Juventus will be aiming to make it ten consecutive titles during the months ahead, meaning the 2020/21 season marks ten years since a team other than Juve finished top of Serie A.
Now a distant memory for younger Italian football supporters, the Old Lady’s domestic dominance since the turn of the last decade has been nothing short of remarkable.
And though they are once again heavily fancied at 10/11 to win their tenth title in the Serie A betting markets, Juve were anything but remarkable ten seasons ago, finishing seventh, and a full 24 points behind champions AC Milan.
In this article, we will re-live the Il Diavolo’s march to the Scudetto as they edged clear of rivals Inter to earn their 18th title.
A mixed start
Milan overcame a mixed start to the campaign to hit their straps between the end of September and November. A 4-0 victory at home to Lecce on the opening day raised hopes, but the win was followed by a home reverse to Cesena and draws against Catania and Lazio.
But four consecutive victories saw Massimiliano Allegri’s men get back on track, with positive performances against Genoa, Parma, Chievo and Napoli helping them to second in the table. Defeat at home to Juve on 30 October saw that momentum temporarily halted, however.
Again Allegri’s men responded, edging past Bari in a five-goal thriller before recording wins against Palermo, Inter, Fiorentina, Brescia and Bologna around a draw with Sampdoria. The rich vein of form saw Milan overcome their mixed start to top the table as the Christmas break approached.
2011: Inzaghi & Seedorf win AC Milan title under Allegri.
2014: Allegri sacked, Seedorf in then out, Inzaghi now boss pic.twitter.com/I5AQjFtQOg
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 9, 2014
Hard to beat
An unbeaten run stretching more than three months in the new year strongly underlined Il Diavolo’s title credentials. Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit top goal-scoring form, scoring in four consecutive matches to help secure crucial league points in their battle for top spot.
Wins over Cagliari, Cesena, Catania, Parma, Chievo, Napoli and Juventus gave Allegri’s men a cushion at the top of the table, but an indifferent performance and tie with Bari, followed by defeat at Palermo brought the squad back down to earth with a bang.
Milan now faced a crucial clash with Inter – and they silenced the critics in the best possible way. Alexandre Pato struck a brace and Antonio Casano fired home a 90th minute penalty in an inspirational 3-0 win that set them on a clear path towards lifting the Serie A title. It was a result they'd repeat five years later.
A final flourish
The loss against Palermo would prove to be Milan’s last of the season. Allegri’s rampant charges followed the derby thrashing of Inter with wins against Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Brescia, Bologna and Cagliari, with points being dropped only in draws with Roma and Udinese.
It was enough to see them home six points clear of Inter, with just four defeats to their name all season. Defeat in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia and elimination in the last 16 of the Champions League were disappointments, but they detracted little from the team’s league success.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 15, 2018
Key to that success was the triple threat of Ibrahimovic, Pato and Robinho, who each contributed 14 goals. The collective attacking responsibility shouldered by the trio proved crucial as Milan stole a march on many of their rivals dependent on the goals of a single striker.
Ten years on and Il Diavolo are still searching for 19th title, and, as the last team to other than Juve to win Serie A, they will likely draw inspiration from their exploits of ten years ago as Italy waits to see the Old Lady’s run broken.