With just one game left in this execrable season, Fiorentina have yet to secure survival in Serie A and are locked with 3 other teams in a dogfight to avoid 18th place and relegation to Serie B. While the most likely outcome is that the Viola limp into their 15th consecutive year in the top flight, there’s a non-zero possibility that they’ll go down. First of all, here’s how things look at the bottom. Parma’s win on Sunday assured them of staying up, while Chievo Verona and Frosinone have both punched their tickets downwards.
Serie A’s relegation rules
Since the 2005-2006 season, Serie A has 4 tiebreakers in place to decide the final places in the table. They are
- Head-to-head record,
- Goal difference in head-to-head games,
- Overall goal difference,
- Most goals scored.
If everything is still level after that, the teams are declared even. The league abolished playoff games to determine final seeding in 2005, so it’s unclear what the next step would be if these weren’t enough to establish the rankings. Knowing Serie A, it’d probably go down to the size of the bribe to the league office.
Since goal difference isn’t the top decider, it leaves a lot of people scrambling to remember who’s beaten whom already this season. We’ll make it a little bit easier by showing you how it’s all played out.
How it works for Fiorentina
If Fiorentina win or draw, they stay up, as they’ll outpace Genoa in either of those cases. If they lose (which, given that they’ve lost their last 6 matches, isn’t exactly unlikely), though, it all gets a bit muddled, as Genoa would pull even on points but then ahead on head-to-head record due to the scoreless draw at the Luigi Ferraris back in December. If the Viola bottle against the Grifoni, though an Udinese win or draw at Cagliari coupled with an Empoli win at Inter Milan would send Fiorentina down.
Put another way, if Empoli doesn’t win and Udinese loses, Fiorentina’s result against Genoa won’t matter. While the Isolani have assured their survival in the top flight and may fall victim to the Dumutru Effect, Inter need a win to hang onto a Champions League spot and will thus be bringing their best effort against the Azzurri at the San Siro. On the other hand, counting on il Biscione in a pressure-cooker situation isn’t exactly ideal.
The bottom line is that Fiorentina have to earn at least a point to be sure that they’ll stay up, and they’ll have to do it against a Cesare Prandelli-led Genoa side that knows they need at least a draw and probably a win to ease off the trapdoor. Given that an even result would suit the Viola just fine right now, the departure of drawmaster Stefano Pioli stings even more right now.