The major talking point of the Serie A this season is obviously the €100 million acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo by Juventus. While the owners of the Old Lady have European glory on their mind with the ex-Real Madrid talisman in, they would very much want an 8th Scudetto in a row. Another earth-shaking development for the Turin giant has been the exit of the legendary Gianluigi Buffon for Paris. Juve are having to console themselves with their 2nd choice goalkeeper, 28-year old Wojciech Szczesny, on loan to Roma. But Szczesny could find competition between the posts from 25-year Mattia Perin, bought from Genoa for €15 million. Mattia Caldara and Leonardo Spinazzola are back from their loan time at Atalanta to join the formidable back-line trio of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci (bought from AC Milan for €35 million). Even with Gonzola Higuain out on loan to Inter-Milan, the forward line of Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado and Mario Mandzukic is expected to be the toast of the Italian 2018-19 season. At odds of 2/5, Juventus are expected to take the Serie A title comfortably.
Inter-Milan with odds of 5/1 are the next contenders for the Serie A crown. The Milanese club made it to the Top Four in the 2017-18 season, pipping Lazio to the 4th spot on a goal difference. At 72 points they finished far behind Juventus and Napoli on the table, but feel the coming season could be better. The acquisition of the livewire Radja Nainggolan from Roma for €38 million is expected to breathe life into an uninspiring forward line. Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi, though not as great as they were before, are still very good. Perisic’s brilliant WC 2018 outing for Croatia is giving the management new found hope. Fellow Croat Sime Vrsaljko on loan from Atletico Madrid is a brilliant addition at the back to defenders Stefan de Vrij (acquired from Lazio for free) and Kwadwo Asamoah (from Juventus at no cost). I Nerazzurri can be expected to perform much better than they did in 2017-18.
Napoli at 8/1 are third in line of contenders for the Serie A title. I Ciucciarelli had a splendid 2017-18 season coming a very close second to Juventus and falling behind by just 4 points. Carlo Ancelotti, the ex-Bayern Munich manager and Napoli’s new boss hasn’t gone in for any major acquisitions but like past managers will depend on the attacking trio of Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens (back from a good WC 2018 campaign for Belgium) to get him goals. Fabian is the costliest buy for €30 million, brought in to fill in the mid-field space left by Jorginho, but the 22-year old ex-Real Betis player has a tough job ahead of him. Ruiz will will find company in the incredible central mid-fielder Marek Hamsík while shaping attacks for Mertens & Co upfront. Will someone like Hamsík around, who already has 100 goals for the club from 395 appearances, Napoli are always in with a chance.
Roma are tied odds-wise with Napoli at 8/1 to win the Serie A this season. The big blow to the Rome-based side has been the departure of Serie A’s best goal-keeper without a doubt, Allisson Becker, gone to Liverpool on a record-breaking deal. Coach Eusebio Di Francesco is prepared to take chances with Bologna’s 35-year old custodian Antonio Mirante though. Davide Santon bought from Inter-Milan is a solid addition to the formidable Kostas Manolas, Aleksandar Kolarov and Federico Fazio at the back. The advent of Javier Pastore from PSG will give more strength to a mid-field that has the likes of Daniele De Rossi (Captain) and Alessandro Florenzi (Vice-Captain) in it. The much talked about Ajax import, 19-year old Justin Kluivert, will be expected to join hands with strike force upfront consisting of the brilliant Edin Dzeko, Cengiz Ünder, Patrik Schick and Stephan El Shaarawy. I Giallorossi look fair contenders to take on the might of Juventus in the 2018-19 season.
Fifth and sixth on bookmakers’ odds are AC Milan and Lazio, who at 15/1 and 66/1 hardly look likely to pose a challenge for Italy’s top footballing honours.
Recommended Tip: Napoli each-way (2 Places) – Best Odds 8/1