Serie A Title Race
Last year’s winners, the Old Lady are the clear favourites for the top spot come the end of the season. Champions for the last three years, the club reached new heights last year, finishing on a record 102 points, under the guidance of Antonio Conte. Now he has left to take control of the Italian national side however, and Massimiliano Allegri has come into the head coach role, can he continue the success expected of him, or will this be the year where another challenger beat them to the title?
The only team to mount a serious threat against Juventus last season, Roma led the league table and were looking almost unbeatable for the early parts of the campaign. However, their form petered away, and they could not keep it going to the end, leaving their rivals to comfortably win the title. This time around, the club, managed by Frenchman Rudi Garcia, will be looking to go one better, and with the help of star players such as Francesco Totti and Daniele Di Rossi, they can make that dream a reality.
After a torrid campaign which saw them finish in 8th, missing out on European football for the first time since 1998. However, many fans see this as a blessing in disguise, with the club able to focus solely on the league unlike many of their rivals. After sacking Clarence Seedorf, he was soon replaced by his former teammate and Milan legend Filippo Inzaghi, who will lead the side for this season. Despite letting key players like Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy leave, talents such as Victor Ibarbo have come in, and he still has a strong squad at his disposal and it is very capable of putting up a strong fight for the top spot this season.
In recent times, backed by one the richest owners in the league, Napoli have enjoyed their best spell in the league since the late 80’s, when they had a side featuring the likes of Diego Maradona. After the arrival of attacking stars such as Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon from Real, Rafa Benitez’s side look one of the most dangerous in the final third. So far this season they have spent less, however the acquisition of players like Salvatore Sirigu could prove to be vital for the upcoming campaign, as they push for their first title since 1990.
Getting Inter back into European last season was the vital first step taken by Walter Mazzarri to return the club back to the heights of the 2005-2010 period, where they were champions for 5 years in a row. Now with a much younger squad, with the option to call on the experience of players such as Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso no longer available, Mazzarri will need his young stars such as Mateo Kovavic and Mauro Icardi to step up if Inter want to challenge for the prestigious trophy.
One of the busiest selling clubs in the last few transfers windows, this one was no exception, as they saw World Cup star Juan Cuadrado and promising centre back Stefan Savic both leave to English giants Chelsea, for a combined fee of £38.5M. No big name signings have come into the club, but manager Vincenzo Montella will remain quietly confident his side, which still features the likes of Mario Gomez and Borja Valero, can at least recreate, if not surpass last year’s accomplishments of a 4th place finish.
Stefano Piolo is the man the Lazio board have entrusted in breaking the run of declining league positions at the club, replacing Edoardo Reja, who was dismissed after a 9th place finish last season. At his disposal is a good squad, added to with the arrival of Miguel Veloso, Stefan de Vrij and Teofilo Gutierrez, which should be very capable of staying in contention for the Champions League places, with some even tipping them to be mounting a challenge for the title itself.
A club which has been under the spotlight over the summer, firstly due to the tragic murder of their former manager Andrea Stramaccioni, and then the subsequent appointment of club legend Antonio Di Natale as his replacement, Udinese’s season is looking extremely unpredictable. One of the largest squad’s in the league, it has been added to with Jeison Murillo and Almen Adbi, both acquired through the critically acclaimed ‘Pozzo link’, while remaining young stars such as Simone Scuffet and Bruno Fernandes look to make their mark. Whether they will be at the top of the table, or lurking in mid-table obscurity come the end of the season, only time will tell, but one thing is for certain. They will be playing a big role in what promises to be one of the best Serie A seasons ever.