With the Italian Serie A season having just surpassed the halfway mark, it's shaping up to be a tumultuous climax. Similarly to last season, Juventus are leading the way, with 45 points from 20 games.
However, in a fashion distant to their unbeaten campaign last year, the team known as the Old Lady are appearing far from a doyenne: Having lost three games so far—one of which being delivered last week by struggling Sampdoria, in a surprising 2-1 result—they hold only a three-point lead over second-placed and resurgent Lazio.
Furthermore, the chasing pack behind Lazio are gunning to shoot down la Vecchia Signora: Napoli, in third, are five points behind Juve, with Inter Milan—a constant threat—two points further behind in fourth. Fiorentina—famed for being perennially unpredictable—are three points behind the Milanese, in fifth.
And so, with only 10 points separating first and fifth place, Serie A is once again the league that provides entertainment, erudite play and—similarly to the dramatics on show at Milan's La Scala theatre—a host of colourful characters.
But, with the season now past the 20-game mark, which contributing factors could potentially play a part in deciding whether Juve make it title No. 29 or if the holders will be left empty-handed, ruing their errors?