After a weekend of surprising results in Serie A, what impact have they had on our AI model’s predictions for the end of 2021-22?
The Title Race
Whilst there were no direct clashes between the title contenders in Serie A across the last matchday, the situation at the top has changed a lot following the results.
2021-22 is proving to be one of the most exciting Serie A seasons in recent memory in the battle for the title, with Milan, Internazionale and Napoli all separated by just two points. Never before in the three-points-for-a-win era has the gap between first and third in the table after Matchday 32 been fewer than two points. The previous closest came in 2001-02 (two).
Napoli’s unexpected defeat against Fiorentina has seen their chances of winning Serie A reduce to less than half of what they were before MD32 – falling from 29.1% to 13.6%. Napoli, of course, already have bad memories of losing a game against Fiorentina which contributed to them miss out on the title under Maurizio Sarri in April 2018.
Milan’s draw against Torino and Internazionale’s 2-0 victory over Verona mean that Internazionale are now only two points off their rivals at the top, but crucially Inter have a game in hand on Milan. As a result, they are now 61.8% favourites in our prediction model to win the title.
With Napoli losing and Milan only securing a point this weekend, Inter’s chances of winning the Serie A title increased from 46.3% before the weekend. Much of this is down to having that game in hand on their rivals, but they also have the easiest run-in of all 20 Serie A teams, based on the points-per-game average of their remaining opponents.
Inter’s remaining seven matches come against opponents with an average of 1.14 points per game – easier than Napoli (1.21), Juventus (1.24) and Milan (1.43).
Inter’s current league-high points per game average is 2.13. The last Serie A season to see a team triumph with a lower average was in 2002-03, when Juventus prevailed with 72 points from 34 games (2.12).
Even if they win each of their remaining seven games, Inter can only reach 87 points this season. That would have guaranteed the Italian top-flight title in just two of the last eight seasons: 2019-20 (Juventus with 83 points) and in 2014-15 (Juventus’ 87 points).
The Fight for European Football
The battle for fourth place and UEFA Champions League football in 2022-23 sees Juventus as the big favourite, with only a 3.7% chance of exiting the Champions League qualification spots, which is less than their chances of winning the title (4.2%).
The main team to worry the Bianconeri are Roma, a team that could be hampered by the difficulty of their remaining games. Their remaining opponents have a PPG average of 1.51, which is the fourth highest of all 20 Serie A teams. In fact, their next two fixtures put them up against Napoli and Inter, making them a crucial part of the Serie A title race. Across the last 11 matchdays, Roma are the only unbeaten side in Serie A, while their 25 points is the highest tally collected in that period, so it’ll be a tough game for both sides with title aspirations.
The battle for sixth place promises to be more exciting, with similar percentages for Roma (26.4%), Lazio (24.5%), Fiorentina (14.8%) and Atalanta (33.5%).
Atalanta are the main candidates to secure this position, but they will certainly have to recover from a dark period, which has seen them defeated in the last two games against Sassuolo and Napoli. However, one positive is that their run-in is the fourth easiest in Serie A.
The Relegation Battle
The bottom five teams – Venezia, Genoa, Salernitana, Cagliari and Sampdoria – all lost on the last matchday and the situation remained virtually unchanged, with the teams at the bottom of the table increasing the possibility of relegation towards the end of the season.
Although the difficulty of Genoa’s remaining matches is greater than Venezia (1.50 ppg vs 1.37 ppg), the Rossoblù have a slightly better chance of staying up, thanks to their recent history of avoiding relegation from the top flight (26.9% vs 18%).
The team with little hope of surviving are Salernitana, who from an already disastrous 95.6% chance of relegation have gone to an even higher 96.6%, despite having the second-best set of games remaining (1.15 points per game by their opponents). In 64.4% of our simulations, they finish bottom of Serie A this season.
Sampdoria may have suffered a defeat on Monday night to Bologna, but they should have enough to keep them up this season. Our model gives them a higher chance of finishing 14th (9.9%) than being relegated in 2021-22 (2.5%).
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