Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus fell to Filippo Inzaghi’s Benevento 1-0 over the weekend. This marked Juve’s fourth loss of the Serie A season. As it stands, Juventus’ Serie A title challenge is all but over, sitting in third place with 55 points, ten points behind league leaders Inter Milan.
Second place AC Milan are four points ahead of the Bianconeri, however, Pirlo’s side has a game in hand. Their dream for a tenth straight Scudetti is halted by a more organized and ruthless Inter side led by a ghost of their past, Antonio Conte.
Juventus’ Serie A Title Challenge Virtually Over
Is History on Juventus’ Side?
Juventus have dominated Serie A in the 2010s, but it hasn’t always been a landslide victory. In their past nine domestic campaign triumphs, have they had to climb up this big of a mountain in this phase of the season to secure the Scudetto? Let’s look at the past nine seasons to see if that’s the case.
Point totals after 27 games:
2011/12: 1st place: Milan (57 points); 2nd place: Juventus (53 points)
2012/13: 1st place: Juventus (59 points); 2nd place: Napoli (53 points)
2013/14: 1st place: Juventus (72 points); 2nd place: Roma (61 points)
2014/15: 1st place: Juventus (64 points); 2nd place: Roma (50 points)
2015/16: 1st place: Juventus (61 points); 2nd place: Napoli (58 points)
2016/17: 1st place: Juventus (67 points); 2nd place: Roma (59 points)
2017/18: 1st place: Juventus (71 points); 2nd place: Napoli (69 points)
2018/19: 1st place: Juventus (75 points); 2nd place: Napoli (57 points)
2019/20: 1st place: Juventus (66 points); 2nd place: Lazio (62 points)
History shows that in this phase of the season, Juventus are usually in the driving seat. The one occasion where they were behind after 27 games was during their first title victory from this nine-year run. In that season they were only four points away from Milan before they clawed up the table for the victory. The manager they were led by during that season? Antonio Conte. As the past tables show, history is not on their side when it comes to mounting a potential comeback in the league.
Inter’s Serie A Form and Remaining Schedule
Both Inter and Juventus are out of Europe, with the league the main focus for both teams. However, it’s important to note that Juve do have a Coppa Italia final to play against Atalanta on May 19, four days before the final match of the season against Bologna. When it comes to team form, it’s going to take a complete capitulation from Inter to get knocked off their perch.
The Nerazzurri have not dropped points in the league since a 0-0 draw against Udinese on January 23. Since then, they’ve won eight league games on the bounce, beating the likes of Lazio, Milan, and Atalanta all while scoring 20 goals and conceding three goals in that eight-game stretch.
It would be correct to say that Conte’s Inter is riding this momentum and will likely continue to do so until the end of the season. From their remaining schedule Napoli, Roma, and Juventus are going to be the games that will be the deciders for Inter’s fate.
Juventus’ Serie A Form and Remaining Schedule
Juve, on the other hand, have lost to Inter, Napoli, and now Benevento since the start of 2021, as well as dropping points to Verona in late February in a 1-1 draw. Their early Champions League exit to Porto will light a fire under them to push harder for the league, but after that loss to Benevento, it might be too little too late. On top of that, they still have to play Napoli, Atalanta, Milan, and of course, the previously mentioned Inter.
Unfortunately for Pirlo’s men, their backs are against the wall and they’ve shown no signs this season of being a capable title contender. A rookie manager, a midfield void of creativity and strong competition has spelt disaster for a team that was supposed to achieve so much more after the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2018.
Instead of competing for Champions League trophies and continuing their domestic dominance, Juventus will be watching the Champions League quarter-finals from their couches. On top of that, they will be in a battle for second place in a competition that they have commanded for a better part of a decade. It’s safe to say Juventus’ Serie A dominance has come to an end.