Italian Football: Serie A 2018/19 Season Preview & Predictions
With Juventus winning the 116th season of top tier Italian football, ending just four points clear of Napoli, attention turns to what is in store for Serie A when the new season gets underway on 19th August 2018.
Italian football has been expecting change for some time now. However, this past season definitely wasn’t it, even though Napoli pushed Juventus hard in the pursuit of the title. With a number of players moving clubs since the end of the last Serie A campaign, the forthcoming season is shaping up to be a closely fought battle.
Who is Going to Win Serie A?
First of all, Juventus are still the complete team. After a slow start last year, once in their stride only Napoli could touch them, and even they didn’t have the mental edge to take the challenge all the way. Following their defeat of Juventus late in the season, they collapsed, allowing the defending champions to claim yet another Serie A title. Adding Cristiano Ronaldo to an already world class team should cement Juventus' place at the top of Italian Football.
Napoli could finish the season as Serie A champions, but it is clear that they are simply not as consistent as Juventus. They will have to strengthen considerably if they are going to wrench the title away from a Juve team that was at time quite disappointing compared to their usually high standards, despite ending the season on 95 points.
Roma also underperformed, after seemingly being the number one contenders in Serie A football the previous season. However, an amazing European football run to the Champions League semi-final definitely made up for that.
Inter Milan and Lazio are not far behind either, but they are still a class below Juventus right now. Inter have made great progress, and the attacking prowess of Lazio was the ultimate surprise package of an otherwise predictable 2017-18 season of Italian football.
So Juventus are looking most likely going to win the title this year. But as we know, anything can happen. What will the other teams have to do to try and stop the Bianconeri from being crowned champions for an unprecedented 35th time?
Will Juventus Finish as Serie A Champions Again?
The departure of Gianluigi Buffon at the age of 40 is one of the big stories within Italian football. However Juventus were quick to replace him by signing the 25-year-old Mattia Perin from Genoa, who is set to compete with ex-Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny for the number one shirt.
Don’t expect the former Arsenal keeper to make the shirt his though. Perin was courted by both Roma and Napoli, so there’s real potential for the future here.
The other big signing for Juventus is Leonardo Bonucci. After 1 season in Milan the Italian centre half re-joined Juventus, where he formed one of European Football's most formidable partnerships with Chiellini. If the two can get the partnership back together, then Juventus might be even harder to beat next year. If you fancy Juventus to claim the Scudetto again, then take a look at our online sportsbook for the latest football betting odds.
Can Napoli Go One Better in Serie A This Year?
Napoli finished second last season and are widely expected to challenge again. It is obvious that they need to learn from their experience after failing to capitalise on their remarkable victory against the champions with only a few games to go. If they can do that, they’ll be right in the mix again.
Joining the Napoli squad for the new season is Amin Younes of Germany. After experiencing family issues and a string of knee problems, it won’t be until the next season of European football that we’ll see him in a Napoli shirt.
With only nine games in the Dutch league and a number of Europa League goals, he has claimed 15 goals and 12 assists over the last two seasons. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be a formidable threat on the wing.
But what Napoli really need is a leader who can keep the team together when things go wrong. That’s something they lacked throughout the whole team this past season.
Will Roma Challenge for the Serie A Top Spot?
Roma were at times lacklustre this past season, but they have been busy with thirteen new signings already in place for the start of the new season. Unfortunately for them, Allison inevitably left for Liverpool after the 2018 World Cup. Robin Olsen was brought in from Copenhagen to replace Allison, but it will be tough to truly replace the Brazilian.
Radja Nainggolan was also a huge loss for Roma. The battling Belgian midfielder has been a mainstay in the Roma midfield since 2014. Perhaps the worst part of the transfer is that Nainggolan joined Inter Milan, strengthening one of Roma's direct rivals.
But wonder kids Ante Coric, Justin Kluivert and Bryan Cristante have all arrived. Midfielder Javier Pastore has also joined to replace the outgoing Nainggolan.
Will they gel immediately with the existing team? Right now that’s unlikely to happen. There are too many new faces and too many outgoings. For this team to overthrow Juventus, they’ll likely need at least a season of football together first.
What About the Other Teams in Serie A?
Neither of the Milan teams are expected to make a strong enough challenge on Serie A this coming season to end up overall winners. But they should never be ruled out, and will almost certainly be in the mix for a place in European football again, whether Champions League or Europa.
And of course, there’s also Lazio to consider; they scored the highest number of goals last season – 89. But their leaky defence conceded 49 goals, which was also the highest out of all the teams in the top half of the table. Any surprise packages to claim the title? As it stands, don’t hold your breath.
As we head into the 2018-2019 season of Italian football, expect a closely fought race amongst the top teams. And as ever, it promises to be a competition that delivers all the passion, drama and fantastic football that Serie A is renowned for.
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