory in December, came against the Maroons.
All five goals came after half-time in that dramatic encounter, three of which came from Marco Di Vaio. The in-form hitman is the joint leading Serie A goalscorer with 21 strikes to his name and Bologna’s survival hopes surely depend on the man who returns to Genoa at the end of the season.
Bologna’s perilous position is unsurprisingly due to a leaky defence – four goals conceded in three of their last seven – and they cannot rely on their home form, having picked up one point from their last six away assignments.
Torino have won their last two home matches and know another victory at the Stadio Olimpico in this relegation six-pointer will go along way to preserving their top flight status. A narrow home win is perhaps the bet to follow here.
Teams at the bottom are often though to want to face midtable teams at this stage of the season and the bottom two get their wish this weekend. Bottom-placed Reggina make the long trip north to Sampdoria for one of Saturday’s matches, whilst Lecce, one point better off, host Napoli on Sunday.
Both Sampdoria and Napoli, 13th and 12th respectively, have less to play for than most. The relegation battlers might find them in generous mood, as their seasons are trailing off – Sampdoria have kept just one clean sheet since Christmas and Napoli’s excellent start has given way to a run of one win in 16.
Reggina and Lecce both once looked doomed but have picked up important recent points and should be able to capitalise on their opponents’ malaise. I fancy Reggina to pick up a draw at Sampdoria and Lecce to overcome the Blues, results which keep the relegation battle wide open.