Finally Juventus’ domination of the Serie A championship has ended and Inter are the new champions! It has been a deserved title and Antonio Conte’s team have been far the best side in the league especially since January. Before then they were neck and neck with Milan but they faded and Inter roared on to win their first scudetto since 2010.
The title officially became Inter’s on Sunday when 2nd placed Atalanta failed to beat Sassuolo with that game ending in a draw. This is Inter’s first title since the glory days of Jose Mourinho 11 years ago.
This is Inter’s 19th league title and in fairness to the other teams they were head and shoulders above them. Since March it became a question of when Inter would win the title and not if. In the end just minutes after securing the title Juventus who had won 9 in a row congratulated their rivals. It would have been painful for Juve not to make it 10 in a row but then again they have had time to contemplate that not happening this season since they were so far behind. The Old Lady may not qualify for next season’s Champions League, though they are in 3rd place now it is still very close.
Antonio Conte explained Inter’s philosophy in winning the title, “The team really developed in that sense, and in a season you must be able to take different approaches to be unpredictable. You cannot always just attack or always defend, it’s about knowing when to push. That’s where we improved, in reading the game and knowing those moments. A team cannot press for 90 minutes non-stop. The opponents in Italy study you and find ways to neutralise your strengths. If you are patient and wait for the right moment to strike, and have a team that is in good shape physically, you know that sooner or later the opposition will lose intensity.”
The player who is arguably Inter’s best of this title winning season Romelu Lukaku had this to say about winning the league. “I am so happy for all the Inter fans in the world, for the team, the staff, the President and everyone. It was a wonderful year for us, I am truly proud to play for Inter. I wanted to come out here and celebrate along with the people. I told my friend this was the best way to experience it, to be there with the fans. For me and many of my teammates, this is our first league title, so it’s a moment we wanted to share with them.”
Let’s take a look at the 3 key players who did that bit extra in ensuring Inter became champions of Italy.
Milan Skriniar hasn’t always got the plaudits this season but the defender has remained consistent and very solid throughout the title winning campaign. He has amassed an impressive 71 points and been part of a defence that has helped to keep 13 clean sheets. On top of that he has been dangerous at set-pieces and has scored 3 goals this season- all important ones that changed the game.
Achraf Hakimi really came into his own in the middle of the season and the latter stages when it really mattered. Hakimi reminds one of Roberto Carlos in that his defending was swashbuckling and determined overlayered with intelligence but he wasn’t afraid to attack either to score goals and set them up. Hakimi has been one of the best defenders in Europe this season no doubt. He has contributed to an incredible 13 goals in Serie A alone, scoring seven of them.
And of course there is Romelu Lukaku who has had a glittered career and yet this is his first league title with a club. Lukaku will be a legend now with Inter fans. His runs into the opponents half, his fantastic goals and his overall contribution will live long in the memory banks. Lukaku will probably finish as runner up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the goal scorers charts but he has still won the most important title for sure. Lukaku has scored 21 goals and assisted in another 10 in an incredible season for him and it is fitting that he has picked up 100 points in the fantasy rankings just as Inter have won the league title.
This was a title much like Manchester City’s in the Premier League which was won in truth by the brilliant defence. Attack has been the key of course to each teams titles but the overriding factor has been how the defence has played. In the rankings for example just for Inter we can see that 5 from the top ranked 8 players are defenders and that doesn’t include goalkeeper Samir Handanovic who is currently the 3rd best ranked player in the team.
Congratulations then to Inter for a fantastic title. The season isn’t over yet though and the clubs next game will be at home to Sampdoria on Saturday.
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