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Wednesday January 18 2012
One hand on the Scudetto

Three teams will be fighting for the Scudetto d’Inverno this weekend. Antonio Labbate looks at the statistical significance of being named Winter Champions.

If there was an actual trophy awarded to Serie A’s Winter Champions then it would be made of ice. Initially durable enough to be lofted into the cold January air as a statement of intent, but ultimately so tenuous that it could slowly melt into the annals of triviality. The real Scudetto, as we all know, is usually won in the sunshine of May.

Nevertheless, the Scudetto d’Inverno does have its psychological and statistical uses in mounting a serious title bid. Of course it doesn’t guarantee victory at the end of the season and statistics are there to be contradicted, but Juventus, Milan and Udinese won’t mind ending the first half of the campaign this weekend at the top of the standings. History clearly tells us that.

In the 79 girone unico championships which have taken place – and not considering the sentences of Calciopoli – 54 teams managed to do the alternative double of being top at the half-way stage and at the conclusion of the campaign. That’s a 68.4 per cent conversion rate.

That ratio increases to 75 per cent when one considers that of the 16 championships played since the introduction of three points for a win, 12 have followed up their winter crown with a Scudetto shield being stitched on to their jerseys.

Juventus currently lead the standings and they will be capped as ice kings with a win at Atalanta this weekend. It would be a remarkable achievement for a side who started the season with finishing in the top three as their priority. Instead, they could be Campioni d’Inverno for the 25th time in their history. On the previous 24 occasions, they went on to win 18 titles – that’s three in every four.

The Turin giants, whose 18-game unbeaten start to the season surpasses the club record of 17 set by the 1949-50 outfit, could also match the achievements of Inter this weekend. Roberto Mancini’s side in 2006-07 took the glory at the half-way stage while also remaining undefeated – the first side to do so during the three-point era. They turned for the last lap with a massive 51 points, crossing the line with 97.

Milan, who took last year’s theoretical winter trophy with a win at Cagliari, have, like Inter, 17 half-Scudetti to their name. The Italian champions should collect the three points at Novara on Sunday, but they’ll need a favour from Atalanta if they are to leapfrog Juve. Only on 17 occasions from 79 has the second placed team at the season’s half-time managed to rein in and then overtake the leaders.

Udinese, who play Catania, also have a hypothetical chance of becoming winter champs for the first time in their history. But they’ll need a win, Juve to lose and Milan to not collect more than a draw. For the team that finishes Week 19 in fourth – that could be Udinese, Lazio or Inter – that position has only delivered a Scudetto winner on four previous occasions.

Not since January 2003 has the title for Winter Champions come to the last game of the first half of the season. Back then it was Milan, Inter and Lazio fighting for the cold war. But it was fourth-placed Juve, six points adrift when the Rossoneri took the imaginary title nine years ago, who ended the term as campioni. What will happen this time around? We’ll have to wait until the spring to find out.

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Have your say...
Juve for scudetto!!!! Milan and Inter will not be able to break Conte down for sure ....
on the 23rd January, 2012 at 6:24am
Juve will not win, sorry you lot have to wait a bit more. The funniest thing would be if Juve go unbeaten and still don't win the league. LOL
Milan or Inter to take it. It will be tight!
on the 20th January, 2012 at 4:05pm
if inter beats lazio, and juve loose points. then either milan or inter will be champions.
if juve and milan win, then inter is ruled out of the race. i still consider the decisive moment will be games between top 7. esp inter-milan, milan-juve, and juve-inter + games with Napoli Udine Roma and Lazio
Forza Inter!
on the 20th January, 2012 at 2:33am
Juventus must buy NOW, a good leftback, Shaqiri and Guarin if they are to win the Scudetto..
on the 19th January, 2012 at 4:52pm
can see inter extending their winning streak to 9 or 10, their is new found belief under ranieri who is showing leadership by making scjneider sit on the subs bench(hes not needed yet)

dont rule inter out but AC have to be favourites
on the 19th January, 2012 at 2:25pm
juventus are unbeaten but they have drawn 8 times which is the most along with Atalanta. they have also struggled to break teams like Lecce,Cagliari,bologna and Cesena. Milan have lost more times but they beat these teams more easily(even though they got a lot of dubious penalties). Until Juve dominate these teams like they dominated Parma on day-1, I don't see them winning the scudetto. Also, Marotta has to stop with the transfer of average players like Boriello and Martinez.
on the 19th January, 2012 at 11:46am
Juve needs serious strengthening during this winter's transfer period. In each line of squad. Otherwise its just a phantom Scudetto chances this season and Milan's teams will take the goal.
on the 19th January, 2012 at 5:17am
The Scudetto will be decided between Milan and Juventus. Inter may come in 2nd at most. Udinese will eventually drop down.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 10:28pm
Being a lifelong Juventus fan, I would love to see them capture the Scudetto this season. However, being a realist, I also understand that we lack a couple of key pieces that will affect the team in the long-run. While Milan and Inter have several world-class individual talents, we have to rely on workmanship to get points.
Come on Marrotta--one or 2 Champions more in the team....
on the 18th January, 2012 at 7:13pm
LOL, you guys are funny... Inter's going to win? Sure! Strongest squad? Sure! Let's face it, they won on Sunday due to an Abate mistake. Other than that, the real Milan were all over them. Even the most loyal Inter fan has to admit they were very fortunate to come away with 1 point let alone 3. That aside I bet they lose to Lazio this weekend. It'll be Milan or Juve who'll most likely win the scudetto this year!
on the 18th January, 2012 at 6:21pm
Inter will win the scudeto becouse they have the strongest squad among
The teams and they don't have injury worries most of there players are back
on the 18th January, 2012 at 4:23pm
Inter could move to the top of the table, I hope Inter can winning the championship this year.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 3:42pm
Although Juventus have very few distractions this season, their squad depth and quality cannot match that of Milan's and Inter's. Although I do believe it will be one these three clubs who win the Scudetto, my money would be firmly on Inter.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 3:26pm
Juve fans have waited long enough?
Are you drunk?

May the best team win.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 2:12pm
The problem is that Juve's lead is only by one point. If it was a few points I might agree with this atricle, but 1 point is so slim. Only time will tell.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 2:06pm
This season has been great so far, and I really feel Serie A has bounced back and is the most exciting, talented and competitive league at the moment. There is a long way to go yet, and although I hope for a top 3 finish for Juve, I am also aware that this year could be their best chance they'll get for winning the scudetto as they are absent from europe, and next year could suffer in the league (ala Napoli) if they also play in the UCL.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 2:01pm
Juve deserve the scudetto this season. The fans have waited long enough.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 12:05pm
So according to statistics.... chances of the team being winter champions is equivalent to being Serie A champions, I can only hope its true for Juve's sake
on the 18th January, 2012 at 11:05am
Of all the title contenders, Juve have on paper the most favourable 2nd half to the season - having Inter, Napoli, Udinese, Roma and Lazio to play at home with only trips to Milan, Fiorentina and Palermo away as the potential banana skins.
If we could just be more attacking and less cautious against the smaller teams to ensure we don't drop any more soft points, we should be able to follow up our confirmation as winter champions this coming weekend with something more special in May.
on the 18th January, 2012 at 10:03am

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