Just three match days ago, after a 0-0 draw in the Derby della Capitale , Roma were projected as a strong bet to qualify for next season’s Champions League. At that point, Roma and Lazio were tied for third on 61 points with Inter nipping at the heels on 60 points. In the two weeks that followed all three won their respective matches to keep the margin razor thin in the battle for the Top 4. However, things look a little bit differently after this weekend’s match day 35 results.
Roma opened the weekend with the early Saturday kick-off. Hosting Chievo at the Olimpico, had all the makings of a trap game. There was a team battling relegation sandwiched between Champions League semi-finals matched against Liverpool. However, i Lupi took care of business in impressive fashion in what could’ve been a tricky match.
Inter took part of the weekend’s big match, as they faced off against Juve in Saturday’s Derby d’Italia. Inter had a chance to keep pace with Roma and provincially leapfrog Lazio, while also playing spoiler in the Scudetto race. The match turned out to be a controversial thriller that saw Inter go from 2-1 winners to 3-2 losers in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, Lazio were able to eek out a 1-0 victory over Torino on Sunday. The Biancoceleste were able to overcome an early injury to capocannoniere Ciro Immobile and a missed penalty kick by Luis Alberto, before Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s 56th minute goal put them up for good.
What does all this mean? Well, in short Roma and Lazio remain tied for third, each now on 70 points. However, both now have some breathing room in their quest to lock up a top 4 finish and spot in next year’s Champions League. Inter is now four points back of both Rome based squads with 66 points and only three games to play.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, this means that Roma now have a 93% chance of Champions League qualification up 9% since their derby draw three games ago. Meanwhile, Lazio have seen a dramatic jump, increasing their Champions League chances from 59% to 86% probability. Conversely, Inter’s chances took a big hit with Saturday’s loss dropping their CL qualification probability to 21%. The computers like the chances of both clubs from Rome, as the four point gap looks to be difficult to overcome for the Nerazzurri.
Remaining Matches Weeks 36-38
Roma still have a very tough match with Juventus at the Olimpico sandwiched between road games against bottom half squads, Cagliari and Sassuolo. Meanwhile, Lazio’s remaining schedule will be no cakewalk. They start with Atalanta who are battling for a Europa League spot, followed by Crotone who are fighting relegation, before what could be a make or break showdown at the Olimpico against Inter. Inter face bottom half clubs, Udinese and Sassuolo, before the aforementioned match with Lazio.
When considering Roma’s four point cushion on Inter and the remaining schedule for each team, one would think that six points would mean almost certain qualification for the Giallorossi. With Lazio and Inter facing off in the last week of the season, one or both of them will drop points, which should give Roma a little extra insurance. For that last game to be meaningful, Inter will have to pick up at least a point on Lazio in the next two weeks, which could happen considering Lazio’s aforementioned tricky matches. Also, important to note, is the fact that Sassuolo could have an important say in the Champions League chase, as they play Inter and Roma back-to-back.
Only time will tell how this turns out. but it looks to be an exciting final three weeks of the season. Roma and Lazio seem to be in the driver’s seat to qualify for next year’s Champions League. However, until the fat lady sings at La Scala, Inter can’t be completely written off.
Which two teams will qualify for next season’s Champions League?
This poll is closed
Roma and Lazio
Roma and Inter
Inter and Lazio