Once upon a time in Serie A, there were at least 7 teams vying to win the Scudetto. Besides the usual Big 3, Juventus, Milan and Inter, there were Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina, and Parma. Serie A has fallen from its glory days of the '90s and early '00s when it was the strongest league in the world.
It was unthinkable at that time that we will see one team dominate the league for so many seasons in a row as Juventus has done now. AC Milan was the last team other than Juventus to win the Scudetto in the 2010-11 season.
Since 2011-12 until 2017-18, it has been all Juventus and it looks like they will extend that run into 2018-19. There were a quite a few seasons in that run that had Juventus faced stiffer competition, they probably would not have won the Scudetto.
To Juventus’ credit, they can only beat the opposition in front of them and they have. They can only do the best they can and see where that leads them. They have been led on a path of total domination in Serie A. For the past 4 seasons, they have won the Coppa Italia as well to complete a clean sweep of trophies to win in Italy.
This season, they would not be able to do that though. Atalanta eliminated them in the midweek Coppa Italia round. Their elimination has opened the door for a new champion for the Coppa Italia after 4 seasons. It is refreshing for everyone who doesn’t support Juventus.
It’s fair to say that Juventus has a lot of haters as they are currently perennial champions and there is a controversy that surrounds some of their victories. But once again, it is to their credit to keep this incredible winning mentality going and displaying resilience. They are not known to be the most entertaining side to watch but they always get the job done.
When the chips are down, they almost always rise up to overturn the odds. It is a great virtue to possess. The rest of Serie A though is frankly a joke. It sounds harsh but it is a reality. As much as it is Juventus’ credit that they have dominated, they have been aided by the fumbling chasing pack.
The chasing pack has one thing in common and that is this common pattern they go through. There will be a period where they do very well. They get hyped up as the team to challenge Juventus and de-throne them. The moment, one or two results go against them, they crumble and lose their way.
It is embarrassing that there are seasons where Juventus have faltered and seemingly given a head start to their challengers. None of these challengers have been good enough to keep up the pace and eventually crumble to allow Juventus to overtake them.
It is no good for the league as a whole if one team keeps winning the league without much opposition. It reflects rightly that Serie A is a long way away from what it was. The other members of the Big 3, the Milanese teams have also been a mess.
Inter thrived in the post-Calciopoli era. They won 3 consecutive Scudettos and then the Treble in 2009-10. Since then, they have just added a Coppa Italia, Suppercoppa Italiana and FIFA World Club Cup in 2010-11. AC Milan, on the other hand, won the Scudetto in 2010-11. Both teams have been missing from the Champions League for so many years until this season when Inter made its return.
Both teams have had to endure seasons of mediocrity. There have been changes in ownership, constant changes in playing and managerial personnel. Like for the rest of the league, the cash flow has also stifled. Both teams have had to respect UEFA’s Financial Fair Play. They have had the task of finding a balance between evening out the books and bolstering the quality of the squad.
Many Serie A clubs have been left in the shade due to poor financial management. In the 90s and 00s, many threw big money to get almost anyone they liked but that has led to bankruptcy to a number of clubs. Lazio, Fiorentina, and Parma were affected by that. Roma, like the Milanese clubs, has had to balance the books.
Another reason, Juventus is thriving and leaving everyone in their wake is because they are better organized off the pitch and have their own resources now to spend. They built their own stadium and that has helped them a great deal to give them an advantage over other Italian clubs.
As I write this article, there is some hope that the Milanese clubs have both settled and look better organized off the pitch. That can only be good news for fans of either club as that would mean better investment into their team. With a better investment, they could finally return to strongly challenging Juventus and dethroning them. These clubs would also need to get back the winning mentality of winning games and titles as well.
It’s no good winning a few games in a row and having a good spell and then crumbling for a period after. These two are big clubs and they need to act like one. It is high time the rest of the league started getting serious. Playing beautiful football as Napoli and Roma have done is only good to an extent. A league title is won as well by the ability to win ugly and the resilience to bounce back quickly from a defeat.