Serie A – Road to the Scudetto; Week One
Well, Serie A fans, it’s back! This weekend marks the first round of the Itailan top-flight in the 2012-2013 season. Last year, it was a battle for top spot between Juventus and AC Milan. The Old Lady, after six long years, finally lifted the Scudetto for the 28th time in league history and paved the way back to the Champions League. Who will triumph in the 2012-2013 season? Let’s take a look at the main encounters in Week 1 of the Italian Serie A.
Italian Champions, Juventus, take on Parma at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. The encounter last season concluded in a 4-1 Old Lady battering of the Gialloblu. This time around the result should be much the same as Juve has certainly strengthened its side in numbers pretty much guaranteeing the same quality. During the summer transfer market, the Bianconeri brought in an experienced defender in Lucio as well as 20-year old youngster Alberto Masi, physique and strength in ex-Udinese pairing Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah, promising young talent Paul Pogba on a bosman from Manchester United, and has taken back Sebastian Giovinco from this weekend’s opponents. These are key signings indeed and Juventus looks set to possibly land the Scudetto again according to bookies. Parma had little chance last year in this fixture, but now without Giovinco, it’ll be very difficult to land a result here. Look for Juve to easily obtain the three points.
AC Milan will take on Ciro Ferrara’s side Sampdoria at the San Siro in Milan. Much of the off-season talk has surrounded the fact that Serie A is being stripped of its stars. This is true as two of the biggest names in Italy have left AC Milan for Paris Saint-Germain. Arguably the best defender in the world, Brazilian Thiago Silva and Swede sensation, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, decided to leave as the Rossoneri are going through some tough economic times. Other departed players are Alessandro Nesta, Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mark Van Bommel, Massimo Oddo, Gennaro Gattuso, and most recently Antonio Cassano. This is an incredible list of star names, but it is time for a revolution at Milanello as Berlusconi looks to bring in some young blood to rejuvenate the side. Main purchases include Riccardo Montolivo, Francesco Acerbi, Kevin Constant, Christian Zapata, and Gianpaolo Pazzini. Certainly, the latter are not as near the calibre as the former, but they will have to do for now. Sampdoria welcome back Andrea Poli as well as Angelo Palombo who were both on loan at Inter Milan, as well as ex-Juve player Marcelo Estigarribia. Sampdoria is normally able to test the Rossoneri and this encounter looks promising for the Blucerchiati, but look for Milan to edge past the Genoa-based side in this match-up.
Inter Milan will travel to Abbruzzo to take on newly-promoted Pescara. The Nerazzurri have been active on the transfer market, bringing in players of good quality such as Walter Gargano, Antonio Cassano, Rodrigo Palacio, Gaby Mudingayi, and ex-Udinese ‘keeper Samir Handanovic. Pescara have been revamped this summer as coach Zdenek Zeman left to take charge at AS Roma, last season’s team leading goal scorers in Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne were signed by Genoa and Napoli respectively, and playmaker Marco Verratti, dubbed the next Andrea Pirlo, is now playing for PSG. It will be a miracle if Pescara obtain a result from this fixture. Inter looks set to grab the victory here and possibly be Juventus’ main contender for the Scudetto.
Other fixtures for Week 1 are: Atalanta v Lazio; Chievo v Bologna; Fiorentina v Udinese; Genoa v Cagliari; Palermo v Napoli; Roma v Catania; Siena v Torino.
League Final Standings – Predictions:
- AC Milan
- AS Roma