We’ve spent a lot of time discussing relegation around here, and pretty much the only constant we’ve got is that we’d all rather Fiorentina avoid it. With 4 games left and a 4-point cushion (plus tiebreakers) separating them from the trapdoor, the Viola are probably (probably!) safe.
At this point, Crotone is mathematically relegated and Parma, unless they win out and everyone above them loses out, is gone as well. That means that, besides Fiorentina, there are probably 4 teams in danger of the drop, all with perfectly good reasons to stick around in the top flight for next year. Let’s run through them, shall we?
Benevento are currently in the hot seat with 31 points. In their favor, they’re in the running for the best nickname in Serie A (gli Stregoni, or the Sorcerers), which comes from the city’s status as Italy’s center of magic. They’ve also got fun colors, add some extra Campanian flavor, beat Juventus this year, and employ the wonderful Bryan Dabo. On the other hand, manager Pippo Inzaghi is about as dour a tactician as you’ll find anywhere and they’re just not that fun.
Cagliari are a point ahead. They’re one of Serie A’s most historic clubs and the only team not based on the mainland to win a Scudetto. They’re also the former employers of Davide Astori and have honored him as much as the Viola. It’d be a real shame to lose the only Sardinian club in the league, especially since they invested heavily in the January mercato and have been on an impressive run of late, but the endless procession of racist incidents at the Sardegna Arena (not that any club in Italy or the world isn’t culpable as well, but still) makes them a lot more difficult to like sometimes. Too, their relegation would likely return Riccardo Sottil and Alfred Duncan to Florence, where they could maybe start with a fresh slate next season.
Next up is Spezia, owners of the league’s smallest stadium. The Ligurians have 34 points so far and it’s hard not to root for them, as this is their first-ever campaign in Serie A. Spezia itself is maybe the most stupid-beautiful coastal town in Italy, and manager Vincenzo Italiano (that name) has assembled a genuinely weird roster full of players who don’t fit together but still try to play on the front foot instead of just sitting back, which is a refreshing change of pace for a newly-promoted side. On the other hand, they’ve got the toughest run-in of the teams in danger, and their role as an official feeder club for Inter Milan is a little bit gross, albeit no longer in effect.
Finally, there’s Torino, also on 34 points but with a game in hand. As perhaps the only club in Italy to hate Juventus more than Fiorentina does, there’s plenty of common ground for Viola fans to support them. Too, their history of tragedy makes them easy to like. On the other hand, Urbano Cairo is one of the worst owners in Serie A—a Silvio Berlusconi toady who’s been convicted of various white collar crimes—who’s run this historic outfit into the ground over the past several years by spending worse than maybe anyone in Italy. Too, guys like Tomás Rincón and Andrea Belotti are, hm, not especially charismatic to a Viola audience.
If you had to pick one, who would you sacrifice to the Gods of Relegation?
This poll is closed
Here’s your weekend thread. Stay loose.