Last season, Napoli stunned any Serie A season preview by lifting the Scudetto. This season, it is anyone’s best guess who will win the Italian top flight. The league yielded a different champion in each of the last four campaigns after a decade of Juventus dominance. Several clubs could make a push for the title, and that starts on matchday one this coming weekend.
Napoli is defending a title, but it is not the favorite
Defending champions Napoli will face a tough task trying to retain their crown under new manager Rudi Garcia. Key departures like Kim Min-jae have weakened the squad. Still, stars like Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia are still on board. Therefore, Napoli remains a contender to repeat. Garcia must quickly implement his tactics and style to keep Napoli in the title hunt.
Inter Milan is determined to make amends after falling short in each of the last two seasons. New signings like Davide Frattesi and Marcus Thuram have reinforced the squad, but losing Andre Onana is a big blow. Romelu Lukaku’s future is very much in the air. Inter must rely on Lautaro Martinez to regain his best form up front. Inter is the top candidate to push Napoli this season. Manager Simone Inzaghi is under pressure to deliver a Scudetto challenge.
AC Milan heavily invested this summer to correct last season’s disappointing title defense. High-profile additions like Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah have raised expectations at the San Siro. Milan possesses a deep squad overflowing with young talent. It is in a strong spot to compete for the Serie A crown again under Stefano Pioli.
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Fourth spot provides best preview of upcoming Serie A season
The race for the final Champions League spot promises to be fierce. Juventus lost key veterans like Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala but new arrivals like Timothy Weah could provide a spark. However, question marks remain around the future of Dusan Vlahovic up front. If he stays, Juve has enough quality to finish in the top four under Massimiliano Allegri. Lazio will rely heavily on striker Ciro Immobile to bang in the goals with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic departing. Maurizio Sarri’s tactical acumen makes them a danger, especially with shrewd additions like Daichi Kamada boosting the squad.
Jose Mourinho is in the last year of his AS Roma contract and needs a top-four finish to stay in the capital. But a lack of summer investment has left the squad weaker and over-reliant on Tammy Abraham’s goals. Atalanta cannot be ruled out after signing promising talents like El Bilal Toure up front, but losing a star like Rasmus Hojlund is a blow. Gian Piero Gasperini will have them organized and tough to beat as always.
At the bottom, newly promoted sides like Frosinone, Genoa, and Cagliari face a monumental battle to avoid relegation. Last season’s struggling clubs Spezia and Lecce are likely to get drawn into the survival scrap if they do not start the season strongly. It should be a tense fight to stay in Serie A down to the wire. Meanwhile, clubs like Fiorentina, Bologna, Sassuolo, Monza, Torino, Udinese and Empoli should have enough talent to avoid getting into the mud of relegation but are still well short of being able to push for European spots.
The 2023-24 Serie A campaign has all the makings of an unforgettable season. With the Milan clubs looking to dethrone Napoli, and historic giants Juventus, AS Roma and Lazio eager to rejoin the title conversation, the Scudetto race is nearly impossible to predict. Add in the always-dramatic battles to qualify for Europe and avoid relegation, and fans are in for nine thrilling months of calcio action.
PHOTO: IMAGO / AFLOSPORT
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