It has been an excellent start to the new season for Antonio Conte and his Inter Milan side. However, defeat against Juventus has meant that they sit in second place and are playing catch up their pursuit of a first top-flight Italian title since 2010.

Conte has certainly shaped the Inter Milan side in his image, and all of his signings to this point have been rewarded. Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku have quickly rediscovered their form following disappointing spells with Manchester United, while Diego Godin looks set to make his mark in Serie A as the season goes on.

Inter currently sit a point behind Juventus, but they will have to maintain their form to have any chance of catching the reigning champions. Some online sportsbooks still think that it is unlikely that Conte’s side will win the Serie A title this season, but stranger things have certainly happened.

Maintaining their form this season will be crucial to any chance that they have, but they will also need to rely on Juventus dropping points along the way too. If they beat Juventus to the title and steal the Scudetto, would be a feat that could rival Toronto Raptors defeating the Golden State Warriors in last season’s NBA betting odds.

But what factors have Inter Milan got that suggest they could go all the way?

Romelu Lukaku

The former Manchester United striker has enjoyed an excellent start to his career in Italy. After scoring a brace against Bologna, he set the club record for most goals in the opening games with his new club. Ronaldo once held that record, and if he can reach the Brazilian’s level, there could be a lot to be excited about.

He has scored nine goals in eleven to this point, and that would present an excellent return. However, sceptics would suggest that sustaining form throughout the season is what let him down at Old Trafford, so he will need to continue this scoring run. Any chance that Inter have of achieving something this season will rely on Lukaku’s goals, so this is vital.

It isn’t just in front of goal that he is excelling, as he is also winning more balls in the air to create space for his teammates. So far this season, he has won 3.6 aerial duals on average per game. That could also be essential to the chances of Inter this season, as his link-up play is crucial in their attacking set-up.

Defensive Solidity

Inter’s defensive game has improved immeasurably already this season. The switch to three at the back, which is the calling card for Conte has worked effortlessly in Milan. They have only conceded eleven goals this season, and that record is only beaten by Verona and Juventus who have conceded nine. Compared to this stage last season, the results are overwhelming.

By this time last year, Inter had already lost on two occasions and drawn once. There are many similarities to last season, however, as Inter won eight of their opening eleven league games. However, sustaining that form was their biggest problem. Defeats at pivotal points of the season really derailed any potential title challenge last time out, and while they were able to finish fourth, there was still a feeling that they could have achieved so much more.

Conte’s experience in Serie A will be crucial for the club this season, and his reputation as a winner ensures that he can install that mentality into the side. Conte may have bowed out of his time at Stamford Bridge under a cloud of smoke, but there was little doubt about his influence during his debut campaign.

If his style of play can be implemented that quickly again and the results follow, then there is no reason why Inter couldn’t be as close as possible to Juventus at the end of the season.