The last of the major leagues to return to action in Europe is the Italian Serie A. We provide a rundown of the state of play, schedule, players and more…
When is Serie A returning?
The Serie A will return on June 20th after Italy’s Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora gave the government’s approval for a restart. Saturday provides two fixtures with Torino kicking off the resumption at home hosting Parma at 6:30 BST, before 8th place Verona take on 12th place Caligari at 8:45pm.
How are games being scheduled in the league?
For the rest of June except for the 25th and 29th, there will be at least one game in the league every day. The month of July also follows the same ‘filled to the brim’ pattern, with games being played every day between the 11th – 16th and 18th – 23rd. The longest break in between fixtures coming between the penultimate and ultimate matchweeks, with the last round of fixtures set to be played on the 2nd of August, all kicking off at the same time.
Are Serie A teams playing at their own stadiums?
An exact replica of the situation in the German Bundesliga will take place in Italy, with all teams playing at their own stadiums behind closed doors. Matches will be played in front of a maximum of 300 people in stadiums due to the coronavirus restrictions, those lucky people will include stadium workers and backroom staff of clubs, but fans will tune in to the action on TV or by streaming live online.
What time will kick off be in Serie A?
Kick offs will be at 4:15pm, 6:30pm and 8:45pm BST, with fixtures set to be held most days of the week. The final matchday of the season on the 2nd August has all ten fixtures kicking off 8:45pm BST.
What is the state of play in Serie A?
26 matchdays had passed this season before the enforced break, and with nothing guaranteed at both ends of the spectrum: the battles to survive relegation, make European places and win the title, mean there are several excellent reasons to get excited about the remaining fixtures.
The Old Lady Juventus top the division sitting on 63 points, just one point ahead of Simone Inzaghi’s dark horses Lazio, who remarkably have lost fewer times, conceded fewer and have outscored the reigning champions. Their previous meetings this season in the league and SuperCup both ended 3-1 to Lazio, delicately poising us for their clash a month after the restart on 20th July where the two meet again in Turin, a contest that could lay it all on the line.
Equally as exciting is the battle to make the continent next season in both the Champions and Europa League. Inter Milan head the Champions League race looking most certain to finish 3rd, currently on 54 points, six points in front of 4th place Atalanta, who already through to this year’s quarter-finals of the illustrious competition in which they’re fighting to be in for the second time in their history, though must be wary of Roma in 5th place who follow behind them just three points below.
Just five points separate 6th place Napoli (39), who themselves are only six points behind the Giallorossi, and 10th place Bologna, on 34 points. With both 5th and 6th position allowing entry into the Europa League, and considering 13th place Fiorentina sit on 30 points, both Roma and Napoli have several teams close behind them who could absolutely upset the apple cart, all it takes is good form in this end stretch of the season for the clubs sitting between 7th and 13th, and who knows? Roma and Napoli could sit out of next years European competitions.
At the foot of the table we once again have an exciting fight on our hands. 20th place Brescia and second bottom SPAL, on 16 and 18 points respectively, look destined to drop, however seven points is the distance between the last relegation spot, with Lecce currently 17th on 25 points. Three points is all that separates 14th place Udinese from 17th position, meaning several teams in the bottom half of the table could play their football in the second tier of Italy next season.
What have been the talking points in Serie A this season?
- Meltdown in Naples: owner and president De Laurentiis furious, forcing the players to a training camp retreat, squad refusing in mutiny, manager Carlo Ancelotti sacked, and fans rioting, targeting the ringleaders of the rebellion – though still in contention to reach Europe; a campaign to firmly forget for all involved at San Paolo.
- High flying Hellas Verona proving anything is possible. Instead of battling relegation, the newly promoted side currently sitting 8th are pushing those in contention for Europa League, as they sit one point behind AC Milan.
- God returns. Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to Serie A to sport the colours of the Rossoneri once more, and his impact has been huge, helping the club climb from 11th to 7th in the standings, still in the fight to return to the Promised Land of Europe.
- Ronaldo remains relentless. The Juve forward, the club’s record signing at €100,000,000 – despite being thirty-five years of age – insists on staying imperious: the ageless machine has already scored as many times as he did in the entirety of the last campaign, (21) and has also equalled the record for scoring in the most consecutive games (11) in the process. The sole reason for Juve’s position at the summit in front of Lazio and is the single biggest factor in extending The Old Lady’s monopoly over the Serie A.
- Senseless abhorrent racism continues to plague the League: Romelu Lukaku abused at Cagliari, Mario Balotelli kicking the ball into the stands in protest after suffering abuse at Verona, Italian newspaper Corriere Dello Sport fuelling racism with its front page headline of ‘Black Friday’ with photos of Lukaku and Chris Smalling beside it, and Serie A using three paintings of monkeys to illustrate a campaign to stamp out racism. #BlackLivesMatter
Who are the top players in Serie A this season?
- Ciro Immobile (Lazio) Responsibility of leading is a role that no longer fazes the former Dortmund striker, as he spearheads both his Lazio team and the goal-scoring charts in the League: sitting on twenty-seven goals, an incredible six goals in front of of five time Ballon D’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Luis Alberto (Lazio) A huge reason for Immobile’s relentless return this season is because of his Spanish teammate and former Liverpool midfielder Luis Alberto. Leading the assist charts with 12, four ahead of second place Lorenzo Pellegrini, the Spaniard has been the creative hub for The Eagles putting up three key passes a game, the best in Serie A.
- Robin Gosens (Atalanta) Gasperini’s men have been nothing short of stunning this season, scoring the most in the league with 70 goals, and several key figures could have been mentioned here: including Alejandro Gómez and Josip Ilicic, but one unsung hero deserves the limelight: Robin Gosens. The German has been quietly and effectively potent at left-back, scoring seven and assisting five, twelve goal involvements eclipsing both Andy Robertson’s and Alphonso Davies’ totals across all competitions in that very area, nine and eleven respectively.
- Chris Smalling (Roma) The English centre-half has been a revelation in Rome, and it’s not difficult to understand why the Giallorossi want to sign the Manchester United defender on a permanent. As well as scoring two and assisting one, Smalling has put up a monstrous 4.5 clearances a game and wins 3.7 aerial duels per game, a huge reason as to why Roma are pushing for Champions League.
Can I bet on Italian Serie A matches behind-closed-doors?
Yes. At Mark Jarvis, we have over 80 different markets for each match in the Italian top flight. For Italian Serie A markets, click here.
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