The Italian Serie A campaign is set to get underway this weekend and we take a look at how Juventus will cope with life after Antonio Conte, Can a Balotelli-less Milan finally contend for Europe and will Roma finally be able to have a shot at the title?
Last season, the Scudetto remained under the Alps of Torino-based Juventus for the third consecutive season, but with the technical team having gone through a shocking change, and with Roma’s evident strengthening of their squad, the title chase has been split wide open.
Massimiliano Allegri is the new face on the Bianconeri bench, having made the switch after spending six months out of a job following his dismissal back in January at Milan. He has been with the squad since the start of the pre-season, but it still waits to be seen how the players will adjust to life after their beloved Conte.
It is looking bright, nonetheless, as the bulk of the team has virtually remained untouched. Impressively, Juventus have managed to hold onto two of their most wanted players in Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, while Alvaro Morata and Romulo have only but added more strength to the squad.
Further south in the capital, Roma are tipped, naturally, to be one of the favourites this season. Having brought in Alex Cole, Juan Iturbe, Ucan, Seydou Keita and Urby Emanuelson, the team is looking more complete than ever.
Trust them to be Juventus’ strongest contenders this season, while one cannot discard Napoli’s capabilities of competing with the best.
Rafael Benitez’s side may have failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, but they are a side that plays some attractive football. Holland international, Jonathan de Guzman, has arrived after an impressive World Cup in Brazil, along with Kalidou Koulibaly and Michu.
Their intricate plays, fast counter-attacks and attractive possession football is expected to see them challenge at the top again, however, it looks more likely that a third place finish is on the cards. They will do great to better last term’s point tally of 78.
Meanwhile, across in the fashion capital of the world, both Milan teams have their work cut out for them.
Inter will officially begin their first campaign under the complete guidance of Erick Thohir. The Indonesian businessman took charge just a few months into last year’s campaign and already saw his team improve on their position from the previous campaign.
This year they will be aiming to break into the top three, having finished in fifth place and a staggering three positions above their league rivals Milan.
Nemanja Vidic’s, Gary Medal’s and Pablo Osvaldo’s arrival has only seen them add strength in every area of the field, and are now deemed a team complete enough to return back into the UEFA Champions League.
In the red and black side of the city, rivals Milan have undergone a whirlwind of changes. Clarence Seedorf was given the boot just weeks after the season ended, only to be replaced by club legend Pippo Inzaghi.
The former striker’s main mission for the season is to see his side return back into European football, after missing out on prestigious tournaments for the first time since 1997.
It remains to be seen whether the mission can be accomplished. An inconsistent Jeremy Menez has replaced Mario Balotelli, who they relied on heavily, while in their back third, Alex, Pablo Armero and Diego Lopez have added cover in the backline and in goals.
With teams having strengthened their squads with some exciting talents, the only thing that can be predicted is that this year’s Serie A campaign will be an exciting one.
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