When Antonio Candreva scored an injury-time winner against Atalanta on Matchday 35, many viewed it as the end of La Dea’s Champions League qualification hopes, but it also all but guaranteed Salernitana a third consecutive season of Serie A involvement, with 18th-placed Hellas Verona unlikely to turn around an eight-point gap with only nine now available.
However, the Gialloblu are not yet condemned to Serie B, with a four-way fight for survival taking shape between alongside Cremonese, Spezia and Lecce, after Sampdoria fell through the relegation trapdoor on Matchday 34.
With just three rounds of fixtures remaining before the conclusion of the 2022/23 campaign, we assess the chances of each club. Which clubs are at the biggest risk of dropping into the second tier?
Serie A’s fight against relegation
Cremonese: Too little too late
Cremonese looked destined for relegation most of the 2022/23 campaign until a Daniel Ciofani gave them a surprise 2-1 win over AS Roma on the last day of February for their first win of the season. Since then, they have earned 12 points, leaving them just six points from safety.
However, their early-season form has probably left Cremonese with too much of a mountain to climb with three games remaining, even with two of those fixtures at the Stadio Giovanni Zini against Bologna and Salernitana, as top-four chasing Lazio should beat them in Rome on Matchday 37.
Verona: An unforgivingly tough run-in
A win against Sampdoria on Matchday 5 gave hope that Hellas Verona’s new arrivals were gelling as a team, but a 10-game losing streak followed and looked set to condemn them to Serie B, until a slight improvement after the World Cup-enforced mid-season break, averaging 1.3 points per game and briefly exited the bottom three on Matchday 34.
The Gialloblu, though, probably have the hardest set of fixtures to lift themselves to safety, having to visit an Atalanta side scarred by the late defeat to Salernitana and heading to AC Milan on the last day. With both sides still fighting for the best possible European qualification, Verona will need to take three points when hosting Empoli on Matchday 37 to have any chance of survival.
Lecce: Hosting a relegation six-pointer is key
After a tough start to life in Serie A, the Giallorossi took 19 points from a possible 33 between the start of November and end of February and looked as though they were finally finding their feet after promotion from the second tier last summer. However, six consecutive defeats on the back of that run have unexpectedly dragged them back into the relegation battle.
The club situated on the heel of the Italian peninsula now know that their fixture with fellow strugglers Spezia on Matchday 36 at their Stadio Via del Mare home will have a huge bearing on their top-flight future, with a win taking them five points clear of the Ligurians and virtual safety ahead of clashes away at Monza and home to Bologna.
Spezia: Only just clinging to Serie A survival
Despite winning just six top-flight fixtures this season, Spezia have flown under the radar somewhat during discussions of who could fall through the Serie A trapdoor, with wins and draws scattered evenly enough throughout the campaign to not ring alarm bells in Liguria, and they did not drop into the bottom three until Matchday 34.
However, an impressive 2-0 win over AC Milan on Matchday 35 has given them the perfect platform to avoid relegation, providing they defeat rivals Lecce away in their next fixture, as they will be expected to overcome a Torino side with nothing to play for at the Stadio Alberto Picco and be safe before travelling to face AS Roma on the final day.