With Napoli having been crowned the winter champions of the domestic top-flight in Italy, it is not safe to say that they will be celebrating, come the end of the season, as there are no awards for teams that finish the calendar year on top of the table.
The Naples-based outfit are desperate to win a first league title in over 20 years, but face stiff competition from Juventus, who are looking for a seventh consecutive Scudetti.
Napoli head into 2018 a point ahead of the Bianconeri, and will be looking it maintain the status quo, come the end of the campaign. With early challengers - Inter Milan looking average in recent weeks, pundits believe the title race will be a closely-fought affair between Juventus and Napoli.
Roma left behind
Last season, Juventus topped the chart with Roma finishing second while Napoli could only finish third, with an impressive 86 points, enough to win the league in some other countries. Roma, this season, however, are starting afresh under the tutelage of Eusebio Di Francesco, the suave, passionate manager that has been compared to Italy manager, Antonio Conte.
For all of Napoli’s brilliance this season, there is every right to say that the title will still remain in Turin, though the gap admittedly is becoming smaller. Juventus are second on 47 points, just one behind Napoli and have already won at Stadio San Paolo this season, a 1-0 victory over Maurizio Sarri’s men in which former Napoli man, Gonzalo Higuain came back to haunt his former side.
Big names and squad depth
The Bianconeri may have lost Leonardo Bonucci last summer to AC Milan, but the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Mehdi Benatia have stepped up when it matters most this season. The Old Lady have players that boast title-winning experience, meaning that when the business end of the season comes to play, they won’t be overwhelmed by the situation.
After six titles on the bounce, the law of diminishing returns may set in, but under Max Allegri, Juventus look well equipped to lead the chasing pack once again. The other teams in the title race don’t have the squad Juventus possess, meaning that if any player is out injured or loses form, another can take his place and do an equal job or even better.
Napoli will suffer if any of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens or Marek Hamsik get injured, while Roma rely too heavily on Edin Dzeko, which is also the same case with Mauro Icardi at Inter Milan.
The lack of quality replacements for the quality players of the other teams means that by February or March, those players would be knackered as they wouldn’t have been rested properly between games in a bid to keep them fresh.
7/7 is inevitable
Juventus have the best coach, the best set of players, best finances and the best overall structure which can only mean one thing: they are set up to dominate in the division, as the other teams find it hard to compete against them.
The likes of Juan Cuadrado, Federico Bernadeschi, Douglas Costa, Miralem Pjanic, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic are all competing for places in attack, which is remarkable given that any of these players will comfortably start anywhere else in the country.
With only 11 points separating the top 5 at the moment, the league is as competitive as it has rarely been in recent years, but expect Juventus to pull out of the pack when the others start getting tired.
The Old Lady may be old in age, but sure is young at heart, and that is why she keeps topping the rest. Trust that this season will be no different.
Disclaimer: This article presents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect Sportskeeda's opinion on the matter.