There is an alternative Serie A League table that can now be assessed with the championship having reached its halfway point. One solely based on the results of those games played between the top seven sides in the Division – namely Juventus, Lazio, Napoli, Fiorentina, Inter, Roma and Milan.
The significance of this unconventional ladder may be negligible, but its order is nevertheless one of interest given that there are some noteworthy differences between this virtual classifica and the actual one that matters. For a start, Inter are at the top of the pile and Juventus, reigning champions and real leaders, are only down in fifth.
Inter’s position here as leaders strengthens the theory that Andrea Stramaccioni’s side are good against the big teams, but not good enough against the provincial ones. From their six ties, the Beneamata have collected 12 points thanks to four wins against Fiorentina, Milan, Napoli and their historic victory in Turin – where they became the first away side to conquer the Juventus Stadium. The incredible statistic is that 34 per cent of the Nerazzurri’s points in Serie A have come from these specific confrontations. Games against Roma and Lazio were lost.
In joint second, we find Napoli and Lazio who, if it were not for the Azzurri’s two-point penalty, would also be together in the actual standings. The duo have won three and drawn one of their six big game encounters, with all their victories coming on their home patch. The interest in Lazio’s strong position comes from the fact that they failed to find the net in three of their games, which reflect why they have a goal difference of -2. Only Milan’s GD is worse.
It’s Roma who come next in the battle of the giants thanks to nine points from the 18 available. Although they may have lost three times, it’s worth noting that the Giallorossi – like Fiorentina – have played four games on the road, even if that includes the ‘away’ defeat to city rivals Lazio who share the Stadio Olimpico. The statistics also show that Roma play the same cavalier football against big clubs as they do the small, given that they have scored 15 and conceded 16 in these top of the table showdowns.
Of Juventus’ 44 points in the championship after 19 rounds, only 18 per cent – eight points – were delivered from these games. And, worryingly, four of those matches were played on their own turf. It’s a stark turnaround to this stage last season when the unbeaten Old Lady had collected 12 points from their six games – although Fiorentina have replaced Udinese in the reckoning this time around.
The issue this term, going by the numbers, is in front of goal. The Old Lady only conceded five goals in their six matches, the best defensive record of the seven sisters, but they only found the net on seven occasions themselves. That has only delivered them two wins and two draws. Their advantage in the actual standings comes from their form against those outside the top seven. Juve have beaten all teams placed from 8th to 20th in the Division, apart from Sampdoria who stunned them at the weekend.
Fiorentina are a point shy of Juventus, having tasted defeat at Napoli, Inter and Roma, but four home games in the second half of the campaign will give them the opportunity to make amends. Sitting at the bottom of the pile are Milan, whose only points have come in a narrow 1-0 win over Juventus and a 2-2 comeback draw at Napoli. Their total points percentage is a measly 13. Milan had similar struggles last year, but, back then, they made up for their big match deficiencies against the minnows.
|P||W||D||L||F||A||Pts||GD||% of total points|
|Napoli (3rd)||6||3||1||2||12||8||10||+4||25% [-2 ignored]|