Palermo’s 1-0 win over Reggina and Empoli’s shock loss to Lanciano not only extended the Rosanero lead over second place, it got everyone thinking just when the club could officially consider themselves in Serie A for the 2014-15 season.
The Rosanero have already ensured that – should the rest of the season go horribly wrong – they would take part in promotion playoffs at the bare minimum. Yet, a 15 point lead over second place with seven games to go has sent every fan of the Pink and Black to the nearest calculator, abacus or bespectacled nerdy friend to do the math for when the champagne can be uncorked. That second place is now occupied by Palermo’s next opponent Latina makes the equations even less complicated than before.
So, what’s the winning formula? Palermo can be officially promoted to Serie A as early as this weekend given a 2-0 (or greater) win over Latina. The goal differential would be important since Latina beat Palermo at the Renzo Barbera 2-1 earlier this season.
The Promised Land of Serie A rests solely in the hands of Beppe Iachini and Company. A win this weekend would put them on 75 points and and a 16 point lead over the second placed team at the very worst with 18 points left to play for. That means Palermo could lose each of their remaining six matches and be assured of a second place finish and thus, automatic promotion to Serie A.
The reason why Palermo needs to simply win by two or more over Latina and not any subsequent help from other clubs comes down to the schedules for the remaining sides occupying second, third and fourth place in the Serie B table. As it stands right now, the table looks like this with seven matches to go:
By achieving the three points, Palermo would go to 75 points while Latina would remain at 57. Empoli and Crotone could both win and go to 59 and 58 points respectively. Yet, assuming the Rosanero fail to earn another point for the remainder of the season while Empoli and Crotone win out is impossible.
Why is such a notion impossible? Well, only one side would be able to win out since Matchday 38 sees Empoli host Crotone. Therefore, either Empoli could win out and end up with 77 points or Crotone could win out and end up with 76 points. Either scenario would result in Palermo finishing in second place on 75 points and qualifying for Serie A anyway. As an added bonus, Matchday 39 is no better for Crotone as they play hosts to Latina that week.
That being said, the important thing is to win this weekend – not just to ensure qualification with a staggering six matches to go. A win would not only kill even the slightest, most improbable apocalyptic scenario from occurring, it would continue Palermo’s blistering form as of late and help them secure the Serie B title outright as soon as possible. A victory would also be their fifth in a row and extend Palermo’s current unbeaten streak of 16 games (a mark that is currently 8th best in all of Europe). Iachini’s men also remain in contention for the most points ever earned in Serie B at 85 – an achievement earned by Juventus, Chievo and Sassuolo. Nevertheless, the goal that has been there from the start of the season was to make it back to Serie A where this club rightfully belongs.