BLOG ITALIA
Sunday October 27 2019
Not your usual Scudetto race

Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall sees a Scudetto race blown wide open by the transformation of Juventus, Inter and Napoli.

Look back at last season and ask yourself this: what happens next? Juventus are 1-0 up against minnows Lecce away with 40 minutes on the clock and Inter are 2-1 down to Parma at home after 30 minutes. The conclusion you would come to is that the Bianconeri shut the game down efficiently and often turgidly, whilst the Nerazzurri draw level and then concede a late third in Pazza style. Not this season! In 2019-20, both The Old Lady and their Milanese competitors are showing off uncharacteristic traits and this means there is a title race, oh and by the way, did anyone mention Napoli?

Juventus under Maurizio Sarri look dangerous when in full flight, but defensively it feels like there is an issue. Perhaps this is the main reason that there feels like a Scudetto challenge could be mounted. Let’s be clear, Sarri is asking a lot of his team. He is asking them to change the way they defend and in turn change who they are. This is of their own making, The Agnelli’s wanted this style of attacking and free flowing football. The football that makes them look like Barcelona, the football that would be attractive in a European Super League. This comes at a price, however.

Sarri wants his team to play put from the back and use the defence as the first form of offence. It means higher lines, redefines the full back position and in a nutshell, it is almost un-Italian. If this works, then Juventus could be devastating and when it has clicked this season, they have looked incredible. The problem is, however, that they are failing to kill off opponents like Lecce, which would’ve been a given a year ago. Transition can be accommodated, but it comes at a cost.

Inter are a conundrum still. Whilst they are more resilient under Antonio Conte, they have not as yet developed a style that would let you argue they could be champions. They still make the mistakes defensively, but they are much more resolute in terms of character. It’s this factor that is key, as if we look at Juventus dropping points in order to turn on the style, then Inter’s dogged determination makes up for their lack of flair.

These hard-earned points, fighting back to hold Parma, are not something that would have been seen in recent years. The end result wasn’t good enough and Conte has bemoaned his lack of depth in the squad, but they are on the right track. If they can battle on and keep pace until January, then they may be able to furnish their team with reinforcements and potentially push the Turin giants to the end. After all, you don’t always need style to win, Juventus proved that over the years.

SPAL may not put the fear into many teams, but they are still a side to be wary of on their own turf. If Napoli can put them to bed today, then this will take them three points behind Inter and four adrift of Juventus. One shouldn’t rule Carlo Ancelotti’s men out of this race, as they have the ability to gather pace and form. Arkadiusz Milik is starting to find his feet, while Alex Meret and his defence are slowly looking like a good unit.

The start hasn’t been perfect for the Neapolitans, but take away the Cagliari result and the Juventus collapse, and you only can moan at the draws to Torino (and Genk in Europe). It is true that with Atalanta and Roma on the horizon, their path isn’t smooth, but they have the attacking capabilities to despatch them and in turn challenge for the Scudetto. Whilst it is wrong to refer to them as a dark horse, they perhaps need talking about more.

The race for the Scudetto certainly is on. The upcoming fixtures offer up room for all to slip. As mentioned, Napoli have Atalanta and Roma to disrupt them, Inter arguably have the best run as they have winnable games through November until facing Roma in December. Juventus have it tough, as the Derby Della Mole is soon, then Milan and Atalanta come back to back and could offer disruption.

One thing is for sure, Serie A has a different look and feel with some of the old characteristics of clubs feeling like they have disappeared, so this season will inevitably be entertaining.

Have your say...
@Dario, you truly know but you dont want to admit that inter will choke and free fall after December. Every Serie A fans know that. LOL
on the 31st October, 2019 at 1:02pm
Nah, too much drama for the 2nd Milanese team;) They will choke Fino Alla Fine, like they use too, even with Conte. Because they can't rely just on good luck and favorable calls from the referees, their squad is thin, without many options. Conte only knows one way of "coaching", and he can't just win with Barella or Sensi. They are not like Pirlo from his first years at Juve, c'mon, but more likely... Giaccherini/Estigarribia;)
Anyway, so far the big surprise is Napoli, if Roma wins saturday...
on the 31st October, 2019 at 8:24am
This will be the season of Handanovic. juBentus is not the same, no matter how hard they try to act like it. Great chance for Conte & Marotta to rub the Scudetto into Agnelli`s face - I believe they will take it.
on the 30th October, 2019 at 5:32pm
juve need to sort their midfield out. The only world class player there is pjanic. When you look at other european giants like bareclona man city etc look at their midfield. The same goes with inter and napoli. Whoever has the best midfield and a solid consistent striker will win the scudetto. simple. juve have higuain inter have lukaku and napoli have milik. out of these 3 the best is definetely lukaku. inter even have martinez to fall back on and esposito who has quality
on the 30th October, 2019 at 4:16pm
Well done guys! Did well the chores. Fixtures list just waving us like spider do to its food!!!. Juventas are such accomplished side. Anyway, next year things will be in our way! That's Life! Bastoni & Esposito are gift from god. Lazaro & Biraghi just ready to jump & brawl. Brozo needs three days sleep thats all!?
on the 30th October, 2019 at 8:49am
It's early days but i hope Atalanta can give Juventus a run for the title. Atalanta can win the scudetto that's if they can keep leads not collapse and also beat Juventus. Inter Milan can give it a go but i think they should concentrate on winning the Coppa Italia bring the trophy home and build confidence. Roma can get in the race that's if they stop drawing too many matches. Napoli no chance of Scudetto this year they should concentrate on top 4 and win a trophy
on the 29th October, 2019 at 12:57am
I swear, not even 10 matches in, and still talking about the Scudetto race. Jeez, sweet 16 fever, much? 
on the 28th October, 2019 at 7:52am
inter doing well at this stage of the season, we looked tired on the field but with so many mid week games (and more to come) coupled with a some key injuries, inter is doing well. Parma game was disappointing, especially as I think we should have gotten a late penalty with Darmian missing the ball and clearly kicking Biraghi, but we created enough chances to put the game to bed. Can't wait for Sensi to be fit and back in the team, he has been our best player this year
on the 28th October, 2019 at 2:24am
@Martin Badger
The ball changed direction 2 m away from De Ligt, a little bit harsh of you to blame him for that one. On top of that, how was it a penalty in the first place if you read the rules on the ball changing direction in close proximity...
on the 27th October, 2019 at 11:44pm
Style comes into you by doing it regularly. But when the engine goes down what to do with side mirrors. We looked incredible this season. The way we equalise at slavia, locked metals down with barca and juve then overturn that energy to down dortmund and then keep going like a soldeir who just wont forfeit!! Bravo Brave Herats [forza inter]
on the 27th October, 2019 at 11:01am
Juve did two very stupid things this summer - they sacked a great manager and a proven winner and they appointed a total mediocrity in his place. Inter have Conte, a very good manager indeed, and my guess is that they will win the Scudetto. As for De Ligt - 70,000,000 wasted. The simple fact is that the guy has brought absolutely nothing to the team except a tendency to give away stupid and unnecessary penalties.
on the 27th October, 2019 at 10:51am

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