Serie A 2019-20: Mid-season review
The 2019-20 season marked the 88th edition of the Serie A - the top-flight club football competition of Italy.
Record 35-time winners and eight-time defending champions Juventus once again look like the team to beat. They took the unofficial title of 'winter champions' at the midway point of the season as a hard-fought 2-1 win away at AS Roma returned them to the top of the table after Internazionale drew 1-1 at home to Atalanta.
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Cristiano Ronaldo's longest Serie A scoring run of six consecutive games (ongoing), which included his much-awaited first hat-trick in the Italian top-flight, has taken the 34-year-old Portuguese player to joint second-place in the league scoring charts. Top-scorer Ciro Immobile's prolific scoring run has played a significant role in third-placed Lazio strutting their title credentials and dreaming of a first Scudetto in two decades.
It could be a challenge for mid-table AC Milan to qualify for European competition next season. The Rossoneri's inconsistent domestic form cost Marco Giampaolo his job four months in, as he was replaced by Stefano Pioli in October.
On the other hand, the newest team in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League, Atalanta, have continued their good domestic form from the previous season. They occupy the fourth and final qualification place for the competition after Matchday 19 of the 2019-20 Serie A season.
On that note, let us analyse the 2019-20 Serie A teams under various parameters:
# Most wins
Look no further than the eight-time defending champions. Juventus have tallied 15 wins in the first half of the ongoing 2019-20 Serie A season, which is one more than closest challengers Internazionale who have 14.
The Bianconeri have won eight of their nine games at home, drawing the other with Sassuolo. Their form on the road has been equally impressive, winning seven and drawing one, with their lone defeat of the season coming away at Lazio on Matchday 1 where they went down 1-3.
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# Longest winning run
Lazio may not have won as many Serie A games (13) as the leading duo of Juventus and Internazionale, but the Biancocelesti's ongoing streak of 10 consecutive wins is the longest in the Italian top-flight this season.
The record streak has propelled Lazio from sixth in the table to within touching distance of the top-two. The capital club would be looking forward to a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2007-08 at the very least.
If their good form spills over into the second half of the season, their third league title and first in two decades would not be outside the realms of possibility.
# Fewest losses
This is an honor shared by the leading duo of Juventus and Internazionale.
The two participants of one of Italy's oldest domestic rivalries, the Derby D'Italia, have both lost just once this season. Internazionale started the season with six consecutive wins before a 1-2 home loss to the defending eight-time champions ended their perfect start.
Juventus' unbeaten domestic run in the league encompassed 14 Matchdays till the Bianconeri fell to a 1-3 defeat at third-placed Lazio.
# Most goals scored
Affectionately dubbed the 'Ajax' of Italy for their penchant for free scoring football, Atalanta have outscored the leading trio of Juventus, Internazionale and Lazio by registering a league-high 49 goals in 19 games at the midway point of the 2019-20 season.
Having created Champions League history earlier in the season by becoming the first team in the competition to qualify for the knockout round after losing each of their first three games, Atalanta have continued their fine domestic form from last season, where they finished fourth.
Atalanta's 7-1 home win over Udinese is the highest scoring game in the 2019-20 Serie A. The Champions League debutants also trounced AC Milan and Parma 5-0 at home on consecutive Matchdays.
# Fewest goals conceded
Internazionale have had the meanest defence in Serie A this season, conceding a league-low 16 goals in 19 games - which is one fewer than that of Lazio's.
Internazionale's Samir Handanovic is one of the Serie A goalkeepers to have kept a league-high seven clean sheets this season.Published 14 Jan 2020, 06:57 IST