Saturday, 24 May 2008

[Serie B] Week 41 Preview

Chievo travel to Grosseto needing a point to secure a place in Serie A next season, but a set of new laws will make it harder to stay there.

A positive result in Tuscany will see Giuseppe Iachini’s side bounce straight back to Italy’s top flight.

Chievo have been cold-blooded in recent weeks, putting in efficient rather than beautiful performances, but their fans are not complaining.

The Veronesi’s trip to Grosseto, however, will not be a cakewalk. The Grifoni destroyed Chievo’s rivals Bologna 3-0 at the Carlo Zecchini two weeks ago.

If Chievo are promoted they will find it hard to survive financially next season. Television rights are still negotiated individually in Serie A, favouring the top clubs, and parachute payments are being substantially reduced.

Should a promotee last a single season in the top flight, they will only be entitled to £2m. Couple that with the lack of TV money in Serie B and it does not take a genius to work out that the Cadetto is in financial dire straits.

Not that Bologna will bear that in mind on Sunday at Mantova. The Felsinei could seal promotion if they win, while Albinoleffe and Lecce lose, but Daniele Arrigoni’s side have been poor away of late.

The Rossoblu are without a win in four games on their travels and were defeated in their last two outings. Striker Cristian Bucchi is injured, but 4,000 travelling fans should make up for his absence.

Lecce, who are a point behind the Emilians, can keep the pressure on by beating Messina in Sicily. Coach Giuseppe Papadopulo does not want his side to be in the play-offs, and believes they deserve automatic promotion.

"We have the best defence and second best attack in the League, doesn’t that mean anything?" he bellowed at startled journalists.

Albinoleffe don’t think so. The Bergamaschi are in exactly the same position as the Salentini, and Rimini who are still in with a shout of the play-offs will put their cavalier style of football to the test - Leonardo Acori’s men need a victory and a Pisa defeat going into the last day of the season to have any chance.

Pisa have a five-point cushion on the Biancorossi and travel to Spezia with a full squad of players - the Aquilotti need three points if they are not to be in Serie C next year.

Above them lie Ravenna who, after four wins from their last six fixtures, are in with a fighting chance of forcing a relegation play-off either with Avellino or Treviso. The Giallorossi travel to Vicenza, Avellino to in-form and up-for-sale Bari, and Treviso to neighbours Triestina as the race against the drop goes to the wire.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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