Despite a decade of dominance that has seen the Serie A title take up permanent residency in Turin, the tide has seemingly changed this season as the two Milan clubs look hellbent on wrestling the title off of Juventus and taking it back to Lombardy.
After a disasters 2010s, Milan have been revived under the tutelage of Stefano Pioli following his initial appointment in October 2019, and lead the league – narrowly ahead of Inter.
An interim spell saw Pioli rewarded with a two-year contract after a remarkable run over form following the COVID break. He’s since proven that it was more than just a purple patch, however; Milan have lost just once so far in the 2020/21 Serie A season and sit four points clear of their crosstown rivals at the top of the table, with champions Juventus fighting to find a way into the top four.
Inter are showing no signs of giving up, however. Antonio Conte’s side came within a point of the Scudetto last season and have been impressive throughout the current campaign as well. Despite losing in the first Derby della Madonnina of the season in October, Inter are more than capable of finding four points and continue to impress with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Achraf Hakimi all standing out.
The 2020/21 season is exactly 10 years on from when a team other than Juventus last won the Scudetto, which is, truthfully, rather depressing. Things are different now, though, and it makes sense to look back on when the two front-runners last reached the top of the mountain themselves.
Milan led for most of the season in 2010/11 and picked up their first Scudetto since 2004 under Massimiliano Allegri.
The Rossoneri boasted an obscene squad, with a midfield so good that Andrea Pirlo was (probably incorrectly) a rotation. Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and later Mark van Bommel – who arrived from Bayern Munich in January 2011 – held down the middle of the park while a prime Kevin Prince Boateng linked midfield to a scintillating attack, comprised of Zlatan ibrahimovic and Robinho.
Rotating with that lethal front two was Alexandre Pato, who still managed to impress despite beginning to suffer with what would become relentless injuries. All three of them bagged 14 league goals that season, with Ibrahimovic also chipping in with 12 assists. Milan were simply unplayable and conceded just 24 league goals on their way to the title, with Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva forging an unforgettable partnership at the back.
They did the league double in the Derby della Madonnina that season, too. The second of which was a 3-0 victory in April, opening a five point gap to Inter which was key in sealing Milan’s 18th Serie A title.
Inter, meanwhile, last won the league a season prior.
A star-studded Jose Mourinho side saw the Nerazzurri become the only Italian team to complete a treble consisting of Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League. A strong summer transfer window saw Inter bring in Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto’o and Diego Milito to bolster the attack, while Lucio was recruited to play alongside Walter Samuel in defence.
Having won Serie A the previous season, there were doubts over how much further Mourinho could take Inter. Those doubts were soon put to bed however, as his side scored 75 league goals but also conceded just 34, the fewest in the division to win the Scudetto. Milito thrived as the striker, supported by Sneijder, Eto’o and Goran Pandev in behind, in a pragmatic defensive side that was incredibly well organised and lethal on the counter.
Milito topped the scoring charts in Serie A with 22 goals in 35 games, while Eto’o supported as the creator with 12 goals and seven assists from out wide.
It’s unfair on fans of Juventus to suggest that it’s all been downhill since then for Italian football, but we’d be lying if we said it hadn’t. The competition within Italy was massively reduced throughout the 2010s which coincided with Juve’s rise to prominence, but things look different with a new decade.
Titles are by no means won in January and to write off Andrea Pirlo’s Bianconeri so soon would be naïve considering the star power in the squad.
Regardless of who emerges as champions of Italy 10 years on from the last non-Juventus title win, there’s no doubting the resurgence of Milan, Inter and others as Serie A slowly emerges as one of Europe’s top leagues once again.