Antonio Conte saw his team win their first match in a month, after four consecutive draws in the league and only three goals scored. Juventus lost their grip on the top spot in the Serie A and slowly slipped four points behind AC Milan, who have come together, with a refreshed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, just in time. The 5-0 away win over Fiorentina might be too late, despite the 10 matches still left to play.
Mirko Vucinic who has been awful of late, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio who’s also had a terrible time in 2012, with his rise in 2011 quickly forgotten, Andrea Pirlo and even Simona Padoin scored at the Artemio Franchi when suddenly a month of disappointment and of rather depressing football from Antonio Conte’s players exploded, with Juve going ahead 2-0 after 28 minutes.
Is it over? Nope. First Milan and Juventus have a Cup semi final to attend, with Juve holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg. The coppa Italia isn’t usually one of the most important cup competitions across Europe, but for the Bianconeri to win their first title since 2003 and their first Italian cup since 1995 would mean a lot to a club anxious to return to its dominant ways, this time without paying off referees.
In the 10 matches left, Juve don’t have it easy, but at least the big games are at home – Inter, Napoli, AS Roma and Lazio, all at home. Kind of reminds of me of Alex Ferguson always getting the better deal during the second half of the season. Well not always, but plenty of times. There are the away matches at Palermo and Cagliari that look like potentially difficult, but for a team that has draw nine times out of its 15 away matches, any road game is a tough and crucial outing.
Milan have an easier schedule ahead of them, with lesser names on the list, if you don’t count Barcelona and the Champions League quarter finals. The only really tricky fixture will be the derby on May 6, hosted by Inter. You never know what you get get with Claudio Ranieri’s team, who actually managed to beat Milan 1-0 in the previous meeting, before sinking back to a hellish season.
Juventus won’t be the first team in history to miss out on the league title despite not losing, but with too few displays of good, positive and attacking football in the second half of the season, they don’t really deserve the championship trophy. Mediocrity, even if consistent and solid, doesn’t deserve awards.