Last weekend saw Inter Milan win 2-1 at Torino, racking up their eighth consecutive Serie A triumph, putting them nine points clear of city rivals AC Milan with eleven games left to play. It has been a very good campaign for Antonio Conte’s men, who have shrugged off the club’s financial woes and focused on the football. But Conte is not stupid. He will know that the job isn’t yet complete, and he’ll continue to look over his shoulder until it is. So just who could catch Inter?
According to the betting experts at betiton, their closest rivals are city neighbours Milan. But it has to be said that the odds on them overhauling Inter are lengthening. Despite his ageing legs, Milan have relied heavily on the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who turns 40 later this year, and he’s currently missing with a groin injury that is expected to rule him out until at least the end of the month. And Milan have three difficult away fixtures to come, trips to Lazio, Juventus and Atalanta, while they are still in the Europa League, which could prove to be a distraction.
Behind Milan in third place are Juventus, and it’s the Old Lady who could come closest to catching Inter. They have a game in hand over Milan, while their recent Champions League exit to Porto could prove to be a blessing in disguise. Their fixture list would appear kinder, they are in good form, and they have Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is averaging a goal a game in Serie A, and his form and fitness will be crucial over the next two-and-a-half months. And if they can catch Inter, there is the potential for a domestic double, if they can overcome Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final.
Of the three clubs, Inter look to have the more favourable run-in. Their fixture list is kinder and they have fewer distractions. Of their closest rivals, Juventus would look the most likely to catch them, but they may be over-reliant on the form, fitness and goals of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Looking at the remaining fixtures, all eyes will be on Sunday 16th May when Inter visit the Allianz Stadium to face Juventus, a game which in all likelihood will be the title decider.
Although they aren’t yet home and hosed, you have to say that Inter’s nine point cushion at the top should be enough to get them over the line. The maths still says that they can be caught, but the Serie A title is Inter’s to lose.