Serie A Power Rankings: Champions Inter Milan extend lead, Napoli reverse course with another shock home loss

Serie A has reached its winter break after this midweek’s fixtures and defending titleholders Inter Milan currently lead the way and are four points clear of bitter rivals AC Milan. No sooner had SSC Napoli reeled the Rossoneri back in, they let them go again with a shock loss to lowly Spezia. This might also be rock-bottom Salernitana’s final appearance in our rankings with the Granata set to be expelled from the Italian topflight unless they can find a new owner before the end of 2021. 

As always, you can catch all of the Serie A action on Paramount+ as play resumes Jan. 6. In the meantime, let’s check in at the start of the winter break.

1. Inter Milan (-)

Simone Inzaghi’s men will top the tree at Christmas after a 5-0 devastation of basement boys Salernitana was followed up by a narrow 1-0 success against Torino. Unbeaten in 11 with seven consecutive wins, the Nerazzurri have overhauled their title rivals to now be the team to beat.  

2. AC Milan (+1)

Stefano Pioli’s team are up into second but mainly thanks to their 4-2 win over Empoli as it immediately re-established a three-point lead over Napoli which had been lost in the 1-0 defeat to the Partenopei previously. Spezia’s 1-0 success against Napoli was an unexpected bonus but they are still four points behind bitter rivals Inter having enjoyed a substantial cushion up until early November which has since seen three losses and two draws.  

3. Atalanta BC (-1)

Gian Piero Gasperini was fuming after a heavy 4-1 loss to AS Roma and a goalless draw with lowly Genoa will not have helped his festive mood. La Dea were in very good shape results-wise before that and the Bergamo outfit do still have a four-point lead on Juventus for UEFA Champions League qualification.

4. Napoli (+1)

Luciano Spalletti’s players did the hard work in their win over Milan only to throw it away immediately against struggling Spezia. Gli Azzurri have well-documented injury and availability issues of late but three consecutive home defeats have truly shot them in the foot when they had been positioned to make a title push.  

5. Juventus (+3)

A pair of 2-0 wins over Bologna and then Cagliari has Massimiliano Allegri’s side closer to the European places than they have been for a while. Four wins from their last five — all by two goals with clean sheets — might not be sexy but it is getting the job done.

6. AS Roma (-)

Jose Mourinho’s men thumped Atalanta 4-1 before being held to a 1-1 draw by Sampdoria and while this latest upturn in form has arrested what threatened to become a slide after four defeats in the space of six games, the reality is that the Giallorossi are six points back on the Champions League spots.  

7. Fiorentina (-3)

Vincenzo Italiano’s team have been required to show character these past two fixtures with a 2-2 draw against Sassuolo followed by a 1-1 tie with Hellas Verona which both required Viola to fight from behind to level the score.

8. SS Lazio (+2)

Maurizio Sarri has seen his side turn the tide with a pair of 3-1 wins over Genoa and then Venezia to keep themselves within reach of Juve in fifth. With a bit more consistency, the Biancocelesti could compete for UEFA Europa League qualification through Serie A in the second half of the season.  

9. Empoli (-2)

A 1-1 draw with Spezia and a 4-2 loss to Milan has slowed the Tuscans’ roll somewhat and despite the end of a five-game unbeaten streak, it has still been an impressive start to the term.

10. Bologna (+1)

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s outfit lost to Juve 2-0 to extend their losing streak to three before snapping it with a 3-0 win over Sassuolo which keeps them mid-table over the festive period.  

11. Torino (+3)

With a 1-0 win over Verona and a 1-0 loss to Inter, Ivan Juric’s team in something of limbo with substantial distance on the relegation fight but still a fair way behind the European places.

12. Sassuolo (-3)

Two goals up against Fiorentina and things looked rosy for Alessio Dionisi’s squad. Instead, they shipped two goals to draw 2-2 and then lost 3-0 to Bologna which drops them down after a good recent run of six unbeaten.

13. Hellas Verona (-1)

Igor Tudor saw his players go down 1-0 to Torino before Fiorentina snatched a 1-1 draw late on, but despite just one win in five, the Gialloblu are in a better place than when the Croat arrived back in September.

14. Udinese (+1)

The Friulani are one of two teams to have played one fewer games after their clash was belatedly called off due to Salernitana’s COVID situation, caretaker boss Gabriele Cioffi’s record makes for fairly impressive reading with a draw against Milan followed by a 4-0 smashing of Cagliari to ease relegation concerns which had surfaced under predecessor Luca Gotti.

15. Sampdoria (-2)

With a pair of 1-1 draws against Venezia and then Roma, Roberto D’Aversa is just about holding on to his job at Luigi Ferraris although that might owe as much to the confusion at the top of the club and the ineptitude of the relegation battlers as anything else.

16. Spezia (+2)

Thiago Motta oversaw a 1-1 draw with Empoli before a massive 1-0 victory over Napoli which is a massive shot in the arm heading into the winter break with five points between the Ligurian outfit and regional rivals Genoa in the relegation zone.  

17. Venezia (-1)

Paolo Zanetti’s squad drew 1-1 with Sampdoria and then lost 3-1 to Lazio and their current Serie A record is nothing to boast about. Without a win in six with four losses and two draws, meaning that it might be time for a change on the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo hot seat.

18. Genoa (+1)

A 3-1 loss to Lazio and a goalless draw with Atalanta just will not cut it for Andriy Shevchenko and his players who need massive improvement in 2022 if they are to avoid the drop. Four losses from their last five and without a league win since September, Grifone should be thankful that there are two worse teams than them.

19. Cagliari (-2)

Two blowout defeats for Walter Mazzarri’s side to absorb against Udinese and Juve with changes coming during the break which means that the experienced tactician will get the chance to tinker with the Sardinian group.

20. Salernitana (-)

A sorry end to 2021 saw Stefano Colantuono’s team drubbed 5-0 by Inter and then forced into a no-show against Udinese because of COVID cases all while their very existence hangs in the balance with a new owner needed before the end of this year. This could possibly be the last edition of our Serie A Power Rankings featuring the Granata as they may well have been expelled by the time play resumes in January.

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