Talking about two teams pulling away with 31 games to play and 93 points available is far too soon, but there is no doubting AC Milan and Inter are the early pace-setters.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) recall that one year ago Napoli were in the lead after seven games and they not only remained there but went on to pad their advantage over the months that follows.
A year ago, Milan and Inter had 4 and 6 points less respectively, so they have grown. Signing 10 players and changing so much did not help Stefano Pioli avoid losing the fifth derby in a row, but paradoxically those five goals helped a young team grow.
They have learned a new humility and now have a different tactical prudence. Milan’s optimism is this: seeing itself in the lead and knowing that it has a greater margin for improvement than Inter.
Tijjani Reijnders, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic are already certainties, but the best of Samuel Chukwueze, Yunus Musah and Noah Okafor is yet to come. Pioli deserves praise for quickly shaping a new identity for the Rossoneri and rotating with courage.
He had no other choice really. Only with a deeper squad that has more quality can Milan wage war on a squad like that of Inter. Staying with the same 13-14 players like last season was not an option.
Then there is Rafael Leao. The derby helped him grow too, because after the horror back heel against Newcastle, Rafa produced several decisive plays that he hadn’t had before.
Pioli and Simone Inzaghi’s timing and execution of squad rotation will be huge. Pioli fielded a heavily altered line-up in Cagliari and he was rewarded, while Inzaghi lined up the starters against Sassuolo and Inter imploded with tiredness, including Lautaro.
From 22 to 28 October Milan host Juventus, then travel to face Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli. Inter, from 26 November to 3 December, face three torrid away matches: Juve, Benfica, Napoli.
This Scudetto is a grand prize that can also be won in the pits, with the right strategies. Rudi Garcia and Napoli also face a tough stretch from 25 November to 8 December is also thrilling as they have away games against Atalanta, Real Madrid and Juventus plus Inter at home.
For Juventus, not having European football can be an advantage in managing work loads but they deserved to lose against Atalanta and don’t give the impression of being formidable just yet.
Speaking of Atalanta, they are a team to watch. The signings of Holm and Bakker plus a resurgent Muriel were significant. Scamacca is ready to return, De Ketelaere has done well and all of a sudden Gasperini has a squad to call upon.