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Europa League rush, 6 sides for 3 places: analysis and prediction
270 minutes left, and 2013-2014 Serie A will be over. Champions League places are already decided, whereas three Europa League tickets are still available...
by Federico Formica
Serie A's first three places are virtually frozen, with Juventus, Roma and Napoli already certain to take part in the 2014-2015 Champions League (Napoli will have to play one preliminary round). But there are other three places (4th, 5th and 6th) that will grant the right to play the Europa League and the battle to contend them is wild, as 7 clubs still hope to catch one: Fiorentina, Inter, Parma, Milan, Torino, Lazio and Hellas Verona.

One place more. This year, Serie A will have one additional place available (normally, only the 4th and the 5th accede to EL) because of the Coppa Italia final between Napoli and Fiorentina. The winner of the Coppa Italia accedes directly to the EL group stage. But Napoli is already qualified for the Champions League and Fiorentina – currently fourth - have almost reached the certainty to play next Europa League. This means that the sixth place will lead to Europa League in the next season.

The battle is open and we made a recap of the situation to date: considered calendar, form and position in the table, how many chances have each one of the 7 contending sides to participate in the 2014-2015 Europa League?

4th place: Fiorentina
Points: 61
Possibilities: 100%
Games left: Fiorentina-Sassuolo, Livorno-Fiorentina, Fiorentina-Torino
La Viola is already sure to playing next Europa League. If Montella's side win the Coppa Italia, they'll already be qualified. If they won't, it will be the same as they would be runners up, which grants the right to play the second continental competition.

5th place: Inter
Points: 57
Possibilities: 65%
Games left: Milan-Inter, Inter-Lazio, Chievo-Inter
If they wouldn't have such tough games in the offing the possibilities would be at 80% at least. Mazzarri's side is in a good period and – above all - the advantage over the sixth is considerable (5 points). The problem is that the Nerazzurri have to play the derby. Milan are in a good moment (losing at Roma in this period can be considered as something ordinary) and they finally see an European qualification as achievable: it will be a battle. Lazio as well have the chance to grab the qualification (and they still will have at the 37th matchday), whereas Chievo are desperately fighting to avoid the relegation. The last matchday in Verona could be a tough one for Icardi and Hernanes' side. But until then they could already be qualified.

6th place: Torino
Points: 52%
Possibilities: 30%
Games left: Chievo-Torino, Torino-Parma, Fiorentina-Torino
Would it be thinkable that Torino had bagged a Europa League place with 270 minutes to go?  Thanks to a sparkling game-style and the enfant terribles Cerci-Immobile, the Granata could make their comeback in a UEFA competition after twenty years of absence. But they have three horrible games to play, which diminishes their possibilities of success. Next week Chievo will be in race to avoid the relegation; then there will be Parma – a direct competitor – and Fiorentina in the last game. La Viola could already be certain of their Europa League, but playing at Florence has never been so easy this season.

7th place: Lazio
Points: 52
Possibilities: 35%
Games left: Lazio-Hellas Verona, Inter-Lazio, Lazio-Bologna
Reja's side have an easier calendar than Torino, but Lazio's discontinuity is the biggest question mark. In theory, the home game with Hellas Verona should be an easy task, but the clash with Inter at San Siro seems a prohibitive one, especially if the Nerazzurri don't beat Milan in the previous match. The final home game with Bologna seems easy, but what if the Felsinei are still at stake for Serie A permanence?

8th place: Hellas Verona
Points: 52
Possibilities: 25%
Games left: Lazio-Hellas Verona, Hellas Verona-Udinese, Napoli-Hellas Verona
From Serie B to Europa League - it would be a daydream for Mandorlini's side. Led by the immortal Luca Toni (that scored a double yesterday to Catania and is currently Serie A's vice top goalscoer), the Scaligeri are very near to an European place. Their chances to qualify, however, are low, as they are expecting two difficult away games: Lazio and Napoli in the final game. Far from Verona, the team has had many troubles this season. The mid-game with Udinese should be accessibile, as the Friulani don't have nothing to fight for. 

9th place: Parma
Points: 51
Possibilities: 55%
Games left: Parma-Sampdoria, Torino-Parma, Parma-Livorno
The Gialloblu made life difficult for theirselves losing at Cagliari. But they still have, potentially, quite accessible games in front of them as Sampdoria already avoided relegation and, at May 18th, Livorno will reasonably be condemned to Serie B. If they won't, the game will be a pitched battle and possibilities decrease. The away clash with Torino will be an interesting playoff for a Europa League place. Donadoni's side have great motivations as they were – together with Torino - the pleasent Serie A's surprise this season and want to confirm all the good things they showed so far.

10th place: Milan
Points: 51
Possibilities: 45%
Games left: Milan-Inter, Atalanta-Milan, Milan-Sassuolo
Points are the same as Parma, but games left are tougher for the Rossoneri. After a bad loss at Roma (but the Giallorossi are manifestly better in this season), now Seedorf's side has to prepare for a crucial derby. They lost the first game and now want to avenge that fantastic backheel by Palacio; the team seems to have acquired some self-esteem and is the favorite but derbies follow a different logic... Atalanta is too far from EL qualification and too high to fear about relegation. They are already satisfied with their campaign and the game shouldn't be a problem for Milan. The last game is not-so-easy, as Sassuolo could be still hopeful to remain in Serie A. But we can't forget it's a home game...

Monday, April 28 th, 2014
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