Fast on the heels of Football Italiano’s first ever writers’ discussion comes our second attempt at reasoned debate. This time we turn our attention to the fascinating battle to stay in the league, by asking, “Which three teams will be relegated from Serie A this season?”
Puds: 40 points should be enough to see a team avoid the drop, however none of the relegation candidates are on course for this target.
All of the bottom five are struggling at both ends of the pitch. This shows when looking at nearest rivals Sampdoria’s season so far. Some people say that Inter’s nine points is an impossible gap to overhaul at the top of the table, however things are much more difficult down the bottom where momentum is difficult to build and team morale so important. Reggina sit five points off safety with their main problem shipping too many goals at the back. Orlandi’s side lack the experience needed for such a relegation dogfight. The newly promoted sides from Serie B are always amongst the favourites to go down and this year is no exception, they are all down there but I expect two of them to survive. Which one will go down? At the start of the season I said Lecce so I’m sticking with that. Unfortunately I feel Torino’s luck will finally run out, they have been playing a dangerous game in recent seasons and their time in the top flight is coming to an end.
Mark Jones: Torino, Chievo and Reggina occupy the dreaded drop zone at the time of writing – although surely no-one in the bottom half will feel entirely safe.
The likes of Lazio, Napoli and Udinese have too much quality to be looking over their shoulders. Reggina look doomed, and will need Bernardo Corradi to fire if they are to have a hope of becoming upwardly mobile. Domenico Di Carlo has made Chievo tougher, but again they just don’t seem to be able to score enough goals. Torino has the firepower on paper, and Nicola Ventola and Rolando Bianchi could well pull them to safety. Lecce is capable of picking up the odd point on their travels, but don’t win enough games, while Bologna need to find others to back up Marco Di Vaio. So, in short, Reggina, Chievo and Lecce.
David Swan: Realistically it is going to be three from the current bottom five in the table.
I was sure Chievo would be dropping back to Serie B at Christmas, and despite the impressive run they are on at the moment I will stick with my prediction and state that they will be one of those relegated. They struggle the most when it comes to scoring goals, and if any opponent can breach their defence twice, chances are they will emerge with all the spoils. Reggina and Lecce are my picks to fill the remaining two relegation spots. A five point gap between the former and escaping relegation means you have to win games, rather than draw, to have any chance – a feat they have not managed since Week 13. The latter have a twin source of goals in Simone Tiribocchi and José Castillo, but the team is not playing well and they are losing games far too easily. That is a rot that is difficult to stop at this stage of the season.
Chris Sloley: Chievo, Torino and Reggina – in that descending order.
Despite having developed a soft spot for the Flying Donkeys, the gentlemen of Verona lack that killer thrust to pull themselves out this mire, while an uninspired Torino will continue to flounder (and also lose Rosina and Abate come the summer). Meanwhile, Reggina are positively doomed, with the Amaranto on the verge of being sunk already. All involved have a troublesome final stretch and the actual machinations of what order the three doomed clubs will take the plummet is subject to change but they can all safely assume that they will be plying their trade in Serie B come August. Lecce, despite a tough run in, seemingly have too much fight left in them to not take advantage of the wretched form of these three, although Bologna and, to a lesser extent, Catania aren’t exactly out of the woods yet.
Tim Doel: Well the first and most obvious selection for the drop would have to be Reggina.
Although they have shown that they are capable of getting important results with that draw against Milan, the fact is that three wins from 24 is certain relegation form. Torino should be the highest profile club to go down to Serie B. We have seen an incredible fall in the first half of the season under Gianni De Biasi, and the return of Novellino has produced precious little. They will surely join Reggina. That leaves one more space for either Bologna, Lecce or Chievo. Chievo are unbeaten in six, so have the momentum to get out of 19th, Bologna are a tempting bet as they are lost without Marco Di Vaio, but assuming he stays fit, it then leaves Lecce, who although can win the odd big game, simply do not compete in enough games. So for me, Reggina, Torino and Lecce.
Mike Carre: I’m going to go with Lecce, Reggina and Chievo.
Chievo’s sudden upturn in fortunes has given them an awful lot of momentum going into the final third of the season, but there are just no goals in this side. They have scored more than one goal in just three matches all season and ultimately I think this will cost them. Reggina has a goal-scorer in Bernardo Corradi but they are on the slide – I cannot remember the last time they won and they just ship way too many goals. Lecce has similar problems – again on a similarly poor run of form and conceding a ridiculous amount of goals with some heavy losses recently as well. Bologna always seem to pick up a win at the crucial moment in order to keep them above the drop zone and although Torino are toiling, they’re unbeaten in five and there seems to be enough goals in the side to keep them just out of trouble.
Rich Oldale: There are only six sides facing the threat of relegation, but it looks particularly grim for the three teams currently laying the drop zone.
Five points from safety, Reggina in particular looked doomed, despite several good results against some of the top sides. Chievo is also destined to be condemned to Serie B unless they improve their poor home record, having only picked up eleven points from a possible 36. Torino hasn’t won on the road all season, but have managed five draws and with four home wins suggest they may be able to steer their way out of trouble. Lecce, although two points clear of the drop zone don’t have any consistency and could find themselves slipping into the bottom three before the end of the season.
Francis Barbuti: Reggina will get relegated. Although their form has improved in recent matches with credible draws against Roma, Milan and Palermo, they still have an inability to score goals.
Long gone are the days when Reggina had Rolando Bianchi and Nicola Amoruso in attack, as back in 2007 Reggina had the most prolific strike force in Serie A. Chievo will also get relegated. Even though results have improved since the arrival of former Parma Coach Mimmo Di Carlo, the team are undefeated in the league in 2009. The Veronese-based side do not have the quality to stay in the top flight, no matter how plucky and hard working they are. Despite not being in the relegation zone, the third side to get relegated will be Lecce. They have a good Coach in Mario Beretta but his side will just fall short in staying in Serie A, Torino with the help of Rosina, Abate and Sereni will survive, but only just.
Rob Paton: I feel the relegation battle could stretch beyond the five teams most suspected of going down.
Chievo has produced some stunningly form since the turn of the year, scoring late goals and playing with ten men on more than one occasion of late and this inspired form could be their saving grace. Reggina, unless something drastic happens, is as good as down now, whilst Torino look destined to be forever haunted by the ghosts of Superga and the season that sees the 60th anniversary of the tragedy could also a see another relegation for the club. But the final spot is open to anyone who may suffer a lapse in form or fail to start scoring goals and stop shipping them. It is the form and respective strikeforces of Lecce and Bologna that give those two sides the best chance of hauling themselves out of the battle and pose the biggest threat of dragging one of the higher-placed sides – most notably Catania – down into it.