AC Milan vs. Juventus: Why the Serie A Title Belongs to the Bianconeri
While almost all the major title races of Europe have had their up and down moments this year, one title race has remained consistently competitive throughout the season.
To date, neither AC Milan nor Juventus have held the lead in the league for longer than eight games, and neither has held a lead of greater than five points over the other at any given point in the season.
But as we approach the end of the Serie A season, only one team can emerge victorious from the title race. Here's why I believe that team will be Juventus.
Firstly, they have been the form team of Serie A lately, winning key games down the stretch.
It was thought that a tough stretch of games against Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Napoli, Palermo, Lazio, Cesena and Roma would derail Juventus' title charge and hand the title to AC Milan.
But remarkably, Juventus have beaten all seven teams in the last five weeks, collecting a full 21 points.
On the other hand, AC Milan have slipped up over a stretch of relatively easy games. In the same time period, they have collected four wins, dropped points to Catania and Bologna, and lost to Fiorentina at home.
Those seven dropped points have swung the points advantage and the momentum completely in Juventus' favor.
|coach Antonio Conte|
Secondly, because Juventus have faced so many difficult teams during their seven-game winning streak, they have a fairly easy schedule ahead of them between now and the end of the season.
They have two away games vs Novara (19th place) and Cagliari (15th), then two home games vs Lecce (18th) and Atlanta (11th).
Given Juventus' performances over the course of their winning streak, none of these games should pose a problem for the Bianconeri.
As for AC Milan, their schedule isn't hard, but it's not as straightforward as Juventus'. Two home games vs Atlanta (11th) and Novara (19th) shouldn't give Milan much trouble, but away games against Siena (10th) and Inter Milan (5th) will almost surely mean more dropped points.
Finally, Juventus are far too experienced to lose a three-point lead (and three-goal advantage) over Milan at this point in the season.
With veteran leadership coming from the ageless Alessandro Del Piero, Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, this Juventus team is far too unified to commit the mistakes Milan need them to commit to reclaim the lead in the league.
In truth, I'd be surprised if AC Milan finished only three points behind Juventus.
Though Juventus have drawn a number of games this season that they shouldn't have, AC Milan have inexcusably dropped four points to 13th place Bologna and five to 16th place Fiorentina, and that just isn't the form of champions.
What Juventus have achieved under Antonio Conte this season is remarkable to say the least. With a squad most would consider inferior to AC Milan's, Conte has Juventus on the cusp of not only a league title, but an undefeated season.
He's made many controversial decisions this season, like dropping Milos Krasic and Eljero Elia, but he's delivered results that almost no one expected.
By Bleacher Report, 29/04/2012