At the time of writing this, Juventus are at the top of the Serie A having ground out their 5th win of the season against a struggling Palermo side. There’s a long way to go, but that 1-0 victory, thanks to an Edoardo Goldaniga own goal, places Juve firmly on course to win a fifth title in succession.
Last season they won the league by 9 points, the season before that it was 17 points, in 2012/13 they again boasted a nine-point gap between them and second-place Napoli, and in 2011/12, they won the title by a slightly more humble four points. At the time of writing, Serie A betting sites have Juve at 2/7 to win the Scudetto and with their closest rival, Napoli at 5/1 it all seems very predictable.
In the past three years, Juventus have won the league at a canter and you can’t help but feel that the Serie A has lost some of its old lustre as we witness a mundane trot towards another title for The Old Lady.
Juventus have inherited the crown from Inter Milan, who under won the title 5 times in succession from 2005 to 2010, although the first title was won in the courthouse following the Calciopoli scandal. Under Jose Mourinho, Inter became the first team in Italian history to win the treble, beating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League to leave them at the forefront of European football. It’s not gone so well for Inter since those golden times and Frank de Boer’s team currently, sit 3rd after drawing 1-1 with Bologna and are also 3rd in their Europa League group after losing 0-2 to Hapael Be’er Sheva in the San Siro.
It’s Juventus’ time of dominance now and Inter are not the only team that seem incapable of dislodging them from their throne.
Napoli currently sit in second, just a point behind Juve and will hope to challenge this year. Yet after selling Gonzola Higuain – to Juventus – you feel his goals will be enough to keep challengers at arm’s reach yet again. Jose Callejon has been in fine form with 5 goals in 6 appearances and it will be interesting to see if Napoli can continue to put pressure on the Champions before they meet in Turin at the end of October.
AC Milan started the season with Vincenzo Montella in the dugout, as he becomes the latest candidate seeking to restore the Rossoneri to their glory days. The “Aeroplanino” favours an expansive style of possession football and results suggest this will be a season of transition for Milan with a top 4 place representing a realistic ambition.
Roma relied heavily on Miralem Pjanic last season and similarly to Napoli selling Higuain to Juve, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to beat the team they sold one of their best players too.
All signs point towards another title heading Juve’s way and while you can’t begrudge them their success, it’s all very gloomy for the state of Italian football in general. There was an era between the mid-90s and the Calciopoli scandal in which Juventus, Milan and Inter, Roma and Lazio, Parma and Fiorentina were all battling it out for the Scudetto, it was highly entertaining and the squads were littered with the world’s best players. It’s just not got that star appeal anymore and all the best players and managers are in La Liga or the Premier League.
Serie A is not the only league to suffer a dip in its entertainment value over a prolonged period of time and all that is required is a fairy tale title winner, a last game of the season title decider, bitter rivals battling until the end or simply anything that will capture the imagination of fans again. All is not lost, just hope that a challenger emerges soon or Juve might inflict a mortal wound to Italian football through their tedious success.