The 2021-22 season of Serie A is set for an exciting finish as four clubs battle it out over the course of the next few weeks to clinch the coveted trophy. Traditionally considered a league single-handedly dominated by Juventus, the downfall of the giants after the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo has opened the space for other clubs to make their mark.
Defending champions Inter Milan, Juventus, Napoli and AC Milan are all in contention to finish at the top of the table. The exciting four-way race for the title also makes Serie A very attractive for the fans as it stands in stark contrast to the unilateral domination of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in their domestic leagues.
As the last two months of entertaining Serie A action begins on Saturday, we take a look at the title race for the Italian championship:
#1: AC MILAN
Current league leaders AC Milan are the best-placed team to carry their momentum going forward and win the league for the first time since 2011. Stefano Pioli’s men have come back stronger after finishing second last year, and have been careful not to let both Napoli and Inter Milan away from their reach. With 20 wins from 30 fixtures and just four losses, the Rossoneri have accumulated 66 points so far, three more than Napoli.
The good news for the Rossoneri is that they have a relatively trouble-free calendar for the remainder of the season. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will give further confidence to the team. They have momentum on their side – winning three consecutive fixtures, including a 1-0 victory against Napoli earlier this month.
All that AC Milan need to do is not blunder away their lead to lift their first title after a decade-long drought.
After making a strong start to the season, Napoli have slipped down at one stage to the fourth spot before making a strong recovery. With 19 wins from 30 fixtures, they closely trail AC Milan with 63 points to their name. It’s been 32 years since Napoli have last laid their hands on the Scudetto, but fans at the Maradona Stadium now hope that the club has a realistic chance of winning the Italian championship.
The arrival of Luciano Spalletti has brought stability and energy to the team – the side’s Champions League berth was never in doubt throughout the season. The 1-0 loss to AC Milan is likely to hurt the team, and the Partenopei face a difficult calendar in the next two months. With Inter Milan close on their heels with a game in hand, Napoli, just like AC Milan, cannot afford any slip-ups.
#3: INTER MILAN
Defending champions Inter Milan are having a rough patch, winning just one of their last five fixtures in Serie A. Dropping points at a crucial juncture will hurt the team’s prospects very much, especially as the team has been fairly good on the field despite all the negativity in the dressing room. Inter boast the best GD in the league of +38 and have been phenomenal in both offence and defence this season.
But the prevailing mood at the San Siro is that Internazionale is dark – with the elimination from the Champions League hurting the team’s morale. Simone Inzaghi needs to find a way to recover from the mental fatigue that his players are suffering through. Inzaghi’s tactics and substitutions are hotly debated, but what the team more desperately needs is back-to-back wins to lift their spirits and defend the title.
Inter Milan are just six points behind the league leaders with a match still in hand. Neither AC Milan nor Napoli are likely to boast of a run at the top like Liverpool – so the Nerazzurri still have a very good chance of retaining the Scudetto. A win against Juventus next week can be the boost they need to get back in form for the last two months.
The appointment of Massimiliano Allegri at the helm has brought a revival of fortunes at the Allianz Arena, with the club now almost assured of a Champions League berth. Defeat to Unai Emery’s Villarreal in the Champions League Round of 16 will hurt their morale, but the Bianconeri have not lost a single league game since November. The signing of Dusan Vlahovic in the January transfer window from Fiorentina helped the team to adopt a winning mentality.
Of the four teams that are now in contention for the title, Juventus have the best form – winning four of their last five fixtures. Juve face a relatively trouble-free fixture list similar to AC Milan after the first week of April. A win against Inter Milan this weekend can have a monumental impact on the fortunes and morale of both teams.
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