Juventus have monopolised Serie A recently, claiming the past eight Scudetto.
At that moment, they have fended off challenges from Roma and Napoli, and it seemed certain they would extend this remarkable run to nine come May.
Ahead of this 2019/20 effort, a lot tipped Internazionale to rival them in Antonio Conte’s first season back in Italy. The Nerazzurri had endorsed the former Chelsea coach in the transport market and he has some serious firepower at his disposal at Lautaro Martínez, Alexis Sánchez and Romelu Lukaku. They have since added Christian Eriksen for their attacking arsenal.
But Inter are not the team nearest to the Old Lady of Italian soccer. Sandwiched between the two competitions are surprise package Lazio.
Le Aquile came from behind against Inter in their past Serie A outing, leapfrogging them into second place. They’re only a point behind Juventus and they have not lost a league game since September. In the 19 games since — a 1-0 loss to Inter — Lazio have promised 15 wins and, at one point, they went on an 11-game winning series.
In this remarkable run, Simone Inzaghi’s side have beaten Juventus and Milan, they have picked up a stage in the Rome derby and came from 3-0 down from Atalanta to salvage a draw.
With 14 games left, Lazio are only 3 points shy of the tally for the full 2018/19 campaign. This accomplishment is even more miraculous when you consider the club next to nothing in the transfer market during the summer. The former has just over 1,500 minutes to his title this term, the latter has appeared in only 105 minutes.
A so-far unforgettable effort is down to long-term preparation as well as the training ability of Inzaghi and his team. When looking at Lazio’s squad on an individual basis, it is nothing special.
Albanian keeper Thomas Strakosha was a one-time Liverpool transfer goal but despite all the rumours linking him with a move away, he is still the No.1 at Rome.
Similarily, Sergej Milinković-Savić was another big thing a few years back.
Combining those two as key elements in this uncontrolled Lazio side are 22-year-old Luiz Felipe, 33-year-old Ștefan Radu and 32-year-old Francesco Acerbi in a back three. Shielding them in the center of a five-man midfield is 33-year-old Lucas Leiva.
Partnering Lucas and Milinković-Savić is just another ex-Liverpool guy: Luis Alberto.
Individually, this group of players are a mid-table Serie A side.
Immobile is a target machine, leading the graphs with 26 from 23 starts. Since making the move to Rome, the 29-year-old has 93 Serie A goals in 129 looks and he is on course to enhance his career-high return of 29 in one season.
The Spaniard creates along with the Italian finishes. It’s as straightforward as that.
Not only are Lazio one of the excellent entertainers in Italy, they also have the meanest defence in the league having surrendered just 21 goals.
They are massively over performing for a team. They are up eight goals on their anticipated total and they have surrendered eight fewer goals than predicted, also. They have picked up 11 more points than they should have but that is not the largest overperformance in Serie A. Juventus are 12.3 points better off.
Overperformance is not always a bad thing, either. By way of instance, Liverpool is 20 points ahead of where they ought to be in the Premier League. However, given the Reds have been doing at this high level for more than a year now, the truth could possibly be that they have found a way to win that can not be quantified yet.
Lazio have that exact same belief.
The change in mentality is what’s responsible for this name challenge. Statistically, Lazio have not changed much since last season. They’re averaging the identical number of shots, trying a similar variety of moves and defensively they are just too busy.
The difference this time is your belief. This crop of players feel they will win each and every game. And they’re doing that.
If they dethrone Juventus it’ll go down as one of the greatest shocks in the history. And Serie A needs this to reinvigorate the league. There must be hope the powerhouse in Turin is beatable.