Tuesday January 14 2020
Midway through Scudetto marathon

We’re at the halfway stage of the marathon Scudetto race, so Vijay Rahaman checks on the progress of the leading pack Juventus, Inter and Lazio.

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.

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Have your say...

yeah, it WAS inter winning under certain "conditions". remember that inter was in that affair too only for the court to say it was beyond the so called "limitation".

by the way, it's 2020 now, in case you don't realize it, and Vijay is writing about the present time so that he got a point talking about lazio's streak that isn't silly at all
on the 15th January, 2020 at 11:36am
What the rubbish in this?? Huh!! Now you put Lazio into equation because of silly streak!!! Get clear-out gas from your pricking head. And Juve? Got the trail lost chasing shadow that we won even brfore when they started winning!!!!!! Forza Inter
on the 15th January, 2020 at 6:35am
Juventus by all rights should win the title, theyre the strongest team by far - you have to have your head pretty deep in the sand to deny that. However it's pretty embarrassing how much Lega Calcio is pushing for a different winner by means of questionable officiating. The Martinez-Toloi incident far and away the worst. Rizzoli has stated that VAR and onfield referee "missed" the incident, if that were the case Martinez should face a retrospective ban - he wont however.
on the 15th January, 2020 at 2:21am
Conte doesn't often last too long at jobs, so Inter need to go all-out to win it this season.

Juve haven't been great, but are still leading, which doesn't say a lot for the quality of the other teams.

But as INTER said, if they can add Eriksen and Spinazzola, then they'll be pushing more.

Inter are desperate for the title, Juve are desperate for the CL.

For the sake of Italian football, it'd be great to see them win both
on the 15th January, 2020 at 12:58am
Inter already has a strong 1st XI. Add in Eriksen and spinnazzola with giroud to give lukaku a rest and inter are more than capable of challenging. Juve will more than likely drop more points in second half of season if they focus on doing well in CL. For us inter fans, it is amazing not only to see us doing well, but attracting world class names like Eriksen, who could literally sign with anyone. Hopefully we can get the deal done asap.
on the 15th January, 2020 at 12:03am
By the end of this campaign.
on the 14th January, 2020 at 5:25pm
Pointless article. Juve will win it again.
on the 14th January, 2020 at 4:38pm
"Conte has complained about his lack of squad depth, and.." very telling paragraph

I hope there are no injuries to Lukaku or Lautauro... as a Juve fan the competition is refreshing this season. I think Inter fans may be a little too excited as there is half a season to go and many things can happen. Also Eriksen and Ashley Young won't help this situation that much
on the 14th January, 2020 at 3:56pm

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