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Why this season's Serie A will be especially good

Why this season's Serie A is definitely one NOT to miss

August 17, 2018 By Michelle Bonsu
And no, it's not JUST because of an arrival of a certain superstar player...

For calcio fans, it's the time of year they all have been waiting for: the arrival of the Serie A season.

And it's finally here, with a mouth-watering double header to keep them satisfied. First, serial underachievers Chievo face a stern test against reigning champs Juventus, and then Lazio will welcome runners-up Napoli later in the day.

Two fixtures, Sampdoria-Fiorentia and AC Milan-Genoa have been postponed due to the tragedy in Genoa following the Ponte Morandi collapse that killed 41 people.

However, the other eight games are set to go ahead, and there will certainly be a whole other slew of bandwagon followers who will be tuning in to watch Italian football this weekend primarily spurred on by the arrival of a certain superstar player who will be making his long-awaited debut.

So, without further ado, here are five key reasons why this season could be an even better one than previous ones - both for serious calcio followers and those who only became Serie A fans after Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival this July.

1. Juventus making waves yet again...

Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival certainly is a huge attraction and benefit for Serie A, and the 33-year-old will be hoping to make a big splash as he now will aim to help Juventus move from serial Scudetto winners to finally ending their long wait for a Champions League trophy. And if it's anyone who knows how to win the trophy with the big ears, it's the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. Will he be that final piece in the puzzle for La Vecchia Signora?

The Portuguese superstar will be making his debut against Chievo this weekend, and one can certainly bet that the Flying Donkeys will park the bus to maximum effect (which long-time Serie A fans already know and have seen time and time again) to try to keep him at bay. Let's see if that actually pays off, but one should not bet on it, as if anyone knows how to score against dogged defenses, it's CR7.

Meanwhile, Juventus opted to let Gonzalo Higuain leave on loan to AC Milan while bringing Leonardo Bonucci back, while two loyal servants to the club, Gianluigi Buffon, and Claudio Marchisio, have since departed, so two familiar faces fans have grown up seeing week in week out are no longer in a Bianconero jersey.

2....but so are other big sides, including Napoli...

Napoli may have lost key man Jorginho, but they have brought in a real legend on the tactician's bench. Carlo Ancelotti is widely regarded as one of the premier managerial talents in the game today, having won silverware in all of Europe's "Big 5" leagues and now has returned to his native land to try to help the Partenopei end their frustrating wait for silverware.

Last season saw them try to chase Juventus for the Scudetto and focus so much on this pursuit that they opted to throw away chances at other trophy opportunities in the Coppa Italia and perhaps even in the Europa League. Ancelotti will bring likely a more balanced outlook to this side, who will be again competing on several fronts this season and try to help them remain focused on the Scudetto, but not so focused that they do not make a serious attempt in the Coppa Italia, either.

3. ...and Inter as well

Luciano Spalletti has done wonders since taking over, and Inter have made some solid signings this summer, bringing in Radja Nainggolan and Keita Balde Diao from Roma and Lazio respectively to enhance their midfield, while Sime Vrsaljko and Stefan de Vrij have been added to bolster their defense.

Juventus may be the out and out favorites for the Scudetto due to their overall stronger squad, but they will face some serious competition from the likes of Roma, who have also added some notable talents, Napoli, and Inter. AC Milan, meanwhile, have shipped out the misfiring Nikola Kalinic and have upgraded by bringing in Gonzalo Higuain, who despite his troubles at international level has generally been a solid performer in Serie A.

4. Four spots in the Champions League

Inter, Juventus, Napoli, and Roma will be Italy's representatives in the Champions League this season and all four will be looking to impress in the continental competition. While Napoli did not impress in the tournament as clearly Maurizio Sarri wanted to focus on the Scudetto, Juventus and Roma, in particular, were quite solid and Inter, having built up their squad, could also be a surprise package as well.

Juventus, of course, will be expected to go far, having featured in two finals in 2015 and 2017. Will this be their year? Time will tell.

5. Guess who's back in town...and there's also a resurgent AC Milan

AC Milan may have had their issues, but it seems the Rossoneri are slowly finding their way. After seeing their European ban overturned and US hedge fund Elliott Management stepped in, Gennaro Gattuso's side will be hopeful of at least improving their standing in the league this season.

The Scudetto? A bridge too far. But a top four finish? Certainly not out of reach, as Milan will be competing in the Europa League after spending all that money last season.

Meanwhile, Parma are back in Serie A after finishing in 20th spot during the 2014/2015 season. The Crociati are a cult favorite after their exploits in the 90's, which saw them actually win two UEFA Cups during a successful era, but times have not been so kind to Parma as of late. Since being relegated, the club suffered financial troubles, leading them to be further demoted all the way down to Serie D after being disbanded and then totally restructured.

Parma then made history by achieving successful promotions from Serie D, then to Serie C, B, and finally back up to A. However, even that was not guaranteed as they were threatened with a five point deduction that could have prevented them from even featuring in the top flight, only to see that overturned this past July.

 

 


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