The Serie A top four race heads towards a brilliant climax today, as four teams gunning for a spot in the Champions League play at the same time. There is no clear favorite in this one and considering how the season has been, there is always a chance for the ties to go one way or another.
Atalanta are being seen as the feel-good story of the season. Not just because they were seen as one of the lesser teams but because of how they started the season.
Since the turn of the year, La Dea have made up for the poor start and the likes of Roma, AC Milan and Lazio let their leads on them slip. Their inconsistencies allowed Gianpiero Gasperini’s men a way into the race, despite the rossoneri being as high as third and second at one point.
Inter, who are about to have Antonio Conte as their manager next season, would be desperate to get Champions League to allow the former Juventus man the funds and foundation necessary to build on. It has not been a special season despite the side having started so well in the Serie A and in the Champions League.
Luciano Spalletti has lost the support of everyone but could leave on a high by providing the club a good platform to go forward in the future.
Roma’s hopes hang by a thread and they’re the most unlikely to finish top four, but there is always a chance. They probably deserve to finish outside the top four for how bad the situation was under Eusebio di Francesco and how bad the transfers Monchi made turned out to be. The damage was beyond repair for even Claudio Ranieri.
It is Milan though, who would need this spot more than anyone else out of the other candidates. Not because the club is a lost cause and a farcry from how great it was 15 years ago. But because of what the need of the hour is.
The uncertainty is lurking around at every level. Amongst the players- who stays and who goes. On the managerial level- does Rino Gattuso stay or does he go. On the board level- does Leonardo stay or not. Finishing inside the Champions League will bring some encouragement and hope at a club that needs a lot of it.
Even if they do get top four, Gattuso will leave. But getting it will give the next manager the resources and budget he needs to change the team and give it a look he wants. From where they were in around March, Milan were expected to finish inside the top four and not getting it now will be considered a massive disappointment. Because of that, the season will go down as a bad one.
Against a stiff SPAL side which always has a knack for springing up surprises, Milan will not want to slip up. Gattuso will be very close to the exit door and so will be Leonardo. But not slipping up will cheer everything up at the club.