Could This Be One Of The Most Open Serie A Seasons In Recent Years?
ROME – It has been unprecedented success for Juventus over the last nine seasons, and in 2020-21 they will be aiming to win a tenth straight Serie A title. The Old Lady won the title last season by just a point from Inter Milan, which could illustrate that the dominance that they once had is beginning to fade.
Disappointment in the Champions League signalled the end of the Maurizio Sarri reign at the club, with Andrea Pirlo brought in to freshen up the club's performance levels on the pitch.
Nonetheless, due to the inexperience of Pirlo in the dugout, could that mean that Italian football fans could be about to get one of the closest seasons in recent history in Serie A?
Juventus Starting To Waver
Juventus would have seen the 2019-20 season as a huge disappointment as they ended the campaign with just the Serie A title to show for their efforts. The Old Lady lost in the Coppa Italia final to Napoli, while they were knocked out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage by Lyon.
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo was meant to ensure that the club could compete in Europe. Despite being 35, the Portuguese superstar still has enough pace to compete with a stallion in the TwinSpires list of Breeders Cup winners.
Still, despite CR7 banging the goals it hasn't exactly played out as it should, with Sarri having lasted only one season. There will be immediate pressure of Pirlo to perform better in Europe but losing the domestic title will also ensure that his job could come under threat.
Juventus have started the season with an unbeaten record, as they have won two and drawn two from their opening four fixtures. They have already been dominant at home by winning both games that they have played, but away from home, they have struggled.
The Old Lady already find themselves four points off the pace in the league, which means that they can ill-afford to see the gap widen any more over the next couple of weeks. They came into this season after winning just once in their final four league games in 2019-20, and that could indicate that the tide is beginning to turn against them in Italy.
Who Will Be The Main Contenders?
There are a number of sides in Italy that could be best placed to challenge for the league title this season, with Inter Milan and Atalanta both being standout contenders.
Napoli and AC Milan have also improved immeasurably from the previous season, but Lazio have been one of the sides that have struggled to adjust to playing behind closed doors.
AC Milan are the current leaders in Serie A, as they have started the season with four wins from four. There is a newfound belief that they will be able to maintain this challenge, which has been spearheaded by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The superstar Swede has already scored four goals in two Serie A games, which included two in the recent Milan Derby success over Inter.
Unlike Juventus, AC Milan have flourished since football went behind closed doors as they are yet to lose in 16 games in Serie A. That could indicate that they could be shock winners this season.
It's hard to look past the side that finished runners-up in last year's Serie A, with Inter finishing just a point behind Juventus. Inter have proven quality in their squad, with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez being one of the most frightening strike partnerships in Europe.
Atalanta could also be outsiders to win the league, but they will need to ensure that they improve their defensive record. Napoli also ended the 2019-20 season with the Coppa Italia and have been improving consistently under Genaro Gattuso but winning the league may be a challenge too big for them.