This season’s Serie A has served up a lot of surprises. The sight of AC Milan sitting at the top of the table was never predicted, but neither did anyone foresee Juventus outside the top-four midway through the season.
After 15 rounds of matches, AC Milan are defying all the odds and are currently 10 points above defending champions Juventus. Having won the last nine Scudetti, the title is slowing slipping away from the Turin side this time.
Thankfully, the Bianconeri have the chance to close the gap with their rivals when they face off on Wednesday. This fixture has always been the biggest on the Italian football calendar and hostilities will be renewed.
Andrea Pirlo’s side has been uncharacteristically inconsistent this season and are consequently playing catch-up to AC Milan and Inter Milan in the title race.
Win or bust for Juventus
For a decade, Pirlo was a darling boy at AC Milan, where he won numerous trophies including league titles and the UEFA Champions League before joining Juventus.
As he returns to the San Siro, he faces an uphill task to defeat his former side. AC Milan are Serie A’s most in-form side and currently look unstoppable.
“In Milan as a footballer I played for 10 years and I won many trophies, for me it is a special match, I have many good memories,” Pirlo told Juventus.com ahead of the game.
“Tomorrow we will have to be careful because the Rossoneri are very good at attacking with the ball, with 2-3 passes they manage to reach the goal. We will have to play well technically.
“They come from a long series of positive results and are deservedly at the top of the standings, we will play our game trying to impose our game, without fear of playing the match openly. On the pitch I want to see a Juve convinced of their strength.”
Stefano Pioli’s side are unbeaten in 15 Serie A games this season and are also currently on a three-game winning streak. Surely, this is not the best time for Juventus to be facing the Rossoneri.
Regardless, it’s win or bust for Pirlo and Juventus.
Juventus’ big chance to get back into title race
Juventus will not have a better chance to get back into the title race than on Wednesday. There used to be a time when the Bianconeri wrapped up the league by January, but this time they will have to work hard for it.
Already 10 points behind AC Milan, losing to the Rossoneri on Wednesday will all but end Juventus’ chances of defending the Serie A title.
Defeat will see them fall 13 points below Pioli’s side and, considering AC Milan’s form this season, it will be difficult to catch them. Also, Inter Milan are closely behind AC Milan on the table and are nine points above Juventus.
It could end up being a three-horse race but that depends on the results of Wednesday’s game between AC Milan and Juventus. The onus, however, lies with the latter to win, if they want to remain in the title race.Published 06 Jan 2021, 20:57 IST