Napoli have already won the Scudetto - but Serie A still boasts the CRAZIEST top-four battle in Europe!

Paulo Dybala Lautaro Martinez Rafael Leao Serie A 2022-23 GFX
There are just six points separating second from sixth in the Serie A standings - and they all play each other this weekend!

So, the race for the Serie A title is officially over. In truth, it had been for some time. For months, it was a question of when - and not if - Napoli would win the league. And Luciano Spalletti's scintillating side got the job done at the second attempt on Thursday, picking up a point at Udinese to give themselves an unassailable lead at the summit of the standings.

However, while the party that is still raging in Naples will continue to attract plenty of media attention, the focus has already shifted to the most remarkable battle to finish in the top four. Right now, with just five rounds of the 2022-23 season to go, there are just six points separating second from seventh.

And it gets even better: the six sides battling it out for the three remaining Champions League places will all play one of their rivals this weekend. Milan host Lazio on Saturday afternoon before Roma welcome Inter to the Stadio Olimpico later in the day. Then, Juventus must travel to Bergamo for a lunchtime showdown with Atalanta on Sunday.

It's a dream scenario for Serie A fanatics. The stakes could not be any higher, because the financial gain that comes with competing in Europe's top-tier tournament has never been more important to Italy's cash-strapped clubs.

So, who will secure one of those precious places in next season's Champions League. GOAL analyses each contender's hopes of a top-four finish below...

  1. Roma - 58 points
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    Roma - 58 points

    Is Jose Mourinho cracking - or just trying to deflect attention away from a Roma team that appears to be running out of steam at precisely the wrong time? Even by the Portuguese's embarrassingly low standards, his rant against referee Daniele Chiffi after Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Monza was particularly pathetic.

    Another touchline ban beckons for a manager who has already been sent off three times this season, and Mourinho's imminent absence is unlikely to help a group of players that are already at breaking point, physically and mentally. Indeed, Roma's injury issues are so bad at the moment that Mourinho even joked about having to pick himself - or try to bring club legend Aldair out of retirement.

    The Giallorossi are still well in contention to finish in the top four, but they've failed to win any of their past three league games and the stress and strain of competing in the Europa League - Roma play Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals - is taking its toll on a squad that has a serious lack of strength in depth, as Mourinho himself has been very quick to point out.

    Saturday evening's clash with The Special One's former club, Inter, really could be crucial to the capital club's hopes of securing a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2018-19. There is already mounting speculation that if Roma don't make it, a visibly and increasingly frustrated Mourinho will leave Roma this summer.

    Remaining Fixtures:

    Serie A: INTER (h)

    Europa League: BAYER LEVERKUSEN (h)

    Serie A: Bologna (a)

    Europa League: Bayer Leverkusen (a)

    Serie A: SALERNITANA (h)

    Serie A: Fiorentina (a)

    Serie A: SPEZIA (h)

  2. AC Milan - 58 points
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    AC Milan - 58 points

    There is a very real chance that last season's title-winners will fail to finish in the top four. Milan may be in the semi-finals of the Champions League and on a six-match unbeaten run in Serie A but, as Stefano Pioli says, they're "throwing points away" on a weekly basis.

    Indeed, the Rossoneri, who proved their quality, intelligence and discipline in knocking Napoli out of Europe, have drawn four of their last five league games. What has been hammered home during that run is that Milan's reserves are simply not up to scratch. Pioli just cannot afford to rotate players and that is proving a major problem for a squad still competing in continental competition.

    Some fans are even claiming that they would accept progressing to the Champions League final at the expense of city rivals Inter, even if it meant missing out on qualification for next season's tournament via Serie A.

    Still, this group retains the capacity to surprise, primarily because of their winning mentality, and with Rafael Leao showing signs of returning to his best form, Milan could yet realise their twin objectives. Victory over Lazio, though, is imperative, particularly as the Rossoneri still have to go to Juventus before the season is out.

    "If we don't charge gear," Pioli said after Wednesday's 1-1 draw at home to Cremonese, "it's going to be very difficult for us to finish in the top four."

    Remaining Fixtures:

    Serie A: LAZIO (h)

    Champions League: INTER (h)

    Serie A: Spezia (a)

    Champions League: Inter (a)

    Serie A: SAMPDORIA (h)

    Serie A: Juventus (a)

    Serie A: VERONA (h)

  3. Atalanta - 58 points
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    Atalanta - 58 points

    They couldn't do it again, could they?! After stunning the football world - and putting Andrea Agnelli's nose out of joint - by qualifying for the Champions League three years in a row, Atalanta hit a major bump in the road last season, finishing eighth in Serie A. It appeared to be the end of the adventure.

    However, despite not being at their brilliant best this year, the Bergamaschi have managed to sneak their way back into the top-four battle thanks to four wins in a row.

    Gian Piero Gasperini has openly admitted that this current version of Atalanta is not on the same level as some of its predecessors, certainly from a technical perspective, but they still have some excellent players, most notably in midfield, where you'll find Marten de Roon and Teun Koopmeiners. Furthermore, in Rasmus Hojlund they have one of the most promising young attackers in world football, while Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel might just have come alive again at precisely the right time.

    Granted, their fixture list is far from straightforward. Salernitana and Monza are horribly awkward opponents, while they face a daunting trip to San Siro to take on a seemingly resurgent Inter. However, beat Juventus at home on Sunday and the Bergamaschi, who have no other distractions to worry about, will approach their final four fixtures brimming with belief.

    Remaining Fixtures:

    Serie A: JUVENTUS (h)

    Serie A: Salernitana (a)

    Serie A: VERONA (h)

    Serie A: Inter (a)

    Serie A: MONZA (h)

  4. Inter - 60 points

    Inter - 60 points

    What on earth is one meant to make of Inter?! Champions League semi-finalists yet struggling in Serie A. After being pipped to the post by Milan last year, the Nerazzurri were meant to mount a serious Scudetto challenge this season - but it was obvious by October that they didn't have anything like the requisite consistency to keep up with Napoli. Their top-four challenge also began to unravel in the spring, after five defeats in seven Serie A outings.

    However, their European exploits have restored confidence, and Inter have now won three league games on the spin, thanks in no small part to Lautaro Martinez, Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku finally finding their shooting boots.

    “Let’s say that we are in a good moment, we are playing well, we have recovered important players and now the results are coming," coach Simone Inzaghi enthused after Wednesday's 6-0 win at Verona. "I’m happy, but we must continue as we know that there are potential pitfalls around the corner."

    Indeed, it always feels as if Inter are one bad game away from a full-blown crisis and nobody has a more punishing fixture list, with the Nerazzurri still competing on three fronts: Serie A, the Champions League and the Coppa Italia. Saturday's trip to Rome could shape their season, as it will decide whether they go into next week's monumental derby with Milan in the right frame of mind...

    Remaining Fixtures:

    Serie A: Roma (a)

    Champions League: AC Milan (a)

    Serie A: SASSUOLO (h)

    Champions League: AC MILAN (h)

    Serie A: Napoli (a)

    Coppa Italia Final: Fiorentina (n)

    Serie A: ATALANTA (h)

    Serie A: Torino (a)

  5. Juventus - 63 points

    Juventus - 63 points

    Juve's participation in next season's Champions League doesn't just depend on what happens between now and the end of the 2022-23 campaign. The club was hit with 15-point penalty deduction by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for alleged breaches of capital gains regulations, but that sanction was temporarily revoked on appeal. However, there will be another hearing later this month, meaning more courtroom chaos is almost guaranteed. There's also the risk of UEFA banning the Bianconeri from competing in continental competition because of a separate criminal investigation into allegedly illegal salary manoeuvres.

    Against this backdrop of uncertainty, Massimiliano Allegri and his players are trying to win the Europa League and finish in the top four, which would be an impressive achievement in the circumstances. However, Allegri is a man under intense pressure right now, as Juve's results of late have been as ugly as their style of play.

    Wednesday night's 2-1 win over Lecce offered some reprieve, particularly as star striker Dusan Vlahovic finally ended his 11-game scoring drought. However, the performance was typically underwhelming and Sunday's clash with Atalanta will tell us far more about Juve's top-four prospects.

    One thing is certain at least: Allegri needs Champions League football to have any chance of holding onto his job.

    Remaining Fixtures:

    Serie A: Atalanta (a)

    Europa League: SEVILLA (h)

    Serie A: CREMONESE (h)

    Europa League: Sevilla (a)

    Serie A: Empoli (a)

    Serie A: AC MILAN (h)

    Serie A: Udinese (a)

  6. Lazio - 64 points

    Lazio - 64 points

    Wednesday's win over Sassuolo didn't just postpone Napoli's title celebrations for a further day, it also arrived at the perfect time for a Lazio side that was beginning to waver. The Biancolesti had stormed up to second in the Serie A standings after an eight-game unbeaten run in which they conceded just one goal. However, back-to-back defeats, at home to Torino and away to Inter, sparked fears of a late-season collapse.

    Qualification, though, remains very much in Lazio's hands. If they can manage to avoid defeat at Milan on Saturday, Champions League football is there for the taking. Unlike the majority of their rivals, Lazio are not burdened by European football, and that suits Maurizio Sarri down to the ground, given this is an old-school character (albeit one with very modern ideas) who loves nothing more than working on the training ground.

    Lazio have nothing like the same level of quality or resources as the likes of Juve and Inter, but they arguably possess the most brilliant tactical mind in Serie A, and that could prove decisive.

    Remaining Fixtures:

    Serie A: AC Milan (a)

    Serie A: LECCE (h)

    Serie A: Udinese (a)

    Serie A: CREMONESE (h)

    Serie A: Empoli (a)