Inter Milan are back to their old ways, Juventus are looking for a treble, and while Crotone could launch a late survival bid, the chances of AC Milan and Inter pipping Lazio and Atalanta to the Europa League places looks slim.
Here are five things we learned from Serie A:
ANOTHER COACH, SAME INTER ATTITUDE
Five months after replacing sacked Frank De Boer, Inter Milan coach Stefano Pioli is facing the same frustrating problems as the Dutchman: Inter have an uncanny penchant for inconsistency. Inter looked on their way to a first win in five games at Fiorentina when goals by Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi gave them a 2-1 halftime lead. But Pioli’s touchline instructions fell on deaf ears during a crazy 15-minute spell that saw Fiorentina hit four goals. A defiant Icardi brace in the final minutes was scant consolation as Inter’s chances of Europa League football faded. “This time, we’ve really hit rock bottom. We’ve stopped being a team,” lamented Pioli as Inter fell seven points behind fifth-placed Atalanta.
ALLEGRI’S JUVE ON TRACK FOR TREBLE
While Inter Milan coach Pioli is now in doubt and reports claim Luciano Spalletti will be replaced at Roma, Massimiliano Allegri is more than welcome at Juventus after keeping the Turin giants on course for an unprecedented club treble thanks to a comprehensive 4-0 win at home to Genoa. Days after holding Barcelona to a scoreless Nou Camp draw to secure a 3-0 aggregate win in their Champions League quarterfinal Allegri’s men edged towards a record sixth successive scudetto. Set to face Lazio in the June 2 Italian Cup final, after meeting Monaco in the Champions League semifinals, Juve’s win moved them 11 points clear of Roma, who face Pescara on Monday.
ATALANTA AND LAZIO EUROPA LEAGUE-BOUND
Inter Milan were not the only side from the Lombardy capital to drop points in the race for Europe. AC Milan’s shock 2-1 defeat to Empoli left the seven-time European champions in sixth, five points behind ever-credible Atalanta. Along with Lazio, the men from Bergamo edged closer to Europe’s second tier competition thanks to a 3-2 win at home to the Bologna side which left them fifth. Lazio were far more convincing, racing to a 5-0 lead before the half-hour thanks to a Ciro Immobile brace and a Keita Balde hat-trick before romping to a 6-2 win that tied down fourth place, with a six-point lead on Milan that seems virtually unassailable. Atalanta have no European experience and boast just one Italian Cup from 1963 and six Serie B titles.
BLACK SUNDAY FOR DE SCIGLIO
If AC Milan’s 2-1 defeat at home to Empoli wasn’t painful enough, defender Mattia De Sciglio returned home even more wounded after a forgettable match that saw him replaced by Lucas Ocampos then surrounded by angry, shouting fans while he tried to leave the San Siro in his car. De Sciglio is currently in prolonged talks with club bosses over a new contract. After his mediocre display, he was later lambasted by fans on social media as the seven-time European champions dropped more points in their struggle to qualify for Europe’s second tier competition. Milan remain sixth, but are now five points behind fifth-placed Atalanta, who beat Bologna 3-2 on Saturday.
CROTONE THROW DOWN SURVIVAL GAUNTLET
After a run of 29 opening games that included 21 defeats and three wins, Crotone’s rather late bid to secure top flight survival began in earnest only four weeks ago – but is still going strong after a run of three wins and a draw. Two successive 2-1 wins over Chievo then Inter Milan were followed by an impressive 1-1 draw at Torino, then Sunday’s spectacular 2-1 win at Sampdoria. Now coach Davide Nicola believes they can claw back their five-point gap to the safety zone. “It’s is a very important victory because we didn’t drop any points on Empoli. We didn’t expect them to beat Milan, so hats off to them. We will see who nicks it in the end.”