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3 Players to Watch in Serie A 2018/19
The last Serie A season has been consigned to the history books, and it ended with Juventus claiming the title yet again. Napoli might have pushed them hard, but ultimately, they did not have the mental strength to overcome the current dominant force in Italian football.
Roma were another team who impressed. Despite never coming close to winning the title, their unexpected run to the Champions League semi-finals salvaged their season.
But let us take a look ahead to the new season of Italian football and the Serie A players who are poised to make a big impact over the coming months.
Miralem Pjanic - Juventus
It’s safe to say that Miralem Pjanic is one of the main reasons Juventus continue to be so dominant. He is the ultimate playmaker and continues to help knock in the goals for the Turin team. Only Lazio scored more goals than Juventus last season (and only by two) and a lot of the credit for his team’s goals has to go to Pjanic.
Although the retirement of the legend that is Gianluigi Buffon as Juventus’ goalkeeper is a big blow, if they can stay sharp at the front then there’s no reason why Juventus can’t stay ahead of the pack in Serie A again this year. His value is in both his technique and skill. He can pass with great accuracy and isn’t afraid to run at and attack the opposition defence. And his free kicks certainly have to be mentioned.
But it is his partnership with teammate Paulo Dybala that really makes Pjanic shine. They have a real connection and special chemistry between them. Despite not being a massive goal scorer, he is usually responsible for the build-up to goals. And that’s what makes him dangerous. If Pjanic can build a relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo this season, Juventus will have one of the most frightening attacks in European Football.
However, Pjanic has been known to be injury prone. If Juventus want to stay strong they need to have enough depth in the squad for if or when Pjanic goes down or picks up a knock.
Lorenzo Insigne - Napoli
What is one of the biggest problems that Napoli has? They lack unpredictability when Lorenzo Insigne is out of the team. It is a fact that they become far more predictable and, arguably as a result, easier to play against without him. When he’s on the pitch, Insigne’s pace and movement both on and off the ball mean that the opposition struggle to counter him.
This past season he was forced off during the defeat to Juventus. He missed a couple more games, including a Champion’s League tie against Feyenoord, and Napoli lost each of these games.
Napoli’s strategy has always been simple within Italian football. They prefer short passes and play in triangles. It is a high tempo style of play. But it’s Insigne that adds an extra dimension with his natural flair, talent for passing the ball precisely where he wants it to go and his positioning.
And we can really see the value of Insigne when he’s not playing in the team. Napoli’s attacking trident collapses and the team lose the space necessary to play their brand of football.
It is true that Insigne didn’t have the best season in 2017/18, which also included getting mugged and being told to ‘score a goal’ by his attacker. But he was largely responsible for allowing Napoli to punch well above their weight and almost claim their first Italian title since the days of Maradona.
As far as Serie A players go, you will not find many better in European football let alone Italian football.
Edin Dzeko - Roma
This season Edin Dzeko became the first ever player to score 50 goals in three top European leagues. He also enjoyed playing in a Roma team that made the Champions League semi-finals, even if the team couldn’t match those sort of performances in the domestic game.
But Edin Dzeko was coming off a season where he scored a club record 39 goals. And in the 2017-2018 Serie A season he managed to live up to those standards, not just because of the number of goals but where he scored them.
He was almost single-handedly responsible for the magnificent comeback against Barcelona in the Champion’s League, and he featured well in the club’s 4-2 win over fellow title contenders Napoli. Dzeko seems to have evolved into a player with grit and determination. He is no longer the Manchester City player who could only score against weaker opposition.
This is why he became the talisman Roma needed following Totti’s retirement. If Dzeko can continue this type of form and not worry about getting injured, there is no reason why he cannot take Roma even closer to the Italian football title this season. If you think Dzeko can challenge Ronaldo for Italian Golden Boot, then take a look at the latest football odds at Bet UK's online betting feature.
Will Anyone Else Shine in Serie A Next Season?
All eyes in the coming season will be on Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward is expected to set Italian Football alight and continue to challenge for the Ballon D'or. None of Serie A's biggest players look like departing this season, which perhaps shows just how strong the league is becoming. A few years ago, a good season in Italy got you a move to the Premier League, or La Liga. But with more of European Football's biggest players choosing to go to Italy rather than leave, the league can only get stronger.