Category: Italy

Serie A Season Preview 2017/2018

Serie A Season Preview 2017/2018

Juventus welcome Cagliari at their Allianz Stadium in the opening match of the season. The Bianconeri are determined to defend their Scudetto, but the likes of Napoli, Roma and Milan should not be written off just yet.

Juventus are the dominant force in Italian football and that is more than obvious. The Bianconeri won their sixth consecutive Serie A title last season, with the team finishing the process four points clear of Roma, whilst five points above Napoli in the standings. Juve, though, did not kick off the new season in style, with the team losing to Lazio (2-3) in the Italian Super Cup and it is more than obvious that experienced defender Leonardo Bonucci is going to be sorely missed in the 2017/2018 Serie A campaign. New signing Douglas Costa is expected to shine in the Italian top flight, but the former Bayern Munich ace will surely need time to adapt to the new surroundings. Gonzalo Higuain will continue to lead the line for Max Allegri’s troops in the Italian elite division, but a rock-solid defence should be the key to Juve’s success in the 2017/2018 season.

Despite producing splendid performances in the 2016/2017 Serie A campaign, Napoli eventually failed to win Scudetto. The Partenopei are determined to put an end to Juve’s dominance in the Italian top flight and many people believe that the time has come for the Neapolitans to win the domestic trophy. The club chiefs did well to keep hold of key players in the summer transfer window and all eyes will be on trio Hamsik – Mertens – Callejon when Napoli kick off the new Serie A campaign with a match against Hellas Verona. Coach Maurizio Sarri has a number of top-class players to choose from and I believe that the Stadio San Paolo outfit are going to win their first Serie A title since 1990, when Argentine football legend Diego Maradona helped the Neapolitans finish the season in top position in the standings.

Roma impressed in the Serie A last season as well, but they eventually failed to win the national championship. Mohamed Salah was undisputedly the team’s key player last term, but the pacey winger is no longer part of the Stadio Olimpico outfit as he joined Premier League side Liverpool. Important defender Antonio Rudiger was sold to Chelsea for a fee of £34m and that is yet another reason why I do not believe that Giallorossi are capable of winning their first domestic trophy since 2001. Francesco Totti, “the Prince of Rome”, said goodbye to Roma after 25 years in an emotional farewell, meaning that a new era begins in the “Eternal City”.

It has been six years since AC Milan won their last Serie A trophy and, no doubt, fans are hungry for success. Milan’s new Chinese owners aim to pump up a lot of money into the squad and it has to be noted that the likes of Bonucci, Conti, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Calhanoglu, Biglia, Kessie, Borini and Andre Silva joined the club earlier this summer. The Rossoneri are eager to bring glory days back to Stadio San Siro, but I do not believe that Vincenzo Montella’s troops are capable of winning Scudetto. Anyhow, given the quality of their squad, AC Milan should an important role in the Italian elite division in seasons to come.

Lazio proved their worth in the 3-2 Super Cup win over Juventus, but seeing that the club management failed to sign a top-class player in the summer, the Biancocelesti are unlikely to win Scudetto in the 2017/2018 season. Inter finished the 2016/2017 season in seventh place in the standings, but new coach Luciano Spalletti is definitely capable of helping the team regain their spot in top four.

Fiorentina should not be considered title contenders and, taking everything into account, we are about to see a two-horse race between Juventus and Napoli in the 2017/2018 Serie A campaign.

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Inter and AC Milan en route back to the Serie A top.

Inter and AC Milan en route back to the Serie A top.

Over the years Derby della Madonina rivals have been trying to put an end to Juventus’ dominance in the Serie A. Both teams have big ambitions for the 2017/2018 season and it remains to be seen if Vincenzo Montella and Luciano Spalletti are capable of bringing glory days back to Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro).

It has been six years since AC Milan won their last Scudetto. The Rossoneri finished the 2010/2011 Serie A campaign in top position in the standings, six points clear of their bitter local rivals Inter, but they have not been as successful in the Italian top flight ever since. Milan finished sixth last season, with the team booking their place in the Europa League qualifiers, but fans are hungry for more success. New Chinese owners aim to reinforce the squad and it has to be noted that the likes of Andre Silva, Fabio Borini, Lucas Biglia, Hakan Calhanoglu, Franck Kessie, Mateo Musacchio, Ricardo Rodriguez and Andrea Conti have joined the club in the summer transfer window.

However, it will take coach Vincenzo Montella time to find a golden starting XI and I do not believe that the Rossoneri are capable of matching the likes of Juventus and Napoli, speaking of the title race. Anyhow, there is every chance AC Milan will be making progress year by year and they could become a serious title contender in the nearest future.

Internazionale, on the other hand, failed to book their place in European competitions in the last season finale, with the team finishing the 2016/2017 campaign in seventh position in the standings. Coach Stefano Pioli paid price for the unsuccessful campaign and new coach Luciano Spalletti is definitely capable of turning things around at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Mauro Icardi impressed in the 2016/2017 Serie A season, with the Argentine attacker scoring 24 goals in the process and he has already affirmed his desire to remain at Inter. Experienced midfielder Borja Valero should prove to be a great signing and seeing that the club chiefs managed to keep hold of key players in the summer transfer window, I would not be surprised if the Nerazzurri play an important role in the upcoming season.

Juventus defended their Scudetto without any difficulties last term and the Bianconeri are regarded as hot favourites to win the 2017/2017 Serie A title. Max Allegri has a number of top-class players to choose from and I do not believe that Inter and Milan are capable of preventing the reigning champions from winning their seventh consecutive domestic trophy. Nevertheless, seeing that AC Milan chiefs have pumped up a lot of money into the squad and considering that Luciano Spalletti will be in charge of the Nerazzurri last term, the two local rivals are definitely capable of making it to the Champions League.

Taking everything into account, Derby della Madonnina will be very interesting to watch as both AC Milan and Inter are determined to make their comeback in the top of the Serie A.

Serie A 2016/2017: Higuain leads the way.

Serie A 2016/2017: Higuain leads the way.

As expected, star-studded Juventus defended their Serie A trophy, with the Italian giants winning their sixth consecutive domestic trophy. Roma booked their place in the Champions League group stages, with Napoli finishing the season in third place in the standings.

Juventus are the dominant force in Italian football and despite the fact that Roma and Napoli have pumped a lot of money into their squads over the last few transfer windows, the Bianconeri clinched the 2016/2017 Serie A title without any difficulties. Max Allegri’s troops kicked off the season in style and they managed to remain in top position in the standings until the penultimate day of the campaign.

A win over Crotone saw Juve clinch their sixth consecutive Serie A trophy, with the Bianconeri leaving the likes of Roma and Napoli behind them in the standings. Big-money signing Gonzalo Higuain scored 24 goals in 38 appearances in the league for Juve, but he did not finish the season as the Serie A top goal-scorer. Roma striker Edin Dzeko won the “Golden Boot”, with the Bosnia international netting 29 goals in the 2016/2017 season.

Speaking of Roma, the Giallorossi were breathing down Juve’s neck in the season finale, but they eventually failed to win their first Scudetto since 2001. However, the capital club secured automatic qualification for the Champions League group stages and, taking everything into account, experienced tactician Luciano Spalletti did a great job with Roma last term. The club legend Francesco Totti ended his career after 25 years in an emotional farewell and it has to be noted that the “Prince of Rome” made no less than 786 appearances for the Giallorossi from 1992 to 2017.

Despite beating Sampdoria on the last day of the season, Napoli eventually finished the season in third position in the standings, five points behind champions Juventus. The Neapolitans booked their place in the Champions League qualifiers and many football experts predict that Maurizio Sarri’s men are going to make it to the group stages of the elite competition. Dries Mertens enjoyed the best season of his career, with the Belgian attacker scoring 28 goals in 35 appearances for the Partenopei in the Serie A.

Speaking of relegation battle, the likes of Pescara, Palermo and Empoli failed to secure the top flight survival. The Azzurri needed a win over Palermo on the last day of the season in order to avoid relegation to Serie B, but they suffered a shocking loss to the Rosanero at Stadio Renzo Barbera and, as a result they will compete in the Italian second tier next term.

SPAL return to Serie B after 49 years, with Hellas Verona securing promotion to the Italian elite division as well, meaning that Calcio lovers will again enjoy watching Derby della Scala (Derby di Verona) between local rivals Verona and Chievo. Meanwhile Benevento secured their spot in the Serie A via the Serie B play offs.

Taking everything into account, reigning champions Juventus proved their worth in the 2016/2017 Serie A campaign, which was pretty much the same as the previous one. Roma and Napoli will once again represent Italy in the Champions League, whereas Atalanta, who were impressive in the Italian top flight last season, Lazio and Milan booked their place in the Europa League.