Monday, December 1, 2014

Serie A's race for Europe continues to be compelling

Critics of the Italian domestic game may lament the fact that Juventus and Roma are just too good for everyone else in the league. There is reason in this line of thinking,  considering the fact that the top two have had difficult European campaigns. It's clear for most observers of Serie A, that for a variety of reasons the rest of the league can't challenge the pace-setters.

Even so, the beauty of following football in Europe is that excitement and intrigue isn't limited to title races. This season's Serie A campaign is developing into a veritable free-for-all when it comes to the European places. Most seasoned observers would have bet on Rafa Benitez's Napoli to occupy third place before the league kicked off. After Monday night's entertaining 1-1 draw at Sampdoria, the Azzurri occupy that Champions League only on goal difference. On the same points as them are the entertaining Genoa. Genoa themselves are only ahead of their local rivals Sampdoria by a point. AC Milan are another point behind, with Lazio in seventh only three points off Napoli. It promises to be an exciting fight for the last Champions League spot. Every weekend now throws up a decisive fixture.

Throw into the mix an improving Fiorentina along with an Inter Milan that should improve under the returning stewardship of Roberto Mancini. It's conceivable that the teams in Italy's top ten could rotate positions after round of fixtures. It may well be that this greater democracy in the upper echelons of the league is due to the reduced quality of the historic teams. but one can't deny the extra sense of excitement that this has brought to the league.

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