Italian Serie A has quite several long-established traditions and culture, something that punters and (some) fans have appreciated down the years. Will some of those traditions hold in 2021? It has been an unusual 2020. Signs that 2021 may regain a modicum of the normalcy that has defined Italian Serie A down the years have been few and far between. A big factor, of course, is COVID-19. The pandemic, sweeping across the globe, has affected all aspects of life, and it would be strange if soccer or Italian Serie A were spared. All the same, some things have remained soothingly the same. Juventus FC, aka the Old Lady of Italian football, clinched the Italian Serie A again in 2020, for the ninth(9!) year in a row. So ultimately, it is a strange time in the world, and in the Italian top flight, some things have remained the same. Let’s take a look at how 2021 may shape up.
Reviewing The 2021 Italian Serie A
1) Juventus To Face An Uphill Climb
Juventus FC is easily the most successful club in Serie A. Their strength was once again on show in 2020 when they claimed their 9th title in a row despite having had what many would class as a dour season. Will they pull off another title triumph in 2021? They might. And it would take a courageous man to bet against them doing it. But if their 2020 victory is anything to go by, they won’t have an easy time of it. For starters, Juventus FC did not cruise to the title in 2020. It was one of the most closely contested Serie A campaigns in recent memory, with the club pipping rivals Inter Milan to victory by a single point. It was a steal.
That’s not to take anything away from the Old Lady. They are a magnificent, historical club that only further cemented their status in world football with that unprecedented 9th top-flight scudetto on the bounce. But going into 2021, they are not a top team in top form or anything close. They are painfully inconsistent, with the roster showing them at 6th place – a whole 10 points off 1st place after 14 games. Both Milan teams are above them, and new rookie coach Andrea Pirlo is still cutting his teeth in terms of top-flight management. In short, while it would take a lionhearted punter to wager against them winning again in 2021, would it be naive? No. If ever there was a year to go against the grain in Serie A soccer betting, this is it!
2) Ibra-inspired AC Milan To Pull Off A Surprise
Is there anything that Zlatan Ibrahimovic can’t do? Practically nothing, at least not on a football pitch with a ball at his feet. The impact that the enigmatic Swede has had on AC Milan since rejoining them in December 2019 has been almost palpable. Signed initially on a 6th-month deal, Zlatan scored 11 times in 20 games to help them finish 6th in 19/20. Coming to the end of 2020, AC Milan sits on top of the Serie A table; the striker has again played a gargantuan role in that. Despite a spell on the sidelines nursing the effects of COVID-19, the 39-year-old is third on the top scorers’ list, just one and two goals behind Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo (1st), respectively.
Zlatan turned 39 in October, but age is just a number, and he doesn’t like people making a big fuss of it. It is better to focus on how his commitment and leadership inspire this Rossoneri side and how he’s their lifeblood. Backing Milan to win the league might be a bit of a stretch given that we’ve not seen enough consistency from them in recent years. But can one chance on them claiming a top-four berth in 2021? Absolutely. In 2020, they fought back from mediocrity to finish 6th. It was a rousing rally by them. In Jan 2021, they sit on top of the league, and they have Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It’s time for their fans to dream and for lucky punters to rake in some cash!