Only four points divide Serie A leaders Milan and fourth-placed Atalanta, with Inter and Napoli in the middle, but who is the favourite to win the title?
The race for the Serie A title is wide open with the first four clubs divided by four points. Atalanta beat Napoli at the Stadio Maradona over the weekend, while Milan won 2-0 against Salernitana and Inter trashed José Mourinho’s Roma 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring all three goals in the first half.
There are many factors that can have an impact in the title race, including injuries, European competition and the fixture list.
Defending champions Inter have already qualified for the Champions League last 16, so tomorrow’s match against Real Madrid will determine the Group D winners with the Nerazzurri who must win at the Bernabeu to overtake Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Milan, on the other hand, need to win at home against Liverpool and hope Porto and Atletico Madrid draw to go beyond the group stage.
Atalanta host Villareal on Wednesday in a must-win game to qualify for the next stage.
Napoli host Leicester City at the Stadio Maradona in their last Europa League group stage game on Thursday.
They qualify for the last 16 if they win and Spartak Moscow fail to beat Legia, but if they finish second they’ll earn a spot in the Round of 32 and will face one of the third-ranked in the Champions League in the following match.
Napoli are relegated to the Conference League if they finish third.
Napoli and Milan are arguably those struggling the most.
Napoli will see their best scorer Victor Osimhen return at the end of February with a cheekbone fracture. Kalidou Koulibaly suffered a muscle injury and will return in January, while Zambo Anguissa is expected to return in a week or two.
Lorenzo Insigne and Fabian Ruiz missed Saturday’s loss to Atalanta, but won’t remain on the sidelines for a long time.
Milan have Simon Kjaer out for the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury, while Davide Calabria, Ante Rebic and Olivier Giroud will return at the end of December, only a few weeks before Samu Castillejo.
Inter’s Joaquin Correa sustained a muscle injury against Roma on Saturday and his recovery time is still unknown. Matteo Darmian and Andrea Ranocchia will return in a couple of weeks.
Atalanta have Robin Gosens and Matteo Lovato out of action. The German was supposed to return in the coming days, but a new injury in training will force him to the sidelines until the beginning of 2022.
Only three games are remaining before the end of the Girone di Andata which will determine Serie A’s Campione d’Inverno, the leader at the end of the first half of the season.
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