Halfway through the campaign, the table has a familiar look to it, as Juventus sit on top, two points clear of Inter, with Lazio a further four behind, with a game in hand. The old adage says it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and consistency tends to be the key.
Intriguingly, since the start of December, the only one of these clubs to have not dropped any points in the league are the Biancocelesti, with the capital side currently riding a 10-match winning streak, including a comprehensive win over Juve.
On the other hand, the Nerazzurri have won just half of their matches in the same period, and even though they have not lost, failing to beat both Roma and Atalanta at home could well come back to haunt them when it's all said and done. The defending champions took advantage of these San Siro stumbles, gaining victories in their last four encounters, including a tough away trip to Roma this past weekend, to move ahead of them and take the title of Winter Champions.
For what it's worth, only six times in the last 25 years have the Campioni d’Inverno failed to go on to win the Scudetto, so will Juve maintain their streak or can Inter or Lazio break the Bianconeri's stranglehold on the Serie A title?
While it seems the Derby d'Italia rivals have continued to interchange between leading the race, Le Aquile are just there lurking for an opportunity to take the ascendancy. The next five rounds could very well change the shape of this Scudetto battle.
La Vecchia Signora travel to the San Paolo to face a Napoli side whose season has imploded before our eyes. That is followed by matches against stuttering Fiorentina, Verona, Brescia and SPAL, before their bid to end nearly quarter of a century without European glory resumes versus Lyon, just before they host Inter. It could very well be that Maurizio Sarri's system, which takes some time to be implemented, will be in full effect by then.
Antonio Conte had an immediate impact on Inter, with his energy, enthusiasm and maniacal approach to the game, but has it waned in recent times? Knocked out of the Champions League, criticised for their style of play and an inability to maintain their performance for an entire match. The statistics make shocking reading, as if we only take the first half into account, Inter would be 12 points clear at the top of the table. However, having been pegged back on several occasions after taking the lead, they will need to find a way to sustain their standards for the entire 90 minutes, if they are to lift the title for the first time in a decade.
Conte has complained about his lack of squad depth, and here too there are intriguing stats to back it up, as Inter have not scored a single Serie A goal off the bench this season. With Stefano Sensi and Nicolò Barella back from injuries and strong links to Christian Eriksen, he may just get the dynamism he is looking for.
Lazio themselves have not won the Scudetto for longer, having gone a full 20 years since Sven-Goran Eriksson's side triumphed over Juve so dramatically at the turn of the century. They essentially have their next four games at home, as they come up against Sampdoria, arch-rivals Roma, SPAL and their game in hand versus Verona all at the Stadio Olimpico.
The argument against Lazio's Scudetto credentials is their lack of squad depth. Their first XI basically picks itself and can match anyone on their day, as Juve have found out twice already this season, but after that, they are thin on options. That they dropped out of the Europa League with a whimper may have disappointed many of their fanbase, but they would gladly exchange that for a third title, especially as that would bring them level with Roma, having already overtaken the Giallorossi on total titles won when they won the Supercoppa Italiana.
Juventus have the winning mentality and experience, Inter have a manager that knows how to win the league and Lazio have the stability and momentum. Strap in, sit back and enjoy, as we are only at the halfway stage of this marathon title race.
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/