21 points separated Serie A champions Juventus from 4th-placed Internazionale at the end of the 2018/19 campaign. Now, at the halfway stage the current season, Inter are just two behind the Turin giants.
Juventus are looking for their ninth consecutive Italian title and the 36th in the club’s history. However, they are also going through transition with Maurizio Sarri having taken the reins from the outgoing Max Allegri last summer.
Ironically, it was Sarri who was the one who came closest to crushing I bianconeri’s monopoly with Napoli in 2017/18. Then, however, Sarri departed for his ill-fated stay with Chelsea in the Premier League. Now, he’s back on home soil, managing superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Giorgio Chiellini, Matthijs De Ligt and Miralem Pjanic on a daily basis. Some are looking to sign up with Bethard on bonuscodebets.co.uk to back him to go one better this year.
To be fair, Sarri has settled in well at the Allianz Stadium, leading Juve to 15 wins and just 1 defeat from 19 Serie A fixtures so far. Juventus are top with Antonio Conte’s Inter two points back in second place. Another surprise team, Lazio, are in third, a further four points behind but with a game in hand on both Inter and Juventus.
Conte replaced Luciano Spalletti before the start of this season. The former Chelsea boss was tasked with bringing a first Serie A title to the club since another previous Chelsea manager – Jose Mourinho – did so in 2010.
Inter came out of the blocks flying. Conte’s side won its first six league games before eventually losing 2-1 at home to Juventus in early October. Yet, Inter Milan reacted brilliantly, winning six of their next eight league games after the Juventus defeat.
Inter are seven points better off than how they were at this stage last season, with three league defeats less on their record. They were 14 points adrift of Juventus a year ago so the reduction to the current two-point deficit really is a success story for Conte so far.
Like Juventus, Inter Milan are also still in the fight for silverware at the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia. But they failed to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Instead, they will now play out the rest of their European campaign in the less glamorous Europa League.
Inter made some astute signings in the summer, bringing in the experienced professional, Diego Godin and smashing the club transfer record for Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku. It’s proved to be money well spent so far with Lukaku notching up 14 goals in 19 appearances in Serie A already.
Lukaku seems to already have a very good on-pitch understanding with his 22-year-old Argentine international teammate, Lautaro Martinez. He has bagged 10 goals in 18 appearances in the league.
While Lazio are still certainly within a shout if they can maintain the blistering form they’ve shown in recent weeks, Internazionale is where the lion’s share of hope lies for the neutrals. Can Conte and co end Juventus’ dominance of the Italian top flight? It’s certain to be an interesting few months in Serie A.