With Serie A on its winter break, it’s a time for players to recuperate and managers to plot their paths to success in the second half of the season. It’s also time to take stock of how each club’s been faring so far this term, and predict where they’re going to end up come May.
For AC Milan, it’s been a mixed bag to date. The Rossoneri’s recent investment hasn’t lifted them back to the upper echelons of the league, and it’s certainly got them no closer to the all-conquering Juventus, who are on course for their eighth successive scudetto.
Milan find themselves a massive 22 points behind the Bianconeri at the midway point of the season, while Napoli are doing their best to stay on the coattails of Max Allegri’s side, nine points back. Although the Old Lady are cantering to the Serie A title, the race for the top four and next season’s Champions League is very much on.
Barring a bona fide miracle – or a huge points deduction – Juve’s spot at the top table of European football is assured for next term. Napoli are a safe bet too, with a 13 point lead over fifth-placed Milan. Gennaro Gattuso’s side are eight points behind city rivals Inter, who are currently in third.
Things start to get interesting after that though. Only seven points separate Lazio in fourth and Parma down in 12th. Sampdoria have had a good season so far, but as the season enters the home stretch, we can expect Milan, Roma and Lazio to be the main protagonists in the scrap to finish in the top four. Three big clubs won’t go into one spot, and we could be in for a cracking run-in.
Just two points separate those three sides at present, so it’s all to play for. Things aren’t exactly all fine and dandy at Milan, who have lost four of their 19 games so far. That’s not too bad considering Napoli have lost three times, but the issue is turning draws into wins, with Gattuso’s side sharing the spoils on seven occasions already.
Rumours are swirling around star striker Gonzalo Higuain too, who may have been cast aside by Juventus, but was still expected to bang in the goals on his loan spell at the San Siro. The Argentine has only managed six goals and one assist so far in Serie A, and he’s been strongly linked with a move to Premier League outfit Chelsea and former boss at Napoli, Maurizio Sarri.
The Rossoneri are desperate for more goals, having scored the fewest out of the top eight clubs. They’re expected to take Alvaro Morata in exchange for any move with Higuain, although the Spanish forward’s also been linked with La Liga teams Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. He was hardly prolific in Serie A while at Juventus, but Morata could turn out to be a good deal for Milan.
If he joins and hits the ground running in a league he knows well, Milan’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League will only improve. At the moment, the Rossoneri are 2/1 to finish in the top four, which is the same price as Lazio and marginally shorter than the odds on Roma.
Now could be a great time to get on Milan, as those odds will only shorten should they have a successful transfer window. Plus, Lazio are away at Napoli in the first round of fixtures after the break, before hosting Juve. Milan meanwhile are away to 14th-placed Genoa before a home game against Napoli. The Rossoneri are likely to find themselves in the top four come the end of January, and that price of 2/1 might disappear like tickets for Milan Fashion Week the following month.