Milan needed to beat Frosinone after drawing Carpi and Verona. It almost did not happen.
Frosinone took the lead early in the first half and took the lead into halftime. The Rossoneri cruised into through the second half, burying four goals to snatch victory.
Juventus almost found itself in the same spot. Carpi went ahead after 15 minutes, but the champions did not need much time to recover. The Bianconeri tied the match in the 18th minute and cruised to three points.
Massimiliano Allegri's side may still be outside the top three, but the way it is playing propelled Juventus to No. 1 in the power rankings this week, thanks to Inter's defeat. The Nerazzurri fell to Lazio at the San Siro, thanks to a late goal from Antonio Candreva.
Serie A will now take a break until Jan. 6, as teams will rest up for through the holidays. This has been one of the most exciting seasons in memory. Lately, Juventus has had the title all but locked up, but four teams are within four points of Inter at the top, and Sassuolo and Empoli are surprising competitors for European spots, along with Milan, which is still trying to find its identity.
Below are the rankings through 17 rounds.
Serie A Power Rankings, Round 17
|Club||Round 17||Round 18||Thoughts|
Juventus (Round 16: 2nd)
|Defeated Carpi, 3-2||vs. Verona, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Mario Mandzukic was my preseason pick for the Capocannoniere in Serie A. While that was probably dumb—simply because of Gonzalo Higuain—I don't think many people expected Mandzukic to start the season so poorly. The Croatian did not score in Serie A until the end of October, but now he has four goals in four matches, bringing his season total to six.|
Inter Milan (1st)
|Lost to Lazio, 2-1||at Empoli, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Inter's lead at the top diminished with Lazio's late goal to seal a win at the San Siro. Inter still needs to score more goals to really assert itself, but it enters 2016 in good shape.|
|Defeated Atalanta, 3-1||vs. Torino, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Gonzalo Higuain keeps pulling away in the race for Capocannoniere 2015-16. He is averaging a goal every 90 minutes and leads the league with 16 goals, six ahead of Nikola Kalinic and Eder.|
|Defeated Chievo, 2-0||at Palermo, Wednesday, Jan. 6||It's hard to find a better scoring duo than Nikola Kalinic and Josip Ilicic. Both scored as the Viola beat Chievo 2-0 in the last game of 2015.|
AS Roma (5)
|Defeated Genoa, 2-0||at Chievo, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Possession, passes and shots were close to even, but Roma was more clinical, burying two of its three shots on goal.|
AC Milan (9)
|Defeated Frosinone, 4-2||vs. Bologna, Wednesday, Jan. 6||It looked like Milan was in for a long night when Frosinone took the lead 19 minutes in, but four second half goals—two surprisingly from Ignazio Abate and Alex—propelled Milan to a big win.|
|Defeated Bologna, 3-2||vs. Inter, Wednesday, Jan. 6||A wild sequence in the middle of the game saw four goals scored between the 36th and 48th minute, two each for Empoli and Bologna. Manuel Pucciarelli's goal in the 24th minute proved crucial for Empoli. Riccardo Saponara had an assist. He now has six to go along with his five goals. Legend.|
|Drew at Verona, 1-1||vs. Frosinone, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Sergio Floccari gave Sassuolo a lead late in the first half, but Verona struck back almost immediately. At least Milan is not the only team that is supposed to be good that drew Verona.|
|Lost to Udinese, 1-0||at Napoli, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Torino fell into the bottom half of the table with its home loss to struggling Udinese.|
|Defeated Inter, 2-1||vs. Carpi, Wednesday, Jan. 6||How about that Antonio Candreva guy? After Inter negated his fifth-minute goal, Candreva scored three minutes from time to give the Roman side a crucial win on the road.|
Chievo Verona (10)
|Lost to Fiorentina, 2-0||vs. Roma, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Chievo only had 34 percent of the possession and failed to put a shot on target, as Fiorentina overwhelmed the Flying Donkeys.|
|Defeated Palermo, 2-0||at Genoa, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Roberto Soriano scored for the first time in two months to open the scoring for Sampdoria. He had not even contributed to a goal since his goal Oct. 25, but he now has four goals and three assists.|
|Lost to Napoli, 3-1||at Udinese, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Alejandro Gomez's fifth goal of the season got Atalanta back on level terms two minutes after Marek Hamsik's opening goal. But Napoli and Higuain were too strong.|
|Lost to Empoli, 3-2||at Milan, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Bologna put up a good fight against Empoli, but could not get any points out of a tough home match. Mattia Destro leads this week's "former Milan players to score in Serie A" highlights.|
|Defeated Torino, 1-0||vs. Atalanta, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Stipe Perica made a nice impression for Udinese. The 20-year-old Chelsea loanee scored his first goal in his fifth appearance to lead Udinese to a big win at Torino.|
|Lost to Roma, 2-0||vs. Sampdoria, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Genoa had more shots and more opportunities from set pieces, but Roma proved to be the better team.|
|Lost to Sampdoria, 2-0||vs. Fiorentina, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Palermo did what it could with what possession it had, but Sampdoria's two second half goals pushed the hosts past the Eagles.|
|Lost to Milan, 4-2||at Sassuolo, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Frosinone put up a fight, but Milan was too much for the Canaries to handle.|
Hellas Verona (19)
|Drew vs. Sassuolo, 1-1||at Juventus, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Luca Toni is 38 and still killing it. His third goal of his third season with Verona was his 45th with what will likely be his last club.|
|Lost to Juventus, 3-2||at Lazio, Wednesday, Jan. 6||Marco Borriello scored against one of his old teams. What a shock! The veteran's goal in the 15th minute gave Carpi the lead, but that only lasted three minutes, as Juventus took control.|