Just 76 days since lifting the scudetto at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Napoli will start the 2023/24 Serie A campaign at newly-promoted Frosinone with far higher expectations than 12 months ago, and fellow title hopefuls like AC Milan, Inter and Juventus will be keenly focused on the threat posed by the Partenopei.
At the other end of the standings, Hellas Verona just about avoided the drop last term with a relegation playoff victory over Spezia in June. If the Gialloblu don’t show improvements this time out they will not be so lucky, given the return to the top flight of a reinvigorated Genoa under new ownership alongside Claudio Ranieri-led Cagliari and Serie B champions Frosinone.
Who will win Serie A?
Although the Partenopei will be travelling up and down the peninsula with the scudetto on their chest, new coach Rudi Garcia is unlikely to replicate the performances of predecessor Luciano Spalletti with almost the same squad. Although Kim Min-jae has left, they have – so far- kept hold of stars Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, and are arguably the least likely of the favourites to reign come May.
After relinquishing their title last term, AC Milan’s title chances have been strengthened significantly by several smart signings this summer. Forwards Noah Okafor and Samuel Chukwueze will ease the burden on an ageing Olivier Giroud, while Christian Pulisic should fill the gap left by diminutive schemer Brahim Diaz after he returned to Real Madrid.
Across town at bitter rivals and 2023 Champions League finalists Inter, much will be expected of new arrivals Davide Frattesi and Marcus Thuram. However, it looks as though the Nerazzurri will ask a lot of the duo, considering the volume of high-profile departures this summer and coach Simone Inzaghi will need fringe players to shine.
Lurking behind them will be 2022/23’s under-the-radar runners-up Lazio, although even their own supporters will expect the loss of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Saudi Arabia to derail any title aspirations. That leaves us with Turin giants Juventus, who will hope that their one-year ban from European competition can help provide the additional rest needed to clinch a first scudetto after a three-year drought.
Who will join Serie A’s European race?
Outside of those chasing the title, there will be those who are happy to focus on the riches of Champions League qualification rather than Italy’s top prize in the scudetto. Last season, Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma side came close via the Europa League final, but ultimately missed out after a narrow defeat to Sevilla. The Lupi are again be amongst the frontrunners for continental football and will be expecting a Champions League push.
Atalanta have lost Rasmus Hojlund to Manchester United but will be more than happy with the €75 million fee they squeezed from the Premier League club and convincing Gianluca Scamacca to come in to lead the attack in Bergamo. Don’t forget that Gian Piero Gasperini‘s side have previous experience overcoming more financially superior opponents.
In addition, Fiorentina squeezed back into Europe at Juventus’ expense, and gave an excellent account of themselves last term when narrowly losing the Europa Conference League final to West Ham United. Under the guidance of coach Vincenzo Italiano, the Viola should continue to improve.
The rest of Serie A: Who to watch, who might surprise us?
The fledgling coaching career of Thiago Motta is also beginning to blossom at Bologna, after an impressive year at Spezia, and the side from Emilia-Romagna came within a whisker of European qualification last term. Just two defeats in their last 12 Serie A matches suggested the former midfielder is forming a team in his own style.
In contrast, fellow Emilians Sassuolo lost six of their last 10 Serie A fixtures and 17 overall in 2022/23, and might not be so lucky to avoid relegation if that form continues and talisman Domenico Berardi cannot keep rescuing them. However, the likes of Udinese and Empoli are at similar risk of taking their Serie A status for granted this season, which could spring a surprise in the closing weeks of the 2023/24 campaign.