Football Features

Serie A: Can anyone finally dethrone Juventus?

By Harry Edwards

Serie A odds: Can anyone stop Juventus from claiming 'number nine'?

Published: 14:00, 30 October 2020 | Updated: 10:55, 6 November 2020

Last season Juventus won their ninth consecutive Serie A title, led to glory by Maurizio Sarri, but 2020/21 could bring their domination to an end.

The Bianconeri are now managed by former midfielder Andrea Pirlo and look to be going through a minor transition period while their old rivals have finally awoken from their slumber.

But in the past Juventus have had many challengers for their titles, with all challengers eventually falling away and succumbing to the inevitability that is the Old Lady. The question is, will that still be the case in what is already proving to be a bizarre 2020/21 campaign?

Below we’ve ranked the contenders for the 2020/21 Scudetto, as decided by percentage odds from SBK, and assessed their chances of winning Serie A.

*Odds correct as of 11:00 on 29/10/2020. You have to be 18+ and GambleAware to sign up to SBK.

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*All odds correct as of 16:00 on 29/10/2020. You have to be 18+ and GambleAware to sign up to SBK.

The outsiders

We start with a mixed bunch of teams, whose chances of winning Serie A are pretty slim, but are still worthy of being included in the conversation. The teams waiting in the wings just in case those ahead of them slip, ready to take their place.

Perhaps the surprise story of the 2020/21 season so far is that of Sassuolo (1.82%). Having finished eighth last season, Sassuolo are currently third in the table and one of just three teams left unbeaten in Serie A. They opened the campaign drawing 1-1 with Cagliari but followed that up by winning their next three games, scoring 12 goals in the process with Francisco Caputo currently leading Serie A for direct goal involvements, scoring five and adding two assists.

A 3-3 draw with Torino was their most recent result, but Sassuolo are about to embark on a tough period in which they face the likes of Napoli, Inter Milan and Roma across their next five games.

After Sassuolo, the usual suspects start coming into play and no one will be surprised to see Lazio included. However, those who haven’t been following Serie A closely may be surprised to see how lowly they are ranked (3.33%) due to their poor start to the season. Simone Inzaghi’s men started the season with a 2-0 win over Cagliari, but then followed a tough run of fixtures. The first meeting with one of last season’s top four saw Atalanta leave Rome with a 4-1 win, in a game that was initially delayed due to La Dea’s Champions League participation. Lazio were given little time to recover with another top-four opponent in Inter Milan, where they managed to draw in a fiery affair.

Lazio returned from the international break in horrific fashion, losing 3-0 to Sampdoria and although they recovered to beat Bologna and have found some form in the Champions League, they remain 12th in Serie A.

Then there’s Lazio’s rivals Roma (3.85%), who have also endured a tough start to the season, currently sitting ninth in the table. The capital club kicked off the campaign in the worst possible way, losing 3-0 to Hellas Verona but recovered to draw 2-2 with Juventus. Two wins against Udinese and Benevento followed and Roma can also be proud of their 3-3 draw with AC Milan, becoming the first team to take points off the Rossoneri this season. They are still paying the small price for their opening day defeat, but Roma’s good form could perhaps pay off over the season.

The chasing pack

Moving onto those who are expected to put up the biggest challenge to the runaway favourites, we have three of the most interesting teams in Serie A.

Atalanta (13.89%) played themselves into the hearts of neutrals last season with their free-flowing attacking football, scoring 98 goals in their 38 games but still conceding 48 for fun at both ends. They started the 2020/21 season in similarly entertaining fashion, winning their opening three games against Lazio, Torino and Cagliari, scoring 13 goals and conceding five to lead the early table. But the fun has caught up with them in recent weeks. Atalanta were handed their first defeat of the season in emphatic fashion, losing 4-1 to Napoli and they are yet to recover, following that up with another defeat, this time 3-1 against Sampdoria.

Their slump in form has seen Atalanta slip to sixth in the table, now four points off the leaders but their favourable run of fixtures (the match against Inter side) and style of play means La Dea are still fancied to challenge for the title.

Talking of the current Serie A leaders, AC Milan (13.89%) are equally as favoured to win the Scudetto as Atalanta, despite their start to the campaign. A sleeping giant fully awakened, Stefano Pioli has Milan fans dreaming of a return to the top of Italian football, with the evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic currently Serie A’s top scorer. Milan’s first three games were an early sign of how good they were going to play, winning 2-0 twice and 3-0 once, perfect in terms of both results and defence. But then came the big task, the Derby della Madonnina, as the designated away team against Inter Milan.

It proved to be no problem, as Ibrahimovic struck again, scoring twice in a 2-1 win to keep Milan top of the table and earn the bragging rights over Inter until their next meeting at the very least. And although Milan’s perfect run was finally brought to an end by Roma in a thrilling 3-3 draw they remain top of the pile for now, two points clear of Napoli. But Napoli (16.67%) have been given a slightly better chance of lasting the course in the title race.

As the table says, Napoli have won four and lost one of their opening five games, losing their perfect record midway through that run. However, on the football pitch Napoli haven’t actually lost. Their one “defeat” came as they forfeited a big clash with Juventus, failing to travel due to restrictions on their movement. A 3-0 win was awarded to Juventus and Napoli were also deducted one point, hence why their four wins have brought 11 points so far.

When Napoli have made the pitch, however, Gennaro Gattuso has had his men playing well. We’ve already mentioned the big 4-1 win over Atalanta, Napoli’s response to the forfeit against Juventus, which they added to wins over Parma, Benevento and Genoa, beating the latter 6-0. Napoli do have a few tricky fixtures ahead but Gattuso’s side look set to be challenging for the title come May.

Serie A title odds via SBK:

  • Juventus: 33.56%
  • Inter Milan: 33.56%
  • Napoli: 16.67%
  • AC Milan: 13.89%
  • Atalanta: 13:89%
  • Roma: 3.85%
  • Lazio: 3.33%

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The favourites

And finally we have the two favourites, who are currently inseparable in regards to their odds: Inter Milan and Juventus (both 33.56%).

Last season’s top two, Juventus and Inter sit fifth and fourth respectively, separated by just one point. After Sassuolo and Milan, defending champions Juventus are the third remaining unbeaten team in Serie A this season, but they haven’t been winning. Three of their five games have ended in draws, against Roma, Crotone and Hellas Verona, and they had to come from behind in all three of those. Then there’s the fact that one of their two wins came through forfeit against Napoli. Who’s to say what would have happened if the game had gone ahead?

But this is Juventus. In the past they have won league titles when they didn’t look like doing so at all. Just look at last season, when they had a handful of challengers but all eventually fell by the wayside even with the issues that came from Sarri’s management. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Pirlo can sufficiently motivate this set of players.

And then there’s Inter Milan. Aside from their derby defeat, Inter have been pretty good, winning three and drawing one of their other four games – and that draw came against Lazio when the emotions were high. After falling at the final hurdle last season, amid unhappiness with a lack of support from the board, Antonio Conte has put together an Inter side capable of challenging. Romelu Lukaku is entering his second season in Serie A and continues to score goals while a handful of other players are also doing their bit. But they will need to avoid any blips like last season if they are to finally dethrone Juventus.