Since Juventus moved to their new stadium, the Allianz Stadium, six years ago they have been unstoppable in the Serie A. But what of the 2017/18 season, we take a look at the Italian title race.
The Bianconeri have won the title six times in a row without any serious competition. However, with Napoli constantly improving and Milan aiming high, could this be the year where Juve’s reign at the top comes to an abrupt end?
Who is involved in the title race?
In my opinion, there are 4 teams who will be realistically fighting for the Scudetto next season and they are:-
- Juventus- Champions in the 2016/17 season. Reached the UEFA Champions League final last season.
- Roma- Finished second last year, new manager this year Eusebio Di Francesco.
- Milan- Been through a tough 5 years but with impressive reinforcements, they are back.
- Napoli- Energetic team led by Italian mastermind, Maurizio Sarri.
So, those are the 4 who teams are in the mix but where will each team actually finish in the Serie A?
In my opinion, fourth place will be occupied by Roma. The Giallorossi were impressive last season finishing in second place but have been severely weakened in the transfer window.
Mohamed Salah was lost to Liverpool and without the Egyptian in the starting eleven, I think that Roma will miss his electric pace and they won’t be much of a threat from wider positions. Another player the club have lost to the Premier League is defender Antonio Rudiger. The German is very versatile as he can play at right back as well as centre back and without him, Roma’s defence, which was statistically the best last season in the Serie A, will not be as solid.
However, they have brought in midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini for a bargain fee of £10m from Sassuolo who will be a nuisance for opponents in the middle of the park. Another positive for the Giallorossi is that they have managed to keep hold of their stars Radja Nainggolan and last year’s Golden Boot winner, Edin Džeko.
It’ll be interesting to see how the club does with new manager Di Francesco after Luciano Spaletti left for Inter. I think that Roma will have a good season and will get the last Champions League spot. However, with other teams drastically improving whilst they’re losing some of their best players, I doubt they will reach the heights of last season.
In my opinion, the most active team in this summer’s transfer window, AC Milan will claim third place this season. The Rossoneri have signed 10 players this summer and, after five years of hurt, the seven time European Champions are back!
Despite purchasing so many players, it’s also very impressive how Milan have managed to sell unneeded players as well. With all the new reinforcements they can really try and push for the title next year. Manager Vincenzo Montella has made it clear that a Champions League spot is the aim but, in my opinion, there is nothing restricting Milan from what would be a somewhat surprising title win.
The quality is there all the way around the pitch. Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of the best in the world despite being 18 years old, they have a rock solid centre back partner ship of Alessio Romagnoli and Leonardo Bonucci who arrived from Juventus in July. The two attacking full backs, Ricardo Rodriguez and Andrea Conti will be reliable when defending and will provide in the final third. New holding midfielder Lucas Biglia, who arrived from Lazio, will prove vital by organising and leading the team and will allow new signing Hakan Calhanoglu to push forward along with fan favourite Giacomo Bonaventura. Franck Kessie will boss the midfield in an ‘N’Golo Kanté’ role and Andre Silva will score the majority of the goals up front.
Even though their team is stacked with talent, personally, I don’t think Milan have the mentality of title winners, yet. With almost a whole new team it’ll be hard for the players to gel 100% and that’s why I feel they’ll fade away during the title race in around March time. However, with a great young manager in Montella and a great mix of experience and youth, there is no reason to say that we won’t see Milan captain Leonardo Bonucci with the Coppa Campione d’Italia in his hands come May.
So, those are the teams who’ll be in the mix but may not be in the race right up until matchday 38, but who will? Make sure you come back tomorrow for part two.