Serie A Power Rankings: Defending champs Inter Milan storm to the top spot, while rivals AC Milan struggle

We head into the two final rounds of Serie A fixtures in 2021 with the picture at the top of the table changing after Napoli and AC Milan lost momentum of late. Inter Milan’s consistency has been rewarded, as has that of Atalanta, while Empoli continue to rise and Genoa CFC plummet despite Andriy Shevchenko’s arrival.

We check in after 17 rounds of games.

1 – Inter Milan (+2)

Wins over AS Roma and Cagliari Calcio have seen Simone Inzaghi’s men finally hit the summit after things looked nearly insurmountable just a few weeks ago with Napoli and bitter rivals Milan romping clear. Sure, there has been a significant element of fortune — or misfortune — with those two rivals losing key players to injury, but few can argue with nine unbeaten games, seven wins and five of those consecutive.  

2 – Atalanta BC (+2)

Serie A’s other form team are now Gian Piero Gasperini’s men who, despite dropping into the UEFA Europa League, are without defeat in 10 league matches. After beating Napoli and Hellas Verona, it makes eight wins on that streak with six in a row for La Dea. Mid-January sees the Orobici meet Inter in Bergamo and the question now is whether these two can keep up their form to turn it into a title six-pointer.  

3 – AC Milan (-1)

Stefano Pioli’s men have stumbled a little of late with a routine win over Salernitana followed by a late draw with Udinese but that is to be expected of a team which has just crashed out of Europe and lost the influential Simon Kjaer to injury. The Rossoneri remain within a point of Inter although they have won just two of their last six.

4 – Fiorentina (+2)

After beating Bologna and Salernitana, only a loss to upwardly mobile Empoli has denied Vincenzo Italiano’s men five consecutive wins which could still happen before the end of 2021 with Sassuolo and Verona the final two opponents for Viola and the insatiable Dusan Vlahovic (15 goals) this calendar year.  

5 – Napoli (-4)

Like Milan, Luciano Spalletti’s men are struggling to offset the absence of key player with as attacker Victor Osimhen remains out while the question of Lorenzo Insigne’s future remains unanswered as the last year of his contract winds down. Defeats to Atalanta and Empoli are of concern, as is the fact that the Partenopei have won just one of their last six outings and now face Milan needing a victory to close the gap.  

6 – AS Roma (-1)

Jose Mourinho’s men beat Spezia, as expected, after losing to Inter and it places them just inside the European places, but they are now eight points behind Napoli in fourth who occupy the final Champions League berth.

7 – Empoli (+4)

Wins over Udinese and Napoli have boosted Aurelio Andreazzaoli’s men up the table with three wins from their last four unbeaten now while Spezia could bring further points and Milan will hold no fear given the Tuscans’ results against the big boys already this season.

8 – Juventus (-1)

Beating Genoa in their current state was a bare minimum requirement for Massimiliano Allegri’s men while the draw with Venezia was yet another setback for the Bianconeri who continue to struggle with four wins and three defeats in their last nine.

9 – Sassuolo (+3)

A win over Lazio is in-line with the Neroverdi’s up and down form with Alessio Dionisi’s men unbeaten in five but with three of those draws against lesser opponents and the wins coming against Milan and the Biancocelesti — go figure.

10 – Lazio (-2)

Maurizio Sarri’s side continue to be predictably unpredictable with a win over Sampdoria followed up by a loss to Sassuolo which leaves them without consecutive Serie A victories since August.

11 – Bologna (-2)

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s outfit are losing ground of late after back-to-back defeats to Fiorentina and then Torino which means three losses from their last five.

12 – Hellas Verona (-2)

After a win over Venezia and a loss to Atalanta, Igor Tudor’s men have just one victory from their last four with two of those defeats, but they do remain within three points of rising Empoli as 2021 approaches its close.

13 – Sampdoria (+2)

Roberto D’Aversa’s side just keep doing enough to keep their boss in his job by following up a loss to Lazio with a crucial win over bitter rivals Genoa in the derby at a time when the president has gone to prison. Three victories from their last five is encouraging, but six defeats from their last 10 is equally concerning.

14 – Torino (-1)

A draw against struggling Cagliari and a win over Bologna keeps Ivan Juric’s men within reach of midtable but one win from their last four is hardly impressive.

15 – Udinese (-1)

Luca Gotti has been replaced by Gabriele Cioffi and the immediate response after the loss to Empoli was a draw with Milan. Weeks on from the club’s 125th anniversary, a run of five without success accounts for the Friulani’s continued slide towards the foot of the table. Open that up, though, and the figures get more worrying: one win in 14 despite seven draws.

16 – Venezia (-)

Things are starting to get tricky for Paolo Zanetti with a draw against Juve a break from three straight and largely heavy losses. Five defeats and two draws from their last nine suggests that a coaching change could be in the offing at Pierluigi Penzo if points are not forthcoming against Sampdoria and/or Lazio.

17 – Cagliari (+2)

Although they remain in the relegation places after their logical defeat to Inter, the Sardinians are harder to beat now under Walter Mazzarri and that was reflected by a run of four consecutive draws. If Cagliari can pick up a three-point haul against Udinese, then they may well enter 2022 outside of the drop zone.

18 – Spezia (-1)

Thiago Motta’s men suffered an expected defeat to Roma after drawing with Sassuolo and while those two results are not disastrous, four losses and one draw from their last five is. Empoli and Napoli are not exactly favorable fixtures before the end of 2021 either, so the ex-Italy international may well be on borrowed time.

19 – Genoa (-1)

Andriy Shevchenko’s arrival on the sideline has not turned this team around. The side cannot win and can barely score so losses against both Juve and Sampdoria were hardly surprising. Grifone have not won since September and went four games without a goal until their consolation effort in their latest outing. Not nearly good enough.

20 – Salernitana (-)

Six losses from their last seven with just one goal scored, defeats to both Milan and Fiorentina were logical. However, an unexpected win somewhere — perhaps against Udinese — could see them move off the bottom before 2022.

Serie A Table

1 Inter Milan 17 12 4 1 43 15 +28 40
2 AC Milan 17 12 3 2 36 19 +17 39
3 Atalanta 17 11 4 2 37 20 +17 37
4 Napoli 17 11 3 3 34 13 +21 36
5 Fiorentina 17 10 0 7 31 22 +9 30
6 Roma 17 9 1 7 26 19 +7 28
7 Juventus 17 8 4 5 23 17 +6 28
8 Empoli 17 8 2 7 27 29 -2 26
9 Lazio 17 7 4 6 33 32 +1 25
10 Bologna 17 7 3 7 24 29 -5 24
11 Verona 17 6 5 6 33 30 +3 23
12 Sassuolo 17 6 5 6 28 26 +2 23
13 Torino 17 6 4 7 22 18 +4 22
14 Sampdoria 17 5 3 9 25 33 -8 18
15 Udinese 17 3 8 6 22 28 -6 17
16 Venezia 17 4 4 9 16 30 -14 16
17 Spezia 17 3 3 11 17 38 -21 12
18 Genoa 17 1 7 9 18 34 -16 10
19 Cagliari 17 1 7 9 17 34 -17 10
20 Salernitana 17 2 2 13 11 37 -26 8

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