Nov 6, 2018 - Juventus. The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo was a statement of intent from the Old Lady, with. Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus openly eyeing up ...
Juventus The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo was a statement of intent from the Old Lady, with Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus openly eyeing up European glory. The Serie A title, which the Turin outfit has lifted the past seven seasons, looks a formality already, meaning Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Bonucci and Mario Mandžukić can focus on reaching another UEFA Champions League Final.
Napoli When Maurizio Sarri announced he was leaving Napoli following three successful years, club chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis had his work cut out to replace the man
who took the Partenopei to within four points of the title. It hasn’t gone as badly as expected, with Carlo Ancelotti’s new-look side doing well in Serie A — but again behind Juventus — and amongst the favourites to go far in the UEFA Europa League.
Inter Milan The Nerazzurri last lifted the Serie A trophy during the historic 2009/10 treble season. Jose Mourinho is long gone along with such lofty expectations, although Luciano Spalletti has brought UEFA Champions League football back to San Siro. His team, built on the defensive solidarity of centre-backs Milan Škriniar and Stefan de Vrij, and the goals of club captain Mauro Icardi, will likely see Inter qualify for the competition again.
Lazio Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio are amongst a number of teams chasing European qualification. A strong start to the season was wiped out following patchy form in November, with just two wins from ten games dragging the Romans closer to mid-table than the Serie A summit. Sergej Milinković-Savić is the key man in midfield. He must supply striker Ciro Immobile if Inzaghi’s side are to get anything from the second half of the campaign.
AC Milan Gennaro Gattuso is now without Gonzalo Higuain who was on loan from Juventus, but has Krzysztof Piątek after signing the Polish striker from under the nose of Barcelona in January. Piątek must hit the ground running if the Rossoneri are to finish in the top four and qualify for the UEFA Champions League, a competition the Milanese giants last won during in 2006/07 when Gattuso was a tenacious midfielder.
Roma . .
Roma have consistently finished in the top three of Serie A, yet the 2018/19 campaign looks to be a sterner test for the Giallorossi. Eusebio Di Francesco lost midfielders Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan in the summer. Edin Džeko, top scorer the last two campaigns, is vital if the Romans are to consolidate their position behind Juventus and Napoli, or go far in the UEFA Champions League.
Sampdoria He may be in his mid-thirties, but Fabio Quagliarella still has it, with the striker recently equalling Gabriel Batistuta’s record of scoring in eleven straight Serie A games. Sampdoria manager Marco Giampaolo will need his prolific journeyman to keep hitting the target if the Blucerchiati are to challenge the top six and bring European football back to the Marassi.
Atalanta While Atalanta are Italian football’s entertainers, they aren’t close to threatening the clubs at the summit of Serie A. Led by manager Gian Piero Gasperini, the Nerazzurri have the most potent attacking force in the division, yet have a tendency to leave the back door wide open. Expect a mid-table league finish and plenty of high scoring matches along the way, with other clubs moving for the Bergamo side’s key men in the summer.
Torino Torino are the sixth most successful team in Italy, but haven’t picked up a trophy since the Coppa Italia in 1993. Manager Walter Mazzarri is back in Serie A after a brief stint at Premier League Watford. He’ll need Andrea Belotti, once coveted by the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, to improve on form which has seen interest in him cool lately.
La Viola began the campaign with genuine European aspirations, which have now dampened following a slump in form either side of the Serie A winter break. There’s still a chance Stefano Pioli can lead his team to the top four and UEFA Champions
League qualification, but only if others slip up and youngsters Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone, along with new loan signing Luis Muriel, lead from the front.
Sassuolo Kevin Prince-Boateng is in Barcelona on loan until the end of the season and Sassuolo manager Roberto De Zerbi, whose side looks safe from the drop, must be wondering where his team’s ambitions lie this team. A win in their first match without the German-Ghanaian, their first at home since September and first in Serie A since beating Frosinone in December, provided cause for optimism.
Parma Teams are circling around Parma striker Roberto Inglese, one of the division’s most potent goalscorers, who is currently on loan from Napoli. He has stated his ambition to stay at Stadio Ennio Tardini until the end of the 2018/19 season at least, which will come as a relief as the club looks to re-establish itself in Serie A after promotion from Serie B last term.
Cagliari Massimo Cellino went through thirty-six managers in twenty two years as Cagliari president. “The Manager Eater”, as he was known, left in 2014. Incumbent chairman Tommaso Giulini is cut from the same cloth; firing and then rehiring manager Zdeněk Zeman within twelve months back in 2014/15. Rolando Maran is in charge now and when he’s not fearing for his job, will likely be fighting against loss of young talent Nicolo Barella.
Fans protested at the Marassi following the sale of Krzysztof Piątek to AC Milan in January, following promises that he wouldn’t be leaving the Rossoblù. Now the Pole has gone, where will the goals come from? Cesare Prandelli has defensive woes too, but can take some solace in the fact there are plenty worse teams struggling at the bottom of Serie A.
Udinese Davide Nicola’s Udinese side aren’t scoring enough goals and could see themselves dragged into a relegation scrap. Argentinian Rodrigo de Paul will be on his way in the summer and will be snapped up by a bigger side if his team drops out of Serie A. The hard-working striker could be instrumental in his team’s survival, but only if he stays motivated until the end of the current campaign amid outside interest.
Spal SPAL only just avoided relegation from Serie A last season, finishing three points above the drop zone in their first top-flight season for 49 years. This campaign has been the same story so far, with Leonardo Semplici struggling to find a formula that will see his team rise up the league, despite striker Andrea Petagna trying his best to find the net.
Empoli Promotion winning manager Aurelio Andreazzoli was replaced by Giuseppe Iachini on 6th November 2018, resulting in an immediate uplift in form. Having previously only won one game with Andreazzoli in charge, the new manager presided over three victories from his first five games in charge. Form dipped again and Empoli, as predicted, are in a real relegation battle at the bottom of the table.
Bologna Pippo Inzaghi is no longer manager at relegation-threatened Bologna, after Sinisa Mihajlovic replaced the Italian at the Renato Dall'Ara following a run of disastrous . .
results. This managerial change in late January, with La Rossa three points from safety, needs to work, otherwise the club’s four-year stint in Serie A will be over. The loss of Simone Verdi, who moved to Napoli last summer, hasn’t helped.
Frosinone The 2018/19 season is Frosinone’s first ever appearance in the top flight of Italian football following promotion from Serie B last season. It didn’t start well, with just two wins from their first 21 games. Unless there’s an incredible turnaround in fortunes, Marco Baroni, who took over as manager from outgoing Moreno Longo in December 2018, will be leading his struggling team back down to the second tier.
Chievo Chievo managed their first Serie A victory in their last match of 2018, beating fellow strugglers Frosinone in December. After eleven years in the top flight it looks like the Verona club will be joining city rivals Hellas in Serie B next term. The goalscoring form of Pole Mariusz Stepinski has been a bright spark. He is a name to look out for, with Parma rumoured to be interested.