Juventus wrapped up the Serie A title for the sixth time in a row by beating Crotone 3-0 last weekend. It was another superb performance, blending defensive solidity with attacking flair. They can now rest players for the final game of the season ahead of their Champions League final with Real Madrid on June 3. All that remains to be decided is whether Crotone or Empoli will be the final team in the drop zone, and whether Roma can hold off Napoli to finish second.
A Bookmaker sportsbook review of the odds shows Roma are heavy favourites to do it as they are just 1/9 in the “without Juventus” betting stakes. They go into their home game against Genoa with a one-point lead over Napoli, and just have to beat a team that is guaranteed to finish 16th after a poor campaign. Napoli should beat Sampdoria too, and if Juventus’ reserves lose to Bologna, Roma could finish the season one point behind and Napoli two points behind.
These two have closed the gap on Juventus a little in recent times. Last time around a poor start to the season left them in the driving seat, but Juve went on a remarkable winning run and overhauled them both near the end of the campaign. This season Juventus went out in front early on and never relinquished their lead. But it has gone right down to the wire and Juventus have not won by a huge margin, as they did a few season ago.
The big question is: can anyone stop Juventus making it seven in a row next season? Despite not winning the title by a considerable distance, there is the sense that Juventus could always find an extra gear if they needed to and never looked seriously troubled. They weakened both rivals in the summer, buying Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli and Miralem Pjanic from Roma with funds they received from Paul Pogba’s world record transfer to Man Utd. They have improved going forwards, with Pjanic pulling the strings and Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic forming a dangerous attacking triumvirate.
But it is in defence where Juve really reign supreme. The consistency and solidity of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonnucci and Andrea Barzagli has been a hallmark of their dominance in recent times. They will find suitors in the summer, but why would they want to leave when they are playing for the best team in their home country, winning titles and contending Champions League finals?
With their resources, it does not look like Napoli and Roma are capable of catching Juventus. They appear destined to be nearly men. A challenge might actually come from one of the Milan clubs. Both have endured miserable seasons and will be lucky to finish sixth and seventh, more than 25 points behind Juventus. But they have ambition. Inter’s new owners are seriously bankrolling the club and trying to lure Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who began the Juventus revolution, with huge wages and a massive war chest for the transfer market. They claim to have so much money they could afford to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. AC Milan have a good young side and are being linked with top players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and they could pose a similar threat. But Juventus will have stability, while they will have the chaos of new players coming in, so right now Juve look a good bet to make it eight titles in a row next season, although it sounds like Inter could pose a huge challenge after that.