In a league that has dwindled over the past decade, it has been quite the surprise that the most exciting domestic competition this season has been Serie A. 

Italy have had a long standing tradition of competitive football throughout the 90s and 00s, but the league has been dominated by Juventus for the past six years which has reduced that somewhat. 

Yet, this season, Serie A remains the only competition in Europe’s top five leagues to still be embroiled in a fascinating title race.

The Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1 all have their Champions-elect, but it is Serie A who poses two candidates: Napoli and Juventus. Of course, everyone is accustomed to seeing the Old Lady lift the Scudetto come May, but it is Maurizio Sarri’s men who have posed a credible threat to their throne.

Napoli have played some of the best football in Europe this season, possibly only second to Manchester City’s excellence. The Ciucciarelli play a pulsating brand of football that produces wave after wave of attacks through their very own starlet triumvirate.

Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and José Callejon have been three of the best players in Europe this season and have a combined 36 goals - a phenomenal amount given Napoli have only played 33 official matches. 

What has been so impressive is that these three are their own masters of output. They are not held by strict team instructions; instead, they are incredibly fluid across the forward line and are therefore incredibly difficult to pick up and mark.

It must be one of the hardest jobs in football as a defender trying to contain Napoli’s forward line, given they are never in one position attacking in an orthodox sense. They are all over the pitch, creating space for their teammates to run into. It is an incredibly selfless approach to football and they are seeing the wider, longer-term rewards of playing in such a manner.

However, it is going to be a hard-fought battle right until the final whistle of the last match for Napoli to be crowned champions for the first time since 1990. The great city of Naples has only ever seen their beloved team be crowned winners twice, but there is a fresh hope that they can cross the line at the top of the table.

Juventus have an abundance of experience in winning Serie A, as they have done so for the last six consecutive seasons, but they have had virtually no competition. No team has put on the pressure like Napoli have this season, which is why the feeling of the unknown in Italy is so exciting.

The Old Lady’s squad is incredibly experienced in handling big ocassions and yet still has prominent youth such as Federico Bernardeschi to keep the hunger for success alive. Paulo Dybala might have been injured for the past few weeks, but he is set to return in the Champions League knockout rounds and will prove to be a huge boost for Juventus. 

Both teams have European duties with Napoli taking on German team RB Leizpig and Juventus entertaining Tottenham. Both are testing ties and might have an impact on their league form either side of the two legs.

The Old Lady have four games in-between the two legs, three Serie A games and one Coppa Italia match. In comparison, Napoli have one game against SPAL 2013, a relegation fodder team, before making their way to Germany for the return leg. 

Juventus are likely to have a heavy fixture congestion load coming into the final stretch of the season, which is going to benefit Napoli hugely. 

These two heavyweights meet at the end of April, and so it could potentially be a title-deciding match if things are still incredibly tight at the top. No one can take their eyes off Serie A for good reason.

Serie A is on the rise from the ashes and could potentially be ultra competitive over the next few years, it is most certainly one to be watching week in, week out.

This blog has been written by Liam Canning for Soccer Box. At Soccer Box we specialise in the latest authentic football merchandise for teams across the world including Napoli and Juventus.