The cloud of another Italian soccer scandal still hangs over Serie A as the new season is set to kickoff this weekend. Since the first news broke of the match-fixing affair that would come to known as calcioscommesse few around the game in Italy have avoided suspicion. That includes the reigning Serie A Champions, Juventus will have to defend their title and return to the Champions League without their coach Antonio Conte, as he serves a ten-month suspension.
The league is not only dealing with another blow to its reputation but from harsh financial realities. The English Premier League and Spanish La Liga are, at the moment, tops in Europe in terms of competition, marketability and generating revenue. This was no more evident then the steady exodus of some of Serie A’s finest players to England, Spain and even France.
And despite the additional loss of a peerless goal scoring trio in Filippo Inzaghi, Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Del Piero some young talents are emerging as the next bright generation of Serie A strikers. Mattia Destro, Sebastian Giovinco, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne, all under 25 years of age, could breakout in big ways this season.
Despite being down, Serie A should be an entertaining league to watch this season. There is great parity throughout the league, and hardly anything is set in stone as to how the league might go. As play begins this Saturday, we take a team-by-team look at how some of B/R’s top writers see the season progressing.