Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
Last season, Serie A gave us excitement across the board, with Europe’s only major title race taking place in Italy. Elsewhere, we saw battles for the top four, top seven and bottom three all go down to the wire, following Juventus and Napoli’s title tussle. While not back to the late 90s glory days, Serie A is on the up.
The 2018/19 season starts this weekend, and there’s more than just Cristiano Ronaldo. We’ve got a competitive top six, a new lease of life in the relegation battle and a collection of top forwards. With an exciting new season set to get underway, here’s what to look out for in Italian football this weekend.
Also see: Serie A 2018/19 Outright Betting Tips
Super Transfer Window From Juventus
The champions put down £35million for Joao Cancelo, who was fantastic for Inter Milan last season. He goes straight in at right-back, while the £30million deal for Leonardo Bonucci fills the void which he left last summer. Leonardo Spinazzola looks like an attacking force from left-back, and Juve finally got him back from his loan at Atalanta after 12 months trying.
While Ronaldo and Bonucci were signings to deliver success, the rest of their moves are set to bring down the average age of the squad. Emre Can is the perfect example, as he’ll slot in to replace the ageing Sami Khedira in midfield. Juve have made signings which strengthen their first choice team, and that’s hard to do in the current market. They’re clear title favourites, and they deserve their place as frontrunners for the Champions League.
It seemed like one of Europe’s great clubs had gone, but they quickly reformed the club and mounted a comeback. Three straight promotions – something which had never been done in Italian football – took Parma back in to the big time. Their summer has still be dogged with a corruption scandal, but with that in the past their Serie A opener is coming this weekend.
Parma host Udinese, and there’s plenty of excitement at them returning to the top division. To return that quickly from being almost wiped out shows an incredible spirit, but can they find a way to avoid the drop this season?
Relegation Battle Years in the Making
The lack of quality at the bottom has led to talk of a 18 or 16 team league. That’s because many average sides at the bottom are just coasting. Udinese last season lost 11 straight games between February and April, yet they ended up 13th. We have a backlog of sides who have benefited from a lack of quality at the bottom. However, things are about to change. That gives us a survival race years in the making.
Parma’s name alone makes them contenders, and they’ve shown their spirit in recent seasons. Empoli have gone down, reinvented themselves as an attacking side and bought well. Frosinone look much more equipped than in their first Serie A season three years ago. The trio should all contend this season. With SPAL, Cagliari, Chievo, Udinese and Bologna all struggling at times last year, we could see a highly competitive race for survival.
The Napoli Signing Said to Rival Ronaldo
Bringing back one of Europe’s top coaches nine years after he left AC Milan has added more credibility to Serie A. Sarri’s football was huge pull for fans to tune in to Serie A. Luckily they’ve signed a man who rates continuity, so he’ll be looking to leave Sarri’s system untouched for the most part.
Ancelotti’s reputation has taken a hit after his time in Germany. Worryingly, this is a similar job to the one he had at Bayern. He needs to maintain a high level of performance, in a team built on years of coaching from an attack minded boss. However, Ancelotti has experience that Sarri doesn’t and in key moments he could make decisions which improve the Partenopei. They’ve got essentially the same side as last season, so Ancelotti’s under the microscope from the off this weekend.
Read More: Lazio vs Napoli Betting Tips and Predictions
Can Inter Milan Continue Their Resurgence?
Not only are Inter equipped to impress in Europe, but they are set to capitalise on the changes at Napoli and Roma. The Nerazzurri have bought well, and kept tactician Luciano Spalletti in charge. The former Roma boss already turned one side in to Juve’s main challengers, and he’s set to do it again. The additions of Radja Nainggolan, Stefan De Vrij, Sime Vrsaljko and Keita Blade have raised expectations among the Inter faithful.
With their defence boosted, energy added in midfield and new options in attack, Inter look stronger in every position. They’re shaping up to be the main threat to Juventus this season. The league needs both Milan sides at their best in order to peak, and it certainly seems like the Nerazzurri are delivering on their end of the bargain. Their trip to Sassuolo on Sunday night should give us an idea of just how far along Spalletti’s side are.
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