Who will win the Scudetto? The suspense may result in sleepless nights for clubs Juventus and AC Milan as well as their supporters as they continue to battle it out for first-place.
Up until the latest midweek round, it appeared that the Old Lady of Italian football was almost certain of adding a 28th Scudetto to her trophy cabinet (well, 30th if you count the revoked titles). However, Bianconeri veteran ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon’s late stage blunder in the match against lowly Lecce has now re-opened the title race. The Diavoli took full advantage of Juve’s miscue and bagged all three points against Atalanta closing the gap to a measly single point going into the final two rounds. This outcome has also allowed the Rossoneri to gain much needed confidence going into the Derby della Madonnina against cross-city rivals Inter.
Juve will win the Scudetto today if…
…the Turin giants beat Cagliari this afternoon and Inter get a result in the derby.
It will be decided in Week 38 if…
1) the one-point gap remains after this round, then it will be decided in the final match day next weekend.
2) Milan could potentially leap frog Juventus should Massimiliano Allegri’s men defeat the Nerazzurri and Juve fail to get a victory.
3) Week 37 could also result in equal points at the top of the standings if the Bianconeri lose for the first time this season and the Rossoneri draw in the derby. This is still a positive note for Juventus as due to the better head-to-head record, the Bianconeri will clinch the title if tied in points at the end of week 38.
Juventus will take on Cagliari at the Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste where 30,000 Bianconeri supporters have gathered hoping to spur on the players to victory. The final result for Sardinian side’s season is already decided at this point as Massimo Ficcadenti’s boys have secured their Serie A stay for next season. Will they play to win or will they look to take on the role of Scudetto deciders? The Bianconeri normally have difficulty playing against teams who utilize ‘catenaccio’ – the old all-out defending Italian style of soccer. Motivation will certainly not be lacking to defeat Juventus as the Rossoblu side will be remembered as the only team to defeat Antonio Conte’s men this season. Which is more important: ending Juve’s unbeaten record or putting a fork in the road in the Bianconeri’s quest for the title? Will Cagliari play all out for the win, or will they look for the draw in this important match?
The same could also be said for Inter this evening. The Nerazzurri are currently fighting for third place which allows direct qualification into next year’s Champions League. Massimo Moratti’s side has hit a brick wall though and has slim chances after their 3-1 loss to Parma in midweek. Inter trail Napoli, who occupy third place, by three points. Seeing that the Azzurri have the edge due to a better head-to-head record, Inter’s hopes of Champions League next season may already be over. The Nerazzurri must avoid defeat or a draw this evening and need Bologna’s help to stop Edinson Cavani and Co. and will need Napoli to draw or lose in the last round as well. But, a derby is a derby and bragging rights are just as precious to hold over a rival in addition to ending Milan’s dream of a second straight Scudetto.
In 2002, on almost the same day (Cinco de Mayo), Inter needed a victory in the last round to secure a title triumph but came up short against Lazio who defeated the Milan-based side 4-2 gifting Juventus the Serie A crown. After the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, Inter and Juventus turned into bitter rivals both on and off the pitch with verbal stabs being thrown from both ends. Will the Nerazzurri do the favour for Juve or for Milan?
A lot is at stake in the final two games and both Juve and Milan deserve the title this year. Unfortunately, there can only be one winner.
Who will win the Scudetto? When will it be decided? Whats your take?
…and that is the last word.