The Italian Serie A kicks off this weekend with some interesting games right off the bat. Juventus has won the last four seasons, and they will be the team to beat this season.
Serie A has taken a bit of a knock the past couple of years, with star players leaving and attendance going down. Juventus has been dominating the league, which has resulted in four straight league titles.
The two Milano clubs have been active on the transfer market this summer and it remains to be seen if they can take up the fight with Juve this season. AS Roma will also try to knock Juve off their perch, as last year’s runners-up has made a couple of signings during the summer.
Bologna, Carpi and Frosinone won promotion from Serie B, and it will be interesting to see how small clubs Carpi and Frosinone does in their first season ever in the Serie A. Carpi will lean heavily on loan players from other Serie A clubs, including Luca Marrone (Juventus), Zeljko Brkic (Udinese), and Wallace (Chelsea). Carpi won the Serie B last season with 80 points, nine points ahead of second-place Frosinone.
Bologna bounced back after getting relegated from the Serie A after the 2013/2014 season. The team won the promotion playoff final against Pescara.
Juventus won the season in style last year, with a record of 26-9-3 for 87 points. Second-placed Roma were 17 points behind Juve and it’s hard to see that any team has improved enough to challenge the Turin side. The only thing that might play in the favor of the competition is that Juventus has had a lot of turnover during the summer and it might take a while before the new signings meld into the team.
The Old Lady has lost a trio of stars in Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo during the summer and brought in players like Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro to ensure that the Juventus faithful will enjoy a fifth straight Serie A title.
Inter Milan and AC Milan will look to improve greatly after a disappointing campaigns last year. Inter finished in 8th, 32 points behind Juventus. The Nerazzurri has added some high-profile players during the summer, including French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and Montenegrin striker Stevan Jovetic.
AC Milan had an even worse season, finishing in 10th which is the team’s worst finish since 1997. Milan has also been active this summer, buying a slew of new players that include striker Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano. Both Milano sides will look to get back to the top of Italian soccer as they are two of the most decorated clubs in league history.
Roma has made a couple of interesting moves, including loan deals for Edin Dzeko (Man City) and Mohamed Salah (Chelsea) from the Premier League. They also got promising Argentine attacking midfielder Leandro Paredes from Boca Juniors. Paredes, 21, is one of the most highly-touted prospects in Argentine soccer, so they will hope that he can hit the ground running in the Serie A.
Lazio, Fiorentina, Napoli, and Sampdoria will all be in the hunt for a European cup spot, and it could into a real race if Inter and AC Milan can bounce back. Juventus are still huge favorites, with Roma as their main contenders. Even with the departure of Vidal, Pirlo and Tevez, it’s hard to see that Juventus would fall off the map. It might not be another 17-point gap to the second-placed team when we look back at the season, but I just don’t see any of the other teams improving enough to overtake the Old Lady.