By Ian Palmer
The Italian Serie A season has just kicked off with Juventus looking to take the title for the fourth consecutive year and the 31st time in the storied club’s history. However, it’s not going to be a cakewalk since many other clubs have reloaded themselves with new players during the summer transfer window.
- bet365 odds to win outright – 6/5
- The biggest news in the Juventus camp this summer was the sudden departure of former manager Antonio Conte. Reports said he was at odd with the club’s ownership over player transfers and more or less walked out on the team. Just a few weeks later he resurfaced as the new manager of the Italian men’s national squad to replace Cesare Prandelli who was let go after Italy’s poor performance at the 2014 World Cup. Massimiliano Allegri, who used to manage AC Milan, has taken over the reins at Juventus and his club is still the one to beat heading into the 2014/15 campaign. Allegri has also had stints with Cagliari and Sassuolo. Juventus deepened their squad in the offseason by signing French international defender Patrice Evra from Manchester United. The left-back will add a lot of experience to the back four, which allowed a league-low 23 goals against last season. In addition, the club acquired Spanish forward Alvaro Morata. The striker played with Real Madrid last year and managed to score eight goals in 23 games. Veteran goalkeeper Gigi Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo are also back with the squad for at least one more season.
- bet365 odds to win outright – 2/1
- Roma managed to finish as runners-up last year, but they were quite a way back as they were 17 points behind Juventus. Roma, as usual, was led by veteran captain Francesco Totti. The club lost a couple of decent players in 2013/14 when forward Pablo Osvaldo was transferred to Southampton of the English Premier League and winger Erik Lamela joined him in England by joining Tottenham Hotspur. The fans weren’t too happy with management after those two left, but French manager Rudi Garcia managed to calm them down by signing defender Mehdi Benatia, forward Gervinho and midfielder Kevin Strootman. Those additions helped the team reach second place, but Benatia has just been transferred to German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. He may not be missed that much though since veteran English defender Ashley Cole was acquired from Chelsea during the offseason. The Roma attack was led by Italian forward Mattia Destro who scored 13 goals in just 20 appearances after he returned to the lineup from an early injury. Another key to the attack is midfielder Alessandro Florenzi who chipped in with half a dozen goals last season.
- bet365 odds to win outright – 5/1
- Napoli, who are managed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, finished third in 2013/14, but were nowhere near challenging Juventus for the title. The team’s defense struggled at times and allowed 39 goals against. Their main attacking threat is Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, formerly of Real Madrid. Higuain scored 17 goals last campaign and will be counted on to at least equal that tally this time around. He should get some help in the scoring department from Jose Callejon who managed to bag 15 goals last year. The squad’s creativity comes from captain Marek Hamsik in the midfield.
- bet365 odds to win outright – 16/1
- Inter Milan, who share the San Siro Stadium with city rivals AC Milan, should finish the season in the top five again this season. The club acquired veteran Serbian midfielder Nemanja Vidic from Manchester United along with Italian forward Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and midfielder Gary Medel of Chile. Osvaldo has been added to the lineup on loan for the season from Southampton of England.
- bet365 odds to win outright – 20/1
- AC Milan slid down the league table to an eighth-place finish last year and might even drop lower in 2014/15. The main reason for this will be the recent selling of Italian international striker Mario Balotelli, who was just transferred to English Premier League side Liverpool for the bargain-basement price of just 16 million pounds. Milan needs to replace Balotelli’s goalscoring skills if they hope to improve this year. The club did add some depth in other areas by acquiring Spanish goalkeeper Diego Lopez from Real Madrid as well as former Paris Saint Germain SG forward Jeremy Menez. In addition, winger Stephen El Shaarawy is back in the lineup after missing most of last season due to injury.
- bet365 odds to win outright – 20/1
- Fiorentina has been a contender for the past few seasons and finished fourth in 2013/14. Striker Giuseppe Rossi, who was born in the USA, missed much of the season due to injury, but had already scored 16 goals before he was sidelined. He’ll have some help up front with the likes of fellow forwards Juan Cuardado and Mario Gomez.
Here are the favorites again along with the rest of the Italian Serie A teams will be fighting for a spot in the top 10 of the 20-team league.
- Juventus – bet365 odds to win outright – 6/5
- Roma – bet365 odds to win outright – 2/1
- Napoli – bet365 odds to win outright – 5/1
- Inter Milan – bet365 odds to win outright – 16/1
- AC Milan – bet365 odds to win outright – 20/1
- Florentina – bet365 odds to win outright – 20/1
- Lazio – bet365 odds to win outright – 150/1
- Parma – bet365 odds to win outright – 250/1
- Torino – bet365 odds to win outright – 400/1
- Udinese – bet365 odds to win outright – 500/1
- Verona – bet365 odds to win outright – 500/1
- Atalanta – bet365 odds to win outright – 750/1
- Genoa – bet365 odds to win outright – 750/1
- Palermo – bet365 odds to win outright – 750/1
- Sampdoria – bet365 odds to win outright – 750/1
- Empoli – bet365 odds to win outright – 1000/1
- Cagliari – bet365 odds to win outright – 1000/1
- Sassuolo – bet365 odds to win outright – 1500/1
- Chievo – bet365 odds to win outright – 1500/1
- Cesena – bet365 odds to win outright – 2000/1