With the international break allowing for a pause in action among the top flight European football leagues, a glance at several of the current league tables suggests that there is some real competition among teams aiming to secure their respective domestic titles. Italian Serie A provides a prime example of this situation with the top four teams separated by just two points in a league dominated by the exploits of Juventus in recent seasons. Fiorentina are leading the table after 12 games with reigning champions Juve currently occupying seventh position, but it is a revival in the fortunes of second placed Inter Milan which is one of the more interesting aspects of the 2015-16 season.
Internazionale had finished fifth and eight in their two previous Serie A campaign with suggestions that club was no longer capable of achieving the successes of previous seasons on both the domestic and International stage with Jose Mourinho securing a Champions League trophy for the club in 2010. Since the departure of Mourinho that same year, there were six further incumbents in the Inter Milan hot seat until Roberto Mancini returned to the club in 2014.
Under the guidance of Mancini, Inter Milan won the Serie A title on three successive occasions from 2006 before he moved to Manchester City in England. Although the Premier League title was secured in 2012 when Sergio Aguero netted an added time winner against QPR during the final game of the campaign, he survived at the club for just another season after which a brief spell at Galatasaray was followed by his return to the San Siro in 2014.
With Juventus experiencing an indifferent start to the current term, this has allowed Inter plus Fiorentina, Roma, Napoli and surprise team Sassuolo to mount a serious challenge at the top of Serie A. Inter have lost just one game this term when beaten 4-1 on home soil by Fiorentina although they were inconvenienced by the dismissal of defender Joao Miranda after just 31 minutes.
Inter have also won six of their games via 1-0 scorelines with eight clean demonstrating that a sound defence is proving a platform for the rest of the team as they seek a repeat of their dominance of Italian football just five years previously. Yet Napoli and Fiorentina, under the new management of Maurizio Sarri (ex-Empoli) and Paulo Sousa (ex-Basel) respectively, will provide genuine competition alongside Roma with Rudi Garcia striving to add the Italian title to his French Ligue 1 success with Lille.
Juventus are currently nine points adrift of joint leaders Fiorentina and Inter at the top of the Serie A table but should their form improve significantly during the weeks and months ahead, the battle for supremacy in Italy could become ever more thrilling with Mancini facing a real challenge to secure his fourth domestic title with Inter.