The 2019/20 Serie A season gets underway this weekend, with defending champions Juventus travelling to Parma. If you’re planning to bet on Italian Serie A matches, you’ll find the Old Lady overriding favourites for a win in their opening game, as well as the Serie A title (again!). Last season saw nearest hopefuls Napoli 11 points behind the Turin club, with Atalanta and Internazionale in third and fourth, respectively a further 10 points behind. But who (if anyone) can challenge Juventus to the Scudetto this campaign? Let’s take a look at some of the favourites.
Finish last year: 2nd
Opening fixtures: Fiorentina (A), Juventus (A), Sampdoria (H)
Closing fixtures: Sassuolo (H), Inter Milan (A), Lazio (H)
Players in: Kostas Manolas (Roma), Elif Elmas (Fenerbahce), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Empoli), David Ospina (Arsenal)
Players out: Amadou Diawara (Roma), Raul Albiol (Villarreal), Carlos Vinicius (Benfica)
Manager: Carlo Ancelotti (May 2018 –)
Verdict: Napoli last won the Serie A title in 1989-90, but in recent seasons, they’ve finished as runners-up on multiple occasions and will once again prove to be the strongest contenders to de-throne Juventus. Ancelotti guided them to second-place in Serie A last campaign, but we don’t think they’ll be able to emulate (or even better) that this season and we predict that Napoli will finish 3rd.
Finish last year: 4th
Opening fixtures: Lecce (H), Cagliari (A), Udinese (H)
Closing fixtures: Genoa (A), Napoli (H), Atalanta (A)
Players in: Diego Godin (Atlético Madrid), Valentino Lazaro (Hertha Berlin), Matteo Politano (Sassuolo), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Players out: Andrea Adorante (Parma), George Puscas (Reading)
Manager: Antoni Conte (May 2019 –)
Verdict: Internazionale have signalled their intent on success with the signing of Romelu Lukaku and the club is in talks with Manchester United to sign Alexis Sanchez on loan for the season. It’s been a decade since Inter won their last Scudetto, but we don’t think they have what it takes to thwart Juventus and predict they will finish 2nd.
Finish last year: 5th
Opening fixtures: Udinese (A), Brescia (H), Verona (A)
Closing fixtures: Atalanta (H), Sampdoria (A), Cagliari (H)
Players in: Franck Kessie (Atalanta), Theo Hernandez (Real Madrid), Rade Krunic (Empoli), Rafael Leao (Lille), Ismael Bennacer (Empoli)
Players out: Gustavo Gomez (Palmeiras), Christian Zapata (Genoa), Patrick Cutrone (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Manager: Marco Giampaolo (July 2019 –)
Verdict: After failing to make the Champions League this season, with a fifth-placed finish, Milan will undoubtedly be looking to do better this campaign. A change of personnel will mean new ideas and the loss of Cutrone could prove pivotal. Milan will need to be more consistent if they wish to challenge and for that reason, we predict a return to the Champions League with the Rossoneri finishing 4th.
Finish last year: 6th
Opening fixtures: Genoa (H), Lazio (A), Sassuolo (H)
Closing fixtures: Fiorentina (H), Torino (A), Juventus (A)
Players in: Amadou Diawara (Napoli), Pau (Real Betis), Leonardo Spinazzola (Juventus), Yildirim Mert Cetin (Genclerbirligi)
Players out: Ezequiel Ponce (Spartak Moscow), Kostas Manolas (Napoli), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Juventus), Luca Pellegrini (Juventus), Stephan El Shaarawy (Shanghai Greenland Shenhua), Marcano (Porto), Daniele Verde (AEK Athens), Daniele De Rossi (Boca Juniors)
Manager: Paulo Fonseca (June 2019 –)
Verdict: It’s been a bit of an upheaval for Roma in the close season with head coach Ranieri, departing after failing to secure Champions League football – and a whole list of players departing, not least talisman Daniele De Rossi. The team are going to need time to gel, but after underperforming last season, we can’t see Roma finishing any higher than 5th this time.
Finish last year: 3rd
Opening fixtures: Spal (A), Torino (H), Genoa (A)
Closing fixtures: AC Milan (A), Parma (A), Inter Milan (H)
Players in: Ruslan Malinovsky (Genk), Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Marco Varnier (Cittadella), Martin Skrtel (Fenerbahce)
Players out: Franck Kessie (AC Milan), Andrea Petagna (Spal)
Manager: Gian Piero Gasperini (June 2016 –)
Verdict: It will be a tough test for Atalanta to replicate the heroics of last season, which culminated in a third-place finish and a first ever qualification for the Champions League. While the club have strengthened their side and bought the experience of Skrtel at the back, we don’t think they will be able to match last season’s successes and predict an early exit from Europe with a league finish of 6th.