Juventus have absolutely dominated Serie A for the last decade, but their bid to win ‘La Decima’ — an unprecedented 10th straight Scudetto — is suddenly looking unlikely after another disappointing result.
The reigning champions are now 10 points behind leaders Inter, who keep racking up the wins at the moment.
Meanwhile, AC Milan kept pace with their city rivals by beating Roma, which allowed Atalanta to reclaim the fourth and final Champions League place.
Read on below as SBOTOP lists down the three biggest takeaways from the latest round of Serie A matches.
Juventus’ title hopes fading fast
Juventus’ Serie A 2021 odds of winning the title took another major blow after they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Verona. Cristiano Ronaldo had given the visitors the lead, but Antonin Barak equalised for the hosts.
That result now leaves Juve 10 points adrift of leaders Inter, although they can trim that to seven points if they win their game in hand.
It was yet another disappointing result for the Old Lady, who have had a few of those over the last couple of weeks. They also lost 1-0 away to Napoli and were stunned 2-1 by Porto in their Champions League round-of-16 first leg.
The defensive solidity which saw them go on a run of seven consecutive wins with just one goal conceded back in January has seemingly vanished, and it remains to be seen whether first-year manager Andrea Pirlo has the ability to turn things around.
Pirlo has turned to Dejan Kulusevski over Alvaro Morata as Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike partner in the starting line-up over the last few weeks, but the 20-year-old Swede has created few Serie A 2021 highlights to justify the change.
Even if Pirlo does get Juve back on track, it will take something special for them to claw their way back from such a large deficit, especially with Inter in such fine form at the moment.
Milan catching Inter will be tough
After back-to-back defeats to Spezia and Inter, AC Milan finally got back to winning ways in Serie A as they edged out Roma 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico. Ante Rebic scored the winning goal after Jordan Veretout cancelled out Frank Kessie’s first-half penalty.
It was a much-needed win for Milan, who are still four points back of leaders Inter. After their big derby win over Milan last week, the Nerazzurri picked up another comfortable 3-0 victory against Genoa.
Romelu Lukaku scored after just one minute and is in absolutely sparkling form. The Belgian has four goals and three assists in his last three games, giving him 18 goals and six assists on the season.
That win was Inter’s fifth in a row as they continue to march on without the added distraction of European football.
As for Milan, they still have their Europa League obligations after just squeezing past Red Star Belgrade on away goals. And their upcoming round-of-16 tie against Manchester United could further complicate their chances of catching up to their city rivals.
Atalanta looking good for last Champions League place
Atalanta are suddenly looking like front-runners for the fourth and final Champions League spot. La Dea picked up their third win in a row after beating Sampdoria 2-0 away from home. That’s despite missing top striker Duvan Zapata due to injury.
Atalanta have overtaken Roma, who fell to Milan, and Napoli, who have been too inconsistent of late. Lazio had the chance to draw level with Juventus and Atalanta on 46 points, but they lost away to Bologna.
After a rocky start to the season, Atalanta have gotten their act together. They have lost just once in the league since December, showing the most consistency out of all the contenders for that final top-four spot.
Amid the challenges of playing Champions League football in a tight schedule with a limited and ageing squad, as well as the loss of club captain Papu Gomez, Gian Piero Gasperini just continues to get results out of his side, which is quite a feat.
In terms of Europe, Roma are still in the Europa League round of 16, while Napoli were knocked out. And in the Champions League, Atalanta have to overcome a 1-0 deficit to Real Madrid, and Lazio are all but out after a 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg.
A lot can still happen in the last 14 games of the season, but right now, Atalanta appear to have the best chance out of those four to claim that coveted Champions League place.
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